Young people getting their hands dirty
Changing rooms in Lozells
By Patricia Hoskins
It was all hands on deck for over 80 volunteers, who painted, tiled, cleaned and transformed a garden at two youth centres in Lozells in just one day as part of a CSV Make a Difference Day. See pictures and video highlights.
One year on since the Lozells disturbances in October 2005, BBC WM and a CSV Make a Difference Day showed real unity in the area between Afro Caribbean and Asian young people.
With the help of an army of 65 Barclays Bank volunteers from across Birmingham and the West Midlands, made up of managers and departmental staff, also local decorators and businesses; Young Disciples and the Lozells Recreation group youth centres were transformed in a makeover day on Wednesday 25th October.
Young people from Lozells Recreation Group
The big swap
A team of young people from both youth centres also swapped properties and decorated each others centre just like the BBC Changing Rooms TV programme.
BBC WM broadcasted live updates throughout the day with reporters Cayte Walker and Jenny Jones helping out at both properties.
What a day
The huge Barclays funded makeover task was taken on by five project managers; Julia Robinson, Helen Watkinson, Natasha Young, Esther McKenna and Caroline Foreman who worked across both properties. Before the day there was weeks of planning, list making, schedules, budgets sheets and visits to both youth centres speaking to the youth leaders about what work they would like done.
Helen, Jason and Esther
Project Manager Helen Watkinson was involved in organising the DIY makeover at Young Disciples:
“Young Disciples is like an office front from the outside and once you get inside it’s like a tardis of about 15 rooms. We’ve painted, cemented, laid floor tiles, kitchen tiles and lots more.
“It’s been a really frantic day but enjoyable. We had 30 - 40 people pitching in and helping out including the young people.
“Barclays do what they can to support Make A Difference Day and help out local communities. This project has been a team day for us and everyone has really enjoyed it."
Zain from LRG
Unity on CSV Make A Difference Day
Both Young Disciples and Lozells Recreation Group depend on local funding to access any resources and activities for young people in the area. Both groups were unable to decorate their properties themselves due to a lack of funding, so the makeover day was really appreciated.
It was the first time both youth centres in Lozells had met and throughout the day new friendships and relationships were made.
Young Disciples Co-ordinator Mark Edwards and Shaid Khan Co-ordinator for Lozells Recreation Group hope relationships between the two centres will continue.
Shaid commented: “The makeover day has been a valuable initiative bringing the two different youth clubs and communities together. It shows that community relations are working in the Lozells area.
“It’s been really nice to see the young people enhancing each others clubs.
Mark Edwards and Shaid Khan
“This project just goes to illustrate that unity does exist in the area and it’s not something that has just happened, it’s been there all the time in Lozells.”
Mark Edwards added: “Normally when the media cover the young people in this area it’s something negative. It’s good that the young people have now been given the opportunity to be featured in something positive.
“Young people from both youth groups have taken part in the day fixing up each others centres which is a very nice gesture from them.
"It shows community cohesion especially from the young people’s perspective. I just hope that we can continue to work together as brother and sister projects within Lozells.”
Barclays volunteer - Jacquei Hark
Jobs throughout the day at both centres included painting, decorating, tiling floors and kitchen walls, new windows fitted, flat pack furniture construction, gardening, cleaning and much more…
Barclays volunteers Jacquei Hark and Adele Turton are keen gardeners so they were really happy to be out of the office and getting their hands dirty in a garden transformation at Lozells Recreation group. They explained:
“We’ve transformed the garden which was full of weeds, the trees were over grown and it was pretty unloved and looking really tatty.
“We cleared it all completely and planted ever green plants and scrubs that will grow throughout the year and will look and smell lovely. It was great to muck in and do something completely different to help out in the community.”
New windows at LRG
Local businesses get involved
Volunteer help on the day also included local professional painters and decorators, a large amount of donated paint from local DIY stores, garden plants and tools from CSV Environment and Birmingham City Council, plus new windows installed free of charge for both centres.
Windows installer Derek Waller says they were more than happy to get involved with the Make A Difference Day:
“When we were asked to get involved with this project we couldn’t say no. There were so many volunteers involved in the day and everybody has worked really hard. It’s a wonderful project bringing everybody together.”
Young people from both groups
“We love the changes…”
At the end of a long and busy day the young people went back to their own centres to see the changes that had been made, which included total transformations with new furniture and room colours. Reactions from both youth groups was appreciation and smiles all round.
Kalifa Sylvester from Young Disciples said: “Today has been really good and everyone has worked really hard.
“There’s a big improvement and it looks really good. They’ve painted all the walls; we’ve got a new pinball table, new settees with cushions, bean bags and a new desk. I’ve had a really good day, it was really fun, but got a bit dirty painting though.”
The reaction was the same from the young people at Lozells Recreation Group Zain and Zak said:
“It’s way different. The best change is our chill out room, this room has changed a lot, it’s got new furniture and we love the rocket larva lamp. We’ve worked really hard but it’s been a good day."
To finish the day everybody sat down and enjoyed a huge delicious Indian feast courtesy of Lozells Recreation Group.
Changing rooms in Lozells in pictures
Take a look at video highlights and loads of pictures of all the hard work done by the volunteers on the CSV Make A Difference Day – Changing rooms in Lozells.
See the highlights below
Mark Edwards and LRG MC
Unity in Lozells through song
Not only did the day make a difference to both Young Disciples and Lozells Recreation Group, but new friends and relationships have now been formed between the two groups.
After the make over day the two groups collaborated for the first time and produced a song that reflects the feelings of the young people that live in the Lozells area.
Listen to the song below
About CSV and BBC WM Make A Difference Day campaign
BBC WM and CSV completed three projects in the Lozells and Handsworth between 9th -28th October with volunteer support and funding from Barclays who support Make a Difference Day - also with the help of local community organisations, local businesses and places of worship.
The three weeks campaign was busy and fun packed with activities that have helped to make a huge difference to community groups in the area.
CSV Action Desk producer Maggie Smith explained: “It’s been fantastic and I’m so pleased we made a real difference.”
Use the links on the right to see highlights from the other CSV Make A Difference Day projects in Lozells and Handsworth >>>
Special thanks to:
Lozells Recreation Group, Young Disciples, Barclays
last updated: 30/09/2008 at 20:24