Monday, August 31, 2009

All public gym and swimming baths in Birmingham are free as of 1st September

As of Tuesday 1st September, all public swimming baths in Birmingham will be free to all Birmingham residents. Similarly, all public gyms will be free during non-peak times.

This is part of 18 month experiment funded by the Primary Care Trusts and working in partnership with the City Council. The objective of this project is to improve to the health of the residents of Birmingham.

The experiment initially began over 2 years ago in Ladywood, where the Primary Care Trust saw a reduction in medicine use, where participants started to eat and live healthier.

This scheme will be assessed after 12 months to see what impact it is having on the fitness and health of Birmingham citizens.

From a Moseley and Kings Heath perspective, this means that the following is free to all residents:

FREE swimming during casual public sessions in all city council pools – this includes Moseley Road baths and Cocks Moor Woods Leisure Centre.

FREE use at all the council’s Pulse Point fitness facilities and classes in leisure facilities at off peak times for free up until 5pm weekdays and after 1pm weekends. This would include the Pulse Gyms at:

· Billesley Indoor Tennis centre, Wheelers Lane (next to Swanhurst Girls school)

· Cocks Moor Woods Lesiure Centre

· Chamberlain Health and Fitness Centre, inside the new Joseph Chamberlain College by Belgrave Middleway, Balsall Heath

· Moseley School Health and Fitness Centre, Springfield Road

Some background information

The objective of this scheme is to do the following:

· Increase the number of people who regularly take part in active recreation and sport.

· Improve the mental and physical health of those who are not physically active.

· Promote healthy eating and enable more people to maintain a normal body weight.

· Reduce early death and disability from chronic diseases by promoting physical activity and improving cardiovascular fitness among those who experience the most inequality in health.

A few startling facts:

Of all the core cities, Birmingham has the least physically active adult population.

We have the highest proportion of adults with Type II diabetes.

We also have the second highest rate of childhood obesity among Year 6 children.

Around 140,000 adults in Birmingham are estimated to be obese and about 50,000 adults suffer from diabetes.

Initial modelling suggests that the 18 month scheme may directly prevent up to 175 premature deaths, while 1,620 cases of hypertension may also be prevented. Over an 18 month period the recorded number of adults participating in physically active recreation and sports at least three times each week will rise from 17 per cent to 23 per cent - this equates to some 23,500 people.

The scheme will also ensure that over an 18 month period Birmingham will move from being in the lowest quartile of local authorities in terms of a physically active population, to the top quartile.

It will impact on life expectancy and should raise the city profile through national and potentially even international interest in the scheme.

Calling all independent fashion designers in Birmingham

Kings Heath independent fashion traders are planning to set up a ‘pop up’ shop in Corporation Street during the Style in the City fashion weekend – 24th to 26th September.

So far 8 fashion designers have signed up for this ‘pop up’ shop, but there is space for a few more. The designers from around Birmingham are welcome to participate.

This is an opportunity for independent fashion designers, whether its dress, jewellery, handbags or hair style, to show off their designs to 10,000 plus visitors from across the region.

Although this pop-up shop is being set up in less than four weeks, it is hoped that if this is successful this will be the start of a future Fringe fashion festival to the main Style in the City event. Whereas Style in the City is a ticket only event, the pop-up shop and fronge would be free and show off the many independent fashion designers who live and work in the suburbs of Birmingham.

Both Councillor Mullaney, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture, and Nikki Carr, town centre manager for Moseley and Kings Heath, are pulling together the package, whilst leaving the creative side of the event to the fashion designers to agree amongst themselves.

The shop unit is the former Jade shoe shop, about 4 doors from House of Fraser – see attached photo.

The unit is one of six empty Council owned shop units immediately next to the House of Fraser.

Since the fashion designers want to promote and sell their wares, they are having to pay the full rental price of the unit.

The unit is on three floors. Basement is storage, tea room and toilets. Ground floor will be used to display the fashions. First floor will be used for stage shows, photographic exhibition and DJ.

The cost of renting the unit for four days, to be shared between the traders is £1450. Uitlilities and license application is an additional £100.

The Council are requesting a further £1000 to remove and replace the vinyls on the front window – I am trying to see if I can persuade the Council to waive, since I feel this event is adding value to the Style in the City event.

If the pop-up shop attracts 10 designers, then the cost to each designer will vary between £160 to £260 for the four days.

If you are interested to be part of this venture, please contact me on or Nikki Carr on . We will forward your details onto the 8 fashion designers who are taking part in this project

Some further background on Style in the City

First event – 2008

Style in the City is a three day fashion event, hosted by Retail Birmingham Ltd (the Business Improvement District for the City Centre). The first event took place in April 2008 which incorporated mini in store events throughout the city centre, a large scale catwalk show hosted by Kelly Osborne (with 5 showings per day) in a purpose built marquee in Centenary Square, and a ‘Style Academy’ with Trinny and Susannah in St Martins Square, Bullring (With four shows per day). In addition, there were consumer offers available in the Pavilions, Mailbox and top designers such as Betty Jackson at Selfridges.

The 2008 event attracted nearly 10,000 visitors to the city centre over the three days and ticket holders were provided an exclusive goody bag and free transport around the city centre.

Many retailers reported their sales doubled over the period, and there was press coverage form the likes of local radio, TV and Hello magazine.

2009 Event

The 2009 event is scheduled to take place between 24 – 26 September. Although the premise of the event is the same, the catwalk show will be at Mailbox (6 shows per day*), and Gok Wan will be conducting 3 ‘Style sessions’ a day** at St Martins Square behind the Bull Ring. All 10,000 visitors will go to House of Fraser, Corporation Street to recieve their exclusive goody bag.

New town centre manager for Moseley and Kings Heath shopping centres starts Tuesday 1st September

Nikki Carr has been appointed as the new town centre manager for Moseley and Kings Heath shopping centre and begins the role on Tuesday 1st September. She will initially be based at Kings Heath Neighbourhood Office, Silver Street.

Prior to this role, Nikki worked in the City Centre Management Team and is experienced in dealing with Business Improvement Districts, of which Kings Heath has one, and in dealing with traders on a day-to-day basis.

For the last week, Nikki has already been working with Kings Heath traders to set up a ‘pop-up’ fashion shop on Corporation Street during the Style in the City festival in the City Centre on 24th-26th September.