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Victoria Park Primary Academy brings Humphrey the camel to Smethwick

By 7th July 2015 No Comments

Victoria Park Academy’sSpice Ambassadors have hatched a plan to reach out into their community and collect stories about how spices have been used in Smethwick over the years.

Made possible by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, a group of children from Victoria Park Academy will be walking Humphrey the camel around the streets of Smethwick on Thursday the 18th June, talking to residents and collecting stories about how spices have helped shape the community they live in.

Camels were what made the ancient spice trade possible and although today their role in carrying spices in exotic parts of the world is defunct the children wanted to share some of the things they have been learning with people in the community.

Jaskirat, one of VPA’s Spice Ambassadors, said, “We want to bring the community together using spices.”

Creating a spice history of Smethwick has grown from the work of Ballot Street Spice a school based social enterprise set up by children, teachers and parents at Victoria Park Academy to bring the community together and provide jobs for local people and real learning experiences for children.

Sales of Mrs Mahal’s Masala and Spicy Ambassadors’ Tea through the Ballot Street Spice website have led to three part time positions being created for local parents and community members. Therefore recording the rich heritage of how spices have been used in the area is the next natural step to uncovering more inspiring stories that can be turned into spice blends that bring opportunity.

On Thursday 18th June, Nick Clitheroe from the Real Ideas Organisation will be helping the Spice Ambassadors take Humphrey to visit supportive local organisations, businesses and local resident’s homes to gather people’s stories. If you’d like Humphrey to visit you or if you have a story to tell please get in contact with nicholas.clitheroe@realideas.org.

We are particularly looking for local businesses who would like to sponsor Humphrey as a way of making a difference to a great local initiative and being recognised as having supported the first ever camel to walk the streets of Smethwick!

Following Humphrey’s walk, children will be designing a spice map of Smethwick and a Heritage Album recounting the stories of how spices have helped shaped our community.

The spice walk wouldn’t be possible without the Heritage Lottery Fund and we have also already been working closely with local partners like the Oak House Museum who host a Spice Festival on Sunday 7th June, Spice Kitchen who have supported the work of Ballot Street Spice and MyBnk who are championing Mrs Mahal’s Masala through their Enterprise in a Box scheme.

We would love to hear your story of how you use spices in cooking, in medicines, in ceremonies or any other way so that we can record and understand the rich and spicy cultural heritage of Smethwick.

For more information or to tell us your story please visit www.ballotstreet.co.uk or contact nicholas.clitheroe@realideas.org or telephone Victoria Park Academy on 0121 558 8701.

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