A group of volunteers

Health for Life

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Welcome to Health for Life in the community

Health for Life logo

Health for Life is a five year programme for south Birmingham, funded by the Mondelez International Foundation, which promotes healthy lifestyles.

As part of the programme, TCV offers a range of activities to involve individuals and community groups in the areas of Weoley, Northfield, Kings Norton, Longbridge & Bournville. If you are a local resident, here’s just a brief taste of the opportunities you can sample but if you want to find out more please do not hesitate to contact us at C.Blythe@tcv.org.uk.

Green Gym Sessions

Green Gym is a 'work out' in the outdoors  and can include a variety of activities, with a particular focus, through Health for Life, on growing your own fruit and vegetables.

Would you like the chance to transform derelict or under-used land into community allotments, green a local community park or carry out vital conservation work? Then come along and see what it’s like.

Our Green Gym sessions take place every weekday (Monday through to Friday), as well as some weekend sessions.  Further details of our sessions can be found here.

Community Allotments and Food Growing Spaces

We are developing community allotments in the south Birmingham area for use by local residents and groups.  We are now working on eleven spaces across the area, including our 'Hub' site at Green Meadow Road in Weoley Castle, and our newest space at Melrose Avenue in Kings Norton.

Map showing Heath for Life project locations

Plots are available for community members at no charge (although this is on a first come, first served basis) and there are different plots for different needs - raised beds if bending is too difficult, small plots for the beginners that want to experiment - talk to us about how we can help you.

Sow & Grow and Healthy Eating

As well as our Green Gym Sessions at the sites, we also hold regular 'sow and grow' and 'healthy eating' sessions. These can include setting seeds to grow at home or on the spaces, no matter if it is summer or winter, there is always something you can grow.

Our handy food growing booklet gives you lots more information about what to grow, when and where. It can be downloaded by completing the form below:

 

Throughout the year we run sessions giving you the chance to make healthy food, perhaps using fruit or vegetables you have grown, ranging from healthy pizzas, to making a smoothie with a smoothie bikes. Handy tips and advice, as well as recipes, are all available on the day.

For further information about our upcoming Sow & Grow and Healthy Eating Sessions, please follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

Training

You can learn something new and it’s free! We offer a variety of short courses from growing food organically and wildlife gardening to practical skills such as tools maintenance. These are a great chance to try something different.

Key Volunteer Programme

We offer regular opportunities to get more involved with The Conservation Volunteers by becoming a Key Volunteer.

Playing a key role in our organisation, this is an excellent chance to gain valuable work experience. See the Key Volunteer opportunities list for current vacancies.

Fruit and Vegetable Growing App

Health for Life food growing app on a phoneAs part of the programme, we have developed a handy fruit and veg growing app. This is proving very popular and gives you all the information about many different fruit and vegetables that you can grow. With tips on when to sow, when to harvest, what pests to look out for as well as including some handy recipes as well.

The app is available on all formats. Click the links below or download from the Apple or Google Store.

Reports

Can't attend a session but still want to get involved?

Grow at home

FREE SEEDS. If you live in South Birmingham contact us for your free Health for Life vegetable seeds and we will send them to you.

FREE FOOD GROWING BOOKLET. For handy hints and tips on how to sow and grow, with delicious healthy recipes get your food growing booklet from us.

ENTER OUR HORTICULTURAL SHOW. Each September we hold an annual horticultural show, where we give you the chance to exhibit your grown fruit and vegetables, your delicious jams and chutneys and there is even a class for your complete disaster! Around June each year you can download our schedule.

Follow our progress and add yours

Follow us on Twitter, see our tweets - tweet us about the fruit and vegetable you have grown

Follow us on Facebook where you can see our activities

Change 4 Life

Change 4 Life logoHealth for Life is a partnership programme which promotes fun activities that engage people in growing food, physical activity, healthy eating and cookery.

Funded by the Mondelez International Foundation, Health for Life is delivered through primary schools, secondary schools and the wider community in south Birmingham by Birmingham Health Education Service and The Conservation Volunteers.

The programme supports Change4Life and offers a range of opportunities to encourage families towards leading healthier lifestyles.

Visit the Change for Life website

Our recent activity

Activity at our community spaces continues to grow across both our main (hub) allotments and our satellite sites. 

We now have activity sessions running at our first hub site at Green Meadow Road 4 days a week, with weekend activity due to start shortly. In addition to the show garden from BBC Gardener’s World Live, the space at Green Meadow Road now has a polytunnel, active growing plots for the local community and a paved area under construction. The space has been the location of several of our healthy eating sessions, including healthy Hallowe’en and healthy summer cooking.

The hub site at Ley Hill has gone from strength to strength over the last six months. From what was an overgrown unused area attracting litter and anti-social behaviour, our space at Ley Hill is now the location of 20 raised beds, an 18 tree orchard and a soft fruit growing area. Edible wild flowers and other plants have been planted to encourage foraging, and an edible hedge has been planted around the boundary of the site.

In September 2014 Ley Hill was the location for our activity day with National Citizenship Service (NCS) with the Challenge, when 116 young people supported the Health for Life in the community programme in planting the orchard and building, filling and planting raised beds. NCS with The Challenge is a programme for 15 to 17 year olds that builds skills for work and life, whilst taking on new challenges and meeting new friends. This, together with the help of Mondelēz employees in particular, has meant that the Ley Hill space has gone, in less than 6 months, from an overgrown wasteland to a space where people are now growing produce. 

Manor Farm Park continues to develop, and has been the site of some very successful growing activity so far this year. Beans, peas, potatoes and lots of fresh raspberries have all been harvested from Manor Farm Park by the individuals involved in the site there. The one negative event in this space has been the theft of the fruit trees planted in spring 2014, but these will be replaced in 2015 and will be secured to prevent further theft.

The food growing space at Queen Elizabeth Hospital is another success story for the programme. Located on one of 8 green spaces which the Hospital Trust is allowing community groups to use, the food growing space has the distinction of being located within the area of a scheduled ancient monument: The Metchley Fort. 

After much discussion with English Heritage, permission to work on the site has been granted (amid a number of conditions), and construction of the raised beds is now underway. The raised beds at the Queen Elizabeth site will be laid out in a representation of the Roman Fort buildings that once existed there which will mean that, as well as being a food growing space for the local community, the site will also enhance the archaeological interpretation and access to the ancient monument beneath. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is also the location of many other community based activities, supported by Health for Life, including bulb planting, orchard planting and the construction of a woodland walk for staff and patients of the hospital, in collaboration with Birmingham City Council and others. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital space was also included in this year’s city entry for the Heart of England ‘In Bloom’ awards, and with the city winning gold (once again) it will be included in the National Final entry in 2015.

In addition to these sites, work continues at our smaller satellite sites at Hawkestone Road, Weoley Castle; Victoria Common Park, Northfield; Freshwinds Head office in Bournville; Longbridge Health Centre.

Contact

Chris Blythe
Health for Life in the community Programme Manager
The Conservation Volunteers,
Studio 107, Custard Factory 1 (aka Scott House),
Gibb Street,
BIRMINGHAM,
West Midlands,
B9 4AAA

Tel: 0121 771 4339
Mobile: 07795 354 074

Email: C.Blythe@tcv.org.uk