This page has been created in support of FOLIO’s Art Council Application (Project Grants) Applicant No: 55016930, Project Number: ACPG-00475790

FOLIO Sutton Coldfield is a Registered Charity (No. 1175929, registered in England and Wales). We are a community group of Sutton Coldfield residents who want to see our public libraries not just survive, but thrive at the heart of our community.

Our Mission
To offer inspirational and transformational activities for the community to learn, interact and thrive, through engagement with local library services.

Our Vision
An inspired and cohesive local community, passionate about reading and learning, which enjoys and engages with library services.

Although COVID has had an impact on what we have been able to do in the last 18 months, FOLIO nevertheless now has strong experience of programming community events that make a difference and a tangible contribution to life in Sutton Coldfield. In particular we have seen the power that artistic experiences have to bring the community together, whether that be through our drama workshops which utilised augmented reality to create a mystery, scripted, acted and filmed by young people, the creativity that has found an output through our craft workshops, the skills developed at our creative writing and comics workshops or our dance-themed storytimes and activity sessions. With no multi-arts centre in Sutton Coldfield our activities have often provided people with the chance to engage with arts and culture on their doorsteps, the value of which has been particularly demonstrated since COVID.

Before COVID, larger cultural events we hosted and/or facilitated include our annual children’s book festival, a Harry Potter Party and the commissioning of a new library-themed opera for young children and their families.

During the COVID period we have engaged with our followers in new ways, through the physical delivery of activities to their homes, and through a wide range of online activities, including an online code club, and an extensive series of local interest talks. This has enabled us to considerably strengthen our support online, and to reach residents who had not previously engaged with FOLIO activities. Our Newsletter subscription base, for example, has grown 400%.

Here’s a sample of the feedback we’ve received over the last 18 months, for both online and in-person activities.

“Really informative, professional, and enlightening”
“Fascinating presentation, well researched, stimulating and lively.”
“All in all a very engaging and enjoyable event.”
“I loved it! Absolutely brilliant”
“Thanks to all of you for the amount of effort you put in for us. It strikes me as not an easy thing to put on.”
“Most enjoyable evening – nothing beats good storytelling”
“Excellent fascinating and illuminating talk First time I have accessed any of Folio’s events but will attend more in the future Thank you”
“The talk was first class. Thank you very much indeed”
“Very well organised”
“Excellent and so interesting. It was my first Folio meeting and certainly won’t be the last, thank you”
“It was a fantastic day which we were looking forward to since LAST YEAR.”
“[The best bit was] Seeing so many happy people loving being in a library – so many people finding corners to read and share stories in, inspired by sessions they had just attended. It was an amazing atmosphere, a brilliant event, bringing people together.”
“It was so lovely to have a fun, buzzy, local event for my two year old. Seeing her so happy was great!”
“This was inspirational for my 8 year old who loves reading and writing.”
“Thank you ever so much for organising such a fantastic event and inspiring children to read and have a passion for books. It was absolutely brilliant!”
“An amazing inspirational event that has encouraged my FASD child to read.” (FASD = Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder)
“It was really well organised and everyone was friendly and welcoming”
“loved it! So glad it was in sutton”
“awe inspiring and amazing. Thank you so much for all your hard work in putting this event on.”
“Excellent workshops – kept children fully engaged and entertained. Brilliant ideas, please keep up the good work and we will return! Thank you.”
“Brilliant event. Please do more!”
“Great to see a festival in the local area!”
“So lovely to see the library so vibrant! So many smiles everywhere! Well done everyone”.

The COVID period has also given FOLIO’s Board of Trustees the time and space to focus energy on strengthening governance and structural issues, putting us in a good position to take on our largest project to date i.e. our proposed Shakespeare festival.

Reviews of artists we wish to engage for our Shakespeare festival:

Natural Theatre Company: “Consider yourself re-booked!”

Emma Purshouse: “If you ever get a chance to see her perform live, grab it…she’s wicked”

B’Opera: “I can hand on heart say that I think every child, everywhere, should have access to these sessions. They’re educational, fun and entertaining.”

Passamezzo: “A truly memorable and uplifting evening” “a programme clearly enjoyed by all who heard it”

Impromptu Shakespeare: “Ingenious and very funny” “Chaotic riotous fun ★★★★★”

All confirmed artists and other partners reiterated their support of this project in September 2021.

OPUS stands for Outdoor Places Unusual Spaces (Limited) and is the name of a company formed in 2018 by Birmingham-based Independent Producer Caroline Davis. OPUS offers Event Management and Producing Services focussing on large-scale, multi-stakeholder, combined Arts Events and festivals. OPUS creates cultural and artistic interventions in place based settings that connect people to each other and the space.

OPUS works with its clients across the arts, sport and leisure, government and corporate sectors, to plan and deliver events in everything from civic spaces, shopping centres, train stations… to Greenfield, woodland sites to the public transport system…. with a firm belief that People make Places. We connect sponsors, creatives, media partners and stakeholders to create events that resonate with local communities and visitors alike.

As a Birmingham based company, they utilise local supply chains wherever possible to benefit the people and businesses in the immediate area and we promote the city and it’s possibility wherever we can. OPUS understands the importance to FOLIO that local artists and businesses are used wherever possible.

OPUS Project images