Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust appoints new Grants Manager 

Claire Haines is the trust’s new grants manager

Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust, the charity which strives to enhance the quality of life for residents of Sutton Coldfield, has recently appointed a new Grants Manager, Clare Haines, to take over from David Cole, who is retiring after almost five years of valuable service.

The appointment will see the Trust, which has a heritage of almost 500 years, continue to manage a range of grant programmes to benefit the area and its residents. This year, the Trust has awarded over £1,000,000 to local beneficiaries around Sutton Coldfield, highlighting the key role the Grants Manager plays in facilitating applications and the distribution of funds. 

Clare Haines boasts more than 13 years’ experience in the grants and funding sector, which spans from working with national organisations such as the National Lottery Heritage Fund to more locally as a Community Development Officer supporting local neighbourhoods, as well as working as a Trustee for Middleton Hall and Garden grounds.

Clare’s role within the Trust will see her predominantly focusing on assessing grant applications as well as preparing grant papers for consideration at the Trust’s Grant Committee meetings. The role will also see her working with local groups and organisations to both establish and maintain relationships with potential and existing grant recipients. Clare will be working closely with statutory and voluntary organisations and monitoring the impact that the grants have made on these organisations.

Clare said: “Having previously worked on the assessment side of the application and project process as a Grants Officer and then also on the project delivery side as a Project Officer, I feel I can bring a 360° viewpoint to the grant lifecycle process, with a solid understanding of the needs and requirements of the funder but also of the grant recipient, who has the task of delivering the outputs and achieving the outcomes.”

“I also hope to bring a good level of understanding on the challenges facing the sector and the relevant support required, thanks to my experience supporting a range of voluntary and community organisations.”

“I’m looking forward to working with and supporting groups and organisations that have the potential to make a positive impact in the local community, as well as developing relationships with potential recipients to understand their challenges and supporting their aims and vision where possible.”

Tina Swani, Chief Executive of Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust, said: “The Trust’s vision is to enhance the quality of life for all in Sutton Coldfield and our Grants Manager is instrumental in helping us to achieve this. We’re delighted to welcome Clare to the team and are sure she will take to the role brilliantly given her extensive experience and obvious passion for this vital work.”

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

Santa’s in town for another festive weekend

Thousands of shoppers got into the festive spirit as Sutton Coldfield Town Centre welcomed colourful Christmas characters, merry music and even enjoyed a visit from Santa himself.

Father Christmas, helped by his friend Candy Cane, flew into the town centre on Saturday, December 3 for the third weekend of festive fun organised by Sutton Coldfield Business Improvement District (BID).

And that wasn’t the only festive treat on offer, with charity carol singers, a fun disco for youngsters, two cute Christmas Elves greeting shoppers and hilarious roller-skating Christmas presents providing entertainment.

Bid Manager Michelle Baker said:

“It was beginning to feel a lot like Christmas in the town centre on Saturday, because everywhere you looked there was something festive going on.

“Santa and his friend Candy Cane were meeting youngsters in Coffee#1, the animated Elves were mixing with shoppers and the roller-skating Christmas Presents certainly caught the eye.

“There was also a craft market along the Parade and a brilliant Santa’s Disco for youngsters in the Gracechurch.

“We’re working hard to create an extra festive feel in the town centre this year, to drive footfall and get people to come along and support local businesses.

“We’ve been very happy with the results so far, and there is plenty more to come. Watch out – the Grinch is coming back this weekend!”

Elsewhere in the town centre, fundraisers from a charity for the homeless were singing carols to raise cash, while students from Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School were collecting items for their annual Giving Tree appeal.

Even Sutton police got in on the act, giving out advice on how to have a safe and secure festive season.

The extended Christmas activities are part of the new Visit Royal Sutton Coldfield programme of year-round events which aims to encourage more people to choose the town centre as a destination to spend time, eat, drink, shop and relax.

Other Christmas activities include an amazing life-size snow globe in the town centre over a three-day period, which shoppers can step inside for a free Christmas photograph.

Bid Manager Michelle Baker added:

“We want to make Sutton town centre a real attraction, with regular events to bring people in, not just at Christmas but all year round.”


9th Dec            Giant snow globe, the Grinch, amazing animatronic Polar Bear

10th Dec         Giant snow globe, meet Santa and the Grinch, the Gingerbreads

11th Dec         Giant snow globe, the Grinch

11th Dec         Breakfast with Santa – Bottle of Sack (8:30am-10:30am)

17th Dec         See Santa, meet the Grinch and the Gingerbreads