26 April 2024
Weekly Message to Constituents 211 - Royal Sutton School’s annual parliamentary debating competition
In the Constituency

Royal Sutton School’s annual parliamentary debating competition


Last night at The Royal Sutton School (formerly John Wilmott) our 19th annual schools’ debating competition took place. I had the great pleasure and privilege of chairing and introducing the debates.

The competition was held at Royal Sutton school because, for the first time since the competition began 22 years ago, they won it last year.

And our host and head teacher, Nicola Gould, clutching last year’s coveted trophy welcomed us…

The eight debates and 16 debaters put on a brilliant show and hugely entertained and amused us over the next couple of hours.

The judges had to take some time to decide as the results were so close, but finally agreed that the winners of the competition 2024 are:




Outstanding debater of the night went to Charlie O’Neill from Arthur Terry School ….


The runner up debating team was Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School ….


And the winning school for 2024 ….


Huge congratulations to the Royal Sutton School for its great win last night! The winners, Toby Fisher and Bilal Williams-Jameel, here with their headteacher Ms Gould and last year’s winners, Hunor Veres and Tatenda Mutonga.

Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust annual review 

Many congratulations to the Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust (SCCT) on another brilliant year enhancing life in our Royal Town.

Over the year to last September the Trust awarded more than £1 million in grants. 

I am so grateful to the trustees and the staff for all their hard work.

I am very much looking forward to joining SCCT at the Walmley Golf Foundation’s wheelchair-friendly golf course in May, for which they have generously agreed grant funding.




New owners of The Gracechurch give local residents the chance to have your say 

The new owners of The Gracechurch, BPG and SAV Group are set to give local residents of Royal Sutton Coldfield their first glimpse of eagerly awaited proposals for the centre with a series of ‘informal’ public consultation events on Sunday 28th April and May 5th with further dates planned for the summer of 2024. 

The plans have been developed with the long-term future of the town in mind and seek to create a place the people of Royal Sutton Coldfield are ‘proud of’, demonstrating a commitment to re-energising the town centre in line with the vision set out in The Sutton Coldfield Town Centre Masterplan SPD. 

Plans include the creation of two new town squares to the north and south of the town centre that will act as the new ‘Heart’ of the town, along with a new night-time economy, comprehensive refurbishment and reconfiguration strategy to the existing shopping mall, a 120 key hotel, community led spaces for wellness and healthcare and up to 700 new homes creating the jobs and economic demand to sustain an improved retail and food and beverage offer. 

The development will be delivered in a series of phases over a number of years to minimise the disruption to the town with the north of the scheme earmarked to be redeveloped first. This will be followed by the refurbishment of the central retail core then the redevelopment of the southern section. 

To celebrate the launch of the informal consultation events, the owners have funded a new family-friendly food festival, Royal Food Fest on May 5th featuring live music, DJ’s, and free giveaways in addition to a CoCoMelon meet and greet organised and funded by the Royal Sutton Coldfield BID. 

Local Residents will be invited to have their say by completing an online survey on the consultation days supported by a dedicated team of staff followed by the launch of a dedicated website where residents can learn more information and provide feedback. Everyone is welcome and we look forward to engaging with the local community.




Visit to The Cancer Support Centre on Lindridge Road

I very much enjoyed my visit to Lindridge road this morning to the Cancer Support Centre of which I am the Patron.

It’s my first visit since all the issues of location and the centres future have been sorted out (see earlier messages) and i was so please to see that.

I met some of those involved in running and organising this important and very highly valued jewel in Sutton Coldfield’s crown and toured some of their newly altered facilities.

I also looked in on an art group (fortunately the choir who roped me in on an earlier visit were not performing today so avoided suffering my singing voice!)

A huge thank you to the chair, trustees, volunteers and organisers for all their fantastic work in our Town.





Above: with the painting group at Lindridge Road


In loving memory of Tony and Greta Derbyshire


At their request, today I joined the family of Tony and Greta Derbyshire, well-known for their amazing work over many years for our Town Hall where Tony ran the Town Hall users’ group for many years, for the scattering of Tony and Greta Derbyshire’s ashes in the gardens at the back of our Town Hall.



Youth fly fishing

I was delighted (and very proud) to learn that one of my young constituents, Matthew Erdington, is in the England Youth Fly fishing team, with two other teammates also from the West Midlands.

As a junior team, they rely on donations from friends and family for training days, equipment, accommodation and so on. Sadly, however, because to the cost-of-living crisis the team have struggled with funding this year.

If you have any spare change to donate to this very worthy cause, you can do so here: https://url.uk.m.mimecastprotect.com/s/VzErCoVxqfrmlVANsVxV-h?domain=gofundme.com




Community Games this summer

I am looking forward to the Royal Town’s Community Games this summer, a jewel in our crown since 2012 and something very special that we all really enjoy. It is a great afternoon promoting health and happiness and something that I participate in every year with our annual tug-of-war challenge, a highlight in the Royal Town’s calendar! I have put the poster in the ‘more information’ section of this message.



Above: the tug-of-war at the community games between the town’s elected politicians and the youth of Sutton Coldfield

In the Commons

Passing of the Safety of Rwanda Act

On Monday, Parliament passed the Safety of Rwanda Act, and it received Royal Assent yesterday. 

We can now get flights off the ground to Rwanda as we stick to our plan to stop the boats.

The Act will prevent people abusing the law by using false human rights claims to block removals and makes clear that the UK Parliament is sovereign, giving government the power to reject interim blocking measures imposed by European courts.

Our focus now is to get flights off the ground. We will send the first flight to Rwanda in 10 – 12 weeks, with multiple flights every month until the boats are stopped. Keir Starmer and the Labour Party did everything they could to block our Rwanda plan – voting against measures to stop the boats over 100 times in Parliament – and would scrap the Rwanda plan without any alternative of their own, taking us back to square one. Only Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives have a plan to stop the boats, and nothing will stand in our way of doing that.




Statement on Sudan 

On Monday I also gave a statement to the House, updating my colleagues on the humanitarian situation in Sudan.

Britain is pursuing all diplomatic avenues to press the warring parties into a permanent ceasefire, allow unrestricted humanitarian access, protect civilians, and commit to a sustained and meaningful peace process.

You can watch my statement, followed by 25 questions from colleagues across the House of Commons, here:





Commemorating the Rwandan Genocide

This week, during an event co-hosted with the Rwandan High Commission and the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, the Foreign Office commemorated 30 years since the Genocide in Rwanda against the Tutsi.






Faith and Development conference

On Wednesday I spoke at the Faith and Development conference at Church House, co-hosted by Islamic Relief and Christian Aid.

There is a great deal of support within Sutton oldfield for both these two brilliant charities which I spoke about during the course of my contribution.






On Wednesday I also spoke at an event held by the International Development Committee with UNITAID, a global health agency that invests in new treatments, tests and tools to fight diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, HIV and COVID-19.


Further Information

Di Xiao - Classical Concert Pianist - 11th May 2024


Breast Friends, Make Up Workshops


Sutton Coldfield Society of Artists Spring Exhibition 2024

The Spring Exhibition of the Sutton Coldfield Society of Artists will take place in the Bedford Suite, Sutton Coldfield Town Hall from 10.00am Saturday 4th May until 4:00pm Sunday 12th May. 

Exhibition open 9:00am to 5:00pm each day.



Advocacy Matters, Recruitment Event


Civic Society Summer programme


Community Games


Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care System’s Fairer Futures Fund


This ringfenced £22.2m Fund first launched in 2022, with various funding streams awarded up until 2027 for projects which will improve the health and wellbeing of citizens across Birmingham and Solihull; reduce health inequalities and support communities to stay well.

Applications are now open for public and VCFSE sector organisations in Birmingham to bid for Citywide Small Grants being made available via the Fairer Futures Fund.

A total of £2.46million is available through the new Citywide Small Grants, with organisations in Birmingham able to bid for up to £15,000 per year, or up to a maximum of £45,000 for individual projects over a three-year delivery period.

The deadline for applications for the Citywide Small Grants scheme is 5pm on 12 July 2024. For more information on how to apply, visit the Heart of England Community Foundation website (https://www.heartofenglandcf.co.uk/ffcw-small-grants/)


Sutton Arts Theatre- what’s on



MMR immunisation and measles awareness

Measles is circulating in the West Midlands, and the MMR vaccination provides the best protection against measles.

Please be aware of measles symptoms: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/measles/

If you think you or your child may have measles, contact your GP practice but do not visit unless instructed, as measles can spread to others easily, and 1 in 15 children can develop serious complications, such as meningitis and blindness.

For protection against measles, contact your GP practice to get your MMR immunisations.

Learn more: https://bit.ly/46QPPn1




Mobile Household Recycling Centre Locations

Please see below the visits scheduled for the week commencing 29th April of the BCC Mobile Household Recycling Centre.

·       Fri  03/05/2024 Reay Nadin Drive B73 6UL 07:30 - 13:00 Sutton Vesey