Sutton Coldfield club hosts World Cup announcement

Wiegman names women’s squad at Boldmere St Michaels

A Sutton Coldfield football club saw a break from tradition when England head coach Sarina Wiegman announced her squad for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The decision to reveal the 23 players at a special event at Boldmere St Michael FC on May 31, follows the Lionesses’ equal access success and has been made to highlight the strong connection between the grassroots game and England teams. This will reinforce the squad’s determination to positively impact participation levels, inspire future generations and also the crucial role grassroots clubs have played in the players’ development.

Bolder was first formed in 1883 and is home to a total of 70 teams across 18 different age groups across women’s, men’s, girls’ and boys’ football.

Approximately 60 girls and boys from the club are expecting to participate in half-term football sessions before and after Wiegman speaks to the nation’s media from the club to give insight on her squad selection.

The landmark moment will begin England’s countdown to their opening game of the tournament on Saturday 22 July against Haiti in Brisbane, Australia.

Earlier this year, the Lionesses’ EURO legacy wish was achieved with the Government announcing the game-changing decision to provide girls with equal access to football in schools, as part of an all-sports pledge.  However, it remains The FA’s strategic objective for girls to have equal access to football in the community through growing the number of girls teams within grassroots clubs and ensuring Weetabix Wildcats and Squad sessions are easily accessible.

Kay Cossington, The FA’s Women’s Technical Director said: “We’re delighted to take such a major announcement into the heart of a football community and shine a light on Boldmere St. Michaels FC. The decision really emphasises the strong connection between the Lionesses and the game’s grassroots.

“The squad have used their platform to collectively champion equal access to football and it’s fantastic to visit a club that shares that ethos. Boldmere St. Michaels is a great club with brilliant provision across girls’ and boys’ football, so a very appropriate location for our World Cup journey to begin.”

Carly Cartwright from Boldmere St. Michaels FC said: “We are delighted to have been asked to host such an exciting event and as a club, are really pleased to see that all the hard work, support and commitment from our ever-growing band of volunteers, employees and the wider community is being validated. 

“In 2017, the new directors had a vision for Boldmere St Michaels Football Club, but what has been achieved since then, has far exceeded expectations.  The club has grown exponentially over the last six years and now, in our 140th year, to be asked to be such an important part of the Lionesses’ World Cup Squad announcement, is a huge honour for us.” 

Kevin Shoemark, Birmingham County FA’s CEO: “On behalf of Birmingham County FA and all football within our county boundary, we are delighted and honoured that The FA has chosen one of our respected, three-star England-accredited grassroots football clubs to make this prestigious announcement.

“Following the success of the Women’s Euros, the interest and growth in women’s and girls’ football is at an all-time high locally and nationally.  In making the announcement, we wish Sarina, the squad, the coaching and backroom staff every success at the World Cup and thank each member, past and present, for all they have done and continue to do in promoting all aspects of the women’s and girls’ game.”

Sutton charity awards record amount

Tina Swani meets some of the recipients of the Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust grants

A Sutton Coldfield charity has announced it has awarded a record total of grants to nine beneficiaries in a single month.

Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust, which strives to enhance the quality of life in Sutton Coldfield, awarded a total of £190,000 in April.

The Trust, which has been in existence for almost 500 years, offers a range of grant programmes to benefit the area and its residents.  

Latest figures highlight a total of £190,132 has been awarded to Walmley Gold Foundation CIC, You’re Cherished CIO, Sutton Coldfield United Reformed Church, Boldmere Swimming and Water Polo Club, Maney Hill Primary School, Xpress-Yourself Dance CIC, New Hall Primary School, Walmley Bowling Club and The People’s Orchestra in April alone.  

The funds will help towards several initiatives such as improving disability access, supporting mental health programmes in Sutton Coldfield schools as well as equipment costs and venue hire. 

From October 2022 to April 2023, the Trust has granted a total of £492,167 to organisations and £9,557 to individuals across Sutton Coldfield, with plans to continue making vital improvements and helping those in need in the area. Based on these results, it’s clear that April has been an especially generous month in terms of grant donations.  

Tina Swani, Chief Executive of Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust, said: “It’s incredible to see the impact that our grants have on the organisations we can support. We’re dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in Sutton Coldfield and these funds will help to achieve that for the entire community.” 

Clare Haines, Grants Manager at Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust, added: “We’re immensely proud to support organisations and individuals in need of funding. These grants are the core of the Trust, and the impact they have can be life-changing not only for the groups themselves, but for everyone in Sutton Coldfield.  

“Our grants work to support anyone who is currently a resident in Sutton Coldfield. For community organisations who would like to apply for a grant, it must be for the benefit for residents living within the Borough of Sutton Coldfield. 

“Grants may also be awarded to individuals who have been a Sutton Coldfield resident for at least two years and are in need. 

“Such grants may help with the purchase of essential domestic equipment, to help people with disabilities, to help people with long term health problems and to meet other needs. 

“The Trust also provides school clothing grants, with application forms available through its website, and application forms can also be picked up from a local school where a pupil is a Sutton Coldfield resident. The closing date for receipt of applications is 12pm on Thursday 30 June 2023.” 

To find out more information about how to apply for a grant or on the Trust, please visit:  

Fire crews tackle Sutton Park blaze

The Banners Gate area of Sutton Park where the blaze started

Firefighters were called to a blaze in Sutton Park on Sunday. Fire crews from four stations raced to the Banners Gate entrance of the park, and West Midlands Fire Service have warned people to avoid the area.

The park is always vulnerable to fire during periods of dry weather.

West Midlands Fire Service tweeted on Sunday: “Firefighters from Perry Barr, Sutton Coldfield, Erdington and Aston Fire Stations are currently in attendance at a fire within Sutton park.

“Please avoid the area where possible.”

The fire is believed to be on scrubland near the Banners Gate entrance and firefighters tackled the blaze before damping down the area to prevent the blaze spreading.

Deep-set fires leave a huge amount of heat in the ground that will require watching over the next few days to ensure it doesn’t reignite.

Sutton pub cheers real ale award

Mere Green venue the best says CAMRA

A real ale pub in Sutton Coldfield is one of the best in the business, according to top consumer group the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

The Ale Hub in Mere Green has been awarded the coveted West Midlands pub of the year by the Lichfield, Sutton and Tamworth CAMRA for 2023.

The pub, which opened in December 2021, has quickly attracted a dedicated following and become a popular new venue in the area.

CAMRA is considered one of the most successful consumer organisations across Europe. Founded by four real ale enthusiasts back in 1971, it represents beer drinkers and pub-goers across the UK.

Its vision is to have quality real ale, cider and perry and thriving pubs in every community.

A spokesperson for the Ale Hub said: “We are very happy about this and will be continuing to serve our good beer.”

A welcoming atmosphere awaits ale enthusiasts at the tiny, but impressively laid out  micropub at the former premises of Garner Canning Solicitors on Hill Village Road.

It says its goal is to revitalise the local pub scene and provide the community with a choice of refreshing and well-kept beverages in a relaxed and friendly environment. 

Labour selects new Birmingham City Council leader

Business group welcomes Cotton appointment

Councillor John Cotton

The appointment of a new leader for Birmingham City Council has been welcomed by Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce.

The new leader is set to take the reins of Birmingham City Council after the Labour Party selected Councillor John Cotton to replace the outgoing Councillor Ian Ward.

Cllr Cotton, who was previously Cabinet Member for Social Justice, Community Safety and Equalities, has been recommended following an interview process with Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC).

The NEC has also recommended Councillor Sharon Thompson as the new deputy leader, succeeding Councillor Brigid Jones.

The changes came following the release of a report last week which was highly critical of the city council.

In a tweet on Sunday, the Birmingham Labour Group said: “At today’s meeting of the Labour Group we confirmed our brilliant new leadership team that will be taking the city forward as we seek to build a cleaner, safer and better Birmingham for everyone.”

Cllr Cotton said: “This is a huge honour, leading the city that has always been home.

“These are not the circumstances I would have wanted to take over in, but I feel I have a duty to serve. I will do all I can to unite the Birmingham Labour Party and deliver for our citizens.

“I want to pay tribute to Ian Ward who has not only led Birmingham City Council through a cost of living crisis, pandemic and delivered the greatest ever Commonwealth Games, but has given a lifetime of service to our movement.

“There is a huge amount of work to do over the coming months. We need to deliver the service improvements our communities deserve and tackle the significant financial and structural issues that threaten to impede our progress.”

Henrietta Brealey, chief executive of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, said: “We congratulate Cllr John Cotton and Cllr Sharon Thompson on their appointment as leader and deputy leader of Birmingham City Council.

“Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce has a long track record of working with the leadership of Birmingham City Council to bring the local business voice into the critical discussions of the day.

“We look forward to continuing that relationship as Birmingham’s businesses navigate the challenges of the current environment, while capitalising on the opportunities ahead for the city.

“Our best wishes for the future to the outgoing leader and deputy leader. In particular, I’d like to offer my thanks Cllr Brigid Jones who worked proactively with the Chamber to support and champion the needs of local businesses throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and has been committed advocate to engaging employers in tackling youth unemployment.”

Sutton Coldfield elects a new mayor

A Sutton Coldfield family man has been elected as the town’s new mayor. Councillor Tony Briggs, who represents the Reddicap ward, has lived in the Royal Town with his wife Pamela for 25 years. Together they have two sons, Jonathan and David, who both studied in Sutton Coldfield.  

New town mayor Tony Briggs

The new mayor, a Tory councillor, was first elected to the council in 2019 and has served on the planning and highways committee, allotment sub-committee as well as the council’s Active Travel working group.  

While the role is non-political, the Mayor presides over meetings of the council and attends events across the town . He also represents Sutton Coldfield at functions outside of the town involving local residents and organisations.  

Councillor Briggs said “I am delighted and honoured to serve as mayor for our wonderful community in Sutton Coldfield. As mayor, I plan to celebrate everything that is great about this town and look forward to working with as many different groups as possible to do this.” 

Tony serves as a school governor for Four Oaks Primary school and in his spare time he enjoys a wide range of sport, in particular local and national rugby.

To invite the mayor to an upcoming event email:  

Big Mac support for fun run

Supporters of the run, from left, James Pike, Vanessa Hoe and Doug Wright MBE

Sutton Coldfield’s iconic fun run has received a further boost from the boss of the local McDonald’s franchise. Doug Wright is the latest local business to become a commercial partner of the Royal Sutton Fun Run.

Doug, who began his working life at McDonald’s as a cleaner in Bedford aged 16, became the youngest UK restaurant manager at the aged just 20.

He took on his first McDonald’s franchise in Lichfield, October 2002 and now operates 21 McDonald’s Restaurants across the West Midlands including Sutton Coldfield, Bassetts Pole and Burntwood.

Doug said: “Over the last 40 years, the Fun Run has been an ‘annual pilgrimage’ for so many local people. Not only does it provide the best ‘atmospheric day’ in the royal town but has generated nearly five million pounds for charities, voluntary groups and community interest organisations since 1982.

“I’m delighted to have the opportunity to support the Fun Run and look forward to a special day celebrating the 40th event at the start of June.”

James Pike, Fun Run director said: “After the turbulent years of Covid restrictions, it was fabulous to see so many people gathering together in Sutton town centre and enjoying the Fun Run last year.

“We’re still very much recovering from the effects of having to cancel three times in two years and having to reschedule last year’s event to avoid a clash with the late Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee celebrations.

“We very much welcome the franchise supported community initiative from Doug and his McDonald’s logo will feature on each official run number worn by all entrants.

“We hope this is the start of a long-term partnership helping us drive the event forward and generating more money for charities, voluntary groups and community interest organisations who provide such critical support to people across our town.”

New look for Sutton pub Farmer John’s

Pub open again after £120k revamp

The Farmer John’s pub in Streetly has reopened with a new look following a £120,000 investment. The pub’s revamp has seen the introduction of new wallpaper, stylish lighting, updated seating, and uplifting colour palettes. With an updated bar area and investment in team training, the pub has now officially reopened with a fresh new look. 

Don Welch, Sutton Coldfield’s 31st West Scout Group leader, was chosen as the pub’s community hero to pour the first pint in celebration of the pub’s reopening. He was also joined by the flag bearers from all age ranges of the Scout movement. 

Situated on the edge of Streetly, Farmer John’s has a family-friendly feel, an extensive grassed beer garden and large outdoor playing area. The pub is ideally situated for a drink or meal before or after a walk in the nearby Sutton Park and Barr Beacon Local Nature Reserve.

The Farmer John’s offers a varied menu of pub favourites such as Steak and Ale Pie served with chips, garden peas and gravy and new additions such as Loaded Fries with spicy pulled pork, nacho cheese sauce, BBQ sauce, crispy onions and chopped chives and classic lagers on draught, cask ales and a variety of cocktails and G&Ts. The pub also offers a traditional Sunday Roast each week, all served with fluffy mashed potato, roast potatoes, seasonal veggies, home-made Yorkshire pudding, stuffing and gravy.

Guests can also enjoy a new mid-week offer of a main meal and a drink from £10.75. The dishes vary daily with a burger and a drink available on a Tuesday, curry and a drink on a Wednesday and steak and a drink for £11.95 on a Thursday. 

With over 1,600 pubs and bars across England, Scotland and Wales, Marston’s sites range from their traditional local pubs and family-friendly pubs to sites with a focus on a ‘warm, timeless country pub atmosphere’.

Iain Kaye General Manager of Farmer John’s said, “We are so excited to open the doors of the Otter and to show our guests the final results of our refresh. We have invested over £115k into breathing new life into venue. The pub is much-loved by its regulars and we can’t wait to welcome everybody back.

Farmer John’s reopened on Sunday 30th April. 

More information on Farmer John’s can be found via their Facebook and Instagram.


Sutton Coldfield almshouse makeover completed

A second phase of work has been completed on Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust’s Almshouses, which have undergone an £870,000 refurbishment to upgrade the residents’ facilities, the guestroom and the wardens’ accommodation. 

The Almshouses are a combination of bungalows and maisonettes located at Lingard House in Walmley, Sutton Coldfield and are typically designed for individuals over 60 years old. Currently, the properties house a total of 52 residents and create a safe and welcoming environment for both single and married couples.

The project has been fully funded by the Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust and has provided the refurbishment of 46 homes in total.

During the refurbishments, the current Almshouse residents were moved into the vacant estate properties whilst Logmoor, the contractor, undertook work on the kitchens and bathrooms.

The Trust provided the opportunity for the residents to choose from a range of colour schemes allowing them to personalise the space to their taste and make their houses feel like a home.

The Almshouses each feature a double bedroom, a living room and now a brand-new kitchen and bathroom at the Lingard House estate. The properties are complemented by well-maintained gardens, a communal lounge space, a laundry room, a computer suite, a games room and a craft room, allowing residents to fully immerse themselves in the Almshouse community. 

The landscaped garden at the centre

Residents are also provided with additional benefits from two on-site wardens during the day, a monitoring centre overnight and an out-of-hours emergency call service.

Pam Johnston MBE JP, Almshouse Manager at Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust, said: “We are delighted to announce the completion of the second phase of the Almshouse refurbishments and for the residents to be able to settle back into their properties.

“The Trustees are consistently looking to maintain the Estate to the highest quality and the provision of upgraded kitchens and bathrooms will allow our residents to have a functioning, yet welcoming space to call home.”

A very happy resident at one of the Almshouses, said: “I have recently had my kitchen and bathroom refurbished to a very high standard.  I was involved in the choice of colours for the tiles, worktops and cupboards.  The final result exceeded my expectations.”

To find out more information about Almshouses or Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust, please visit:  

Marathon effort for hospice

Ashleigh Mills, Senior Corporate Fundraiser at St Giles, after completing the London Marathon

Runners urged to step out and raise funds

St Giles Hospice is encouraging local people to put on their running shoes and take to the pavements to help fund care for local people, and their loved ones, living with a terminal illness.

If you’ve been inspired by watching the energy, passion and determination of runners taking part in the London Marathon, perhaps you might like to consider taking part in a running event of your own and fundraise to support St Giles Hospice, which has a centre and a number of charity shops in Sutton Coldfield.

One runner who’s enjoying a well-earned rest after her success at the London Marathon is Ashleigh Mills, Senior Corporate Fundraiser at St Giles.

Ashleigh raised funds for three different charities to celebrate her 30 th birthday year, raising an incredible £1,602 for St Giles as one of her chosen charities.

Ashleigh’s mum, Sue, received care and support from St Giles, following her breast cancer diagnosis in 2016, as well as receiving end of life care from the hospice in 2018.

Ashleigh said: “Choosing to run the London Marathon was always more than just a physical challenge. It was for Mom, and in her memory.

I wanted to raise funds to say thank you to the wonderful staff and volunteers at St Giles Hospice. They did so much for Mom, and for the rest of my family, during her final few days. It really was exceptional care.” Ashleigh had never run before, prior to entering the ballot for the London Marathon.

Although she had to delay her marathon date by a year due to an injury, she triumphantly sailed across the finish line this year and completed the marathon in just 5 hours and 35 minutes.

Ashleigh said: “I’m not a natural born runner by any stretch, and it took 12 months of training to get myself ready. I started by running for one mile, and built myself up from there, a mile at a time.

“To anyone who may be thinking of participating in a running event, whether its 5k, 10k or a marathon; running is free, anyone can do it and it has so many health benefits. Once you’ve completed a run, you feel fantastic, and walking, jogging or running are actually a really great natural therapy for people who are living with bereavement themselves.

“To me, St Giles represents hope and comfort. St Giles brought my family hope during the most stressful time in our lives, and gave my mom comfort throughout her illness and in her final few days – they were just fantastic.

“Our patients here at St Giles need continued specialist care and support, and that’s where local people can make a huge difference, by taking part in an event and raising those crucial funds for the hospice.

Those looking for a running event for the whole family this summer can look no further than the Tamworth Gate Gallop, held on Sunday 25 th June at the Anker Valley Sports Complex in Tamworth.

Organised in aid of St Giles Hospice by the Peel Road Runners, this event has been running for over 25 years, raising over £115,000 to date. Choose from a 10k run (£16), a 4.4k fun run (£9), or a 600m children’s run (£3).

Those looking for a more intense physical challenge, or a next step in their training journey, might like to try one of two half marathons in support of St Giles; The Great Birmingham Run or The Great North Run, both hosted by AJ Bell. The Great Birmingham Run is held in Birmingham on Sunday 7 th May, and St Giles are offering free entry to ten lucky runners, with a minimum sponsorship target of £350.

All you have to do is sign up for the run, and the free places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

You can also run in support of St Giles by securing your own place for either the half marathon or 10k Great Birmingham routes. The Great North Run is held in Newcastle on Sunday 10th September, and is the world’s biggest half marathon.

Although ballot places have now sold out for this event, St Giles are currently offering 8 lucky runners the chance to gain entry for £40, with a minimum sponsorship target of £350.

What’s more, those entering the Great North Run will be in excellent company, as Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah has just announced that the run will be the final professional race of his career before his retirement.

For more information or to sign up to any of our running or walking events, visit