New bikes clocking up the miles in Sutton

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street at the launch of the bike scheme earlier this year at Town Gate

They may not be to everyone’s taste, but the ubiquitous West Midlands Cycle Hire Scheme, launched earlier this year in Sutton Coldfield by West Midlands Mayor Andry Street, is claimed to be a big success by the town council.

More and more of the green bikes have appeared around the town, including at Four Oaks station and Good Hope hospital as the Midlands wide scheme gathers pace.

The scheme, which is generally welcomed as a boost to fitness and wellbeing, has faced some criticism over the cost with an hour’s ride costing £4.

But Sutton’s council, which is working in partnership with WMCH, says the scheme is very popular with residents and visitors alike, with around 25,000 km – over 15,500 miles – already clocked up.

There arena 50 West Midlands Cycle Hire bikes available in Sutton Coldfield located at seven conveniently placed docking stations:

The bikes can be unlocked and docked at any of the stations and can be used for fun, for example a leisurely ride around Sutton Park, or for commuting.

Users do not need to begin and end at the same docking station; they can begin at one and cycle to another, providing of course there is room at that docking station. There have been reports of bikes being abandoned at various docking stations in Birmingham city centre.

To unlock and hire the bikes, users will need to download the Beryl cycle hire app and register for an account through the Play Store (Android) or App Store (Apple).

Leader of Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council, Councillor Simon Ward, said: “It has been fantastic to see the enthusiasm for the West Midlands Cycle Hire scheme, delivered by the Town Council alongside WMCA, grow in Sutton Coldfield with many residents and visitors now using the bikes to enjoy our wonderful Royal town.

“Sutton Park Banners Gate already sits within the 10 most popular destinations to hire a bike across the West Midlands. Since March 2021, over 5,000 journeys have been made with over 3,000 being regular and repeat users. There is real appetite among new riders with over 800 in April alone.

“The bikes have enabled residents to enjoy time outdoors and experience the joy of cycling evidenced by an average journey time of 60 minutes. We are so fortunate to have our fantastic park and the bikes provide yet another way to enjoy it in all its glory. The Town Council pledged to put in place a public cycle hire scheme in its early years, and we are delighted to have delivered on this promise.”

Whatever the journey, the West Midlands Cycle Hire bikes in Sutton Coldfield provide a safe, efficient and a practical way to enjoy our town.”

The bike docking stations can be found at:

1. Sutton Park Banners Gate
2. Wyndley Leisure Centre
3. Stonehouse Road (Boldmere Gate Entrance to Sutton Park)
4. The Parade in the Town Centre
5. Four Oaks Train Station
6. Boddington Gardens
7. Good Hope Hospital Rectory Road Entrance


 It costs £1 to unlock a bike and then 5p per minute. Here are some ride cost examples:

10 mins20 mins30 mins

To find out more and register for updates visit the website at

Sutton traffic mayhem continues


Sutton Coldfield, it seems, is surrounded by a ring of steel. Steel barriers and traffic lights that is. It was bad enough in May, when we were still under lockdown restrictions, but the mayhem just goes on.

There has been not let up and it has got even worse, farcical in some areas, as the school summer holidays seemed to be a a trigger for even more diggers.

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

From Maney Corner /Birmingham Road roadworks through to resurfacing pavements on Lichfield Road and work on the island at London Road there has been traffic chaos for months.

There were more traffic lights at Mere Green while the Lidl supermarket was being completed and resurfacing still onongoing at Slade Road, Four Oaks on the way to Bassetts Pole. That seems to have been going on forever.

To make matters worse, both Anchorage Road was closed off for resurfacing at the same time as work started on the corner of Little Sutton Lane causing with a three-way lights system, causing mayhem on routes into and out of the town centre.

This was in addition to a one way system past the police and fire stations being in place between rush hour periods for resurfacing.

 To compound this a three-way set of traffic lights at the junction of Hollyfield Road and Reddicap was causing severe tailbacks, with all of these routes potentially affecting emergency services from Good Hope Hospital.

It is to be hoped that planners can get their act together as this is exactly the kind of chaos that hits business hard, just as they are starting to recover from the Covid lockdown.

Let’s not forget either the potential for more chaos when work on the giant Peddimore estate gets under way.

Premium performance from Lexus

Lexus UX 300e 

By Bill McCarthy

LEXUS styling and build quality has always been impeccable, not to mention its brand desirability as a premium vehicle.

And as the rush to electrification gathers pace, the brand is in a pretty unique position to take advantage, having been a leader in the hybrid market for a good 15 years, when the RX 400h hit the roads. Parent firm Toyota goes even further back with the iconic Prius.

Now Lexus has gone the whole hog with the compact UX 300e, a stylish car that is now available in full electric mode as well as hybrid.

It has a striking design, all sharp angles and creases with sculpted side panels. It features the now familiar spindle grille, together with eye-catching light clusters, distinctive bespoke 18-inch aerodynamic alloys on this model. In addition, the chiselled-looking rear end with full width light bar gives it a real road presence.

As with the growing trend with full electric cars, it is barely distinguishable from other UX models, with just the word ‘electric’ on the door.

It is offered with single equipment grade, UX, but options like the Premium  pack here and Takumi Packs provide additional equipment features.

The interior is typical Lexus quality, refined with high-end leather hand stitched leather seats and finish to dash and doors together with soft materials throughout. Major functions are controlled by a central touchscreen and can also be operated from a small keypad next to the drive selector. 

The standard specification includes aluminium roof rails, bi-LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, illuminated entry, eight-way power front seat adjustment, power steering wheel adjustment, seven-inch display, reversing camera, six-speaker audio system with DAB, four USB ports and Aux socket and smartphone connectivity using Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The Premium Plus Pack here adds smooth leather upholstery, heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, heated outer rear seats, rear privacy glass, smart keyless entry, card key, smartphone wireless charger and illuminated door handles with puddle lights.

On the road, the front-wheel drive battery-powered electric vehicle (BEV) system uses the latest lithium-ion technology, and high performance motor to deliver a claimed range of up to 196 miles and rapid acceleration from a standing start, so typical of electric cars.

A clever touch is the heating element system under each of the battery’s modules. This minimises the impact of low temperatures on the driving range, ensuring full power is available from start-up.

It hits 60 in under eight seconds, however despite feeling stable, piling on the power causes the steering to snatch, or torque steer slightly.

Otherwise it accelerates away smoothly, with only a hint of road noise intruding into the cabin. The handling is good and it feels agile when cornering, while the steering is direct and nicely weighted.

It also offers a stable ride, with low centre of gravity, thanks to the battery being located under the car body and the electric motor set low in the engine compartment, while new shock absorbers give greater control.

Despite the large battery, boot space  has actually increased by 47 litres to 486 litres, when loaded to the roof, which is made easier with the availability of a hands-free power tailgate.

In practical terms front head and legroom are excellent but it is a bit more cramped in the back and three adults might feel some discomfort over longer journeys.

You would expect a hushed interior with a premium vehicle and cabin noise is reduced by the thickness and weight of the battery pack under the cabin floor, which acts as a sound-insulating barrier. In addition, undercovers and wing liners reduce the noise generated by small stones, dirt, water and the road surface, while acoustic window glass reduces wind noise.

Safety kit is comprehensive and includes full complement of airbags Pre-Collision System with pedestrian detection, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Trace Assist, Road Sign Assist and Automatic High Beam

Lexus rarely disappoints and this model is no exception.


Lexus UX 300e Premium Plus Pack

Price: £45,995

Mechanical: 201bhp, 150kW electric motors driving front wheels via auto transmission

Max Speed: 99mph

0-62mph: 7.5 seconds

Electric range: 196

Insurance Group: 38-39

C02 emissions: 0 g/km

Warranty: 3yrs/62,000 miles


Suzuki Across hybrid

By Bill McCarthy

Suzuki is justifiably lauded for its small cars and four-wheel drive capability, but like most manufacturers is increasingly turning to electric power and in this case, a large SUV.

And like other manufacturers, Suzuki is collaborating with others in model production, sharing engines and body architecture.

The Across has been produced in collaboration with Toyota, who now have a stake in Suzuki, and vice versa and looks suspiciously like a RAV 4, because that’s pretty much what it is.

So Suzuki has joined the big boys, literally, with the Across, a AWD hybrid that looks good, has excellent range and delivers blistering performance.

OK, people buying SUVs don’t necessarily go for performance, but in typical electric vehicle style, the Across is extremely rapid off the mark, capable of hitting 60mph in six, seconds, proper hot hatch territory. The performance comes via a combination of electric motors, one on each axle, and 2.5 litre petrol engine, mated to the CVT transmission delivers a brutal 306bhp.

Add to this low emissions of just 22g/km a theoretical 282mpg economy and the ability to charge the battery on the move via the petrol engine and you have a versatile, practical performer.

This is particularly useful when entering low emission zones, where the claimed range of 46 miles on electric power only, means it is not subject to emission and congestion charging.

It is stylish and offers a comprehensive array of standard kit, but for a Suzuki it is expensive, up there in the near premium range.

It has just one specification and offers Suzuki’s E-Four electronic 4×4 system, heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel, dual zone automatic air conditioning, auto function opening tailgate and nine-inch multimedia touchscreen as standard, together with all the electric and electronic aids you would expect from a vehicle costing north of £45k.

It is a striking looking SUV, with a sporty stance, with a large deep grille, slim headlights, muscular wheel arches and eye-catching 19-inch alloy wheels.

 The interior too, feels high end and features  quality upholstery with soft touch finish throughout, powered leather seats, multi-function steering wheel and the centrepiece touchscreen which controls sound system and connectivity through Apple CarPlay Android Auto and MirrorLink for smartphones.

There are also various storage spaces including driver’s and passenger’s side trays, centre tray, cupholders and a console box.

They hybrid system works in tandem with the 4×4 system and allows a rear motor that works in conjunction with the front motor to provide drive to either front or rear wheels, or both, depending on road conditions such  as icy road, or genuine off road conditions.

It can run on electric only at up to 84mph. Driving modes are selected by two central buttons which allows the driver to choose electric only, full hybrid, engine only or charge mode where the engine is used to replenish the battery in preparation for entering low emission areas. This obviously has a detrimental effect on fuel economy.

In addition, Trail Mode is an automatic limited slip differential control feature that ensures the best possible grip and control on slippery surfaces. It all sounds great and while it is no wallowing beast, cornering too rapidly causes the vehicle to become unsettled. Having said, that I can’t think of any SUV driver who demands sporty handling.

In practical terms. The Across has much to offer with a total of 490 litres of stowage space and the luggage compartment is equipped with a mains voltage (220V) electrical outlet and 12V accessory socket and can be accessed via kick operation electronic tailgate

It is packed with safety kit including airbags, traction and stability controls, collision prevention, radar cruise control, lane warning and rear traffic alert. If the vehicle is involved in a traffic accident, the eCall system alerts emergency services with a phone message that includes the precise location of the vehicle.


Suzuki Across PHEV

Price: £45,599

Mechanical: 307bhp, 2487cc, 4-cylinder, petrol engine and electric motors driving all wheels via CVT transmission

Max Speed: 112mph

0-62mph: 6 seconds

Combined MPG: 282

Insurance Group: TBC

C02 emissions: 26g/km

Warranty: 3yrs/62,000 miles

Superheroes on march

Louise (as Batgirl) taking part in a previous Hero Walk

Pull on a cape to take part in the St Giles Hospice Hero Walk

Do you have what it takes to become a hero for St Giles Hospice? St Giles is summoning caped crusaders and fundraising families to Lichfield’s Beacon Park for its Hero Walk on Saturday 25th September – and is calling on people to celebrate their own heroes in style as they take part in the event.

People are encouraged to dress up as their favourite hero before tackling a 5km walk with a series of fun challenges along the way. The event is suitable for all the family and all funds raised will support hospice care for patients and their families who are living with a terminal illness.

Zoe Wright, Events Manager at St Giles Hospice said: “Whether you’re in fancy dress or looking for something fun and exciting to do, our Hero Walk is a great day out. We’re calling on our community to pull on their capes and show they care by walking for their hero. 

“Our Hero Walk has activities and entertainment for everyone – including doggie sidekicks. The fun begins at the hero hub, where all of our heroes will be assembling. You can enjoy games, refreshments and pose for some super family snaps before setting off on your activity adventure. 

“There are also awesome activities along the route to test your hero skills to the limit and a hero’s welcome awaits when you cross the finish line to collect your medal. So please sign up to make memories in a mask and celebrate your own heroes – and by raising funds for St Giles as you go, you will become a hero of ours too.”

St Giles Hospice’s first-ever Hero Walk, held at Walsall Arboretum in 2019, was a huge success. The event was due to return last year, but had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

One of the superheroes at the inaugural event was Louise Harding, from Willenhall, who took part in memory of her Nan, Lavinia Layton, who received end of life care at St Giles Hospice before her death in June 2019 at the age of 93.

Louise said: “My Nan got exactly the care she needed at St Giles – one-to-one care tailored to her. They were always ready to help us and people were there straight away when we needed support, which makes a huge difference for both the patient and the family.”

Three months after her Nan died, Louise put together a team of superheroes, including friends and three pet dogs, and dressed up as Batgirl to do the Hero Walk in memory of Lavinia.

“The Hero Walk was a celebration of Nan and a way to thank St Giles for the support they gave us to comfort her, as well as for letting us spend time with her until the very end,” added Louise.

“St Giles Hospice is such a valuable service for the area and we wanted to raise funds for the future so that St Giles would be there for other families like ours. The Hero Walk was really special because everyone was walking for a reason. Everyone had their own superhero in mind, which gave it a real meaning.”

The 5km family walk and fun day will kick off at 11am on Saturday 25th September in Beacon Park, Lichfield, with a welcome speech at 11.30am before the walk starts at 12pm. Entry is £3 for under threes, £6 for under 16s, £10 for adults and £30 for a family ticket (two adults and two children). Doggie sidekicks can take part for free!

Zoe added: “All heroes are encouraged to arrive in their costumes ready to leap into action and help raise funds for their local hospice. If you’d like to take on the challenge in true hero style, St Giles capes can be pre-ordered or bought on the day for a £5 donation.

“The entry fee only covers the administration cost of Hero Walk, but by asking friends and family to sponsor you, you will raise valuable funds to help us continue to provide care and support, free of charge, for patients and their families.

“Raising £40 in sponsorship could pay for one hour of our Advice and Referrals team, £202 could pay for visits to a patient in their own home by our community nurses and £676 could pay for 24 hours of hospice care for a patient at the end of their life.”

For more information about the St Giles Hospice Hero Walk, please visit

Gallery a new canvas for local artists

The Gracechurch Centre set to host community arts project celebrating life after lockdown

As part of its ongoing commitment to supporting the local community, The Gracechurch Centre will be collaborating with a local art collective to relaunch an art gallery within the shopping centre for the first time since lockdown, giving a platform to showcase Sutton Coldfield’s budding artists.

Direct Art Action (UK) is a small charity working within the West Midlands which aims to bring back art into the local community by working with retail destinations like The Gracechurch Centre to repurpose vacant units as galleries.

Charity spokesperson, Katie Hammond herself a local artist and proud Suttonian, explains that the charity saw an opportunity to turn the adversity of the pandemic and successive lockdowns into a source of strength and hope for others by bringing art to the wider public.

The gallery has an exciting body of work that will be refreshed to reflect a new topic each month.

Katie is currently working on a new community art piece centred on the theme of ‘hope and is appealing for the support of local people in creating a community art installation. In native American culture, a pale butterfly is a symbol of hope, and throughout September, starting on Saturday 4 September, Katie will be holding free Saturday drop-in sessions where people can learn to fold an origami butterfly, that will eventually create a wall of butterflies, which will act as a wall of hope.

Throughout autumn and winter, the gallery will also feature an array of artwork based on a variety of topics, such as the environment. As part of this, Katie and the team of volunteers that make up Direct Art Action UK, will be looking at initiatives to raise awareness of a whole host of environmental issues.

One such example will be a scheme to collect and repurpose crisp packets as survival blankets for the homeless, minimising the environmental impact of these single use plastic materials while contributing to the safety and wellbeing of some of the most vulnerable people within society.

Angela Henderson, Centre Manager of The Gracechurch Centre, said: “We’re very pleased to be supporting the Direct Art Action UK art gallery as we feel art can be a real force for good within our society. Initiatives like this are a great way to showcase the talent that is on offer within our town and we’d encourage people to get involved and support projects which make a positive impact.

“We see our centre as an important community hub within Sutton Coldfield, and by offering our vacant space to help support local charitable organisations, we can give something back, making Sutton Coldfield an even more special place in which to live.”

Gallery manager and local artist Katie Hammond added: “Just before lockdown one, I completed my first community art project – The Peace Project. I held free drop-in origami sessions, where I got the people of Sutton Coldfield folding 1000 paper cranes to form a Senbazuru.

“Like many, lockdown was hard for me – missing normality, friends and family, and it was during this time that I got the idea for my next community art project. ‘Hope’, will hopefully demonstrate that even in the darkest of times, even though you may not feel like it, you can find hope.”

Below is a list of Direct Art Action’s programme of summer activities from its new home at the Gracechurch Centre:

Friday 20th August – Butterfly sun catcher making drop in session
Friday 27th August – A class on creating Kandinsky rock art
Saturday 28th August – ‘Tropical Day’ watermelon pinwheel making masterclass

Karate champ Chloe is set to kick on

Black belt youngster has her sponsorship renewed

Sutton Coldfield teenager and second dan black-belt UK karate champion Chloe Barnes is getting set to chop down the opposition with renewed funding.

The Streetly Shukokai Karate Club pupil has taken the martial arts world by storm over the last number of years, reaching new highs and adding coveted sports titles to her impressive list of accolades. 

The World Karate Championship title holder has collected an outstanding 70 gold, silver and bronze medals, four trophies and was named 2020 GB Karate Sportsperson of the Year. 

Chloe, aged 15, a pupil at Fairfax School in Sutton, started learning karate when she was just six and obtained her second dan black belt in September 2018 at the age of 12, becoming the youngest-ever student to achieve the rank within her Karate Association.

Local car dealership Lookers Vauxhall Birmingham has been helping drive Chloe to sporting success for the past two years and recently announced a renewed partnership with the young star into 2022.

Speaking about the fresh boost from Chloe said: “Karate is my absolute passion and I have worked really hard over the last few years to get where I am. I’m so grateful to Lookers for continuing to back me in my sporting achievements. 

Chloe is delighted with her Lookers sponsorship

Through the partnership with Lookers, my family and I have received funding towards competition entries and travel expenses which has provided me with the opportunity to compete on a global stage and gain international titles. The Lookers team has also provided fantastic support in my training and always makes sure I’m well kitted out for practice and events. 

Although international and UK karate competitions have been put on hold throughout the pandemic, this hasn’t stopped Chloe from staying focused on her goal for gold, training via Zoom and enjoying one-on-one private lessons to stay ahead of the competition. 

“After a challenging 18 months of training at home, I’m really looking forward to competing in arenas again. I’m currently in training for my first competition since the pandemic, the Kanzen Cup International Open, taking place in Dundee this November and will return to defend my current titles in other future events”, added Chloe.

Lookers Vauxhall Birmingham General Manager Alan Collins said: “We’re very proud to support Chloe in her sporting achievements and over the last three years we have seen her grow to become a karate sensation. At such a young age, Chloe has demonstrated world-class talent, fuelled by her drive and commitment, which has really catapulted her to international success. We’re delighted to renew our partnership with Chloe as part of our wider commitment to nurturing young sporting talent and we look forward to helping drive her future success.”

Founded in 1908, Lookers is one of the UK’s leading automotive businesses and largest multi-franchise dealer groups in the UK and Ireland, representing 33 volume and premium car manufacturers and specialising in new and used electric car sales across a network of over 150 franchised locations.

For more information on Looker’s support for local communities visit

Party time with sporty Fiesta

Ford Fiesta

By Bill McCarthy

There is a very good reason why the Fiesta regularly has been Britain’s top selling car. That reason stretches right back to the very early days of the British icon which was introduced in 1976. 

Just a few years ago, I owned a 1980 version and it was still running well when I sold it on to an enthusiast.

The Fiesta has that longevity for a reason. It is a car to suit most pockets, from the relatively cheap base model at around £16.5k right up to the range topper at prices beyond £25k. It has proved reliable, practical, economical and a cracking drive.

The latest version is no different, with ever more eye-catching styling, good standard levels of equipment and, in this case, embracing the latest mild hybrid technology.

It featuresl sharp angles with ST Line bodykit features, rear privacy glass, smart projector headlights and fog lamps with cornering lights. The powered door mirrors also feature smart puddle lights.

The ST-Line is a stylish car, offering the sporty styling more akin to the brutal ST, but toned down performance from a still lively three cylinder petrol engine. 

It still delivers pleasing performance, with the signature rasp of the three pot giving a pleasing sound under acceleration.

It is no slouch. The 125PS unit propels the car to 60mph in under 10 seconds and delivers excellent fuel economy, with a claimed range of between 45 and 62mpg according to WLTP figures.

The turbocharged one litre engine is assisted by a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, which features a small lithium-ion battery pack and a belt-driven integrated starter-generator, which adds an extra 20Nm of torque and helps mitigate turbo lag.

The electric motor is fitted alongside an energy recovery system on the brakes which can then be redeployed to assist the petrol engine or provide assistance to electrical systems.

It may lack the brutal performance of its more powerful sibling, but in true Fiesta style, the handling is excellent and ride is firm, thanks to the sports tuned suspension which keeps the car clinging, limpet-like to the road, even with rapid cornering.

The interior too looks upmarket and maintains the sporty look. The centrepiece is an eight‑inch colour touchscreen that can be operated with pinch and swipe gestures and controls function like navigation, infotainment and smartphone connectivity with screen mirroring.

The flat-bottomed multi-function steering wheel offers other control options and the layout is unfussy and intuitive.

Interior fixtures and fittings are typically well put together and feel sturdy, while the optional pop-out door guards are another neat feature.

Other features include a centre console with illuminated cupholders, sports pedals, starter button and two USB connectors.

This model will set you back more than £21k, but has plenty of standard kit, including parking sensors, rain sensing wipers, auto dim mirror, seven-speaker sound system and heated windscreen.

On the road, the car feels brisk and with a little help from the hybrid technology’s hits 60 seconds in just 9.4 seconds. It is mated to a typically slick Ford six-speed box, although the high-riding clutch took a while to get used to.

It is the handling that gives this car the edge of most of its rivals. The steering is instantly responsive and it feels totally stable even when cornering at high speeds.

To aid this it includes stability control, together with a host of other safety features, including full complement of airbags, lane keeping alert and aid, speed limiter, auto headlamps and hill start assist.

In practical terms, boot space is decent and increases with the split folding  rear seats. This takes capacity from a basic 292 litres up to 1,093 litres.

Forty-five years and still going strong. You can see why.


Ford Fiesta ST-Line Edition

Price: £21,160

Mechanical: 125bhp, 998cc, 3cyl petrol engine mild hybrid, driving front wheels via six speed manual gearbox

Max speed: 126 mph 

0-62mph: 9.4 secs 

Combined mpg: 45-62 (WlTP)

Insurance group: 13  

CO2 emissions: 117 g/km 

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

Cancer support centre aims for £150k

Andrew Perks from Inktree, who has supported the centre, with centre manager Jackie Price

Fundraising drive to meet growing demand

A support centre in Sutton Coldfield offering a lifeline to cancer patients across the Midlands, has launched a new fundraising drive as it prepares to reopen post-lockdown and meet growing demand.

The Cancer Support Centre, in Lindridge Road, was unable to run its normal fundraising events during the pandemic, but it survived thanks to grant aid and individual supporters taking part in sponsored events.

Now with demand growing again, it is looking to raise even more funds and is setting up a new dedicated team to help raise £150,000 or more to support people who have been affected by cancer and delays in treatment.

Jackie Price, centre manager, said: “Lockdown had a big impact on our fundraising. Events had to be cancelled and money stopped coming in. We are trying to find new ways to raise money, but it has been very difficult.

“We used to raise £3,000 a week on average for the service, through donations, events and so on, but this has dropped off over lockdown.

“We were incredibly fortunate to have survived lockdown due to grant funding, and are doing ok so far this year with our supporters doing an amazing job in raising funds.

“As we open up again and demand grows, the pressure to raise enough funds to help all that desperately need support is increasing in a very challenging environment. We are focusing on the future and the need to ensure that we will be able to raise around the £150,000 required to get back to our previous capacity and potentially more.

“For this reason, we are looking to set up a team who will develop different fundraising events and make new links with local businesses for support.”

Jackie said the centre, in Lindridge Road, which is shared with St Giles Hospice but is run independently, covered the whole of the Midlands area and had even had a client as far away as Devon.

Before the pandemic, it offered face-to-face support through counselling and therapy sessions and provided a space for those with cancer to come and feel safe and supported.

During lockdown many of the talking therapies moved to online or phone services so ensure people could still access the help needed. The centre also launched a YouTube channel for clients which grew to 400 hits per month.

Jackie said: “We work holistically – mind, body and spirit. Everyone’s support needs are very different so the therapies are tailored to the individual. One of the main things we do is give people back control – when they are diagnosed, they might feel as though they’re on a treadmill, being told what to do and where to go. We help them take control of the situation and manage their own needs.

“Traditionally, we had group sessions and clients could drop in to talk to someone, but that came to a stop in lockdown. There were calls to close the service, but we kept going and offered sessions on Zoom and talking therapies over the phone.

“Lots of people were seeing their treatment cancelled or postponed and stress and anxiety levels were high; it was a horrendous situation and we were needed more than ever.”

Jackie said pre-Covid the centre was helping around 500 clients in person, but this had fallen to around 250.

The centre in Lindridge Road

Numbers are now rising as existing and new clients slowly return and the centre is offering appointments, with all Covid safety measures still in place to ensure vulnerable clients are safe.

Jackie, who was diagnosed with breast cancer herself in 2017 and was supported by her colleagues during her treatment, said she knew it was a big step for those with a cancer diagnosis to ask for support.

“It means you have to accept that you have cancer,” she said. “But we are here to help. There are lots of people out there in need of support and someone to talk to. Come to us, we can help you and give support that you might not even know that you need.”

Jackie, who was given the all-clear in 2019, added: “It’s important that people know it’s not something that they have to do on their own. They can call us or email us if they prefer.”

The centre is looking for volunteers to fill roles on the community and business engagement team and the fundraising/marketing team to help with the new funds drive.

Anyone who can help or would like to get in touch with the centre, should email

For more details, visit the website at