Central Co-op Membership supports Cycling event in Edgbaston

Central Co-op Membership supports Cycling event in Edgbaston

Recently Laurence and Shaz attended an event in Birmingham supporting the promotion of cycling. Below is their account of the event

Central Co-op was delighted to join Better Streets for Birmingham in an event in Edgbaston, Birmingham. Like Central Co-op Better Streets for Birmingham want to promote active travel, namely walking and cycling. Better Streets are actively trying to promote changes to our travel and planning infrastructure to improve the sustainability, efficiency and safety of our streets.

Supporting a Better Streets for Birmingham event has been an aspiration of mine since our Member and Community Council (MCC) agreed to support them in July last year. In May, this year, the opportunity arose when they announced an event to celebrate the conversion of a road into a green space and cycle route. Closed during the pandemic, this section of Northbrook Street in Ladywood now connects with the new Dudley Road cycle route that was opened in March this year, connecting Dudley Road Hospital with the city centre. The date was set for Saturday 8 June between midday and 4pm.

With fresh fruit and coop produce supplied by our Cotteridge store, I was the first to arrive and set up. It had been raining earlier and the sun came out as more people arrived. The group first set about tidying the area of rubbish, filling at least six bin bags.

The gazebo looked great and made a bright visible presence at the side of the Dudley Road. A second MCC member Shaz Rahman joined me not long after and we set about dressing the stall with delicious Coop products - especially the strawberries! With our ‘Wheel of fortune’ marked with ‘prizes’ for the produce we had, a steady stream of young children from the area joined us throughout the day to try their luck and were rewarded with fruit, nuts and the occasional sweet treat. We had many cyclists join us on the day and at one point we had over ten bikes of lots of different types providing a mini-impromptu bike museum. With other stall holders providing bike maintenance and practical advice on how to build planters, we felt truly at home.

The most positive aspect of the day was the response from members of the Ladywood community who really valued our presence. Their parents were also keen to find out more about initiatives we run, particularly our healthy eating sessions in schools.

MCC member Shaz and active travel advocate said this about the event, “The partly pedestrianised Northbrook Street is a lovely place to walk and cycle. We were able to gather and create a community event on a lovely, sunny, Saturday afternoon. Infrastructure like this makes active travel easy and we’d like to see more of it at Central Co-op.

Blog written by Western Membership and Community Council Laurence Braithwaite