2021... A Celebration of Growth!

While we're ready to jump start 2022, the Active Citizens Community Volunteers group have done extremely well over this past year, so first let's take a look back at the key moments together...

Overview of the initiatives, events & activities from 2021:

Litter Picking:

very productive year with great turn outs, we have a good base of people who come each week, in groups and on their own in the Mere Green, Roughley and Four Oaks areas. We have adopted 33 roads from the Sutton Coldfield Litter Action Group in around the Mere Green area. Achieved alot in regards to keeping areas clear, we managed to get flytipped objects removed from Mere Green shopping area. We have received a good amount of equipment for free to help us increase the number of picks. Teamed up with Street watchers who litter pick on their patrols. Mike has been a massive help in litter picking, sourcing the equipment, helping to organise the picks, and gaining marketing contacts to get our work publicised.


A lot of hard work has been put into the plots we have. Had a few new volunteers and some other plot owners helping. We gained a second plot which meant being able to add a greenhouse. We grew new produce and were able to donate all the produce to those in need. It was a good year for testing things out which means this year we can refine how we help. Our greenhouse was vandalised twice, meaning the glass needed to be replaced. Thankfully Gill offered to give up her personal plot so we could get a safer second plot for the group. We received alot of donations from St James Church congregation, and members of the community, thanks to Gills connections, to go towards the cost of replacing the greenhouse glass. Lastly we applied for 3 grants, co-op, tesco and sutton town council. Totalling a potential £5,000 towards the improvements of the allotments.

  • School Learning Programme: Gill & Lynn created a programme to help the children from Mere Green School learn how produce is grown and about allotments in general. It was a hard few weeks, 3 days a week but the children enjoyed it and we had positive feedback. With some more organisation and help from the school, it can be a recurring initiative for us.

  • Mulberry Walk Planters: After years of noticing and talking about the planters lack of plants in Mere Green we finanlly had some results this year. Gill contacted everyone possible to find out who the planters belonged to. And then once we knew we were given permission to do what we want with them but we had to pay the costs. So initially the funds we had left in the account went on buring compost, plants etc and once we started receiving donations for the planters we could buy more and get them finished. We asked all the shops, restaurants etc to dontate but Cafe Nero was the only one to donate and a few passers by.

  • Speed Watch: Approximatly 24 watches in total from May 2021 after restrictions were lifted. Highest speed recorded 50MPH, lowest 35MPH all in 30 zones. Ornham road did have a speed watch but got no cars in the time there. 196 letters sent out in total warning drivers of their speed.

  • Street Watch: Nothing new to report, Gill working closely with those signed up, who are patroling and adding in litter picks where they can.

  • Neighbourhood Watch: There are 17 registered NHW schemes, Edge Hill being newest one, majority established for several years and run actively. A few amalgamations of smaller schemes to increase effectiveness going into 2022. Willmott Road, Walsall Road, Bishops Meadow and Bennett Road are schemes which have been closed due to no availability of Co-ordinators, so are unrepresented at the moment. Website will soon have a map showing the NHW areas. NHW is part of a messaging system which includes WMNow (West Midlands Police). 1039 residents recorded on message system, 528 of which are NHW members attached to a schem. Lowercroft, Roughley and Harvestfields schemes need replacement Co-ordinator due to current moving away.

  • Meetings: Successfully held a meeting once per month for the year, which has helped move the group forward. It is from these meetings that we established a more structured way to run the group.

  • Social Events: We have one social events which was well turned out and all who went had a lovely time. With it being a busy year and all the committee members being heavly involved in initiatives, events & activities, there was little time to organise social events. So going forward a specific role in the committee has been created.

  • Media Update: We have now created an Instagram page to go along side our Facebook page, which has had a considerable amount content added. Nikki has researched the benefits of social media, the dos/donts, different ways to engage, ways to build an audience etc and created content, scheduled, hashtags etc.

  • Insights for Facebook Page:

  • 12.2k people reached (2.4% up on year before)

  • 896 poeple visiting the page (729% up on year before)

  • 31 new page likes (520% up on year before)

  • Top performing post – 6,003 reach – Speed Watch

  • Most Liked – Greenhouse vandalism news

  • Most Shared – New logo post

  • Insights for Instagram Page:

  • 746 people reached (% new account)

  • 152 people visiting the page (% new account)

  • 69 new page likes (% new account)

  • Top performing post – 127 reach – Litter Picking

  • Most Liked - Litter Picking in Roughley

  • Website development update: Nikki has created a website that includes all the inforamtion you could possibly want to know about the group. Similar to a welcome pack for volunteers.

  • Still being developed and improvements will continue be made based the needs and ideas given.

  • Including content such as:

  • Home page/ Landing page, directing visitors to others pages, with menues, newsletters, calender.

  • Who we are, info about the group, committee members, aims, goals of group

  • What we do, initiatives, events & activities, detailed info to describe each thing

  • How to get involved, how to help, donation options, roles available

  • Electronic copies of all documnets, online volunteer forms, legal informaiton for the group and all contact information.

  • Marketing Update: We have created business cards with the info to our website and social links to hand out to people, with a QR code that can be scanned straight to the site.

  • We experimented with flyers which did well as something to hand out that explains what we do, but not cost effective to post through doors as we didnt get much interaction from them.

  • Mike has etablished a connection with the Sutton Coldfield Chronicle which has published a few articles for us, which is a big help in getting our name out there.

  • Volunteer Figures for 2021:

  • Overall Mailing list totals are up from 17 to 32 people.

  • Current interest figures are:

  • Litter Picking: 10

  • Allotments: 10

  • Speed Watch: 6

  • Street Watch: 5

  • Neighbourhood Watch: 6

  • Actively involved figures are: 12 people of those 32 people.

  • Financial Summary Report for 2021: (available to view on website)

  • Balance brought forward from 2020 was £534.61.

  • Incoming funds for 2021 from donations was £235. This included; Pat Row & Josie, Mike Surplice, St James Church Congregation & Cafe Nero Mere Green (mainly for the green house repairs, mulberry walk planters and marketing purposes)

  • Outgoing funds for 2021 were £590.66. This included monies owed to Phil from when he was Treasurer, Glass for first fix of the greenhouse, allotment costs including the rent, cost of plants for mulberry walk and marketing costs.

  • Balance going forward to 2022 is £178.95.

  • All Finances have been checked, audited and signed off.

  • Applied for funding in 2021:

  • Co-operative; raised through 3 local stores from shoppers, we have £170 aprox rasied so far.

  • Tesco; funding is undergoing and won’t hear back from them for a while, funding for allotment.

  • Sutton Coldfield Town Council; accepted for £2,500 to make the allotment more accessible for future projects.

  • Fundraising attempts for 2021:

  • Street and community donations received only.

  • Just-giving page has been set up for online donations