Skiing in Birmingham – Kuldip Kaur Kang
Six weeks into my new role at BIG as a Regional Officer-Development (West Midlands), I was standing at the tip of a ski-slope in what felt like sub-zero temperatures surrounded by teenagers…in the middle of Birmingham. So not exactly the Swiss Alps, but it certainly seemed like it considering I’m not at all keen on the idea of fake snow let alone real snow.
Arriving at the Acker’s Adventure Park seemed a world away from the rest of Birmingham with its never ending traffic, hoards of people and concrete which surround the Park. Instead, I suddenly found I was in the middle of lush autumnal greenery that was in total contrast to the road I had been driving on a few seconds previously. Upon checking my Sat Nav had not decided to be creative and take me on a trip to an altogether different city, I then realised the significance of the reason I was here. Acker’s is an outdoors adventure park which includes a ski slope that was recently repaired thanks to a grant from BIG via Awards for All. Acker’s is situated in the middle of Sparkbrook an urban, Birmingham neighbourhood which scores highly on numerous scores of social deprivation.
My colleague Emily Bridger (Regional Officer-Outreach) and I arrived at the Park just as masses of teenagers from Small Heath Secondary School were having a P.E. lesson there. This was their first lesson there and their first experience of skiing kept us thoroughly entertained with their alternative styles. The teenagers’ enthusiasm for skiing brought home to me the human element of the work that we do at BIG which can often get hidden by paperwork. To be briefly part of those teenagers’ experience reinforced and highlighted to me what positive memories Lottery money can buy.