An additional 72 cases of Covid 19 have been registered in Sutton Coldfield for the week of 27 February- 5 March compared to an updated figure of 97 for the week of 20-26 February based on data from Birmingham City Council’s public health division.
The 7-day case rate between 27 February- 5 March in Birmingham is now 86.5 cases/100K population, compared to an updated figure of 130.8/100K for the period between 20-26 February.
Over the 7 days leading up to 5th March, of 18,648 PCR pillar 2 tests, 896 (4.8%) were positive, higher than the regional and national averages but lower than last week.
Birmingham ranks 12th in the region for pillar 2 PCR tests, with 1,633 positive tests per 100k population. 49,499 lateral flow tests were also carried out.
Hospital admissions have decreased again and range 18 and 41 new cases a day at University Hospitals Birmingham Trust over the 7 days from 27 February- 5 March
Businesses in England are now able to sign up to the government’s free Covid 19 workplace testing programme: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/free-rapid-tests-for-all-businesses-for-regular-workplace-testing
The attached image shows an overview of vaccinations across different wards in Sutton Coldfield, based on the data that was available on Tuesday.
I have received an update from Dr Rahul Dubb in relation to the Town Hall vaccine programme. Well over 90% of groups 1-5 on their lists have been vaccinated with 75% in group 5 and 81% in group 7. The team aims to complete care home second doses next week and vaccinate any additional residents or staff who have not yet had their first dose.
Carers (both those in receipt of carers allowance or informal carers) are eligible for a Covid vaccination. Carers can register online: https://forwardcarers.org.uk/local-services/carer-register-form / to ensure that their carer status and eligibility is shared with Birmingham's local vaccination roll-out programme that is managed and led by the NHS.
Royal Sutton Coldfield updates
The Tudor Community Sports Trust operates the Tudor Community Sports site and the team and some young volunteers have been posting leaflets through local doors to highlight their facilities including a maintained bowls green, modern pavilion and four tennis courts. The team is currently recruiting volunteers and encouraging fundraising support and sponsorship to regenerate the site. To find out more see their website: https://www.tudorcommunityst.co.uk/
Our local Suttonian Police and Crime Commissioner candidate, Jay Singh-Sohal, this week announced his approach to tackling knife crime, if elected in May. The issue is causing much concern amongst parents and young people. Jay will support a greater use of "stop and search", fund grassroots activities to divert young people from crime and recruit more Special Constables from diverse communities. He intends to make more use of our police station to centre these proposals.
Two revised Expressions of Interest have been submitted to the Department for Transport’s Restoring your Railway Ideas Fund. The bids seek funding for work to assess the feasibility and business case of reopening stations on the Sutton Park Line including: Minworth, Walmley, Sutton Park/Town, Streetly, and Aldridge. A bid has also been submitted for Castle Bromwich & Fort Parkway.
I would like to thank local constituent James Stokes for getting in touch with some brilliant photos he took of the new West Midlands Railway trains which were being tested yesterday on the cross-city line. The photographs were taken in Sutton Coldfield and Wylde Green. For those of us that use the route regularly I know that these new modern trains will be very welcome when they are introduced on our local route.
Andy Street and the West Midlands Combined Authority have launched an expert taskforce to help unlock publicly owned land for regeneration. The taskforce brings together leading property experts across the public and private sectors to explore how public land could be used to provide greater benefit to local communities. The taskforce will build upon the success of brownfield regeneration programmes within the West Midlands to deliver more high-quality, affordable homes and related infrastructure while at the same time ensuring our precious green spaces remain protected from development.
This week the West Midlands Combined Authority has committed £256,000 towards the redevelopment of Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, good news for an important cultural venue in our area and particularly welcome during this difficult time for our arts and creative industries.
Birmingham University has revealed that an overwhelmingly positive response was received in relation to a public consultation on their plans for the National College of Advanced Transport and Infrastructure (NCATI). The new NCATI will produce generations of highly skilled professionals to lead the UK’s future rail transport and infrastructure workforce. It will bring together education providers, employers and industry bodies and will contribute to local and regional development through the delivery of high-quality education and skills training. Positive news for the future of local high skilled jobs.
Congratulations to Henrietta Brealey who at the age of 30 has been appointed the youngest chief executive in the 208-year history of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce. She succeeds Paul Faulkner, who, after six years in the position, is joining the Richardson family businesses.
Birmingham 2022 Cultural Festival has received a £1 million funding award from Spirit of 2012, the London 2012 legacy charity, to enable 300 young people from across the West Midlands to co-create a series of major dance performances, and take centre stage at the Commonwealth Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
Westminster news and Parliamentary business
Monday was International Women’s Day, an important opportunity to celebrate the contributions made by women and recognise the huge sacrifices that many have made over the past 12 months. On Thursday I spoke in the International Women’s Day debate in the House of Commons https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkzUFQ0mNCE
Women are being encouraged to share their experiences of the health and care system via a call for evidence aimed at improving healthcare for women: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/womens-health-strategy-call-for-evidence
Following my visit last week to Twycross Zoo I has a meeting with Lord Goldsmith about the pressures facing zoos and the plans for zoos to reopen on 12th April. Twycross Zoo is an excellent local facility and I am keen to offer my support for their educational and conservation work.
I have spent much of today in the House of Commons which is unusual for a Friday. Several Fridays a year are allocated to Private Members' bills and my Register of Births and Deaths Bill was on the order paper today. Unfortunately time ran out on proceedings which means my Bill is very unlikely to proceed to the House of Lords. With much of the ground work and plans already laid, I am sure another way will be found for this Sutton inspired measure to proceed, to ensure that people can register a birth or death easily and without having to travel long distances to registry offices.
My colleague Chris Loder’s Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill which I am supporting has made better progress today. The Bill seeks to increase the maximum custodial sentence for animal cruelty offences in England and Wales from six months to five years and having passed the Commons will now go to the House of Lords.
Earlier in the week I joined Mariella Frostrup on her Times Radio show for a discussion about international development https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8huVtoPssY
NHS Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens has announced the launch of the “Op Courage” service which will provide a clear single route for armed forces veterans who are experiencing a mental health crisis to access specialist mental health care. Over the last two years, the health service has expanded mental health services as part of the NHS Long Term Plan. More than 13,000 former troops have already benefited from specialist care for problems such as anxiety and depression and almost 2,000 have received help for more complex problems such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The Government has also announced a £79 million boost to mental health services for children and young people. This has been an exceptionally difficult year for many children and young people and the additional funding will help ensure that nearly three million children in England can access vital mental health support when and where they need it – by creating hundreds more mental health support teams in schools and colleges.
On Monday the Home Secretary announced an additional £130.5 million of funding will be provided to prevent violent crime and its underlying causes. This includes:
West Midlands Police will directly receive £2,940,000 from the additional funding. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/1305-million-to-tackle-serious-violence-murder-and-knife-crime
Opportunities and Events
Celebrating Communities is a £2 million small grants funding scheme, part of a wider £6 million package to maximise the benefits of hosting the Commonwealth Games. Grants will be available to run initiatives which deliver against one of three themes: ‘Getting Active’, ‘Ready, Steady, Fun’ and ‘Celebrating Culture’. The grants will be available to people and communities across the Birmingham City Council area. Applications are open from 1 March to 1 June 2021 and then from 1 October 2021 to 1 January 2022. https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/celebratingcommunities
The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country has created a free Garden Wildlife Hero Guide full of ideas to help create a wildlife-friendly garden. https://www.bbcwildlife.org.uk/GardenWildlifeHero
Marie Curie’s annual fundraising campaign is held every March. The campaign is marking its 35th anniversary and with the cancellation of public collections, the charity is facing a potential loss of over £3 million. For more information on how to fundraise, donate or set up a virtual collection for Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal visit: www.mariecurie.org.uk/daffodil
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