AuthorClaire Jones

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Running away with the circus

Contributed by Emma Richardson

2018 marks 250 years since a man named Philip Astley marked out a ring and filled it with trick riders, jugglers and acrobats, and circus as we know it was born.

Last summer, girls from 40th Sutton Coldfield Brownies, 215th Brownies, 40th Sutton Coldfield Rainbows and a variety of Guides visited CircusMash in Kings Heath for a circus workshop that got them upside down, high in the air and on one leg.

30 girls and 5 leaders boarded the bus in Walmley and travelled over to Kings Heath in the worst rain we have ever seen. A quick run through the puddles and we were in CircusMash’s space – a playground of equipment and enthusiasm. Joe Fearn, director of CircusMash, set us off on an unbelievably fiendish warm up (Circus 2, Brownies 1, Leaders 0) and then started by teaching the girls to juggle. There were balls (and Brownies) everywhere, but several new jugglers were discovered.

The girls had been promised we’d get them in the air, and CircusMash didn’t disappoint. From the rafters swung down a static trapeze and an aerial hammock, and the tightwire appeared in the middle of the room.

Nerina had everyone hanging by their knees from the trapeze, and then learning tricks. Katie had the girls spinning and tying themselves in knots in the aerial hammock. Rachel got them all walking in a straight line, and then put them on the tightwire and Joe had balls being juggled and plates being spun all around the room. Even tidying up was circus-style as the girls had to juggle the mats back to their homes.

All the girls had a brilliant time and definitely earned their circus performer badges. Most were asking how soon they could come back as we headed back out to our bus.

CircusMash can be contacted at or via social media (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube). They are based at in the All Saints Centre, Vicarage Road, Kings Heath and can be found teaching and performing all around Birmingham over the summer.

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Girlguiding Birmingham members from Sutton Coldfield have been dancing for Macmillan

Contributed by Emma Richardson

Thursday 15th June, start of a heatwave in Birmingham, and 99 girls from 221st Birmingham Brownies, 9th and 40th Sutton Coldfield Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and our new Senior Section unit came together in their best disco outfits at the church hall for an all sections disco to raise money for Macmillan.

The rainbows arrived first, which meant they got first dibs on the Monster Munch and the lucky dip (being run by our brand new that night volunteer Leader Amy). Nail art, provided initially by two guides and later by a brownie leader, and ribbon hair streamers, made by the rainbows also proved very popular.

As the rainbows began to tire, the brownies arrived and took over the serious business of depleting the tuck shop.

As the sun set, and the disco lights grew brighter, the guides and senior section girls took over the dance floor and gave masterclasses in Dabbing, the Macarena and the Cha Cha slide. And we sold the last of the Monster Munch.

In total the girls raised £500.13 for Macmillan, got through 3.5 litres of concentrated squash and more bags of crisps and Quavers than we thought was possible.

Huge thanks to 221st Brownies who paid for the DJ, and to the units who subsidised the stalls.

If you would like any more information about how your can participate in The Macmillan Challenge in Birmingham, please click on the button below!


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Want to volunteer For BrumJam?

BrumJam 2016 is looking for around 200 adults to support the delivery of the camp. And ensure the young people and groups have a great time. After all this is one of the reasons we all join Scouting and Guiding.

All staff must be over 18 and hold a Scout or Guide adult appointment along with a valid DBS(CRB) or PVG check.

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295th On Their Bikes!

A beautiful sunny evening in June saw the Brownies and leaders from the 295th Birmingham Brownies in Yardley, get on their saddles for what has become our annual bike ride.

Starting off from the play area at Sheldon Country Park we cycled past the back of the runway at Birmingham Airport and on to Marston Green, where “Snowy” challenged the Brownies to see who could get up the steep hill without stopping: very few was the answer!

On the way back we completed various activities towards the out and about badge. The Brownies were asked to work out which direction we were facing by using the position of the sun, before checking their decision with a compass; they were asked to set a map looking at the surroundings, and then there was great fun and laughter playing a game based on the points of the compass.

Kathryn Hoskin | 295th Birmingham Brownies

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