In The City with PR publishing agency boss, and Digbeth fan, Stacey Barnfield
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
I am Stacey Barnfield, the co-director of PR and publishing agency Edwin Ellis Creative Media, a business my journalist wife Catherine and I launched in the summer of 2015. For more than 22 years I worked at the Birmingham Post & Mail in a newspaper career culminating in the editorship of the Post – a title I held with enormous pride for three years. I’m also chairman of influence, lobbying and events group Downtown in Business.
HOW DO YOU GET INTO TOWN?
My time is an even split between our home office and the city centre. I’ve managed to carve a decent travel routine as I’m no longer bound by rush-hour commuting and I’ll try to drive post-school-run. Rather reluctantly (see below) I’ll be in the car unless I’m ‘relaxing’ at an evening work-type bash, for which the numbers 50 or 35 bus or the closest Uber will be called upon.
IS BRUM A GOOD PLACE TO WORK IN?
I guess I can only speak for my media and PR-related dealings but the answer is an unequivocal yes. All I ask for is a comfy seat, fresh coffee and decent wi-fi and I’m in my element.
If I’m in Kings Heath it’s Maison Mayci on Poplar Road. If I’m in the city centre it’s an arm-wrestle between neighbours Home Deli or Urban Coffee on Church Street. Love ’em both. The new-look Yorks Café on Stephenson Street is also worth a mention. I think it’s great what they’ve done with the space next door and underneath. Actually, this applies to the ever-expanding Faculty in Great Western Arcade, too. Can you tell I like coffee?
I’m a bit of a runner and fortunate to live a couple of hundred yards away from a glorious stretch of canal that connects the city centre and Stratford-upon-Avon. It gives me a great escape from the hustle and bustle of Birmingham life. The slightest suggestion of a downpour, however, and you’ll find me in the warmth of EasyGym on Kings Heath High Street.
WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE CITY?
I love being in Digbeth and the city’s medieval and industrial heartlands. It’s an area of Birmingham that fascinates me and one that requires sensitive management as new industries replace old. What’s going on around the Custard Factory and Fazeley Studios is little short of remarkable and as much as I support the change, I’d hate for the area to become sanitised and lose its raw, urban charm.
I wish I had time! I’m usually heading home to spend a couple of hours with my two boys who, come early evening, will have littered the house with Lego and other kid-related clutter for me to tip-toe through. I love this time of day and being able to spend evenings with the two of them was one of the reasons I chose to shake up the whole work/life balance thing.
HOW CAN THE CITY BE MADE BETTER?
Public transport in the city needs a rocket (not literally). It feels disjointed, unappealing and quite often a last resort. I would love to see rail routes serving Moseley and Kings Heath which, in turn, would take cars off the congested High Street and have such a positive impact on south Birmingham. The city centre Metro tram extension has come under fire but thinking of the bigger picture, only when it winds its way to Edgbaston, Digbeth and beyond, will we start to see its true benefits.