Carol concert at St Gregory’s Church


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Work is due to start at the end of January on the £5.2 million restoration of Lightwoods Park and House.

Sandwell Council’s Cabinet has approved the letting of the contract for the value of £3.979 million to the specialist conservation and restoration company, Fairhurst Ward Abbots.

Council deputy leader Councillor Steve Eling said: “The aim is to restore the historical elements of Lightwoods Park and refurbish the Grade II Lightwoods House so more people can enjoy, learn about and become involved in the park and house”.

“This is the culmination of a major piece of work to restore the park and house to their former glory that has been worked up since Sandwell Council took over the park in November 2010″.

“Local residents and members of the Friends of Lightwoods Park and House have been involved in working out the priorities for what will be included in the restoration and the future uses for the house. I can’t wait for the work to be finished.”

Project officer Cherie O’Sullivan said: “Everyone is anxious to see the work get under way as soon as possible, and we appreciate people keep hearing us talk about it. We expect to be on target for the grand opening in August 2016.”

Councillor Richard Marshall, chair of the Friends of Lightwoods Park and House, said: “After years of talking about this project, to actually be within touching distance of it starting is almost unbelievable. It will have a huge effect on the community and the local area as it will re-energise this part of Smethwick and will bring life back into an icon”

The project includes bringing the Grade II listed Lightwoods house, which dates from 1791, back into public use for community meetings, training, functions, a children’s centre and on-site offices for the park/house management and police.

The ground floor will provide public toilets, a tea room and exhibition space. The upper floors will have rooms for the community, conferencing, weddings and commercial office space.

The project also includes restoration of the park which was officially opened as a public park in 1903, elements include:

  • Restoring the drinking fountains, 19th century bandstand, Shakespeare Garden, walls and railings and a pond;
  • Improving access and a new play area;
  • Turning the plant nursery into a horticultural training centre; and
  • Holding educational and events programmes at the park and house.

Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund (BIG) are funding £3.6 million towards the project under the Parks for People Programme, with Sandwell Council funding £1.6 million.

Photos courtesy of Ken Harrison



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Community Carol singing

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Lightwoods Park and House Restoration update

Dear Friend of Lightwoods Park and House / Neighbouring Resident

Firstly, may I take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support and assistance with the events at Lightwoods Park and with the Parks for People Project; the restoration of Lightwoods Park and House. I know for all of you this has been a long time coming so thank you for being patient and remaining enthusiastic about the project.


It is currently forecast that the restoration of Lightwoods Park and House will commence at the end of January 2015 (contracts and weather permitting). The current timescale for the grand opening of Lightwoods House and Park is August 2016. Please find attached an outline programme for the restoration. Please note that until the contract has been awarded to the winning contractor this programme is only draft. On appointment I will be asking for the phased programme of works from the contractor and will share this with you at the next wider group meeting which will take place as follows:

Date: 14th January 2015

Time: 7.00pm – 8.30pm

Venue: Bearwood Baptist Church Hall

Rawlings Road

The aim of the meeting is to brief all interested parties on the restoration elements (final scope of the works) and construction timescales (phasing plans). During this meeting I will also announce the successful contractor who will be carrying out the works and explain volunteer opportunities and training opportunities that will be available to the friends group during the construction phase of the project.

Some of you may be aware that there is a new job opportunity being created through this project, which will be funded by both HLF and Sandwell Council. We are recruiting a Community Engagement Officer at Lightwoods Park and House with the job advertised and open for applications from around 8th December 2014 on the Sandwell Council and WM Jobs websites. The officer will be responsible for delivering a programme of activities and events at Lightwoods Park and House over the next 5 years and will work closely with the Friends of Lightwoods Park and House.

They will also be engaging with a wide variety of local groups and working with local schools to encourage interest, development and engagement and use. I will introduce this officer to you following their appointment and from this point on they will lead on community involvement as I focus on delivering the physical restoration.

At a point in time, nearing completion of the project, we will also be recruiting a Lightwoods House and Park Manager who will be responsible for ensuring that the building is functional and self-financing. It is imperative that we develop the house for a variety of uses and ensure we get the balance of community and commercial just right – if anyone has any ideas on usage, events, would like to volunteer in the house and / or knows of any businesses interested in having an office in Lightwoods House then please get in contact via email: or telephone on: 0121 569 4740. I would like to wish you all best wishes for Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I hope to see you at the meeting on 14th January 2015. If you are unable to attend please check the Bearwood Blog: and Lightwoods Park Blog: for the minutes and further updates the week following the meeting.

Kind regards,


Cherie O’Sullivan

Lightwoods Park Project Officer


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Here's the pic for October in Simon Lea's calendar of stunning Bearwood landscapes. Check out the shop at the Warley Woods Community Trust pavilion to see if they still have any left. They make a terrific present, particularly if you have friends who have moved on from Bearwood.

PS – see comment from Viv at Warley Woods. You may already be too late!



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Santa’s in his grotto…

Today Warley Woods Community Trust holds the first of it's Santa in the Woods days. But today is for those who have pre-booked and if you haven't already reserved your place I'm afraid today is already sold out!

Tomorrow though, at 3.30 by the water fountain near the Abbey Road entrance, there will be ample opportunity for children to see Santa before he begins his procession through the park on his sleigh, as he winds his way to his grotto in the pavilion. If it is anything like last year, the grotto itself will be something special too.


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It’s Super Saturday…

Forget Black Friday or Cyber Monday, tomorrow in Bearwood it's Super Saturday!

First up, the second of this year's Bearwood Handmade Winter Fairs will be on at Bearwood Baptist Church in Rawlings Road, with lots of gifts and craft objects to help fill the gaps in your Christmas shopping…and even some foodie stuff!

Over the road, in the newly refurbished Bearwood Snooker Centre you can pop-in and see what's on offer at the table-top sale.

Then the Abbey Road Mad as a Hatter monthly street market is being all decked out with a Christmas theme, and there will be a range of stalls chutneys, gifts, waffles, children's clothes, chocolate and jewellery. Oh, and guess which special guest is going to be there….

And of course, if you haven't already stocked up from the best shop in Bearwood, you would be bananas not to call in to the magnificent Webbs Walled Garden. An absolute Aladdin's Cave of secret delights, with potential gifts for family members of all ages… and if you're really good and behave yourself, you might just get lucky and be able to sneak a peck under the mistletoe from Bearwood's prettiest Xmas pud!

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