Billy

I think the good thing about Birmingham is its diversity. Walk in the streets and you see people from all backgrounds. Birmingham is like a reflection of the whole world.

I am from Zimbabwe originally and I came into the UK in 2002. I chose to leave for two reasons. I wanted to do more studies in housing, my field of employment, and again because of the political situation at the time. I found that the Universities in Birmingham had very, very good comments about them and the courses were quite specific to what I needed at the time.

Towards the end of my course one of the lecturers suggested that I contact an organisation called Pathway West Midlands. It?s an organisation that focuses on black and ethnic minorities, promoting them and getting them into mainstream jobs like housing. They took me on as one of their candidates and because I didn?t have experience of the housing sector in the UK, they got me into Focus Housing as a trainee for about a year. When I got to understand the system I applied for jobs that were available at the time and I got into the role that I do now at Midland Heart.

What made me stay was that I got training. There are opportunities in Midland Heart to progress. I think also the organisation is very diverse. The clientele that they deal with here have very varied cultural backgrounds. Because I came from a different background myself, I felt that I did fit in. It?s an interesting role, meeting different people.

I have made friends at work, some of them very long-term friends. And for the last four or five years, I was living in a shared house with people from Italy, Africa, France, Germany, all sorts of people. That experience has been very, very good. I have made a lot of friends through that. Also I have made a lot of friends in Church. I go to the Birmingham Christian Centre, which is a very diverse Church as well. You get Asian, black and white people and that has enabled me to connect with a lot of people.

I think the good thing about Birmingham is its diversity. Walk in the streets of Birmingham and you see people from all walks, all backgrounds. Birmingham is like a reflection of the whole world. If you are looking for an African person you will see them, if you are looking for a Polish person or someone from America, and it makes people like myself feel comfortable.

Birmingham is my home, and I feel at home here. If you go to Soho Road, if you go to the City Centre, you can see the vibrancy. If you go to Bearwood you can feel the community spirit. Of course there are issues, but I think there is vibrancy and diversity in Birmingham and that?s the most important thing.

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