Tag: Olympics

Sunrise in Sparkhill TV Extra

We were delighted that The Community Channel chose to feature Sunrise in Sparkhill in the programme about the Olympic Torch relay. We’ve already posted about the interview they did with Andrew Smith in the days leading up to the event. That programe has now been made and featured on their progamme UK 360 on 29th July. The section on Sunrise at Sparkhill comes right at the start of the programme.


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As people arrived at the park they couldn’t fail to notice an impressive new mural that had been painted on the back wall of the old Sparkhill Swimming Pool. The picture was the work of local artist Mohammed Ali from Soul City Arts. The mural was designed to reflect the Olympics, faith and the swimming pool.

Mohammed worked with young people from The Feast in planning and painting the mural and incorporated their thoughts and skills into the final picture. The work was able to go ahead through a Near Neighbours grant and is a great example of the impact those small gants can make amongst people and for an area.

The work on the mural took place in the days and weeks leading up to the 1st July and, despite torrential rain and thunderstorms, was finished just in time for everyone at Sunrise in Sparkhill to see it.

Much has been talked about the legacy of the Olympics and Sunrise in Sparkhill will certainly leave a legacy in Birmingham. This beautiful mural will be around for many years for people in the area to enjoy. Not only that but many friendships were made through the running of the event and will also be a legacy from this exciting and innovative event.

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The Birmingham Faith Leaders Group were invited to Sunrise in Sparkhill to lead the crowds in the reading of our faith pledge. Written specially for the event this pledge was inspired by the Olympic aims of ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’. We wanted to capture the aspirational element of that simple phrase and adapt it for a faith context. Our hope is that the pledge can be read by people of all faiths, and although it refers to faith we trust that people of no faith can also use it.

At Sunrise in Sparkhill people were given a copy of the pledge and 3 candles of different colours red, white and blue and Bishop David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham encouraged everyone to light these at home, perhaps when watching the Olympics and to recomit to the words of the faith pledge.

We were also jojned by faith leaders from different parts of the city who took candles and pledges back to their areas to be shared with members of their communities.

The pledge reads:
Inspired by the teachings of our faiths, and spurred on by the example of the Olympic athletes may we all seek to be the best we can be.
Increasing our compassion,
Growing in our generosity,
Becoming more hospitable,
Practising greater forgiveness,
Striving together for the good of our communities,
Urging one another on in acts of righteousness
So that we may bring hope and joy, friendship and laughter to enrich the lives of every person who lives in Birmingham

Feel free to use the Sunrise in Sparkhill Faith Pledge yourself and change the place name to your location.

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At 5am on July 1st Sparkhill Park was unusually busy as a team of volunteers assisted by staff from the Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre were busy getting ready for the Sunrise in Sparkhill event. This was due to start at 6am and was a community event to mark the Olympic Torch relay.

The event, partly funded through Near Neighbours, brought together members of the local faith communities including, Christians (Catholic and Protestant), Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims as well as local schools, businesses, the council and police.

The groups provided free breakfast for everyone, games and activities as well as performances on the bandstand that reflected all the faiths represented and which was compered by Nikki Tapper from BBC Radio WM.

In all over 1000 people came to the event of all ages and backgrounds. There was great excitement at seeing the torch and real enthusiasm for all the acts who performed. We also had a visit from Anne Barnes who had carried the torch the day before and she showed the torch and allowed people to be photographed with her and the torch.

The event featured much more that will come in future posts

Olympic Torch Relay TV Interview

Today Andrew was interviewed by The Community Channel for a feature on the event we are planning to mark the Olympic Torch Relay as it passes down the Stratford Road close to the Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre.


Called ‘Sunrise in Sparkhill’ The event will be on Sunday 1st July and features breakfast, mini-Olympics, face painting and mendhi along with a full program of events on the bandstand. This will be compered by Nikki Tapper and conclude with the reading of a Faith Pledge led by the Bishop of Birmingham and members of the Birmingham Faith Leaders Group.

Look out for pictures form the event and the wording of the Faith Pledge coming soon.

Olympic Torch Visits Near Neighbours Areas

The route for the Olypmic Torch Relay has been announced and will be in Birmingham on the evening of 30th June and early morning on the 1st July. Much of the route passes through areas earmarked for Near Neighbours funding, so it’s a great chance to get together with people in your area to see the flame pass and have fun.

Details of the route are available on the London 2012 site along and a detailed list of the roads being used and timings can be found on the BBC website.

Jessica Foster, the Near Neighbours Coordinator, said ‘This is a great opportunity to be part of the Olympics by getting together with neighbours to see the Olympic Torch. The fact that it passes through Near Neighbours areas is an added bonus, as grants could be available for groups who organise a joint celebration or event on the day’

Read more about the Near Neighbours programme and grant process.

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