17 May 2024
Weekly Message to Constituents 214 - Making progress, in spite of Birmingham’s bankruptcy bombshell
In the Constituency


As part of my work as your MP and working closely with all our Town and City councillors, I am currently distributing my latest leaflet showing how we are making progress despite the setbacks from Birmingham City Council.



Annual Meeting of Electors

The Town Council held its Annual Meeting of Electors on Wednesday at the Trinity Centre. See the report below from Cllr Simon Ward, the leader of our Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council:

‘This meeting provided the opportunity for residents in our Royal Town to hear directly from the Town Council about our work in the Town over the past twelve months and our plans for the coming year.  

There were more than 40 residents in attendance to hear updates from Cllr Tony Briggs, our Mayor and first citizen, myself and the Town Council officer team. 

We answered questions about the progress around the Town Centre, the continuing challenges of the Langley development plans, as well as the implications of the financial crisis at Birmingham City Council (BCC). We also assured residents that the Town Council remains determined to overcome the delays caused by BCC in frustrating key projects for which the Town Council has funds earmarked in its reserves.

On a more positive note it was great to set out the aspirations around the recently secured £20 million Towns Fund which will bring fantastic benefits to our Town. 

We also set out our timetable for the Town Council's strategic plan consultation with residents. This will be held over the next few months, and I urge Suttonians to have their say. 

Thank you to residents for joining the meeting and for providing their most valued input - it really was appreciated. 

Wednesday’s meeting also marked the publication of the Council’s Annual Report, copies of which are available around the town and on the Councils website. Www.suttoncoldfieldtowncouncil.gov.uk.’

-       Cllr Simon Ward, Leader - Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council. 

Above: Cllr Simon Ward 

Local residents in attendance



Efforts to keep the Donkey sanctuary open

The Donkey Sanctuary have got in touch with me to share the very unfortunate news that they are in danger of closing due to the financial difficulties they are facing. 

I am due to meet with the CEO of The Donkey Sanctuary next week as this decision is not yet final, and there is still potential to save this jewel in our Royal Town’s Crown. 

I will report back on the meeting in next week’s message.

I have had the pleasure of visiting it on numerous occasions over the last 24 years, as I know many local people have.


Above: My visit to the sanctuary last summer!



Hannah’s wedding

This is an exciting weekend for the Mitchell family, as my elder daughter, Dr Hannah, is getting married!

In the Commons

Westminster Hall debates on China and the Prevention of Sexual Violence in Conflict

On behalf of the government, responded to two Westminster Hall debates this week in my capacity as Deputy Foreign Secretary and Minister for Development and Africa.

The first was the debate on the prevention of sexual violence in conflict. You can watch it here: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/05bb99d7-29cc-4b4a-983a-1dfe1839283b

The second debate I attended was on government policy in China. You can watch it here: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/bd598182-e93e-4943-80e9-02c8b36ede3c

Both these two subjects generate considerable interests in the Royal Town and are both issues upon which my constituents write with questions and views. 




British support for the poor people of Yemen 

With famine and starvation threatening Yemen, we are significantly increasing the amount of food and medical support which we provide to this crisis torn country. In spite of many other crises at this time, Yemen is one of the worst humanitarian emergencies in the world.

Through this uplift, we will:

-       Help feed more than 850,000 people

-       Treat 700,000 malnourished children

-       Support 500 health facilities

You can watch my interview with Sky News, here: https://twitter.com/SkyNews/status/1790604622983299135


Further information

Get involved with UK Parliament Week this November

Over 2,000 organisations all over the country have already signed up for this year’s UK Parliament Week (18-24 November)!

Join in to explore UK Parliament. Find out what happens at Parliament and learn how your group can get involved. Sign up today to get your free kit!



Community games

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!

Above: the tug-of-war at the community games between the town’s elected politicians and the youth of Sutton Coldfield. It will be held on Saturday this year.


Bellagio Center Convening Program: Call for Applications


The 2025 Bellagio Center Convening Programme is open for applications. 

The application deadline is June 14, 2024, by 5:00 pm EDT.  

For more than six decades, the Bellagio Center Convening Program has helped exceptional organizations and global leaders bring together participants across diverse sectors to achieve groundbreaking results. The Convening Program provides the setting and support necessary for groups to advance ideas and catalyze actions that drive positive and far-reaching social impact.

This year, they are seeking applications that fit our three thematic tracks, with emphasis on representation from convening organizers and participants from the Global South: 

·       Addressing Climate Change

·       Building Vibrant, Connected, and Resilient Societies

·       General Open Call (for issue areas that don’t match the above themes, but demonstrate a charitable purpose) 

For more information about how to apply to the program and to learn about past convenings, visit https://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/bellagio-center/convenings/

If you have any questions about the program, please get in touch with us at bellagioapplicant@rockfound.org

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


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