Generous grant boosts Birmingham’s multi-faith trail blaze

The Arts Society Birmingham (TASB) Heritage Volunteers have been awarded a grant of £10,000 by Westhill Endowment.  Launched at the national AGM in Birmingham in 2017, the Birmingham Project aims to develop the traditional Church Trails to encompass multi-faith places of worship.

Led by TASB member Liz Dancey the Birmingham team have now produced a number of illustrated guides which provide school groups, within various places of worship, with guided observation of artefacts, imagery and symbols all set against a background of local identity, heritage and belief.  The establishments covered to date include: Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha gurdwara; Shri Venkateswara Balaji temple; Singers Hill Synagogue; Birmingham Progressive Synagogue; Birmingham Buddhist Vihara; Birmingham Cathedral; and Birmingham Central Mosque.

“With Covid restrictions ending actual visits for the foreseeable future, we have been tasked with enabling children to make virtual visits to places of worship” said Liz, “and we are now collaborating with Paul Davies of VYKA, a film company in Birmingham.  In addition to the tours and guides, we are developing a resource pack of follow-up activities reflecting different cultures.  We also want to extend the project’s scope to the West Midlands region and other multi-faith cities in the UK.

We are most grateful for the generous grant from Westhill and for the help and support of Sheila Williams and Rosemary Jewel-Clark (West Midlands Area Trails of Discovery committee members) and for the superb photographs provided by Piers Wolfe of The Arts Society Solihull.”

Examples, above, of the new trail guide sheets and, below, one of Piers Wolf's superb photos