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Community features


Life in Sparkhill
Life in Sparkhill

Life in Sparkhill

Sparkhill has one of the most multicultural communities in Birmingham. Teenagers Stephen, Amran and Satpheen made a short film as part of a multifaith workshop reflecting on what life is like Sparkhill. Watch the film below.


Stratford road, Sparkhill
Stratford road, Sparkhill

Christian teenager, Stephen, worked together with Muslim teenagers Amran and Satpheen as part of a Youth Encounter workshop for Scripture Union.

They made a film about their thoughts on what life is like in Sparkhill, looking at the good and bad points and how things could be improved in the area.

A variety of cultures

Sparkhill is a very vibrant and colourful community consisting of a variety of different cultures - from Somalian and Chinese to Afro Caribbean and Asian just to mention a few.

Rubbish in Sparkhill
Rubbish in Sparkhill

The buzzing streets are bursting with shoppers, restaurants, take aways and local people can get anything from a second hand fridge freezer to their weekly groceries.

What we think....

Satpheen explains: "Sparkhil is bright and colourful and there's a variety of different cultures."

But the area also has it's problems with rubbish dumping, vandalism and crime.

Jalebi stall
Jalebi stall

Stephen explains: "There's alot of rubbish in the Sparkhill and it encourages rodents. It's really bad and needs to be cleared up. We have to work together to make the area better."

Sparkhill park is central to local life

Sparkhill park is a venue for local events and a children's play areas, two hard court areas for ball games and grassed areas for both junior football and cricket.

Amran comments:" In Sparkhill park there's plenty of space to walk around and lots of facilities for young children. But there's lots lots of vandalism and rubbish everywhere. It's also not safe to walk through the park at night because there are no street lights."

Life in Sparkhill on BBC Local TV

Talking about Sparkhill
Talking about Sparkhill

Stephen, Amran and Satpheen spent an afternoon walking around Sparkhill with a video camera and talked about what they liked and disliked about the area.

Their film 'Life in Sparkhill' was featured on BBC Birmingham TV.

Watch the short film and have your say below ...

video 'Life in Sparkhill' on BBC Local TV >
Audio and Video links on this page require Realplayer

What is it like where you live?

Have you made a film about where you live? or have you taken pictures in your area?

BBC Local TV wants to hear from you!

Get in touch with BBC Birmingham TV by emailing birminghamtv@bbc.co.uk

last updated: 30/03/06
Have Your Say
Do you live in Sparkhill or surrounding areas? What do you like and dislike about living in the area? Add your comments below...
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The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

N Hussain
I moved to sparkhill 4 yrs ago having lived in Hall Green. I hate the fact that sparkhill is so dirty, when i walk down the road i have to dodge the litter we cant constantly blame the council for everything they clean the roads on a weekly basis and the next day its dirty again we should take some responsibilty for our actions and lead by example, i feel education starts at home maybe if parents involved themselves more in their childs education then maybe we wouldnt have such yobbish behaviour. SOME YOUNG GUY i think it disgusting for you to have been racialy abused that way and there is no excuse for anyone to be treated that way whether your white black or asian we should all live side by side but in reality this isnt the case but not all asians are ignorant like the ones that you have come across just like i would say that not all white people are ignorant just because i have been racially abused by a few.What does get my blood boiling is that the red route does not benefit anyone especially the businesses the council have not taken anyone in to consideration in sparkhill, places like shirley has plenty of carparks so red route does not affect them. It seems to be a case of who cares about sparkhill!!!

AJ CHAMPANERI
I LIVED IN SPARKHILL FOR OVER 25 YEARS, AND NOW IN SHIRLEY.NOTHING TO WHAT IT USE TO BE LIKE.YOUNG ASIAN BOYS HANGING AROUND IN GROUPS ACTING THE BAD LADS TI MANY CARS ON THE STRATFORD ROAD FROMTHE TOP OF CAMP HILL TO THE BOTTOM OF SPRINGFIELD. READING ALL THESE COMMENTS MAKES ME LAUGH WHEN THEY SAY SPARKHILL IS THE BEST PLACE TO LIVE. MATE YOU SHOULD OF BEEN AROUND IN THE 1960'S THATS WHAT YOU CALLED LIVING IN SPARKHILL WAS A GOOD PLACE TO LIVE. PEOPLE DID'NT USE TO SPIT ALL OVER THE PLACE NOW EVERY STEP YOU TAKE THEIR ALWAYS SOMEBODY SPITTING WHICH IS DISGUSTING IT SPREADS DISEASES NO WONDER PEOPLE SUFFERING FROM TB AND CHEST INFECTION. PUT A STOP TO THIS SPITING AND FINE ANYBODY WHO IS FOUND SPITTING LIKE A PARKING TICKET THERE AND THEN.LAST BUT LEAST BRING BACK THE NATIONAL SERVICE FOR THOSE PEOPLE WHO HAVE NOTHING TO DO. IF I HAVE OFFENDED ANYONE WELL TOUGH I SPEAK MY MIND.

Jim
Im afraid that i have to agree with Paul. The grammar and spelling that i see here is not encouraging. When walking down down a street in Sparkhill i felt intimidated and lost, i felt like a foriegner in my own country, this is not rascist remark as i have consulted many of my asian freinds before posting this. People are right, it is very bright and colorful however Sparkhill is in danger of becoming a ghetto if has not already become so. The condition of the streets will become much worse. The future does not look bright.

Ben Dover
i think sparkhill is a filthy place there are more rats than people its disgusting

Saima Hussain
Sparkhill is a brilliant area, as a qualified Teacher/Doctor of education I feel the education amoung the growing youth is widening to a stretch which is clearly benificial to the community. Thus the area is clearly benifiting from the generation to come. INNIT!!!!!

george
i think sparkhill is te a real good area ive been living in sparkhill for about 50 years and not once i have had any problems i think its a clean place to live you will feel safe in it to.

Shanaz Saddiq
i dont live in or near sparkbrook, but i travel there alot to get clothes... what i dont like about the area is people park wherever they want putting there hazard lights on..and when i drive there i have to lock my doors because i dont feel safe.. anything could happen with the atmosphere around me

sean
Ive lived most of my life in the Sparkhill area and I believe it to be one of the most tolerant and exciting places in the UK. However, I am extremely concerned that without an adequate input of financial and social resources in to our young peoples lives will we have a lot of serious problems for our community in the future.

Emma
i live in sparkhill & its a wicked place to live, ive lived all over brum & have never been as happy as i am here in sparkhill!!!

Paul
I grew up in Greet, the streets were clean and safe. Forty years later, I find Sparkhill a dirty violent dump. And judging by some of the comments posted here, spelling and grammar seems to be absent in Sparkhill's schools.

Abdul Haq
JOHN, i think your right. People in Sparkhill just think they own the place and are not very nice to outsiders

tas
i love sparkhill as i have been living in sparkhill for over 25 years.over 25 years sparkhill has changed alot as i have been a council co-ordinator.sparkhill park has had many attractive evnts that have brought people from all over england to enjoy a day or weekend out. stratford road is a very busy road.it is like a tourest attraction.many asian communities come to stratford road to make videos or speeches that thet can show on t.v. thank you.

TAS
ITS A LOVELY AREA TO LIVE IN BUT RECENTLY THERE IS TOO MUCH ASIAN POLITICS BEING PLAYED IF IT CARRIES ON THE AREA WILL GO DOWN

miss anonymous
i do not live in sparkhill, i live very near to sparkhill.my family however do live there and i visit the area on a daily basis.i think that sparkhill is a ver friendly area that has unfortunately gone down hill due to litter and graffitti.the vandalism that occurs in sprkhill is mostly done by youths who merely do this out of boredom.sparkhill needs to be tidied up and needs facilities for the younger generation to keep them happy.i do not however find sparkhill at all dangerous, i would have no problem walking the streets of sparkhill as the residents are very friendly.

Mohammed
Sparkbook is a nice place to like in, on the whole. It is classed as a deprived area, maily because of the lack of investment in the area by the local and central goverment. The main thing that bothers as a resident living in Sparkbrook for over 20 years is the groups of youths that hang around street corners late at night. It shows a lack on concern on the part of parents of these youths, and does not project a good image of the area.

Saleem Ahmed
Why arte people burping? I honestly haven't a clue as to why this whole yob culture exists in this small part of Birmingham in the first place. Be more civilised people!

misba
sparkhill is a lovely place to live in.mashallah

some young guy
hmmm. i have read all your comments and am surprised to find that alot of people like sparkhill. i am constantly ribbed for living here and to be fair it's a bit of a dump. there are a few good aspects though, the library, swimming pool, the park, two schools and a new mental health centre are all within walking distance. you cant forget the colourful shops on the high street? being from sparkhill has its advantages, recently i was mugged on stony lane, the guy asked me 'where are you from' i replied 'sparkhill' he said 'oh, ok, go on, i'm not going to take your (non existant) money or your (quite expensive) watch. being white and living in sparkhill means that i am often intimidated by young asian guys who think they should intimidate me because i am white. i cant go out of my house without being called 'john' or 'ginger prick'. Despite this, i find all of the shop keepers very helpful and keen to help, some even enquire after my health and family. I like that. The driving is atrocious and so is the parking, being a cyclist, i take my life into my own hands when i go out on the roads in sparkhill! The whole terrorist thing is a bit disconcerting but thats life im afraid! The rubbish has reached levels of stupidity, i saw at least 10 beds just flung out on a street corner. The rats are also a problem, but i would not like to live anywhere else in Birmingham. Except for Edward RD which is sqalid beyond belief and ultimatly extremely desirable for any self-respecting Sparkhillian.

Ash
Sparkhill may have it's problems but it is far more vibran and diverse than places like Shirley. In the last 20 years the area has gone through many changes.

naveed
sparkhill is a very messy area.

IMRAN ALI B11
I THINK SPARKHILL B11 IS THE MOST PEACEFUL PLACE

Ryan
Many people have said how helpful the people of sparkhill are, however this is not the case. The residents of the sparkhill, sparkbrook and springfield areas of mostly asian backgrounds and whenever i have had trouble in any of these areas i have never been helped. Sparkhill and the areas around it seem to isolate themselves from the wider community and dont seem to want to welcome in new ideas or mix with other communites and races. I think Sparkhill and its people need a real think about what they are doing to their area, they are ruining it for themselves, and are stopping others from getting involved in the community by putting up barriers. I do feel sfae in Sparkhill at times but i definitley do not in sparkbrook, the area is a crime, rodent, and rubbish hotspot, and although the council clean the streets every day none of the people seem to take pride in their areas!

waqar mohammed
the area is nice to live inspired by the people and business man.

Jus me...
Its a shame what many individuals think about sparkhill, everyone's jsut blinded by media these days, I live in sparkhill myself - and yes i agree we have many cultures, traditions, religions and many services and etc but it's not the best area of course but it's like how they say.. nothing is ever perfect. Overall I lived here for many years and seriously i can assure you this that walking down the street alone won't get you in a hospital ward! Sorry if I have offenced anyone in anyway.

Noreen
Iíve lived in Sparkbrook all my life, my next door neighbour was a drug dealer! But I can honestly say that even coming from Uni late at night I never felt scared or had any such incidents. I can understand peoples concerns about drugs, vandalism and rubbish - but surely we should all be doing our bit to make our community a clean and friendly place!!

Madzzzzzz
Listen up ppl- Sparkhill is the best place in the world never mind just in Birmingham. Evry1 is sooo kind 2 one another and we all get on really well. It is not in any way intimadating and it is a tidy place for us and is ppl dont like it, is there a reason for a comment?!It is safe and not dirty, and it is MUCH more cleaner than otha parts ov the UK!I agree living in Sparkhill is brill and it is the best place in the world. Respect to Sparkhill man. so yeah cheers. Your gal Madz

khalid
I've lived in sparkhill since 1985 back then it was nice & clean but now no one bothers to sweep up outside they house.Its like when the dustbin men come to take the rubbish & bags get rip the rubbish is left there.so come on people have some respect for yourself & your area& CLEAN UP please don'tthe let the people out of area label us dirty & terrorists.so show these people SPARKHILL IS THE BEST.

katy
i think the people in sparkhill are very friendly. its a safe area which has a lot of misconceptions on it tut tut

Aisha
big up 2 spakhill!

Jay
iv lived in sparkhil all my life aswell, the best thing is that there is always a sence of warmth and togetherness, no offence towards anyone but the reason why some people may not find it such a nice place is due to the cultural diffrence here, i respect your views on the area but keep it to yourself becaause to most people this is home, for the older generation it reminds them of back home, and FIONA this place is a safe place, i dnt expect anyone to feel intimidated by the area or anything, everybody here gets along with thier own business, it may be dirty but what do you expect along stratford road...grocessies, chip shops etc, so stop moaning, the majority of people living here like it and finally....BIG SPARKHILL!!

Amar Arm Strong
I also live in Sparkhill and it is truly great and safe. For all you people how insulted Sparkhill, all I have to say is that you are jealous that we all are working together as one community, which are mainly ASIAN. Meehh ĎASIANí I think that word HURTS.

Sam,
I have drove through sparkhill many of times, and i think it is a very dirty place to live.

patrick
sparkhill is a disgrace.Its dirty and unsafe

Aimee
Its dirty, Congested, Road hazards, people just dont understand HOW and WHERE to park! People are racist and subjected to their own casts...

daivd
i have jast moved to the area and i think there is a big problm with gangs and crews

umair
i live in sparkhill i love dis place cuz i was born and bred here. did area is da best

John
If you are all so proud to live in Sparkhill then do us all a favour and tidy it up! Also if you could spread the word that putting your hazard lights on does not mean you can just stop or park up in the middle of the road, that would be great. cheers.

Fiona
I have to drive through Sparkhill everyday to and from work. I find it extreley intimidating and all doors are always locked. It doesnt help with the alleged terrorists been found there, and the bomb factory that was exposed by Immigration Officials in a routine visit! Its not safe, its dirty, and you wouldnt walk the streets alone there.

Raheem
Sparkhill is the best palce in the whole world

usmanbbfl
brrrrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaappppppppppppp sparkhill 4 life

mr & mrs iqbal
iv just recently moved to sparkhill its gr8, ppl here r realy nyc and socialble, big up to all u guyz who live in sparkhill

Mohammed Akhtar
I have lived all my life in sparkhil,it is one of the top areas to live in. it is my life. ITS COOOOOOOOLLLLL

Mariam
Yo yo big up the sparkhill massive I is luvin it luvin it!!!! As education in the area is improving so are the members of the community. Thus sparkhill looks foward to giving rise to the next set of doctors, lawyers, dentists and pharmacists. However you cant forget your culture innit!!! I cant wait to turn 18 and become an active member of my society. Luvin it LUVIN IT LUVIN IT!!!!

mirza
i have lived in sparkhill for over 20 years now, and i think sparkhill is and was one of the best areas u have in birmingham i have been to areas like erdington and walsall but i cant find anyone who is willing to help others when in trouble. But sparkhill is worth rewarding a credit for.

Nazmeen
Sprkhill is a reali nice place to liv in, u dnt hav 2 travel long distance to buy food, clothes,etc, i hav lived in sparkhill 4 many years n i intend to liv longer, the ppl in sparkhill r like ma own brovas n sisters, das how much i luv sparkhill.

mary teresa
i have lived in sparkhill since i was a little nipper. i have seen the changes from cultural aspects to the economy change. i have bought up 8 children which have all left me to live all on my own in the busy suburbs of sparkhill. big up to yours all!!!!

Donna & Fella
i wud hate it because its not a nice place to live is it really,

Andrew
Sparkhill a vibrat and colourful area

halz
yo big up 2 all the ppl in sparkhill n sparkbrook

shabnum
yo bigs up to sparkhill

Anees Ali
well, sparkhill/sparkbrook is really nice to live. i have been living here 4 many years .

samina
i am proud to say i live in Sparkhill, its a great place with lots of differnt cultures, religions, languages and is a wonderfully vibrant place!!!

ilyas
Sparkhill well? what would u think personaly it was a good place to live however our youth have no sense of being of personal growth with has had a nock on effect in sparkhill, sparkhill however dimly lit it is now a days it does have a future and i hope the good residance of sparkhill can see this and make a change stand up for what u beleive in and stand up as a community to all those bullies out in sparkhill and tell them we want a better life only then can sparkhill shine like it once did

catherine
i have lived in sparkhill all my life and watched all the changes that have been made with different cultures coming in and out. i think this area has gone down hill.

Stefan (not stephen :p)
Hi i was in the film and i am suprised by the number of comments we got, its really good to know people have watched the film and read about us!!

Najmin
I live in sparkhill and i think its a very good area. there are many friendly people around and i think its just the best!!!!!!

mr. m. hussain
good that sparkhill is multi-cultural,and is always lively, however there is high rates of crime and disorderly behaviour that is seen among the younger generation- therefore making it an unpleasant place to reside in.

Pat
Sparkhill is a dump. It is a filthy uninspiring place.

Ibby
I've lived in Sparkhill virtually all my life, and I've seen good and (a number of) bad things. But what has to be said is; after travelling across the country, there are very few areas that can claim to have as much life and activity for the amount of hours per week that Sparkhill has. You'll never get bored, even on a Sunday evening you'll find people up and down Stratford Rd, which in a way makes it safer as there's always someone to call upon for help (if required). Oh, and don't let the sirens deter you... they're almost part of the atmosphere now!

shazma
I live close by to sparkhill and i enjoy visiting the park. It is brilliant seeing all the asian women walking in the park every morning as an alternative to heading to the local gym allowing women and men in the community to meet and greet each other and enjoy the benifits of the exercise. Well done to all the walkers in the park and keep up the hard work!!!!

Miss Begum
I have lived in Sparkbrook/Sparkhill for many years and i have seen alot of good and bad things.The very best thing about Sparkbrook/Sparkhill is that if you need fresh fruit and veg,clothes,for men and women,children,toddlers and babies,bridal and grooming,to go somewhere to relax,to the gym, loads of good restaurants etc..etc..etc you have it all here.Plus the town city is only 15/20mins away from here.Sparkbrook/Sparkhill is a very busy place and sometimes there is alot of traffic but i grew up living here and i think its fantastic.You meet many friendly reliable people and you make friends quick and easy.Its not very quiet or very loud its just an atmosphere of a multicultural vibe buzzing around the town.Many people used to have a very bad habit of dumping rubbish here and there but now this has reduced due to the help of the council and people starting to respect there enviroment.Overall i reckomend anyone who wants to have a nice day out or even move here sparkbrook/Sparkhill is the place to be.You wont be dissapointed.Sparkbrook and Sparkhill all the way.

Al-Hussain
I have lived in Sparkhill for over 15 years. The area is a multicultural very cosmopolitan area, it has all religions within a square mile. It however, lacks in Government funding to assist youngsters with better schooling and after school activities, thus the reason for the vandalism. The rubbish tipping, that is mainly the fault of the elders in the community, and the businesses.

nazneen saddique
i dont live in the area of sparkhill but live close by, i pass through the area on a daily basis and also shop there.i like the area because the asain community is friendly. what i dislike about the area is lack of concern of maintaining the streets people are dumping and there are far to many restuarants and supermarkets which attract rats to the area.

Tom Belte
I dont live in Spark Hill, but i do visit it to go to the award winning Jahotis. Its evident 7 days a week that this place is a multi cultural place which has lots to offer to visitors and its community...lots of fresh produce which is vitally important for anyone who enjoys good food. Respect to Spark Hill.

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