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Shades Of Black People


Mrs Sonia Hyman


I came to live in England in the nineteen sixties with my mother and father who was already settled in Nottingham from the early fifties (50's)

My father has served in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War from an early age I was always interested in elderly care and home visits also involved in various Community Youth and After Schools Clubs.

After leaving Nottingham University I came to live in Birmingham where I continue my study in nursing at All Saints Hospital in Mental Health after my three years training I worked as a professional nurse for five years.

After having my children through parental care I had to change jobs until proper arrangement could be made to look after my husband and children but still involved in Community Care work.

The jobs that I was involved in were School Dinner Lady, Classroom Assistance, Cleaner but was still involved in Community Care action. In 19871 became involved in Wilkes Green Resident's Association and still is, also Women's Help Centre, St Andrew Craft Club and many others. It was during this time that I became aware of a local group called Shades of Black and in 1990 I joined the group where I am ever since.

Shades of Black became an important part of my life when I got involved in the wider Community participant in basic Educational learning skills with the Young people, House bound and Senior Citizens.

The Shades of Black Project has touched the heart of many individual which has benefited from basic skills Educational Project Presented

E.G. Mental Health, Aids, Sewing Activity, Caribbean Cooking Activity, Christmas Dinners, Day Trips, Visit to Residential Homes, Researches, War Veteran Research and Local Schools basic Educational life skills at the Uplands Allotment Plot for Healthy Living Life Style.

The Project has received numerous awards for acknowledge and achievement of working with local School Pupils and Community children within the geographical area of Handsworth, Aston and Stechford Birmingham

I am the senior citizen's co-ordinator also one of the coordinator of the HELP Project. The HELP Project was started on the 4th March 1999 with funding from Shell Better Britain Campaign, Birmingham City Council, department of Leisure and Community Service.

The Project was started with pupils from Handsworth Wood Girls School.We started the project with pupils doing photographic work,sketching, and videoing, and historical research work on the allotment.In March 2000, a vacant plot was allocated to us to start the project. We started to prepare the land by doing the weeding,digging and preparing the soil ready for planting. When we first started the project, we planted various vegetables such as sweetcorn,carrots,pumkin,potatoes,spinach,tomatoes and cabbage.The first time the pupils had planted the garden they won first prize for their spinach, they won a trophy, a certificate anda bit of money that encouraged them to continue with the project.

In 2001 we extended the project to other schools to come and join us. The offer was taken up by Foundry Lane School in Winson Green and Grove School in grove Lane, Handsworth.The first time any of the pupils had seen an allotment they were so excited, they learnt how to weed the land, how to do the planting, watering and various other things. Last year we won various prizes in the allotment show.

This year we hope we will win again, this will encourage the pupils to continue with the project. At the end of the project we held a harvest service where the pupils invited the senior citizens tot he service and gave them a hamper of what they had grown form the allotment.

I enjoy working with the pupils and to see the joy on their faces of what they themselves has achieved and what they have learned. The project is going very well and I hope it will continue to HELP the pupils in their life and HELP others achieve their goals.



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