Final flourish for Exige and Elise

Iconic Lotus models get special treatment

By Bill McCarthy

Iconic is often used to describe cars, but few in reality deserve that status. Lotus most certainly does. Small in production numbers, but virtually universally recognisable, they are true drivers’ cars.

The Norfolk-based manufacturer is saying farewell to two models with limited editions of the Exige and Elise, so you can add rarity value to iconic in this case.

Both models have been around for more than 20 years and are bowing out with a bang.

Iconic? Yes, and thrilling because both offer a stripped down, raw form of driving which enthusiasts love, even if you need to be a contortionist to slide yourself into the seats.

Push it towards the red line and the roar becomes more pronounced, while the 420Nm of torque means the car pulls beautifully in all gears

Once inside having navigated the large step down into the cockpit, you are seated low to the ground, go-kart style. But there is plenty of legroom and the new flat-bottomed steering wheel also help with ingress/egress, while the seats are surprisingly comfortable.

Creature comforts are few and far between in pursuit of weight saving. Spartan, would be a kind way to describe it with aluminium dominant for dash, sills and exposed gear linkage and central tunnel. Soft touch finish is not for these models, with hard plastics prevalent, although there is some suede finish.

The Exige Sport 390 Final Edition is a real supercar, offering blistering performance and a road presence that is hard to match and, as Lotus would say, has  become the genre-defining definition of a race car for the road.

The Elise Sport 240 Final Edition is no less head turning than its sibling and says farewell after 25 years of gracing roads worldwide.

So what are the main differences? Both have stunning curvaceous styling and a choice of eye-catching, some garish, colour options, new exterior decals, lare air scoops, new wheel finishes and trim, but the Exige has a more raw, track-racing look, with its roof scoop and distinctive rear spoiler

Both are mid-engine and take advantage of their low-weight aluminium construction to offer stunning performance.

I perhaps got it the wrong way round driving the Exige first. Stripped down motoring it is with a 3.5 litre V6 supercharged engine mated with a slick shifting six speed box.

Muscle car might be a better description of this beast, with no power assisted steering and stiff clutch giving shoulders and left leg a workout before you’ve even got going.

Fire it up and it burbles calmly until you press the throttle and the roar and response is instantaneous. Acceleration through the 397bhp power unit is neck-wrenching, although care had to be taken on a wet road drive. Having said that, on long straight stretches, the car could be put through its paces. 

The lack of power steering then really comes into its own as the driver gets superb feedback, feeling every inch of the road, while grip from the combination of 17 and 18-inch wheels front and rear, means it goes exactly where you point and at blistering pace. 

Push it towards the red line and the roar becomes more pronounced, while the 420Nm of torque means the car pulls beautifully in all gears.

 It can hit 60mph in around 3.5 seconds and on to a top speed of over 170mph. The kind of car built as much for the track as for the road.

The Elise 240, in comparison felt almost pedestrian. That’s if you can call hitting 60mph in just over four seconds pedestrian.

Powered by a supercharged and charge-cooled 1.8-litre, four-cylinder mid-mounted engine, it delivers 240bhp and 244Nm of torque.

 Again response is instantaneous as you rip through the gears while the car clings limpet-like to the tarmac. It almost feels like power steering after the fat tyres of the Exige, 16 and 17-inch respectively here, but handling and steering feedback are superb.

For both cars, the excellent aerodynamics and spoilers produce huge downforce to keep both glued to the road, so wet weather could only slightly detract with what was a thrilling drive in both.

For their final farewell, both have come with what Lotus describes as the most extensive list of interior and exterior features, ever, which to be honest, aren’t that many, but that won’t matter for enthusiasts.

The biggest upgrade is the new TFT digital dashboard with the choice of two screens, one with a conventional set of dials and the other a race car-style with digital speed read-out and an engine speed bar and all with a Final Edition build plaque, plus new seat trim and stitch patterns.

Colours are split into two; Select, which includes Daytona Blue, Fire Red, Metallic Orange and Motorsport Black; and Heritage, which includes Racing Green, Nightfall Blue, Essex Blue and Calypso Red. 

Five new variants of the two cars are the Elise Sport 240, Elise Cup 250, Exige Sport 390, Exige Sport 420 and Exige Cup 430. Lotus is anticipating high demand from global markets as customers rush to buy a slice of history. Prices range from £45,500 for the Elise to £100,600 for the range topping Exige.  

Lotus owners, Chinese firm Geely are now joining the electric party with the 1,000bhp Evija hypercar set to hit the roads, while the new petrol engined Emira also on the way.


MORE than 5.3 million vaccine doses have been delivered in the West Midlands, with 10 million people now vaccinated across the wider Midlands area, figures show.

Sutton Coldfield is leading the way as the town hall delivers thousands of first and second jabs, aided by an army of medical professionals and volunteers.

Tens of thousands of people have now been vaccinated at the town’s iconic building.

Dr Rahul Dubb, from Sutton Coldfield Group Practice, the local GP leading on vaccinations, worked with the Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Hall management team, University Hospitals Birmingham, the Town Council, MP Andrew Mitchell and other key figures to enable the site to open at the beginning of February.

The 5.3 million figure for the West Midlands is a major milestone and comes as anyone over 30 can now book an appointment for their jab.

Over the next few days, one million people across the country aged 30 and 31 will be invited via text message.

Birmingham’s director of public health said reaching a younger age group was important to protect them against variants of the virus.

“What we are seeing from across the world where we have these new variants, is that it’s a younger audience ending up in hospital – the people who are vaccinated are protected and the younger age groups are starting to end up in A&E.

“The faster we can vaccinate everyone the more protected we are against these new variants,” he said.

He said the success story of reaching millions of people in the region was down to giving people access to get vaccinated.

“It’s the entire system working together to put forward the vaccine in a way that gets to people and gives them the chance to protect themselves from a third wave,” he added.


Larnaka revamps Thematic Cycling Routes 2021 to encourage sustainable mobility

As Europe begins to re-open for foreign travel, the Larnaka Tourism Board has updated its Larnaka Thematic Cycling Routes to encourage sustainable mobility and showcase the variety of attractions across the region.

Larnaka is a cyclist’s paradise with its excellent year-round climate, unique cultural attractions, stunning vistas, and variety of fauna and flora. Adults and older children/teenagers alike can enjoy cycling in fresh clean air, with challenging, yet varied and picturesque terrain. 

Now with these thematic routes, a bike ride can also be combined with a piece of history or tradition. There are eight themed cycling routes that can be downloaded from the website and include a map, distances, altitude differences, degree of difficulty, the type of bike that is recommended to be used, plus the various points of interest.

Below are the key highlights for each of the eight routes:

Neolithic Route – the oldest cycling route in Europe, this 28 km route focuses on the antiquities of Choirokoitia and Kalavasos Tenta Neolithic Settlements, plus the villages of Tochni, Zygi, Maroni and Psematismenos.

Wine & Gastronomy Route – a 54 km route covering the picturesque villages in the mountainous province of Larnaka, such as Lefkara, Kato Drys, Skarinou and Choirokoitia, with opportunities to visit traditional wineries, silversmith artisans and a Halloumi cheese workshop. 

Multi-religious Route – this 18 km route visits various places of worship of various religions within the city. Although the island has strong ties to Christianity throughout its history, a basic characteristic of Cyprus is the peaceful coexistence of several other religions, including those of Catholics, Muslims, Armenians and Maronites.

Venetian Towers (Eastern) – Constructed over 500 years ago, the Venetian Watchtowers acted as an early warning system against naval attacks and remain intact in four separate villages within the district. This 46 km route includes watchtowers at the villages of Pyla and Xylofagou.

Venetian Towers (Western) – This 17 km bike tour takes cyclists to two watchtowers in the western area of Larnaka at the villages of Pervolia and Alaminos.

Camel & Donkey Route – This 50 km route introduces cyclists to the island’s furry friends – an integral part of daily life just 60 -70 years ago – and offers a unique insight on how the locals would move around the island in olden days. It includes suggested visits to Camel Park Mazotos and the Golden Donkeys multi-site farm in Skarinou.

Wheat & Bread Route – This 60 km route showcases the region’s long history of traditional bread-making as it passes through golden wheat fields and takes in a beautifully-restored flour mill, which now serves as a time capsule of Athienou town’s bread-making tradition.

Larnaka Birdwatching Route – This 11 km route is recommended between November and April. With its location on the south-eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea, Cyprus attracts more than 370 different bird species during their migration from Africa to Europe – and back again. This is one of the best areas on the island to observe these majestic birds, and this route offers the opportunity to visit Voroklini Lake, Larnaka Salt Lake, Larnaka Marina and Larnaka Medieval Castle. 

For more information visit:

For more information on Larnaka Tourism Board, visit

The life of a Covid volunteer

Sutton Coldfield Town Hall has been a huge vaccination success story

Bill McCarthy has spent time as an NHS steward at a Sutton vaccination centre, he tells why he feels privileged to join the volunteer army.

‘It’s the anti-vaxxers who make life difficult for us. They often come in with their relatives who want to be vaccinated only to spread their conspiracy theory messages.’

That was the sad verdict of a vaccination centre volunteer steward, who feels vital work to combat the Covid-19 pandemic is being undermined by a selfish minority.

Volunteers have become part of the lifeblood of the country’s response to the pandemic, along with the heroic efforts of NHS staff, and spending time on the frontline with fellow volunteers is a rewarding experience and a chance to meet people from all walks of life.

The global pandemic has had a profound effect on the world with millions of deaths, leaving families bereaved, millions more infected, and tens of thousands of jobs lost.

It has also had a profound effect on people. Let’s be honest we are still in a daze as we try to take in the enormity of it all.

We have had the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or furlough, virus mutations, hospitals at breaking point and finally riding to the rescue, a group of vaccines.

But the vaccine rollout has been a stunning success and Sutton Coldfield is an outstanding example of this. The main  centre at the town hall has vaccinated thousands since it opened for that purpose back in February. There, the medics and a huge army of volunteers have carried out a slick and hugely successful programme so far.

These unsung volunteers  freely give up their time to support fellow human beings in a time of crisis, sometimes in the face of disdain and often hostility.

While a small minority of people have profiteered from the crisis, this volunteer army has stepped up to the plate and shamed them with their selflessness.

Supporting hard-pressed health workers delivering the vaccine, they perform often mundane, but important tasks. This ranges from helping others with shopping, picking up prescriptions or spending hours on their feet acting as stewards, administrators, data uploads or car park attendants at vaccination centres across the country, mostly uncomplaining, accommodating and anxious to help.

I have spent some time both as a volunteer responder, and as a steward where people, mostly, are so grateful for the help and guidance you can offer them.

They are all ages, men and women, young people working in tandem with retirees, working sometimes double shifts, sometimes in wind, snow and hail and making sure people get their vaccination with the minimum of disruption.

They do it because they care and certainly not for financial reward or any plaudits they might receive.

Gratitude, unfortunately is not always so forthcoming at vaccination centres. Most people are polite as you help them through the process, but some, too many really, are downright rude and demanding.

They are also unwilling to follow the advice and can  become abusive.

You also come face to face with the anti-vaxxers, so seem determined to undo the good work that is going on. Engaging them with conversation sadly seems pointless and one volunteer grimly observed: “well its their funeral.”

It is not much to ask people to take 15 minutes out of their lives to sit and wait after having the Pfizer vaccine. It is for their own good and volunteers know this, but sadly many of these people seem to think they know better than the doctors and medics. They may feel well, but if they get into a car and suffer after effects, they put other lives in danger.

It’s a difficult conundrum for volunteers. You give the advice as forcefully, but politely as you can, but if people choose to ignore it and become abusive, there is little can be done except move on to the next person.

Despite all of that there are many who appreciate the time people have given up to volunteer. Quite often you will hear the phrase, ‘thank you for what you are doing.’ 

That in itself offsets the negativity from the more abusive people.

It can be lonely work for the volunteers. Isolated on a parking area alone directing traffic can lead to confrontations, while shepherding people through the vaccination process also has its challenges.

My shift started at around 6.30am and five hours later ended with a sense of achievement with more than 10,000 steps recorded, ushering and organising people who had their jabs. That’s more than many of my lengthy walks in Sutton Park.

A real bonus is meeting people from all walks of life, with many interesting stories to tell. Fellow steward Jack has been volunteering for more than two months. At the age of 75 he is fit and active. So active in fact that the previous day he had completed nearly nine hours completing two shifts at the centre.

A Yorkshireman, he was previously a high-powered executive for a famous worldwide logistics company, he had spent more than a quarter of a century living in Africa and had visited every country on that continent except for Libya. He was also around in Zimbabwe and South Africa while those countries were in conflict.  

He was a model of patience and helpfulness during that particular stint and made life much easier for yours truly.

There is not that much time for social chit chat during the shift, but the sense of camaraderie is intense. Madeleine was another one working alongside me. A local woman with children and grandchildren, her sparkling personality and wicked sense of humour certainly made the hours pass. She was determined not to let any negativity get to her and happy to complete any task asked of her, as did the rest of the volunteers.

Strangers become friends for a short period with simple, kind acts like making you a drink while you are shivering away in the cold or just exchanging a few friendly words of encouragement. We are all. in this together seems to be consensus.

Throughout all this the doctors, nurses and health professionals continue with their vital work of getting the nation vaccinated.

Lockdowns have left people lonely and isolated, massively disrupted family life. We are gradually coming out of it, although dangers are still starkly present, not least with Indian variant of the virus.

One thing is for certain, the contribution of these volunteers has made the country a safer place.

Speedwatch volunteers hit streets

A Sutton Coldfield volunteer is helping to keep people safe after setting up a Speedwatch inches area.

David Homer has helped set up the Vesey Speedwatch.

People across the West Midlands have been picking up speed guns and taking to the streets alongside our officers as part of UN Global Road Safety Week.

These fantastic volunteers are part of a growing network of Speedwatch groups, set up by local community members to monitor the speed of vehicles passing through their area. 

With lockdown restrictions easing, our roads are getting busier and we’re keen for more people to get involved and communities to form groups.

David said: “About four or five of us started the group as there was not an existing Speedwatch group in the ward. It’s up to individuals and groups of neighbours to set it up with the support of their local PCSO. 

“There’s a very simple vetting process and then you’re signed up on the insurance policy and it’s just a matter of pressing the button on the speed gun while another volunteer or officer notes the car’s details (speed, make, model etc).

“Most people respect the limit, but for those who floor it, the only thing that will stop them is the fear of being caught. We hope that by being visible it makes speeders think twice.”

David said the primary aim of the group is to keep the community safe and make the area a better place to live, adding that the Vesey Speedwatch has already received a lot of praise from passers-by. 

He added: “We get people stop by when we’re doing the patrols and when we explain about the community Speedwatch, the feedback is always positive and people who speak to us are very appreciative. 

“When you’re on a street and people drive at excessive speed, it makes it a very worrying place to be walking around or cycling. Speeders deter people from wanting to use the streets and crossing roads, especially vulnerable residents and older people who don’t move so fast.

“We’ve been able to identify speeding hotspots through the scheme and it helps us to control the problem locally.”

David said as well as keeping his community safe, the volunteer role ensures speeders don’t get away with breaking the law.

“There’s a great satisfaction knowing they’re going to get warning letters. There’s even more satisfaction when you get people driving slower – 30mph is a limit, it’s not a target. 

“People do tend to stick to speed limits if they know they’re being watched. The more of us that do it, the more Speedwatch patrols there are, then the bigger the effect.

“We could do with more support and more people doing similar things in different places.”

If you would like to get involved or become a Speedwatch volunteer in your neighbourhood, then contact your local policing team by clicking here

“You only need to spare an hour or so a month,” adds David, who acknowledges a lot of people have work commitments, children and so on. 

“There is support on the street for it – people are enthusiastic and want to make a difference, but we do have constraints and would need more people to get involved.

“It’s really easy to sign up, it’s just a question of committing a bit of time. If you care about your community and you’ve got some time, get involved. If you don’t do it, nobody else will.”

A PCSO, special constable or police officer has to be present when a Community Speedwatch group is out conducting checks for their safety. Any vehicles spotted speeding are referred to us and the driver receives a warning letter. Follow up action is taken in the case of repeat offences.

Sergeant Jon Butler, who leads our Road Harm Prevention Team, said: “Speeding continues to be a concern for many communities and we are very grateful to all the volunteers who use their own time to help make our roads safer for everyone. 

“To ensure the full safety of community Speedwatch members, a full risk assessment is carried out for each group and volunteers receive appropriate training. 

“We are keen to grow the number of community Speedwatch groups and to do everything we can to support them to check speeds in their local communities.”

For more information on speeding and your options, please click here.

Find out more about the Active Citizens Fund

Red lights mean chaos

Sutton traffic mayhem caused by roadworks

As May has become a washout and as the country sees further lockdown restrictions relaxed, it seems that councils and utility companies think now is a good time to start digging the roads up.

Easing lockdown has meant more people are back at work which in turn means more and more people are on the road.

Thing is, in the Mere Green area of Sutton, they are not moving very far.

It seems the area has become become ring fenced with traffic lights, men in yellow gilets and hard hats and diggers appearing to be the only vehicles moving any great distance.

The closed off pavement outside the new Lidl

It has been bad enough on Mere Green Road, where the closure of the pavement outside the new Lidl has caused chaos with traffic lights on an off for months it seems. It doesn’t bode well for when the new store opens in a few weeks.

Then there’s Belwell Lane, a traffic hotspot at the best of times, but even more of a nightmare with temporary lights. No sign of men in hard hats and yellow vests here as the work, apparently by Severn Trent, has come to a standstill.

The worst of the lot has to be Lichfield Road. A double whammy here. For weeks, Birmingham City Council workers have been digging up and resurfacing the pavements, with traffic lights moving towards Mere Green island at a snail’s pace.

To make matters worse, a four-way light system has been installed at the island on Lichfield Road at its junction with Blake Street and Watford Gap Road. Traffic has been tailing back as far as Shenstone in busy periods, and once through drivers then face further delays with the pavement resurfacing work.

This time it’s Western Power Distribution at work. With the schools coming out late afternoon, the area is gridlocked at a peak times.

Spring is here and all the talk is about summer travel. Sadly people are not travelling very far on these roads.

New museum motors in

A member of staff gives a Triumph Spitfire 1500 a last-minute polish at The Great british Car Journey launch

Great British Car Journey open doors

Born from an idea spawned by a 32-year-old Austin Maestro, and after four years in the making, the UK’s newest visitor attraction Great British Car Journey has opened its doors.

Making the once ordinary extraordinary, the Great British Car Journey is packed with British marques and models that dominated the roads for nearly a century.

Motors fixed in our memories, like the Morris Minor, Ford Capri, and everything before, after and in between, are cars that are now so rare that you’re more likely to see a £150,000 supercar on today’s roads.

More than 130 vehicles now fill a former wire works factory on the banks of the River Derwent in Ambergate, Derbyshire.

Richard Usher, CEO of Great British Car Journey explained: “Four years ago, when I owned and managed Blyton Circuit, a gentleman approached me asking if I’d like to buy his 1989 Austin Maestro in mint condition with just 10,000 miles on the clock. My first thought was ‘no’, but it then got me thinking about when I last saw an Austin Allegro, Metro, original Mini, or even a Ford Cortina on the road. These were cars that were once on virtually every street in Britain and sold in their millions.”

The seed was planted and Richard, together with four private investors, set about amassing one of the largest privately owned collections of British designed and manufactured cars in the country. 

Visitors to Great British Car Journey will be guided round the exhibition with a unique handheld audio device which tells the fascinating story of individual vehicles as well as the development of the UK’s motor industry.

Starting with the Austin Seven in 1922, the Great British Car Journey chronicles car design and production in the UK through to the modern-day McLaren 650S, which has been lent to the attraction by the supercar manufacturer. 

Mike Flewitt, CEO of McLaren Automotive said: “Richard and the team have done an amazing job bringing Great British Car Journey to life. I am delighted that McLaren is able to support the exhibition which celebrates Britain’s motoring history from Bruce McLaren’s Austin Seven, where our brand story began, through to modern day supercars such as our 650S.”

The collection of almost 150 cars has been brought together over the last four years. One of the most difficult cars to find for the exhibition was a Vauxhall Chevette. Only a handful of Chevettes in roadworthy condition are thought to exist in the world today, despite around half a million being sold in Britain between 1975 and 1984.

Explaining his vision in more detail, Mr Usher said: “I really wanted the cars to tell a story, so the journey charts the growth of car ownership from Austin’s Seven to the present day.”

“It has a motor show feel with cars grouped in the decades – or chapters – in which they were produced, with period adverts and graphics prominently displayed.

“The vehicles are easily accessible. We want people to smell the old car smell, marvel at the interiors and jog memories of trips in the family car, their first car or back seat fights with their siblings when they were growing up.

“Everyone who has been on the journey, whether a car nut like myself or not, doesn’t fail to have a smile on their face remembering days gone by. Great British Car Journey is the ultimate trip down Memory Lane,” added Richard.

And the cars aren’t purely for looking at; more than 30 of them can be driven.

For an authentic, hands-on trip down Memory Lane 32 cars, including the Maestro that started it all, are available to drive on a private road as part of the Drive Dad’s Car experience.

All the vehicles in both the exhibition and Drive Dad’s Car experience are in working order and fully maintained by Great British Car Journey’s own time-served technician and apprentice. Visitors are welcome to watch them at work in the onsite workshop within the exhibition hall.  

“Great British car journey is very much a working attraction. We have a large collection of well-thumbed Haynes manuals which are regularly consulted when we need to locate a bonnet catch or various engine parts to ensure the maintenance of the collection,” added Mr Usher.

Visitors to Great British Car Journey are guided round the exhibition with the handheld audio device while an army of volunteers is on hand to explain the finer details of the vehicles, from hidden petrol caps masquerading as taillights to the split bumper on the Morris Minor and one car once owned by a British music icon.

Entry to Great British Car Journey costs just £15 for adults (concessions are available) 

Tickets for Great British Car Journey and the Drive Dad’s Car experience can be booked online at and at

Top of on-the-road pops

#1 Spot for Most Popular Roadtrip Song Revealed

Analysed Spotify data has revealed that the number one most listened to road trip song is Mr. Brightside by The Killers.

Website analysed 10,000 songs featured on Spotify playlists with ‘road trip’ or ‘driving’ in the playlist title to reveal which songs and artists are most commonly featured.

Taylor Swift takes the number one place for the most featured artist, although none of her songs appears in the top 100 most popular songs.

The top ten songs featured in the playlists are:

1.       Mr. Brightside – The Killers

2.       Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey

3.       Party in the USA – Miley Cyrus

4.       Umbrella – Rihanna Ft. Jay Z

5.       Replay – Iyaz

6.       Payphone – Maroon 5

7.       Hey, Soul Sister – Train

8.       Levitating – Dua Lipa Ft. DaBaby

9.       Don’t Stop the Music – Ed Marquis (Rihanna cover)

10.   Teenage Dream – Katy Perry

Despite taking the number one spot on most played songs, The Killers are just the 62nd most popular artist on the playlist.

The top ten artists featured in the playlists are, from 8,742 songs:

1.       Taylor Swift – 189 times

2.       One Direction – 156 times

3.       Rihanna – 133 times

4.       Ariana Grande – 118 times

5.       Justin Bieber – 104 times

6.       Maroon 5 – 82 times

7.       Katy Perry – 79 times

8.       Chris Brown – 70 times

9.       Miley Cyrus – 67 times

10.   Drake – 65 times

As for albums, two One Direction albums featured in the top 10, as well as two Ariana Grande albums. Taking home the number one spot for most featured album is One Direction’s Midnight Memories, with songs such as Best Song Ever and Story of my Life getting featured.

The top ten albums featured in the playlists are:

1.       Midnight Memories – One Direction

2.       American Teen – Khalid

3.       Up All Night – One Direction

4.       Doo-Wops and Hooligans – Bruno Mars

5.       Teenage Dream – Katy Perry

6.       Fearless – Taylor Swift

7.       Fine Line – Harry Styles

8.       Good Girl Gone Bad – Rihanna

9.       thank u, next – Ariana Grande

10.   Positions – Ariana Grande

A recent survey by also revealed that 54 per cent of Brits are planning more staycations and road trips in 2021 compared to previous years.

Phil Morgan, Head of, said: “With more staycations and road trips being planned for this year than previous years, families, couples and groups of friends are going to want to prepare their music for the long journeys well before they start travelling. We’ve put together the top 200 most played songs into a playlist so that roadtrippers have a good mix between old and new, and songs that are bound to make hours of travel more fun!”

Police focus on begging

Sutton Coldfield police said they are continuing to focus on the problem of begging and rough sleeping in the area.

The areas affected are mainly Wylde Green shopping centre, Sutton Coldfield Town Centre, Mere Green shops, Boldmere Road and the Princess Alice retail park where the beggars/rough sleepers are having a detrimental impact, causing a public nuisance to the local community and the businesses. 

In a statement, the police also said they wanted to reassure everyone they will still focusing on violent crimes, burglary, domestic violence and anti-social behaviour (ASB).

The statement added that officers always try and help individuals who are begging or appear homeless by making referrals to other agencies, whether that is directing them to food banks or helping with housing.

They are now keeping track of individuals and what help has been offered to individuals. They have also used civil interventions against those who have continued to beg after refusing help.
In partnership with Business Watch Schemes through Sutton officers are in regular communication with businesses to share information.

To alleviate the problem posters are now starting to be put up to encourage the police ‘Alternative Giving’ scheme where the public can donate money and be confident that it is going to a good cause.
Increased patrols will be in the areas during the peak times with assistance from joint services, with a view of proactive action taken and not just moving beggars/rough sleepers on.
Street watch groups in the area to conduct patrols, engagement and feedback.
With the help of other agencies, two individuals have completed rehab programmes and they are doing well with another due to start in a few weeks.

What can you do?

Consider our ‘Alternative Giving’ scheme where you can donate
Share any information you may have around this issue with the neighbourhood teams and you can use to notify of anyone you are concerned may be rough sleeping.
Get in touch with your local neighbourhood team if you would like to get involved with a Street Watch group near you.

Stepping out to celebrate summer

Fundraisers Amy and Ellanor Foster prepare for Solstice Walk Your Way

Join the Solstice Walk Your Way with St Giles Hospice

Sutton Coldfield people are being invited to celebrate the arrival of summer and support St Giles Hospice on June 19 by stepping out of their own front door to take part in Solstice Walk Your Way.

Supporters will be lacing up their walking shoes and fundraising in their fairy wings for a Solstice Walk with a twist this year as the hospice’s biggest annual fundraiser returns in 2021 for a special event based from home.

Fundraisers are being invited to put safety first and walk 5k their way – either on Saturday 19th or any other day in June – before celebrating with a solstice party in their own garden afterwards.

Taking part in Solstice Walk Your Way this year is Amy Foster from Tamworth, who will be wearing her fairy wings with her eight-year-old daughter Ellanor and husband Daniel. The family was supported when Amy’s mother-in-law was an inpatient at the hospice and has since become a health assistant.

Chloe Herbert, Head of Fundraising at St Giles Hospice, said: “Our Solstice Walk is our largest fundraising event of the year and always has a really magical atmosphere – and we’re hoping to bring some of that spirit back in 2021 now that people can get together in small groups outside.

“We hope that as many people as possible will get together in their ‘bubbles’ to take part and raise some much-needed funds for St Giles Hospice at a time when we have never needed our community more. A lot of people raising a small amount can make a huge difference to the care we’re able to provide in our community, and the Solstice Walk Your Way is a great way to support us with your family or friends.

“After the difficult year St Giles has faced, we need the Solstice Walk more than ever in 2021 and we’re thrilled to be bringing it back. Although we’d all love to get together again for our annual walk through Lichfield we feel that adapting the event is the most responsible thing to do this year in the interest of everyone’s safety and we’d love for hundreds of people from right across our catchment area to join together virtually for an extra-special Solstice Walk this year.

“People who sign up will receive a fabulous fundraising pack full of goodies to really get them in the Solstice Walk spirit. Shimmer on a 5k in your local area, sparkle at your own fundraising party, and shine for St Giles!”

The fundraising pack includes a Solstice Walk Your Way number to wear, a selection of 5k route maps around local parks and trails, a lantern to light for a special moment of reflection at 8pm on 19th June, biodegradable body glitter and gel, party bunting, cake toppers and fabulous fundraising ideas.

Chloe added: “It’s free to sign up to Solstice Walk Your Way, but by raising just a little bit of sponsorship, you can make a huge difference to the lives of local people living with a terminal illness. If you take part in a bubble of six people and everyone donated £5, you could fund one hour of nursing care for a patient at the end of their life.”

Although Amy Foster has been a St Giles fundraiser for several years, her support for St Giles became more personal in 2018 when mother-in-law Sandra Foster was diagnosed with cancer. Sandra came to St Giles as an inpatient in January 2019 for a couple of weeks, before being discharged and dying at home, as was her wish, a couple of months later.

Amy, who was so inspired by Sandra’s care that she joined St Giles as a Healthcare Assistant, said: “We’re really looking forward to taking part in Solstice Walk Your Way. The Solstice Walk is the only St Giles event I’ve never done before so I’m looking forward to completing the set!

“The event has been adapted in such a lovely way to ensure people can still fundraise and take part safely and I’ll be walking in memory of my mother-in-law Sandra. The care she was given was superb and we just want to give back to St Giles some of the love that we received.

“After she passed away we were helped with bereavement support and the staff were just so good to us, always listening, and they really made a difference.

“I now work with the Hospice at Home team at St Giles so I can see that there are so many people who need the support of the hospice. People who raise funds for the hospice are absolute heroes – the money they raise makes such a difference for local families who are living with a terminal illness. A little support really goes a long way.

“St Giles is such a valuable service for everyone in the community as you never know when someone you love is going to need the amazing support that the hospice provides.”

For more information about Solstice Walk Your Way or to sign up visit

For more information about St Giles Hospice and the expert care it provides, please visit