The Friends Group

If you would be interested in taking part or contributing in any way to a Friends of Lightwoods Park Group, you can register your interest below. Your e-mail and contact details will not be displayed publicly on the site, but it will enable us to get some information directly to you via e-mail.

The Minutes of the Steering Committee held on 27th March 2012 can be downloaded here.

The minutes of the Friends Group Steering Committee held on 9th February 2012 can be downloaded here.

The minutes of the Friends Group held on 11th October 2011 can be downloaded here.

The minutes of the Friends Group Steering Committee for September 2011 are now available for download here

The agenda and minutes of the Friends of Lightwoods Park Committee meeting on 1st August can now be downloaded here.

Three new documents added – Thanks to Cherie.

Lightwoods Park Constitution

Notes of 10th March Planning Meeting

Notes of the meeting on 13th December collated from the various groups can be read HERE.

Thanks to Cherie O’Sullivan.

98 Responses to The Friends Group

  1. Coral Musgrave says:

    Would like to be a Friend of Lightwoods

  2. John Baker says:

    I have recently retired (age 70) from my company which was a consulting Structural/Civil Engineering practice. I have for many years had contact with Sandwell L.A. and their Building regs/engineers I would probably know the professionals you would be dealing with on the neighbourhoods behalf. I have lived here all my life apart from working in Europe and the middleEast from time to time, and I remeber Lightwoods how it used to be . My wife and I used to use the cafe which was on the gnd floor of Lightwoods House. So of course living a few paces from the park and being retired I would welcome a chance to assist in making it the park we all remember again.

  3. Els says:

    I want to be one of the Park’s friends.

  4. Daniel Carins says:

    I’d like to be involved in the Friends Group.

    I’m a bit concerned that decisions about spending the HLF money are being taken in advance of the formal establishment of any Friend’s Group.

    For instance, spending public money that is in short supply on the play area, BMX area or anything may be wasted as there’s never been any kind of study to find out whether they’re in the right place: if they’re moved in 2 years’ time, that money is then wasted. Spending it on emergency works to the house, however seems an urgent priority!

  5. Bob says:

    The money for the BMX/skatepark area is not HLF money, nor at this stage is the money for the House. That is Sandwell Council money which has been identified as a need for years following a survey of over 3,000 residents and extensive consultation through the Neighbourhood Forum and meetings with the youth service and young people. They have waited for years for the City Council to spend something, and frankly it is about time there were decent play facilities in the Park for youngsters.

  6. Daniel Carins says:

    Fair enough!

    However, each time I take my kids to the play area, it’s full of lads from Lordswood School trying to wrap the swings around the frame, or set fire to the seats. As a result, we stay well clear and go to Warley Woods instead. My point – are the kids’ play facilities in the right place, next to the road where they breathe in traffic fumes, and where the older children also like to hang out?

    I imagine the HLF money would depend on some kind of management plan being in place?

  7. Bob says:

    Daniel, I suspect the vast majority of HLF funding will be put towards the restoration of the House, with estimates currently around £1.4 million plus needed, it will ease the bill for the council tax layers. I take your point about the play area, and the police have indicated they would like some sort of local presence in the restored House.

  8. SallyT says:

    Hi there,
    I’d love to volunteer to be on the Friends of Lightwoods Park group and would be keen to be involved in the development of the house in some way. I currently work in Evaluation and Research at the Big Lottery Fund so will keep my eye out for learning from other similar projects that we could benefit from.
    I’d be most keen to work out how we could be as inclusive as possible in consultations. There’s going to be so much need for better community-based support structures over the next few years as the government cuts bite the most vulnerable people. I’m imagining the house could be a really valuable focal point for community services and support groups etc as well as just a nice place to hangout. But in order to work out what people need – and what might be financially viable – thorough and meaningful consultation will be important. Never an easy thing!…

  9. Neil B says:

    I like to be a Friend of Lightwoods Park too.
    I support the use of resources to get the house back into use again and it would be useful to use the building to gain extra revenue, maybe by letting out the top floor to a local company or having rooms for short term let for businesses getting started.
    I agree that the site of the playground is not the best being next to a busy road and i nave encountered many ‘undesirables’ hanging around. Having the shrub garden inside the kids park is also a bad idea and leads to a build up of rubbish and broken glass which is inevitably attractive to kids – i have even come across a hypodermic needle in there which is a terrifying thought.

  10. Jo Billings says:

    I think this is fantastic news. At long last! I would love to be one of the Lightwoods Park’s friends so please keep me informed with all the updates.

  11. Danny Davis says:

    This is brilliant news – I would definitely like to join the Friends of Lightwoods Park.

    My wife is an artist and has run many community projects in the past. She sees huge potential for the house to become a focal point for the area, offering all sorts of services.

    The playgrounds need overhauling and the teenagers need to feel part of something that belongs to them rather than just an old concrete pit.

    Looking forward to the future.

  12. Bob says:

    Danny, we have already committed funds to revamp the skateboard park and a design has been agreed with the users and BMX users too. Work should commence early in the New Year and be completed and ready for use in the Spring.

    I am really impressed by thenumber of folk with talent and really good ideas who want to get involved.

  13. richard says:

    I’ve previously suggested the house would make a fantastic registry office with its prominant position and location I think people would be queing to get married and have pic’s taken in the bandstand and surrounding gardens it would be a real revenue raiser especially if the Barleycorn we’re turned into the propsed banqeuting suite rather than casino, and that we could maybe get some suitable parking included in the lottery grant thats going to be submitted following the park consultation/open day on the 13th November. Exciting times!!!!!

  14. Janine Bowers says:

    I would like to be involved in the Friends group.

    I live adjacent to the park and having a very young daughter, I am a daily user of the kids playground as well as the rest of the park. While I think a register office is a good use for what could be a stunning building, we need something that will create some community cohesion and be used by all – a community centre with bookable spaces for local groups, along with a cafe (like the Friends Institute) would be a far better use of the space and something to be proud of.

  15. Bob says:

    Janine, thanks for that. It may be possible to do both, of course. It is a much bigger building than it looks, with about 17 rooms in all. Some things which attract income could be helpful towards the running costs of the building, but I would also like to see some space used for community projects, including the increasing number of artistic/creative people living in Bearwood


    Re ‘Use some of the space for local community use etc’-What an excellent idea about the use of the House and perhaps also we could retain the idea of a Tearoom on the ground floor where it used to be in days gone by, more revenue for the upkeep of the park, and this facility I am sure could be ‘manned ‘ by volunteers.

  17. Josie Kelly says:

    We too live adjacent to the Park. We’ve only just moved here from the South and a major factor in choosing the area was the Bearwood community. We would like very much to be involved in the Lightwoods Park group.

    Josie and John Kelly

  18. SallyT says:

    I totally support the use of the house a community space and have been talking to quite a few others that do too. I’ve started a wikispace (a communal website that anyone can edit really easily) to try and get some ideas down – for Bearwood generally, but I principally set it up the other day because of all the thinking that’s going on around Lightwoods. I’m not sure whether it’s the right thing or not but thought I’d give it a go. Have a look and see what you think – and contribute if you think it’s any use.
    Once you’ve signed up there’s a menu on the left with different pages for different things. It’s great having suggestions on this blog, of course, but a website we all contribute to might help us organise these ideas as a community of interested people.

  19. Tom P says:

    I live in Bearwood and am keen to get involved.

    I’m a Chartered Surveyor, so would be happy to be a volunteer my time and could provide lease consultancy, agency, valuation advice etc. I also have colleagues that specialise in environmental remediation, planning, building surveying, quantity surveying etc. so I could potentially access a full range of property consultancy free of charge.

    Please let me know if you would like me to help out.



  20. Alex P says:


    I would like to become a Friend of Lightwoods Park – I am excited about this opportunity to improve the area and would be keen to provide some input.


  21. The site of our house apparently belongs to the Birmingham Council park bequest, so we’re glad to be back in Bearwood! Encouraging to see so many interested in getting active, hope we can contribute.

  22. Julie Mckirdy says:

    I would like to become a friend of Lightwoods park

  23. Sheila Finn says:

    We are finally in touching distance of the hand over, great news. I would like to be a friend of Lightwoods Park.
    I would love to see the Shakespeare Garden restored and the house brought back into use.

  24. Count me in to help when there’s useful stuff to do – Adrian

  25. Carol says:

    Very interested in joining the Friends group. Living nearby and watching Lightwoods House crumbling away has been absolutely heartbreaking.
    Having been inside the building, I can testify to what a terrific space it could be for many things (esp a tea room!). But I would be keen to ensure that the story of its history is told somewhere & its interior features are maintained/restored.
    So many things to be debated! So pleased we are at this stage now 🙂

  26. Jay says:

    let me know what you need and i wil help out when and where i can

  27. Bob says:


    There are some proposals for fitting a kitchen and providing a tea room using a project under Sandwell Adult Services which would provide training for people with learning disabilities. There are also proposals for a section and display area in the House which would relate the history of the House and the Bearwood area. Exciting times.

  28. Rosie Edwards says:

    I live near the Park and would like to join the Friends group. It will be great to see the house used and to improve facilities in the park- a chance to develop some “green”(sustainable) schemes, whether it’s the renovation and running of the house, what’s grown in the park or how it’s financed and supported.

    Rosie E

  29. Andrew S says:

    I’d like to befriend Lightwoods Park & wholeheartedly support the house becoming not only a beacon of beauty for Bearwood but also a venue of connection and conviviality for all of us local folk & people who visit.
    Regarding air quality, I wonder (as a layperson) (1) whether this has been measured from the current playground and playing fields areas and (2)whether there’s any potential benefit in horticulturally screening the park from the A456?

  30. Mel says:

    Just wonderful that something is being done about it finally. It would be lovely to have a “community centre” similar to the one they have in Moseley and even nicer we have it set in potentially wonderful grounds.

    It would be nice to attract some more classes and groups in Bearwood especially for children, at the moment we often have to go further afield for things.

    Maybe also with all those photographers in Bearwood we could have our own little photographic society:)

  31. liz culver says:

    interested…local resident,mum of 3,experience in multi agency task forces,food hygiene/environmental health,believe in multi community use for local arts,music,community ideas, for all ages

  32. Bob says:

    Great Liz… I’ve added you to the list.

  33. Sophie says:

    As a regular user of the park, I think the restoration of the house and a community space is an excellent idea. They playground is certainly in need of an upgrade. I would like to become a friend.

  34. hazel shipton says:

    glad to hear about the friends,look forward to more news. a register office in the building,use band stand for its original use, and use Shakespeare s garden for wedding photos etc more revenue for upkeep of house

  35. Bob says:

    Hazel, all great suggestions. Thanks.

  36. Tess Barker says:

    I’d be interested in being involved – I can’t make the open day this weekend unfortunately but hope it goes well. It’s really exciting to see all the ideas people have and I think it could provide a great focal point for the community and get people involved. Fingers crossed now that funding works out given the current climate! I think any or all of the ideas mentioned above would be great – tea room, wedding venue, community spaces etc, something that generates revenue will be crucial so it can survive as a venue.

  37. Laurie Godley says:

    I am very interested in joining the friends group. I would be keen to start a mother and baby music group which could bring in some revenue and also thought about a social / music group for elderly people (no musical skill required!). I really feel that it is important for ‘our’ house to be used by local people, especially those who may not otherwise have many opportunities to get out and socialise.

  38. Fiona says:

    I live very near to the park and was very exicted to see so many people of Bearwood attending the event yesterday. I would love to see Lightwoods House restored and used for the community.
    I would very much liked to be involved as a friend of Lightwoods Park, as I feel this place has so much to offer all ages and therfore deserves to be improved.

  39. Bob says:

    Fiona, we’re pleased you enjoyed it. It was a good start and we can look forward to some quick ‘hits’. The restoration of the House will be a more medium term project and requires a lot of work, but the prospect of some Summer performances around the bandstand and other improvements around the park will be possible in the short term.

  40. Diane says:

    Congratulations on the successful launch of the Lighwoods Park project on Saturday. I am very interested in joining the Friends of Lightwoods Park and look forward to hearing from you.

  41. Deborah Yuill says:

    Yes please, I’d like to join the Friends of Lightwoods Park group and look forward to contributing to the improvements there.

  42. Naseem Akhtar says:

    Yes I’m very keen to join the group and looking forward to contributing in a positive way. I’m very keen to see the Shakespeare garden restored which is something colleagues of mine can advise with. Anyway I’m looking forward to getting involved. Please keep me informed of any meetings. Cheers

  43. Pingback: Meeting Notes | Lightwoods Park

  44. Cherie O Sullivan says:

    Thank you for uploading my notes from the meeting, it is very much appreciated.
    Cherie (Parks Project Officer)

  45. richard says:

    cant seem to open the notes, is it me???

  46. Bob says:

    Not sure, Richard. Anyone else having a problem?

  47. Sally Taylor says:

    The doc opened for me Richard. It’s a pdf – maybe you need to download an adobe viewer or something? It should just open on a webpage – perhaps make sure pop-up windows are unblocked?

  48. Chris Gregory says:

    Am interested to learn more about the development of Lightwoods Park, but was unable to attend the recent event on the 13th December.

  49. Bob says:

    Chris, I’ll send out details of future events.

  50. Daniel Carins says:

    Was the possibility of incorporating the park into a Conservation Area discussed at the meeting? I’ve always thought the streets imediately around the north of the park would merit inclusion in one. As a CA it could potentially attract further funding, or at least increase the justification for the Council to devote resources to maintaining and improving it.

  51. Bob says:

    No, Daniel, I don’t think it was. This was only an initial meeting to gauge feelings about setting up a Friends Group and to float some general ideas. The sort of detail you refer to can obviously be an issue for the Group(s) to consider when they are up and running.

  52. John Gatling says:

    I would like to be on the mailing list of Friends Of Lightwoods park

  53. paul willis says:

    we are currently carrying out work on shakespears garden and i am seeking older images of the grounds before they fell in to such a poor condition. i have seen an old drawing back from when it may have been opened but am now unable to locate it, could anyone help?
    i would also appreciate a list of all or any plants that may have originally been there as it may help with its restoration and chronicle its history.

  54. Bob says:

    Paul, there was definitely a leaflet around on the open day which someone had showing a list of the of the flowers. Can anyone help?

  55. Forging Links is a project supported by Sandwell MBC, Arts Council England, and Museums Libraries and Archives, which is working at new ways of curating archive material held at the Community History and Archive Service, to increase public engagement. the project will be creating works for the Sandwell Arts Festival in July.

    Julian Walker, project facilitator, has been running sessions exploring ways of bringing the archive material more into the public realm. A suggestion which came up yesterday during our session was to project film from the inside of Lightwoods House onto screens on the windows of Lightwoods House. CHAS holds early publicity films from Accles & Pollock and Kenrick & Jefferson, which will be used as the basis for new film by a local film-maker.

    We would like to hear your views on this. I will keep an eye on this website, but please also leave comments on

    The next open sessions for Forging Links are on 4th and 15th March at Smethwick Library – see the website for details.

  56. Daniela says:

    Thank you for all the fantastic work completed and ongoing at the park so far. I was wondering if there are any plans for the run down children’s play area and if so when will is this work due to begin and end/
    Thanks !

  57. Bob says:

    Daniela, there are plans but I understand we are waiting for the outcome of the lottery bid before details can be firmed up. The plans will most likely include relocating the play area, possibly closer to Lightwoods House. This would fit in with some provisional plans for the House usage, but would also have the advantage of moving it away from the main Hagley Road with all the pollution and noise that creates, but also away from the skate park which is predominantly used by older children.

  58. Cat Price says:

    I’d like to be a Friend of Lightwoods Park. Thanks

  59. Claire says:

    please e-mail me details as to how my family can become friends of Lightwoods Park


  60. Cherie O Sullivan says:

    Hi Claire,

    You have now been added to the Friends of Lightwoods Park and House mailing list.

    Kind regards,

  61. Judy says:

    I would like to be a friend of Lightwoods Park. Thanks.

  62. David Brown says:

    I know there are comments that decisions have already been taken about the restoration and use of the house. I want to stress the whole purpose of the Parks for People stage 2 programme is that during the development stage ideas and designs around those ideas can be produced. This development stage will start when we appoint consultants in November. The original lottery application gives a very broad indication on potential use, and this is based on the consultations that took place. We are currently at the stage of selecting companies who will be invited to tender and then interviewed. It is anticipated the interviews will take place early November, the successful company will be tasked to work with local people. This essential requirement is embedded into the tender document.

  63. Pingback: Minutes | Lightwoods Park

  64. Hi! Crazy girl here! I want to be a friend! The sort that cries when people called Sara call me with exciting news haha. X

  65. Emma B says:

    Hi there! I live closeby and would be interested in becoming a Friend of Lightwoods Park. Thanks.

  66. Lorraine says:

    I would like to know why Cherie O’Sullivan has to re apply for the position, she is already doing at Lightwoods Park. Cherie has continulously worked so hard and has achived so much in such a short space of time for Lightwoods. I do put into question what is Sandwell Council doing. When they have such a committed caring person already doing an amazing job. I would like for somebody to contact me and explain WHY is it she has never been shown the support and gratitude she deserves.

  67. Bob says:

    Firstly, I would strongly dispute your final statement. I think Cherie knows exactly how much we appreciate what she is doing, and how committed she is to the park and the project. I have never heard so much as a single word of criticism about what she does.

    Secondly, Cherie is currently in a substantive post with Sandwell Council. This job is a different post and it is mostly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund to deliver the restoration of the House and Park. They are not Sandwell Council’s rules, but theirs. They require the job to go to open competition, and if we don’t do that, we don’t get the post. Simple as that.

  68. David Brown says:

    I am aware of several comments and enquiries concerning why the Council has to advertise and appoint a Project Officer for the Lightwoods Park restoration when Cherie is doing the job already.
    Well we have to advertise and appoint through an interview process because the Project Officer post is 83% funded by lottery for the duration of the project and we must abide by lottery rules. I have attempted to question the rules but quickly found that lottery have national rules that apply.

  69. Maria says:


    I live in Bearwood and myself and my fiance are hoping to get married in the local area and more particularly love the idea of getting married in the bandstand in Lightwoods Park. What is the intended timescale of renovating the bandstand and would there be any intention of licensing it as a venue for weddings. We are hoping to get married in 2013. A romantic notion I know but a girl can dream!! Many Thanks

  70. Bob says:

    Maria, I think 2013 may be a bit optimistic, but I will try to find out for you.

  71. Richard~ chair friends of lightwoods says:

    Maria~ contact me direct and we’ll discuss your dream~ Bob will pass on my email details to you if you request them

  72. Gill Duffy says:

    Helped out at Shakespeare Garden on Saturday and would like to get more involved in the Lightwoods project. When/where is the next meeting for discussions/ideas around plans for the park and house please?

  73. richard -chair friends lightwoods park & house says:

    Gill , firstly thank you for helping out yesterday all meeting dates are published on here and on our facebook page , the next time ‘views are being sort ‘ is at our Mayday event on the 7th following on from that the company that has been given the restoration project will be organising wide ranging consultations with all relevant details released again on here first, hope this helps . We are also looking for volunteers on Mayday to for any that can spare a few hours all ages are welcome

  74. Carl Schneider says:

    Is this page still current? If so, could this page be updated with minutes of meetings since October 2011 along with notice of the next meeting please. Thank you.

  75. richard -chair friends lightwoods park & house says:

    Carl- sorry about this- it will be updated with the previous minutes over the next few days and the time and date of the next open meeting will be published shortly

  76. Carl Schneider says:

    Thank you Richard.

  77. Carl Schneider says:

    Thanks for the updated minutes. Looking forward to hearing about the next AGM date and location.

  78. Carl Schneider says:

    Richard, any update on the next AGM details? Thanks.

  79. richard -chair friends lightwoods park & house says:

    Carl we will be announcing the date soon

  80. Great Drive-in cinema night. See our report from and at

  81. Jackie Owen says:

    I understand from an article in last nights Express and Star that you will be having an Ice Rink for the Xmas period, it also stated that there would be german market style stalls, can you let me have further information regarding the stalls please as I would, if possible would like to book one for the sale of jewellery, scarves and bags. Please let me know at your earliest.

    Jackie Owen

  82. richard- chair FLP&H says:

    Thamks Jackie , will be in touch

  83. Hannah pink says:


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  84. AandD says:

    Would there be any room for someone to discuss with you the possibility of running a soft play/toddler and young children’s adventure centre within the house. If so I’d be really keen to speak to someone about this.

  85. Bob says:

    There are all sorts of possibilities. Very little of the internal use has been decided yet. Contact Cherie O’Sullivan and discuss your interest. Her e-mail is

  86. Amy Church says:

    I would be really interested in becoming a friend of Lightwood Park. I absolutely love the park and would be especially interested in the organisation of the events within the park. I currently work for the operational team for mac (Midland Art Centre) so I believe I could be very useful. I hope to hear from you soon.

  87. Cherie O'Sullivan says:

    Hi Amy,

    Thank you for your blog comment above.

    Please email your contact details to, and I will add you to the mailing list for Lightwoods Park and House – everyone who loves the park is welcome. I will then share it with Richard Marshall, who is the chair of the Friends of Lightwoods Park and House Group.

    We would be happy for you to help us with organising the parks events – sounds like you have some experience too – I will keep you posted through the project mail out updates.

    Kind regards,

    Lightwoods Park Project Officer

  88. Tony Fox says:

    Many belated congratulations on getting the funding for another local People’s Park, and we’ll be interested to network our social value interests and sustainable parks community developments.
    Tony Fox, Chair of Park Friends @cannonhillpark

  89. Pingback: Bearwood’s Green Spaces | We Are Bearwood

  90. Sanjana Sudeshkumar says:

    I would like to know when the firework displays for bonfire night would take place and at what time

  91. Donna says:

    Can you add me to your members list please

  92. Anita says:

    Please could I be added to the Friends of Lightwoods Park Group, thank you

  93. Bob says:

    Will do Anita.

  94. R. Bhogal says:

    Please send me details on how to become a member of Friends of Lightwoods Park.

  95. Josie Kelly says:

    Can I become a friend of Lightwoods, please.

  96. Bob says:

    Hi Josie,

    E-Mail Julia via

  97. Zahra Khalil says:

    I am from Groundwork West Midlands and we are looking to work with different friends of park groups to find you young volunteers to support their local parks/ green space. I would love to work with Lightwoods park, please may I have an email address or contact number of a member of the friends of group to discuss this further?

    Thank you

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