Working together to make Birmingham a better place for everyone

BTfL record at Perry Common Rec!

BTfL welcomed a record number of children at Perry Common Recreation Ground this month. On a bright but chilly morning, a seemingly never-ending series of ‘crocodiles’ of children walked up the path to the planting area in this large riverside park next to the Witton Lodge estate.

61 children arrived by minibus from St Bernadette’s Catholic Primary, Oasis Academy nearby brought 48 pupils, and St Margaret Mary Primary, right next to the park, sent another 44 children - phew!

Fortunately lots of adults were on hand to help out, including 8 Birmingham University students and 13 Deutsche Bankers. Deutsche Bank Birmingham, a long-time supporter of BTfL, sponsored the planting event.

This site has undergone a lot of flood alleviation and renovation work over the last couple of years, and this huge gang of helpers planted 1000 sapling trees to create some new areas of woodland along the riverside - easier said than done in quite hard stony ground.

After this huge effort of co-ordination, the BTfL team needed a lie down!

View gallery.

2019 Renaissance Award

We are pleased to announce that nominations are now open for our 2019 Renaissance Award. Do you know of a building, structure or public space that was once derelict, vacant or under-used that has been brought back into life and completed between 1 January 2018 - 31 January 2019? If so, it may be eligible for our 2019 Renaissance Award! The award recognises the most successful conservation project completed in the city, be it the restoration of a building, public space or structure. To nominate a project, please complete and return this short nomination form by 31 March 2019. 

Mary Cottrell Blue Plaque unveiled

Earlier this month, we were joined at Stirchley Baths by members of the local community, history groups, the Co-operative Society, local Labour and Co-operative councillors Mary Locke and Karen McCarthy, and Mary Cottrell’s granddaughter, Kathleen Hardy, to unveil a Blue Plaque to Mary Cottrell. Mary Cottrell was the first woman elected to the Boards of the Ten Acres and Stirchley Co-operative Society in 1909 and to the Wholesale Co-operative Society in 1922. She was the first woman Labour and Co-operative Party councillor elected to Birmingham City Council in 1917, and was a member of the Civic Society’s founding committee.

Full story & gallery.

Behind the scenes – the James Watt Archives

2019 is the bicentenary of James Watt’s death. Join Archivist, and Heritage Committee member, Fiona Tait, on Saturday 9 March, 1 – 3.30pm at the Library of Birmingham for an afternoon looking at the James Watt Archives. After an introductory talk there will be time to look at some of Watt's letters, drawings, maps, notebooks and family papers. Material on display is original and you will be able to read Watt’s thoughts and ideas in his own hand and see his sketches and scribbled notes about major innovations and discoveries.

Book here

Volunteer as an NGA Assessor

Our schools citizenship awards are well underway and pupils are busily developing their inspiring projects addressing issues faced by their communities. We have been running the scheme for fourteen years now, with over 31,000 young people taking part. This year we will have a prize of £1500 and mentoring support for the strongest project to get underway plus smaller pots of funding and mentoring for all our finalists. If you are able to spare a few hours to sit on panels in school and assess the teams’ presentations, and are keen to get involved, get in touch with Jo.

Email Jo

Plant Trees for Life with BTfL

Birmingham Trees for Life will be holding its annual Family and Friends sponsors’ planting event on Saturday 23 March at the Lickey Hills Country Park. Anyone can sponsor tree planting to celebrate or commemorate a family occasion, in memory of loved ones or to celebrate marriages, births, birthdays and engagements. It’s a fun thing to do with the family and helps the environment too! Sponsorship starts from £25, so to sponsor and plant trees, just go to the BTfL website and follow the instructions. If you want to attend the event on 23 March, all sponsorship requests must be received by 14 March.

Sponsor a tree

Are you feeling lucky? Win £1k with Hospice’s ‘Spring Raffle’!

Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice’s ‘Spring Raffle’ is back and to celebrate the charity’s 40th anniversary, it’s giving you more chances to win cash prizes. This year, there are seven opportunities to win – with £1,000 as first prize, £400 as second, and five prizes of £40 in third place. The new £40 prizes are to mark the Hospice’s milestone anniversary, in which it's been providing its free, expert care for 40 years across Birmingham and Sandwell.

Full story

Celebrating heritage rhododendrons at Highbury

The Chamberlain Highbury Trust is organising a Study Day which focuses on the fabulous rhododendron collection at Joseph Chamberlain’s Highbury on Friday 17 May, 10 – 4pm. The day will focus on Chamberlain’s rhododendron collection, planted between 1879 and 1914 and will consist of a series of lectures in the morning followed by a tour of the gardens. There will be related garden tours on the following day, Saturday 18 May, at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, 10.30 – 12.00pm and at Winterbourne House and Garden, 2 – 3.30pm.  

Book here

ART Business Loans: Community Share Offer

Since foundation by Sir Adrian Cadbury back in 1997, ART has lent over £25m to some 1,300 local small businesses and social enterprises, creating or protecting over 7,250 jobs. This year, ART is giving individual and corporate investors the opportunity to support additional loan delivery through a Community Share Offer on the Ethex platform. As a Community Development Finance Institution, investments in ART by UK taxpayers qualify for tax relief at 5% per annum of the amount invested for five years through HMRC Community Investment Tax Relief; this is equivalent to between 6.2% to 9.1% gross effective return, depending on the investor’s marginal rate of tax.

More info

VisitEngland’s Accolade winners 2018

Designed to celebrate excellence within the visitor attraction sector, VisitEngland’s Accolades showcase those attractions that go the extra mile. Seven Birmingham attractions have been acknowledged as a result of the outstanding experiences they provide, highlighting all aspects of the visitor experience, from story-telling to food and drink and from customer service to overall winners. Our magnificent seven are:

  • Aston Hall, Birmingham – Best Told Story
  • Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Birmingham – Quality Food & Drink
  • Cadbury World, Birmingham – Gold
  • Sarehole Mill, Birmingham – Welcome
  • The Coffin Works, Birmingham – Best Told Story
  • Thinktank, Birmingham – Welcome
  • Winterbourne House & Garden, Birmingham – Welcome


Welcome to new personal member Sarah Rees and new corporate member Gavin Orton Architects. We look forward to seeing you all at our events throughout the year.

The Birmingham Civic Society

9 Margaret Street
Birmingham B3 3BS

07780 976928
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Birmingham Civic Society · 9 Margaret Street · Birmingham, West Midlands B3 3BS · United Kingdom