Matters discussed by the Trustee Directors in January 2012

1. No further developments were reported in the Kimberley/Waitrose planning application which is expected to be heard by Solihull Council in February. In the meantime the Society will be meeting with the Council to discuss Conservation Area concerns in respect of the application.

2. Arrangements were tabled for the four events celebrating the Society’s Jubilee year. It was agreed in particular that the ‘Tea Party’ with birthday cake to be held in the Village Hall would be thrown open to the whole community, whether members of the Society or not. It was noted that the Any Question? broadcast was likely to be over-subscribed.

3. It was agreed to continue exploring the possibility of a full-colour newsletter – perhaps using a design and print service, though there were reservations about taking that route. The change could be made coincident with appointing a new editor, for which volunteers would be sought.

4. It was agreed to form a new committee (possibly to be named ‘Membership Services’) which would pull together the five member-related activities of Membership, Newsletter, Distribution, Website and Publicity. The need for greater coordination of these activities was recognised as the Society continues to respond to changes in communication and technology.

5. Although the Society has adequate funds at present it is recognised that is growing role in community events (such as the Christmas lights) and developments in the newsletter may cause regular expenditure to exceed income and that the subscriptions which have remained unchanged for many years, could require review.

6. Knowle Green Community Project – It was reported that there was possible private interest being expressed in developing this block. The Society would look further into this report but also noted that the block was actually owned by the Council.

7. Diana Holl-Allen representing the Knowle Councillors assured the meeting that the Local Development Framework would be seeking a lot of input from the community; she also stressed that if the community does not respond then decisions will be imposed upon it. She also reported that Council Tax is to be frozen for the next year and that the cemetery at Widney Manor is to be expanded.

8. Knowle Library – it was reported that the relationship with the library service over our Saturday afternoon opening arrangements is becoming increasingly positive and further developments are anticipated. Some 700 people have used this facility in which a 70% were children.

9. Christmas Lights – the condition and quantity of the remaining tree lights was such that it was agreed that enquiries would be made about the purchase of new LED lights.

10. One much valued committee member resignation was noted and two new ones were approved.

11. The future of the former bypass land and the lack of a potential walking link between Longdon Road and this land; the Society’s continued interest in being willing to assist with the Streamside Trust and the difficulty in selecting a suitable place for planting of a Jubilee tree in the autumn land was discussed. Solihull Council had expressed its willingness to cooperate in the planting a tree.

Photo Competiton Winners


Lucinda Baker (right) and Sophie Leonard (left) of Arden Academy – joint winners of the Society’s Youth Photo Competition Knowle as I see it pictured with Peter Ewin (Knowle Society, left), Pauline Astle (Head of Art, Arden) & Bill Bohanna (Knowle Society, right).

On the 12th July, Society chairman, Peter Ewin and Bill Bohanna who is responsible for the Society’s Community Liaison and is now a Community Governor at Arden presented the prizes in our photo competition. Some 16 entries had been submitted by pupils at Arden and the standard of entry was so high that it was decided to present two prizes. Incidentally, these were donated anonymously.

The winning entries which both showed imagination and good technical skill were submitted by Lucinda Baker and Sophie Leonard. Lucinda is from year 12 and Sophie is from year 8.

It was a great pleasure to be involved in this first real attempt to involve some of our highly talented youngsters in the Society and we hope very much that we are able to build on these small beginnings and create a real and lasting bridge between Arden and the Society – the two biggest bodies in Knowle – to mutual benefit.

As previously referred to in the newsletter we are anxious to start a youth group as part of the Society and we sincerely hope that this competition will lead to just that. Indications on students’ personal statements on University applications that they have been involved in community activities would surely stand them in very good stead and the Society and the village as a whole will benefit from enthusiastic youngsters being involved in such activities.

[Attached below are the winning photographs (the like and dislike images of each joint winner) and the presentations made at Arden Academy’s assembly. Lucinda is shown pictured with Chairman Peter Ewin and Sophie is pictured with Community Liaison/Community Governor Bill Bohanna.]

Website renewal launched successfully

On the afternoon of Friday 15th July 2011 the Society’s website was re-launched with a brand new design. Viewing this page you are looking at the new website.

The first website was created for the Society in 2002 and had undergone one subsequent renewal. A major and recent addition was the fully searchable Local History Archive. This has proved to be a popular feature and a considerable help to members and the general public when making initial enquiries into whether the Society’s archives might help them with their family history research. The latest design is based on a popular Content Management System (CMS) which will make future maintenance much easier. We hope that you like the new design and welcome any constructive criticism – why not use our Forum (see Active forum topics on the right of this page) to let us have your feedback?

Library opens on Saturday afternoons


Solihull Council and The Knowle Society have made a ground-breaking agreement in which the Society provides trained and checked volunteers to enable Knowle Library to continue its lending, renewal and returns service for books and other resources through into Saturday afternoons.

This service began on 8th July 2011 and five adults and fourteen children used the service on that first afternoon. Giving children in particular that extra opportunity to browse the library at the weekend makes this move both worthwhile and satisfying for the many people who have volunteered to make it work. The volunteers have back-up support from the Central Library staff if needed and this agreement could be a model for other enhancements to our community life.

The Society and the Council already have a longstanding agreement whereby the Society holds regular Saturday open mornings upstairs in the library for its Local History Archive and it maintains display cases there that show a series of exhibitions featuring aspects of Knowle and its people, based on that archive material. The public is always welcome to inspect the Archive on those open mornings and the stewards regularly help to answer enquiries about local families.

[Note that on the following week 23 adults and 12 children availed themselves of the new opening times.]

Society exhibits at Knowle Village Hall Jubilee

A lively and interactive display by the Society contributed to a very successful Jubilee event put on by the Knowle Village Hall Association on 9th April 2011.

A large display by The Knowle Society joined other colourful presentations by the other affiliates of KVHA in a day event which included free jubilee birthday cake for all visitors given by the event organisers. The Society had two novel elements in its display; copies of photos from the archives could be paid for and taken away on the day and a large map of Knowle invited visitors to suggest where trees might be planted in the village. Both these new ideas proved to very popular and the whole display demonstrated a lively and relevant organisation serving Knowle. Local History, Community Services, Planning, Natural Environment and Meetings & Social committees all contributed interesting material.