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NEWS OF EVENTS and AWARDS: 2002 -2016


Inaugural lectures by Sir Adrian Cadbury (left), who set up the Aston and Birmingham Democracy Commissions and James Robertson, who received the 2003 Pio Manzu International Research Centre’s Gold Award from Mikhail Gorbachev for his “remarkable contribution to the promotion of a new economics grounded in social and spiritual values”


One award went to Pauline Hodgetts for her voluntary community work in deprived areas, including the preservation of a swimming baths, the restoration of a Victorian Park and the setting up of a mobile education facility for parents in school grounds which later became a recognised further education college.

The other went to Sabine Kurjo McNeill (left), who started the lecture series  (continued as Alternatives) At St. James’s Church Piccadilly, the Green Money Network as the first LETS and the Forum for Stable Currencies at the House of Lords, which has offered a platform for so many with concerns akin to those of Thomas Attwood.


Regional produce and skills, recorded in an Attwood Directory, were celebrated as people gathered to present food, drink or a product, produced in the West Midlands.

Local historian, broadcaster, author and active supporter of the region’s economy, Professor Carl Chinn (left), was introduced by John Johansen-Berg of the Bromsgrove Group.

Carl spoke about the social, economic and environmental importance of strengthening local economies everywhere. Thomas Attwood worked long and hard to promote the economic prosperity of the region. 

Rev. John Johansen-Berg chaired the annual events at the Birmingham and Midland Institute from 2002-4 and his contribution has been greatly appreciated.  


The Aston Reinvestment Trust

On December 12th, Patrick and Sylvia Shaw (a descendant of Thomas Attwood) celebrated the creation or preservation of over 1,700 jobs by the Aston Reinvestment Trust (ART) – an achievement which Thomas Attwood would have appreciated.

They presented a brass plaque handcrafted by Harry Eyles, formerly of the Jewellery Quarter.  See press release on which Birmingham Post & Mail reports were based.


Fred Carpenter

On November 24th Attwood awards Fred Carpenter was given the major award for his design for a development on the former Territorial Army site in Haslucks Green Road which would be of real benefit to the people and shop-keepers of Shirley. The judges were Sir Adrian Cadbury, MP Lorely Burt, George Morran and Alan Clawley.


Fair Deal Awards

The Attwood Awards events this year were organised by Localise West Midlands. In February and March four Fair Deal Awards were given to buyers who gave food producers a fair price.

Lynda Whitcombe of Plantation Cottage Herbs [growers & processors] nominated Helen Saunders and Capers in Pershore High Street who give a fair price for the firm’s products.

Andrew Hemming of Obelisk Farm, Hockley Heath, nominated Waitrose because it gives 3p more per litre for milk than other supermarkets. However the middleman passes on a poor price to the farmer.

Charlotte and Ben Hollins of Fordhall Farm, Shropshire, are selling all produce [meat and eggs] through their farm shop, so nominated all these customers.

Brian Swift of Hazel Farm, Bickenhill, is selling beef direct at Rugby Market to get a better return. At the Royal Agricultural Show in Stoneleigh an award was given to Matthew Mayne of Rugby Market which offers the facility for producers to get a fair price.


On 22nd April, Austin Mitchell MP received an award at a gathering in the House of Commons for his innovative monetary reform parliamentary campaign. This subject was nearest to the heart of Thomas Attwood.


Kirsty Davies, managing director of Professional Polishing Services in Smethwick, was given an Attwood Award on 15th October for her support for local jobs and manufacturing and her belief that firms have a moral duty to protect the jobs of their employees, at a time when the Chamber of Commerce was advocating offshoring to maximise profits.


Jon Morris, Matthew Rhodes and Keith Budden


After local historian Patrick Baird gave those present an interesting account of Attwood’s life and work, Jon Morris, Matthew Rhodes and Keith Budden, who jointly developed and promoted the innovative Birmingham Energy Savers scheme within Be Birmingham and the council right through to delivery, each received an Attwood Award on November 4th from the Lord Mayor, Len Gregory at a civic reception at the Council House.

The event was facilitated by Alderman Matthew Redmond of the Thomas Attwood Appreciation Society, who said: “As with Birmingham’s growth in the industrial revolution, our future green economy can be built on local enterprise. Schemes like this give us the mechanisms to do that.”Amongst the guests were Sylvia and Angela Shaw, members of the Attwood family and Angela’s son Thomas, named after the great man.

Read more:


Attwood Award to James Gibb Stuart

After an introduction by John Johansen-Berg and Angela Shaw’s words about Thomas Attwood, political and economic reformer and Birmingham’s first MP, an Attwood Award for long service to the cause of monetary reform was presented to James Gibb Stuart on Saturday October 15th 2011, by Thomas Southwell – a member of the Attwood family.

JGS award smaller

James’ daughter, Marjorie Clifton, recalled many episodes in her father’s life as a businessman and activist. Following a career in the Air Force and Navy James has now published a dozen or so books and booklets on the current monetary system and continues to update these as the affairs of Government and monetary policy continues to change.

Read more here: –

Attwood Award to James Robertson: ‘a modern thinker at the service of society’

October 25, 2011

 The ‘Occupy’ movement is dismissively and damagingly charged, by those with a vested interest in the status quo, with having no alternative. How many of them will know James Robertson’s ‘Sane Alternative’, written in the 1980s? It is even more relevant today as there is a far wider questioning of financial and economic structures – and should be presented to them.

After an introduction by John Johansen-Berg and Angela Shaw’s words about Thomas Attwood, political and economic reformer and Birmingham’s first MP, an Attwood Award for long service to the cause of monetary reform was presented to James Robertson on Saturday October 15th 2011, by Thomas Southwell – a member of the Attwood family, seen in the previous post. The presentation took place at Barnes Close – below – during the annual gathering of the Bromsgrove group.

Read more here:


City architect and urban designer Joe Holyoak

JHolyoak in street

Though Joe Holyoak has served the city well in his professional and academic capacity as director of the MA Urban Design course at Birmingham City University until 2010, the award has been given for ‘going the extra mile – working ‘pro bono’.

One of the ‘Digbeth People’, with offices at the Custard Factory, he is described as a true friend of Digbeth, lending ‘a very helpful hand’ to Digbeth Residents Association with planning issues and regularly attending HS2 Community Forums and other planning meetings on behalf of DRA.

Joe is a member of the expert panel of MADE – an organisation dedicated to improving the quality of our towns, cities and villages, which believes that a high quality built environment is essential for economic prosperity and wellbeing. His experience includes restoring and returning to use of good Victorian buildings and forward looking urban design. As a founder member of the citizens’ group Birmingham for People, he was involved in making counter-proposals for both the Bull Ring (1989) and Brindleyplace (1991) redevelopments. The People’s Plan for the Bull Ring was opposed to the developer’s proposal, and succeeded in changing the proposal substantially for the better over the next few years. In the case of Brindleyplace, there was less variance between the two. BfP’s plan was published before the developer’s masterplan of 1992, and was influential upon it to some degree, helping to shape this successful development.

Read more about his design retaining the wholesale markets on their city centre site here.


karen 2Karen Leach: Attwood Award for working to strengthen the region’s economy

City architect Joe Holyoak (last year’s awardee) presented the award. Localise West Midlands’ chairman. Jon Morris, spoke about Karen’s work inspiring others to take action by her commitment, her logic, her actions, her integrity and her persistence.

For ten years she has been the organisation’s cornerstone. Jon thought that one of the achievements that most typifies Karen is the Alliance for a Better Economy, which reaches out to a range of groups across the country working for a fairer and better local economy and which see localisation as at least an element in this.. Read more here.



Ridhi Kalaria (Ort Gallery) received the 15th award last week at a meeting of the West Midlands New Economics Group in The Warehouse, Digbeth. She has been working in her spare time to set up a local currency. One of several advantages is its potential to enable and encourage local businesses to source locally wherever possible, shortening the supply chain, strengthening local economies and furthering the common good. Tread more here.

ridhi video

To see the video, click here







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