Author Archive

Adopt a Digbeth Building

If you could adopt an un-used or under-used building in Digbeth, what would you do with it?

Jennifer Gutteridge is a postgraduate architecture student at the London Metropolitan University who is undertaking a project in Digbeth. She has selected a plot between Green Street and Bradford Street to focus her work, and is looking for willing volunteers to take part.

The ‘adoption’ is purely symbolic in order to pose the question: “what kind of city would you like to live in?” If you hypothetically were given the building, how would you ensure it came back into effective use? Jenny explains the project in more detail below:

The ‘Digbeth Adopt a Building’ scheme is designed to initiate the redesign and regeneration of a series of warehouses situated in Digbeth. The adoption of buildings aims to implicate a sense of civic responsibility for those that choose to live there, the adopters will suggest what should happen in their building and how such large buildings could be shared.

Though many of the buildings in Digbeth greatly characterize the area, they have also fallen into dereliction. However, Digbeth is becoming the ‘creative hub’ of Birmingham, and the eventual introduction of High Speed 2 into Birmingham predicates that tens of thousands of new homes must be introduced into the city. Given the proximity of Digbeth to the city centre, it provides fertile ground for housing development.

However, in order to preserve the nature and character of Digbeth, such development must be approached with care. Learning lessons from the conversion of London’s East End and industrial areas such as Bermondsey, perhaps we can understand that there’s a delicate balance to be made between accommodating new-comers to the city and retaining those who live in and love Digbeth presently. This is where adoption comes in.

See the image below (click for a larger version) for more information about the project. If you’d like to get involved, do get in touch with Jenny either by email to jennygutteridge@googlemail.com or by calling 07932 583 094.

New menu at CG’s Cafe in Digbeth

Where: CG’s Cafe, 101 Bradford Court, Bradford Street, Digbeth, B12 0NS
Opening times: Monday-Friday 08:00-16:00, Saturday 09:00-14:00

CG’s Cafe is going from strength to strength, and not a day goes by when you won’t find a number of friendly Digbeth faces there. Sharon (pictured right) has become a real member of the community, even adopting some of our younger residents as she grows into her cooking momma role!

Sharon has become legendary for her full Irish breakfast, but the extent of the menu on offer is staggering, and best of all: it’s all cooked fresh for you right here in Digbeth. The cafe has recently had an update, courtesy of some lovely blackboards made by Digbeth’s very own Katie.

CG’s infamous brewometer always gets the banter going, and her freshly-baked sweet treats are legendary. During my visit, Sharon rustled up a delicious home made buttery scone with lashings of jam. Nom. In fact, it was so good that I forgot to take a photo until I was halfway through!

See the new menu below (click for a larger version) or simply pop in yourself and say hi! Sharon is open Mondays to Saturdays (except some Bank Holidays); telephone orders are welcome and come accompanied with free local delivery.

For more information, special offers and free treats, follow @CGsCafe on Twitter, Facebook, call 0121 753 5823 or email food@cgscafe.co.uk.

The Bench 504 Graffiti Battles

When: Saturday 17 January, 20:00-01:00
Where: Rainbow Arena, Lower Trinity Street, Digbeth, B9 4AG
Tickets: £5

The Bench 504 is known to street art aficionados as the place in Digbeth to get your graffiti supplies. Although they have hosted smaller events in their shop in the Custard Factory before, 2015 is the year that the Bench 504 have decided to go big by hosting live graffiti battles with the scene’s finest.

They’ve enlisted the help of sixteen street artists to go head to head in a knockout style competition over the next nine weeks. The inaugural event takes place this Saturday at the Rainbow Arena, with Gent going up against Korsa, and Zooki vs Flake, in a double bill of graffiti goodness.

Supporting the live art there will be the obligatory heavy beats, along with raffles and give aways to make sure to leave with more than you arrived. For more information, head to the Facebook event page and sign yourself up!

Sunday Xpress – January 2015

When: Sunday 18th January, 16:00 onwards
Where: The Adam & Eve, Bradford Street, Digbeth, B12 0JD

All aboard the Sunday Xpress for its first outing of 2015!

A free ‘anything goes’ event, featuring open mic sessions as well as booked live music, spoken word, poetry, and even interpretative dance, the Sunday Xpress is as eclectic as Digbeth itself.

This month, Birmingham band Betty & The Id headline from around 7pm. Following Big Bren’s Combo, featuring beloved compère Big Bren shouting over exquisite free jazz, Betty & the Id define their genre as brutalist psychedelia – marking them as a band you certainly want to check out.

Organiser James promises “more hyberbole to follow soon – and much more to be confirmed”. See the Facebook event page for more.

St Basil’s Big SleepOut 2014

Digbeth’s St Basil’s charity held their Big SleepOut on Friday 28 November 2014, celebrating the event’s 25th anniversary of raising funds and awareness for young homeless people in Birmingham.

St Basil’s stress that this is not an exercise in what it is like to be homeless, but a fundraiser to aid those that are.

The charity was hoping that 414 people would participate in the event to match the number of young people they accommodate every night. However, 440 took part, including ten councillors and the Lord Mayor, which is the largest number in the Big SleepOut’s history!

Thanks to everyone who has shown their support for our cause either by taking part or by sponsoring others. Those taking part in the event have already raised £36,693, which is fantastic! In 2013, 331 people raised £70,000 so we are hoping that this year 440 people can raise £80,000.

We have a massive challenge to raise £700,000 overall through all our events and fundraising activities in order to continue our services at their current level. Look out for the totaliser at the bottom of our homepage – this will keep track of how it’s going.

If you haven’t yet donated, but would like to, you can do so by clicking here or by texting ROOM41 £5 to 70070.

For more information and photos from the event, visit the St Basil’s website.

No Thyself – The Video

No Thyself was an event staged at Green Street Arts in autumn 2014.

Using behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the organising collective, the video below explores how the event was conceived and shares snippets of the live performances on the night:

No Thyself from nothyself on Vimeo.

Gangs of Digbeth Tour

Back in May 2013, Dr Chris Upton gave a free tour of Digbeth documenting its dark history of gangs.

Chris, who consulted on the hugely popular Peaky Blinders TV series, a Digbeth favourite, is an expert local historian.

There are ten markers on the below map, each with an accompanying video clip from Chris’ tour. Follow the markers on the line, starting on the red marker and finishing on the green. You can view a larger version of the map here, or watch all the film clips together in this Youtube playlist.

The videos were taken on a wet day and are not professional quality by any means. Of course, there is no substitute for the real thing, so we will continue to keep you updated of any upcoming Peaky Blinders tours by Rosie Pocklington.

However, if you are interested in learning more now, The Gangs of Birmingham, a book by Philip Gooderson, was recommended to us as a good read.

iSE – January Events

Where: iSE, Avoca Court, 23 Moseley Road, Digbeth, B12 0HJ

The Initiative for Social Entrepreneurs (iSE) runs a number of training workshops to share skills with people involved in social enterprise all over the city.

Take a look at the events planned for January below; for more information or to book a place, please contact marija@i-se.co.uk.

Tanya’s Vegan Restaurant

When: Saturday 17 January 2015, 13:00–16:00
Where: Centrala, Unit 4, Minerva Works, 158 Fazeley Street, Digbeth, B5 5RT
Tickets: £20 (available online)

January is the time for new years’ resolutions, and for many, these will be diet-based aims.

To help you out, Centrala Café will be hosting Tanya’s pop-up vegan restaurant for lunch on Saturday 17th January. For the bargain sum of £20 you will be able to enjoy a three-course, super healthy meal, including a complimentary drink!

Booking is essential. For more information, see the Facebook event page, visit the Centrala website, or email bookings@polishexpats.org.uk.

Eat good! Feel good!

Opportunities for young people at RoguePlay Theatre

Where: West Midlands Creation Centre, Unit 8, Minerva Works, 158 Fazeley Street, Digbeth, B5 5RT

RoguePlay Theatre run weekly workshops and classes for young people wanting to develop performance skills. Whether you want to just learn aerial and trapeze for fun, or whether you are looking to make career from acting, there’s something available for you:

Young Actors
Audition dates:
Saturday 10th January and Saturday 28th February, 12:00-14:00
Cost: £139 per term

Run by professional working actors, The Young Rogues are a group of young people aged 8-19 years, from a variety of backgrounds, who perform on stage, in film and on TV.

The Young Rogues meet every Saturday afternoon (12:00-14:00) during term time to develop acting skills for public stage performance, whilst also being provided with as many professional opportunities as possible.

The Young Rogues have worked at the International Youth Arts Festival in London, on Channel 5, and in TV drama Doctors. Joining the group is through audition only; for more information or to request an audition, please visit the RoguePlay website.

Young Aerialists
Session dates:
Saturdays from 10th January to 28th March (excluding half term), 09:30-11:30
Cost: £15 per session OR £135 for the full ten week term

Young Aerialists teaches aerial silks, hoop and static trapeze to those aged 7-15 years.

RoguePlay’s professional artists work with the students to develop their skills whilst working towards achievement certification. The sessions culminate in a Showcase performance, which in 2015 will be delivered in partnership with Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

Classes take place every Saturday morning during term-time, and can be booked individually or as a block. For more information, visit the RoguePlay website.