The Las Ramblas of Digbeth…

In case you missed Joe Holyoak’s November column in the Birmingham Post, which was incidentally the most-read article on their website for a good few days, here’s a snippet below:

In the Curzon Masterplan, the Metro route goes under the terminal along New Canal Street, and then turns left down Fazeley Street, past Fazeley Studios and The Bond. Digbeth Residents Association have argued that instead of going through the middle of Digbeth, the Metro should go along High Street Deritend.

The High Street route connects with a number of places where lots of people want to go. South and City College, Birmingham Coach Station, the Custard Factory and the Rainbow music venues are among them. However, there is one compelling reason why I would like to see this option chosen: it could be the catalyst for the complete redesign of High Street and its transformation into an attractive boulevard.

High Street is a medieval street, its winding profile expresses its origin as a country lane. It has a similar width to Las Ramblas in Barcelona, one of the world’s great streets; about 30 metres between buildings. Las Ramblas is also winding, because it was originally a river-bed. Could High Street Deritend be made similar (though with added Metro tracks) to Las Ramblas? I think it could.

Venture over to the Birmingham Post website to read Joe’s piece in full.

Top 10 Cities 2015

In a fantastic piece of news to round off a fabulous year, last week Rough Guides named Birmingham one of its Top Ten cities for 2015!

Our fair Digbeth got more than just a bit of a mention:

Birmingham has often missed out on its share of the limelight. Creative hotspots are beginning to emerge in the urban sprawl, however, like the old industrial district of Digbeth, where vintage shops and street food stalls have begun to appear in and around the old Victorian buildings. Head to the old Bird’s Custard Factory for vintage kilo sales and live music performances. Plus with Birmingham New Street station reopening in 2015 after a much-needed renovation, this year is the ideal time to make a trip.

Clearly we’re ecstatic with this news, and massive congratulations go to Digbeth Dining Club for flying the flag high and wide for our neighbourhood!

Tell everyone you know to forget about Brand Britain – it’s Brand Digbeth from now on!

Digbeth Community Awards 2014

Earlier this month, Digbeth Residents Association gave out their coveted Community Awards at The Old Crown, as part of their end of year celebration. The winners all thoroughly deserved their awards, all having made a positive contribution to Digbeth.

John Gordon with Becci Wright, Karl Paragreen and Julie Pickering

The first award went to City of Colours festival, for their hugely successful inaugural year of events in Digbeth. The organisers Becci, Karl, and Julie, shown receiving their award from DRA Chair John Gordon above, have volunteered countless hours of their time and invested their own money into making the festival happen. Not only did City of Colours attract audiences and interest from all over Europe, the lasting legacy of world-class street art on walls in Digbeth has made the area even more of a tourist destination. Congratulations to the team!

John Gordon presents Alison Tuck with an award

Every so often you learn of people who go above and beyond to improve an area, and who remind you that one person (or two people in this case) can make a real difference. Warwick Bar residents Alison Tuck and Louise Moore live on a narrowboat, and have recently adopted a stretch of the Grand Union Canal in Digbeth. What this means is that in their spare time, Louise and Alison collect rubbish left along the canal, do a spot of gardening, and generally look after the area. They are also applying for funding in order to replace broken furniture and bins, and liven up the neglected waterway. Simply their presence by living on the canal has made a huge difference to Digbeth, but the fact that they volunteer to make it a more inviting and pleasant area for the general public is certainly something we are grateful for. Well done Alison and Louise! You can keep up with their fantastic work via Facebook.

Manager Ant receiving an award on behalf of The Woodman from John

Last but not least, the final award of the evening went to The Woodman. The team behind the pub have been supporters of Digbeth Residents Association since before their opening, and have made a real difference to the area. The completion of Eastside City Park massively improved our neighbourhood, but the addition of a fantastic community pub is the icing on the cake! The Woodman team have restored as much of the original décor as possible, and in turn have saved a listed building recognised as nationally important by CAMRA. The pub continues to go from strength to strength, and the team are working with the Friends of Eastside City Park to create a programme of free public events to make Digbeth even more welcoming and vibrant. Thank you and congratulations!

Although it’s early, if you would like to nominate an individual, group or local business for a Digbeth Community Award for 2015, please email

NHWN Newsletter – December 2014

Dear members & supporters,

Please find the December 2014 edition of ‘Our News’ (the NHWN 6 weekly e-newsletter) below.

This edition includes:

Candlelight Acoustic

When: Sundays from 16:30
Where: The Old Crown, 188 Digbeth High Street, Digbeth, B12 0LD

With the cold and dark setting in, there’s no better place to spend a Sunday evening than a warm and cosy atmospheric pub.

The Old Crown certainly fits the bill, and with four talented acts there to entertain you with acoustic music, there’s probably no better pub to visit!

Along with the live music, there are free nibbles on offer and two-for-one on all mulled wine and cider, so you really have no reason not to venture out for a quiet night in Birmingham’s oldest pub.


Dig Digbeth

In case you haven’t seen it all over Twitter and social media, a new visitor guide for Digbeth has been launched this month.

Called Dig Digbeth, it showcases the best things to see and do in our little part of the city, along with a potted history. Digbeth is Good is given a nod, of course, along with Digbeth Residents Association, which we think highlights how vibrant our area is regardless of whether you live here or are just visiting.

Hard copies of the free guide have been distributed all over the city, in public libraries, travel shops, educational establishments and visitor attractions. Not only that, but it is also available at National Express stations in London, Bristol, Manchester, Leeds, Cardiff and Nottingham!

You can find an electronic of the guide below, so make sure to send it on to all your friends and family, and pick up a copy to share when you have guests staying over!

Save St Pats

When: Sunday 15th March 2015, 12:00-14:00
Where: Digbeth High Street

Planning for the next St Patrick’s day parade is underway in earnest, despite recent announcements from Birmingham City Council to cut funding for public events across the city. The Birmingham St Patrick’s Festival Committee have launched a crowd funding project to make up the deficit and save the parade.

The effect of the celebration is felt throughout the city with iconic buildings such as Selfridges and the Library of Birmingham lighting up green in a show of support. After a record-breaking 90,000 attendees at the 2014 parade, it is now classed as the second largest Irish parade in the world!

It is important to remember is the parade is organised by volunteers from the Birmingham Irish community, who are not paid for their tireless hard work in the months before and after each event. The parade means so much to so many which is why the organisers are calling on supporters to help in any way they can to keep the parade alive.

The Show Must Go On is aiming to raise £20,000, although the parade itself costs more than £70,000 to stage, including the cost of essential requirements such as road closures, safety barriers, street cleaning, toilets, bins, first aid provision and security.

Anyone wishing to support the St Patrick’s Day Parade can do so by:

See the St Patrick’s Birmingham website to learn more, and remember to share the funding campaign with everyone you know so that together we can save the parade!

DIE DAS DER Christmas Special

When: Saturday 20th December, 20:00 onwards
Where: Muthers Studio, 14 Rea Street South, Digbeth, B5 6LB
Tickets: £4 on the door

DIE DAS DER invite you to celebrate the end of their first year of live events at Muthers Studio. Featuring four disjointed, raucous, blood-curdling bands from Birmingham and further afield:

For more information, see the flyer below or the Facebook event page.

DJ Destruction 2014 Final

When: Friday 19 December, 21:00–04:00
Where: Suki10c, 21 Bordesley Street, Digbeth, B5 5PJ

This Friday sees the final of the third annual DJ Destruction competition at Suki10c! The reigning champion Feva will be defending his title, but will he triumph one last time or will one of the challengers walk away with the title and the £500 cash prize?!

DJ Jimi Needles and DJ Shorty will be joining this epic battle as guest judges, and will be demonstrating their own awesome deck skills and tune selections to help set the Suki10c Christmas Party off with a bang.

Doors open at 9pm sharp and it’s free entry all night long so come down, show the finalists the support they all deserve and have a stonking good party at the same time.

And don’t forget the Tequila Time! When the red light starts flashing it’s only £1 a shot of Tequila!

For more information, see the Facebook event page.

Keep SIFA Fireside Cooking!

Earlier this month, the Lord Mayor of Birmingham came to SIFA Fireside, one of his nominated charities, to launch their Keep Us Cooking This Winter campaign.

Cath Gilliver, Chief Executive of SIFA Fireside, and Councillor Shafique Shah thanked everyone for their attendance and continued support, and explained the importance of a warm welcome:

By having a warm safe space to have a hot shower and a hot meal, we can work with homeless people at their pace. We build trust and support them to move forward with their lives. We offer accommodation advice, alcohol recovery support, training opportunities, volunteering, plus many more activities and opportunities.

However, the charity needs your support to cover the basics this winter; to heat the drop-in centre, provide hot water, and cook c.2259 lunches per month they need to raise £6,078.

SIFA Fireside are asking supporters to hold fundraising events, donate what they would have otherwise spent on Christmas cards, or simply text WARM23 £5 to 70070.

With your help hopefully they can reach this target! For more information about the campaign, see the flyer below.

Thank you!