Up close and personla with BBC WM’s Rakeem Omar who wonders, why wouldn’t you want to live in Birmingham?
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
I am a BBC WM presenter with my own show every Tuesday evening from 7pm to 9pm.
HOW DO YOU GET INTO TOWN?
I live in north Birmingham so there is a variety of public transportation that easily gets me into town. Once I have arrived it’s just a quick walk into the Mailbox to get to BBC Birmingham.
IS BRUM A GOOD PLACE TO WORK IN?
Birmingham is amazing to live and work in. It’s a large city but not too big, so it’s easy to commute into and move around in. It’s a diverse place too with nearly half the population represented by those from an ethnic minority background. We also have one of the youngest populations in the nation. There are lots of green spaces, canals and we have great food from various communities. Why wouldn’t you want to work here? Brum is where it’s at!
I’m a big fan of small and independent coffee shops. There are so many to choose from in the city whether you’re having an off-site meeting or catching up with friends. 200 Degrees tops the list currently for me.
I’m probably just cheap but I like to cook the majority of my lunches at home first. I have been a pescetarian for more than two years now and sometimes going out for an inexpensive lunch with options can be difficult. So I’ve resulted to stashing those coins and cooking a few meals here or there. But some great places to eat include Mexican-inspired Tortilla and Caribbean restaurant Aunt Sally’s. Both have great options for those who aren’t meat-eaters.
Sandwell Valley Country Park holds a lot of memories for me growing up. You’re surrounded by woodlands, streams, ponds and a farm. I’ve gone back there a few times just to think and be still. It’s a beautiful place.
WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE CITY?
I love north Birmingham. There are so many green spaces. Sometimes living in a city can feel congested and these are great in allowing for a sense of escape. Completely opposite is industrial Digbeth, which I also love. There are always so many great events hosted here like TRPHSE, Caribbean vegan restaurant Earth’s Kitchen and the creative heart of the city, the Impact Hub.
There are so many to choose from… but Mellow’s bar and the Alchemist are great options.
HOW CAN THE CITY BE MADE BETTER?
Currently Birmingham is going through a massive redevelopment. Areas and communities are seeing change they have never witnessed before. One of the things that Birmingham needs is better infrastructure. So many young creative people passionate about the arts believe that they have to go to the likes of London or Manchester to thrive. One of the major reasons for this is the difference in organisational structures and support. I just want other young people like myself and the next generations to continue to see themselves shine in the city that made them.