People who left Balsall Heath 20 years ago and who return today often refuse at first to accept that it is the same place. As the photos which follow illustrate, the transformation has been very visible and dramatic.
Yet, the change from blight to brightness has not just been in the physical and environmental appearance of the place. Even, more important has been the change in the hearts and minds of the people who live and work there.
The present Chief Constable of the West Midlands, Paul Scott-Lee worked in Balsall Heath 15 years ago as a young Inspector. Upon his return as Chief Constable he visited his old turf. He said he could not overstate how dramatic and tangible the transformation had been. He said that 3 words summed up the impression he was left with.
- Confidence– everyone he met was confident
- Aspiration– everyone he met had high hopes and expectations
- Togetherness– everyone talked of ‘we’ and ‘us’ and not of ‘me’ and ‘mine’.
The pictures which follow tell the story of the transformation. They will help the visitor to understand why today people do indeed feel confident and aspirational and feel they could only have done this by being united and together.