My name is Craig Burgess. I have lived in Balsall Common since 1985 and have enjoyed communicating about happenings in the local area ever since the new Millenium.
It all began when I started learning web design around about the Year 2000, where I created a website which no longer exists harpooning various aspects of community life.
Having developed something of a habit for writing about local happenings I began thinking about how to do this in a more constructive manner. And that’s how BalsallCom.Com was born:
I Co-Founded BalsallCom.Com with Neil Cooke and Paul Tasker, which all started with a meeting at Neil’s house in November 2003.
The website launched on 1st May 2004.
BalsallCom.Com started out as just a website but is now a multi-channel media service offering news, views and forums for the community of Balsall Common and outlying areas through a number of channels including but not limited to:
Balsall Common Festival
I am happy to say that I was one of the founding members of the popular Balsall Common Festival, which started life in 2012 as a Queen’s Jubilee celebration when Marie-Louise Marsden wrote an open letter in The Bugle Magazine seeking interested volunteers.
I was privileged to go on to serve as Event Chairman from 2014-2015, in which time we transformed what was a predominantly fete based event into a multi-entertainment Festival that introduced the regular Balsall’s Got the Voice talent contest and Balsall Common Fun Run to the community calendar.
I left the team in 2016 to focus on other projects.
Who is Craig Burgess?
I arrived in Balsall Common in 1985 and barring a few short periods, has lived in the sprawling village ever since.
By 2003, I was beginning to think seriously about creating a community website, when I purchased the balsallcom.com domain name:
A lot of people mistakenly think our website address is balsallcommon.com – but at the time I was searching for domain names that one wasn’t available because someone had snapped it up for a travel agency or something similarly irrelevant.
Anyway, I teamed up with my friend Paul Tasker to start thinking things through, but almost as soon as I’d bought the BalsallCom.Com domain name I received an email from this chap called Neil Cooke. It said something along the lines of ‘I see you purchased this domain name, this wouldn’t happen to be for a community website would it?’
I wrote back to confirm that it was and suddenly in November 2003 the three of us found ourselves sat on the floor in Neil’s lounge plotting and planning. 6 months later our website was born and we’ve been serving news, information and forums to the community ever since.
Neil was a fairly new resident at the time and I think we all shared the view that for people that were new to the area and maybe didn’t have children, it wasn’t that easy to find out what was going on in the village. There was no central hub.
This is no longer an issue and the village is now well served with communications thanks to a proliferation of quality communications that also incude The Bugle Magazine and the Balsall Common Village Residents Association Communicator publication.
For the last 6 or 7 years, we’ve also had Claire Turner on the team. Claire is a true Balsall Commoner, having attended the Heart of England School as a pupil and has since seen her eldest son join the school too.
Find Craig Burgess online
My Balsall Buzz Mission
10 years later, I decided I wanted to offer a more niche hyperlocal media service to promote the best of everything in Balsall Common and surrounding villages, from independent businesses, to local clubs, charities and events. Having seen similar services that were nothing more than glorified directories, I wanted to create something more useful, a platform that helps people get to know, like and trust the featured businesses.
This would mean offering more than just a business entry and a bunch of testimonials.
Effectively it’s Evangelism for Independent Premium Brands, a place where we help the experts show off their expertise and what makes them special.
It’s still in its infancy, but I do believe it’s beginning to prove its worth regarding what it set out to achieve.