Launching the Birmingham and Solihull Talent Match project


I launched the Talent Match project on Tuesday, along with Councillor Penny Holbrook and Brian Carr from BVSC.

The project is aimed at young people who have found it difficult due to their personal circumstances to get into employment. It will run for the next five years and provide unto 1,000 young people with support, mentoring and training to get them work ready and to provide work placements for them.

A-Dream Project Celebration Event

photo 4

Thank you to the organisers and contributors to the A DREAM celebration.I enjoyed meeting clients that had benefited from the project. A DREAM was a project to assist those with disability into the job market, by means of support in confidence building, motivation and improved job skills.

I was fortunate enough to have been invited to give a speech at the event, not sure if it was in my capacity  as a community advice worker or as Chair of  Birmingham City  Council’s Chair of Culture, Learning and Skills Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

I have posted a copy of my short speech at the event, I find short speeches to be best in order to keep the audiences attention, rather than bore them.

It was a pleasure to meet up with Karen Young and Megan Alexander.from BID.

The successful project was delivered by Focus, via the passion and effort of Wendy Dunn and Janet Scully.


Z Iqbal Speach – A Dream Project

The Ripple Effect, a road safety film

A powerful new video about the consequences of road crashes is set to drive home vital safety messages to new West Midlands drivers.

‘The Ripple Effect’ features two real families left devastated after a son and a daughter were hit by speeding vehicles.

Police and fire officers from the West Midlands talk of the horrors they have to deal with following a crash, while young pupils from Birmingham’s Gilbertstone Primary school deliver sobering road safety facts and statistics.

The project is a joint initiative between West Midlands Police and West Midlands Fire Service, led by Sgt Russell Webb of South Yardley neighbourhood policing team and Watch Commander Paul Bayliss of Red Watch at Hay Mills Community Fire Station.

“We see the awful consequences of unsafe driving almost every day,” said W/Cdr Bayliss. “We work closely with West Midlands Police on a number of initiatives to educate drivers about the dangers of the road. This video, featuring real people’s real stories, will now complement that work.”

Added Sgt Webb: “We’re really pleased with how the video has turned out, which is due in no small part to the bravery and dignity of the two families who agreed to be filmed. Their stories are incredibly powerful and emotional. Anyone who watches it will be moved and deeply affected by what they see and hear.”

Councillor John Edwards, Chair of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “Firefighters in the West Midlands extricated 451 people from wrecked vehicles last year. We are confident this video will play a key role in helping to lower that figure and prevent some of the loss of life and dreadful injuries that are happening on our roads every day.”

Viewers meet Stuart Fisher and his parents, Barry and Zena, and hear how their lives were changed for ever when Stuart was hit by a speeding car on the promenade at Blackpool. Chilling police helicopter footage shows the moment Stuart, from Walsall, was hit by the car and carried along for several metres before the driver left him for dead. Serious head injuries left him dependant on a wheelchair and he had to learn again how to breathe, speak and eat.

The video’s second story features Avril Child, from Birmingham, whose daughter Sarah was killed when a car hit her and one of her sisters at 70 miles an hour. Avril describes Sarah’s last few seconds alive, as her sister lay injured and unable to help her, and her reaction when she was told her daughter was dead.

‘The Ripple Effect’ also features W/Cdr Bayliss, Sgt Webb and his colleague Sgt Laura Floyd, reflecting on the risks of speeding, drink-driving and not wearing a seatbelt, and the dangers of distractions at the wheel such as texting or making a phone call. They speak openly about the collision scenes they often attend.

“We know that speeding and the anti-social use of vehicles are key concerns for our communities,” added Paul. “The video will be used on a speed awareness course we offer with the police at Hay Mills fire station, and we’re aiming to get a copy to all of our sixth forms and driving test centres.”

Added Russ: “We want as many people as possible to see the video, here in the West Midlands and further afield. We’d like it to get a life of its own as people share it online and via social media. We hope it will save at least one life, but ideally many.”

The video, which was produced by Orion Media and filmed around Birmingham, can be viewed and shared at It is also available via and


Issued by Neil Spencer, Senior Media Relations Officer, WMFS, tel 0121 380 6101.

For more details and to arrange interviews about ‘The Ripple Effect’ video, please contact W/Cdr Paul Bayliss on 0121 380 7539 or Sgt Russ Webb on 101, ext 7824 6584.

Tues 16th Sept – 10am – 4pm – Power to change roadshow – support for community enterprises

“Power to Change Roadshow”

Date: Tuesday, 16 September, 2014 – 10:00 to 16:00.

Venue: BVSC, The Centre for Voluntary Action, 138 Digbeth, Birmingham B5 6DR.

Come along to find out more about how to set up and run a range of community-led enterprises.

You will get to hear from social entrepreneurs and experts who have run successful community enterprises, and can get help and support from a range of organisations through workshops and one-to-one advice to help you progress your enterprising ideas.

You will also get to hear more about Power to Change, a £150million Big Lottery Funded initiative, backed by Trinity Mirror and the National Lottery, which will support community-led enterprise across England.

Power to Change will be open for applications later this year when details of how to apply will be made available. For further information on Power to Change visit

“To book a place on the roadshow visit

Citizen’s Advice Bureau Comes Back to Tyseley

Great news for Tysley residents in need of advice. After working out of Sparkhill Neighbourhood Office for a while, the CAB is now back, serving local residents in Tyseley.


Tyseley Citizens Advice Bureau

744-746 Warwick Road
West Midlands
B11 2HG


The Citizens Advice Bureau also offers an Information Helpline on;

08444 77 1010 from 9.30 – 16.30 Monday to Friday

OR 0300 330 0650 (mobile users)

OR for Deaf/Hard Hearing 18001 08444 111445
Or you can get advice online now from for practical, reliable, up-to-date CAB information on a wide range of topics.


Big John’s Birmingham Eid Mela 17th August 2014

Proud to be British, Proud to be Muslim

Free family event with live music and entertainment

Birmingham Eid Mela celebrates the diversity of the Muslim Community in Birmingham through its culture, food, sport, art and entertainment. Now in its 14th year, the festival is bigger and better than ever and there is something for everyone to celebrate.

eid mela

The importance of Birmingham Eid Mela is that it is a celebration of Eid which marks the end of the Muslim period of fasting.

This is a free annual event and promises fun for the whole family. There will be funfair rides, a sports area hosting a Kabbadi and Stone lifting, a bazaar with clothing, jewellery, music and craft stalls and a whole host of catering units selling traditional Asian food.


There will be live music throughout the day provided by BritAsia with artists such as Hunterz, Roach Killa, Mumzy Asif Khan, Shide Boss, Sama Blake, Bonafide and compered by Kan D Man.


The event starts at 1:00pm and closes at 7:00pm. Free public car parking is available at Warwickshire Cricket Ground and limited parking at Mac.


For more information please contact the Events Team during normal office hours on Tel: 0121 303 3008.

Important Information on the Wheelie Bin Roll-out in South Yardley Ward

A survey by the council last year showed that well over three quarters of people thought that waste and refuse costs should be reduced by getting more residents to recycle and reduce the amount of rubbish they produce.

wheelie bin

Just over half of residents thought wheelie bins were a good idea, although most people thought wheelie bins would reduce the amount of rubbish spilt onto streets and pavements.

But after a pilot scheme in two wards, more than three quarters of residents thought that their neighbourhood was cleaner than before. More than three quarters of residents strongly supported the scheme.

The Scheme

  • Each house will get a Recycling Bin – 240 litres with a 55 litre pod inside for paper.    Collected fortnightly
  • Each house will also get a Residual Waste bin – 180 litres bin. Collected weekly
  • Houses with 6 or more people can have a 240l bin instead of a 180l bin.
  • Houses with 9 or more people can have a 360l bin instead of a 180l bin.
  • An additional recycling bin will be available to anyone who needs one.
  • From the 30th July, the results of Property assessments will be posted out to residents in South Yardley regarding the suitability of properties for bins.
  • The delivery of bins starts at the end of September. This will take about eight weeks. But please note – collection of wheelie bins will not start until 24th November.
  • Each house will also get an information pack which includes a collection calendar and instructions.
  • Arrangements will be made to collect old bins and recycling boxes, though residents can keep them if they want to.
  • There will be some changes to collection days as the new scheme beds in to accommodate changes in the workload.
  • There will be additional resources at the Call Centre to handle the extra enquiries that will come in during the transistor period.

Zafar Iqbal Newsletter 2013-14

Dear all,

I promised when I was elected in 2012 that I would give an annual report on my activities as your Councillor. So I am happy to present my second such annual report for 2014.

It has been a busy year with many challenges. By 2017 the Tory-Lib Dem Government will have slashed £825 million from the Council Budget. Such drastic cuts are bound to affect the services we provide, but as a Labour Council we are working to minimise the impact of Government cuts on the most vulnerable in our community.


  • I have been working over the year as Chair of the Scrutiny Committee for Birmingham Economy and Jobs, examining job creation and the promotion of business in the city.
  • I have worked to help set up resident’s organisations in Hay Mills and Greet.
  • We have held a consultation event on road safety on the A45 Coventry road.
  • Throughout the year I have helped residents with many concerns, like obtaining school places, helping with council tax queries, housing repairs, dumped rubbish, and benefits issues. I have been available at my office every Friday evening from 5 to 7pm in – addition to my other advice surgeries at the Vibe and the Elim Christian Centre.
  • I continue to work with local friends groups. I have helped the Friends of Small Heath Park to make improvements to the park and worked with the Oaklands Strategy Group on the considerable improvements to the Oaklands Recreation Ground by the Swan Yardley.

In response to residents’ concerns about rubbish I have taken part in street and road clean-ups and have allocated funding to clean-up projects in the ward.

  • Working with Labour’s campaign team for South Yardley, we have been visiting residents in their homes to see what their key concerns are – and what we can do to solve them.
  • With my councillor colleagues in South Yardley I have lobbied successfully for repairs to the roof of Yardley Library and campaigned for longer opening hours.
  • I have held meetings with the Head teacher of Bierton Road School, which has reopened under the control of Starbank School. The old sports hall and community centre will be demolished, helping to provide room for 420 much needed Primary School Places for local children.
  • I have been working with the Localities Special Educational Needs (SEN) Group for a better educational experience for children with special needs, and better support for their parents. In April I helped organise a councillor and school governor briefing session on the new SEND reforms.
  • I continue to work with local statutory agencies such as the Fire Service, Environment Warden, Housing and Police, I have attended local tasking meetings to deal with issues that affect the ward and the quality of resident’s lives in South Yardley. As a result, we now have 4by4 quick response vehicles at Hay Mills Fire Station, to deal with minor incidents.

Click here to Download.

Reports of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees

Reports of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees – Business Support: Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises

City Council – 5 November 2013.Tue, 05th Nov 2013 – 2:00 pm

Click Here

Birmingham councillors and schoolchildren visit to war memorial sites in France and Belgium

YOUNG people from Birmingham paid tribute to the sacrifices made by Commonwealth soldiers in two major wars.

Councillor Mohammed Aikhlaq (Bordesley Green), Councillor Zafar Iqbal MBE (South Yardley) and the group visited graves and war memorials in France and Belgium.

There they laid wreaths on behalf of the people of the city. The group included pupils from Bordesley Green Girls School, Al Hijrah school, members of the Bordesley Green Detached project and residents from the Bordesley Green Forum.

The purpose of the trip, which took place last weekend, was to give young people the chance to learn more about the sacrifices made by soldiers from the Indian sub continent in the First and Second World Wars.

The councillors laid a wreath at the Indian War memorial in France and a wreath was also laid in a moving ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium.

The trip was organised by Captain Muhammad of the British Army and Abdul Ghafar of Birmingham Youth Services.

Original Source: Birmingham Mail