Plantsbrook Students Get A Taste Of College Life

Dozens of students from Plantsbrook School got a taste of life in higher education when they spent a day at Sutton Coldfield College. More than 60 Year 10 students from Plantsbrook, which is part of the Broadleaf Partnership Trust, enjoyed the taster day at BMet’s Lichfield Road campus. The students began the day with a talk from college Vice Principal Anna Jackson, before finding out more about career pathways and post 16 opportunities on offer, while also meeting BMet experts and teaching staff. Subjects included everything from Applied Law and Criminology to Travel and Tourism, and from Health and Social Care to life in the Uniformed Public Services.

Plantsbrook students interested in BMet’s Football Academy course spent the day at Boldmere St Michael’s football ground, being put through their paces by the coaching staff. Anna Jackson, Vice Principal of the college, said: “The taster day was about giving the students an opportunity to see what it feels like to be a Sutton Coldfield College student, while also giving them information on the wider support we provide, from bursary help or enrichment activities to the pastoral support students can get here.           “We give them a welcome at the start of the day, and then they go off into the particular areas that they have chosen to get some more information, look around and ask questions. “A day like this also gives them assurance about what they can expect if they decide to come to the college, by allowing them to have a look around the campus and get used to the social spaces, like the student centre. “Moving from school to college is a big step, so spending a day here is a valuable experience.”

Plantsbrook headteacher Jason Farr said: “This was an event organised specifically for those students who may be considering college as an option and aimed to give them a real understanding of the opportunities available to them in Sutton. “We are very grateful to Sutton Coldfield College for providing such a useful and wide-ranging taster day for our students, which not only allowed them to find out about the subjects they could study there, it also allowed them to see the facilities first-hand.”

Courtesy of Gary Phelps Communications

Sutton Town Centre Salutes Armed Forces With Fun Day

Residents and shoppers of all ages saluted the Armed Forces in a fun event in Sutton Coldfield – which saw the town centre invaded by a pair of mischievous ‘toy soldiers’.

Armed Forces Day on Saturday, June 25th was the first event organised under the new ‘Visit Royal Sutton Coldfield’ brand, which aims to encourage more people to choose the town centre as a destination to work, study, shop and enjoy.

Organised by Sutton Coldfield Business Improvement District (BID), the day included free activities from face painting to a flight simulator – but it was the two green toy soldiers who stole the show, by parading around the town centre and interacting with shoppers.

BID Manager Michelle Baker said: “Armed Forces Day was a great success and was so much fun. This was the first of many events we have planned to encourage people to visit the town centre, and we had a brilliant response from shoppers and traders. “Sutton Coldfield town centre has so much potential, and this was very much just a taste of what’s to come – so watch this space! “Next up, we have plans for the school summers holidays, and will also be launching a new Food and Drink guide soon, to promote the 50 places to eat and drink in the town.”

On Armed Forces Day visitors to Sutton could try to win their RAF wings in a high-tech flight simulator, provided by PSW Events, listen to music performed by Royal Birmingham Conservatoire saxophonist Alicia Hillman or buy tasty treats created by army veteran and Sutton Coldfield resident Liam Hall, who is now a successful chocolatier. Free face painting for children added some colour to the day, and the two toy soldiers brought their own brand of military mayhem to the Royal town, dancing with shoppers, posing for pictures and patrolling the shops.

Video link


“Visit Royal Sutton Coldfield ” Brand is Launched

Press Release 20/06/22

A vibrant new ‘Visit Royal Sutton Coldfield’ brand has been launched by local business leaders, with the ambition to encourage more people to choose the Royal Town’s centre as a destination to work, study, shop and enjoy.

The new era gets underway on Saturday (June 25th) for Armed Forces Day – when visitors will be able to take the controls of a free flight simulator and enjoy live music and face painting. An army veteran turned chocolatier will be selling tasty treats, while the hilarious ‘Green Army Men’, made famous by Toy Story, will be on parade too.

The launch follows the recent recruitment of Michelle Baker as the new manager of Sutton Coldfield Business Improvement District (BID) and provides a positive rebrand which reflects the BID’s renewed focus on raising the profile of Sutton Coldfield town centre.

Michelle said: “The BID has been in place for 10 years and it’s key that we raise the profile of both the BID company and the town centre to place Sutton Coldfield firmly on the map.

“This new branding of ‘Visit Royal Sutton Coldfield’ will help us do that, by sending out the message that this is a wonderful place to spend time, to eat, drink, shop, relax and enjoy everything we have to offer.

“We have big plans for the town centre including delivering high profile events, launching a new Food and Drink guide to promote the 50 places to eat and drink in the town and much more. Come along on Armed Forces Day to get a taste of what’s to come.”

Plans are also being worked to celebrate the Commonwealth Games.

The new Visit Royal Sutton Coldfield brand was revealed by BID board members at last week’s Sutton Coldfield Business Fair, along with its striking logo, which features four classic icons reflecting the unique nature of Sutton. The logo includes a Tudor rose, the town’s ancient symbol, a green leaf to symbolise the park, a church spire denoting Holy Trinity – the town’s oldest building – and a crown, representing the town’s famous ‘Royal’ status. The logo will become a familiar site, appearing on all BID material promoting the town centre, and will be rolled out this month to replace the older branding.

Michelle added: “This colourful new brand is just the first step – we are exploring so many exciting ideas for the town centre, such as open-air cinemas and speciality markets and other high-profile events that will encourage people to Visit Royal Sutton Coldfield.”

Sutton Coldfield Business Improvement District (BID) commenced its new 5-year term in January this year and raises £200,000 per annum for town centre and business improvements. 377 businesses in the town centre pay a levy which funds town centre initiatives and events. Sutton Coldfield BID is a business-led, not for profit organisation voted for by the town’s businesses, with an ambitious plan to transform Sutton Coldfield town centre making it more welcoming, vibrant and influential.


1. BID Board members (left to right) Alison Clack, of Cerda Planning Stephen Nixon, of Enoch Evans LLP, Gracechurch Centre manager Angela Henderson, Mark Harris, of Mark Harris Accountants and BID Manager Michelle Baker show off the new brand outside Sutton Coldfield Town Hall.

 2. The new Visit Royal Sutton Coldfield logo with its colourful icons.

 3. The Green Army Men, made famous by Toy Story, will be in Sutton Town Centre for this weekend’s Armed Forces Day.

4. A free Flight Simulator will also be ready for take-off for Armed Forces Day.

Students Step Into The Dragons Den

Press Release

Students at Sutton Coldfield’s Arthur Terry School stepped into the Dragon’s Den when they took part in a day-long challenge designed to build their teamwork skills. Nearly 300 Year 9 pupils at the school, which is part of the respected Arthur Terry Learning Partnership (ATLP), tackled the ‘RGWM challenge’, where they were tasked with producing ideas to help regenerate the West Midlands with the support of business mentors.

Lined up as ‘dragons’ were local businesses leaders, while the region’s Mayor, Andy Street, provided a video welcome to launch the day, and promised to review their best ideas too.

Then the students were split into small groups, supported by their form tutors, and encouraged to come up with original, sustainable ideas that could improve the lives of local people.

The best group from each form then presented their project in the hall Infront of the entire year 9 assembly and the assembled Dragons who chose an overall winner.

The winner was brilliant mental health project called ‘mindful motors’, which would combine a tour of Birmingham’s most inspirational sights with access to support and advice. Students wanted to convert a double decker bus, fitting it out with a quiet zone, advice centre, music and library to provide a mobile mental health resource that could tour the region.

Councillor Alex Yip said: “All the guests were impressed with the engagement of the students, their behaviour, and the inclusion for Special Educational Needs students was also noted. “The winning project was a very impressive initiative to redesign a double decker tour bus for mental health support. “It was saddening to hear how mental health was such a priority for students and how so many have struggled but had to make do.”

The mentors who gave up their time were Ben Keefe of AYK Capital , David Hulson and Kal Gurung of Mott MacDonald, Dawn Hall of Jericho, Rebecca Horner of Walsall College, Brian Davies, of UK Sepsis Trust, Careers Enterprise Advisor Ken Hutchinson, Chris Brewerton of Sutton Coldfield Chamber of Commerce, Katharine Olie of Pathway CTM and Birmingham City Councillor, Alex Yip, who is also a Trustee on the ATLP board.

Chris Brewerton said: “We are really supportive of Arthur Terry, and it’s great to be involved in encouraging the next generation of Sutton business people, as well as out chosen charity UK Sepsis Trust, who are also taking part.”

The Trust’s Brian Davies said: “We were delighted to be involved because a great deal of our work is done through schools – we have a programme that raises awareness and involves 375 schools across the country. Days like this are great for helping students develop the kind of soft skills they will need in life and we’re very happy to support.”

Arthur Terry Director of Careers Alex Zarifeh said: “Our RGWM challenge’ was a great success and I would like to extend a huge ‘thank you’ to each of the mentors who gave an entire day to support nearly three hundred Year 9 students.

“The day helped the students learn a little of the types of challenges the world of work presents; working in new teams, collaboratively working towards a set project brief, networking and presentation skills.”



AT RGWM 1 & 2 Mentors assemble at Arthur Terry School before the RGWM challenge.

 AT RGWM 3 Nearly 300 students were involved in the Dragon’s Den-style event.

 AT RGWM 4  Arthur Terry Director of Careers Alex Zarifeh talks to the students.

 AT RGWM 5 The winners with Arthur Terry headteacher Sam Kibble.

Solstice Walk

St Giles Hospice

Saturday 18th June

Solstice Walk – Lichfield Rugby Club

The sun eventually chased the rain away on Saturday evening for St Giles Hospices Solstice Walk, organised to raise funds for support and care at their hospice. Hundreds of people turned out to take part with many of them going the pre walk “Welcome Party” which live music from Kodachrome and hair styling provided by Pure Hair & Spa of Four Oaks. Preparations are already underway for next years “Safari Solstice Walk” and you book your place by clicking the link

Pictures courtesy of St Giles Hospice and Pure Hair & Spa

City Council Buy Retail Park & Shops

Birmingham City Council have bought Half of Sutton Coldfield’s Parade shopping and restaurant units including Aldi and Poundland, along with the Newhall Walk Retail Park with B&M and TK Maxx

For the full story click the link

Photo courtesy Birmingham Live – The Newhall Walk Retail Park

West Side Story 5⭐️

West Side Story – Trinity Players

Sutton Coldfield Town Hall

Monday 6th June

By Nigel Gambles

Photography – Nigel Gambles Photography

Trinity Players are back at the Town Hall with their production of one of the most memorable musical’s of all time “West Side Story” We were lucky enough to be at the Dress Rehearsal on Monday and wow are you in for a treat.

This epic love story surrounded by hatred, violence and prejudice is as popular as ever especially in the light of the recent movie re-make.

Trinity tackle this show with true professionalism, set in New York City two rival street gangs the Jets and the Sharks battle it out as two young lovers get caught in the crossfire.

I don’t think you could get a better Maria and Tony ( Libby Buick and Dan Barnes). Libby portrays Maria with such softness and grace her singing voice is superb, Dan plays Tony in a plain speaking and down to earth way of someone trying to escape the ties of gang life.

Ross Gilby who plays Bernardo, Maria’s over bearing and very protective brother hits the mark perfectly portrayed with subtle arrogance and aggression. 

The singing and dancing of the supporting cast is fantastic full of life, enthusiasm and energy.

For me the highlight scene has to be the one on the fire escape, at this point I have to mention the amazing set. It has to be one of the best I have seen at the Town Hall and perfectly portrays the rundown feel of the New York tenements. Tony climbs to Marias window where she is singing Tonight, picked out perfectly by a soft spotlight, as Tony joins in and we get a beautiful duet.

I can’t finish this review without mentioning the “Rumble” expertly choreographed by Natalie Haslam with the fight scene seeming specially realistic.

Congratulations to directors Matthew Collins on his directorial debut and to Jennifer Holyhead for bringing this show to life. Its spectacular yes we all know most of the songs but here they are performed with passion and energy by a totally amazing cast.

If you have not already then get your tickets now there are a few remaining so hurry.

Jubilee Weekend In Birmingham & West Midlands

All Information and links courtesy Birmingham Live 

Jubilee weekend is almost here – and with that comes four days of street parties, big lunches, themed events and more. There’s plenty to get involved with, including family fun and evening celebrations – we have all the details in this handy guide.

There will be a huge party in Victoria Square in Birmingham to celebrate the Queen’s 70th year on the throne, with four days of live music, entertainment and food between June 2 and June 5.

And on Sunday, June 5 across the nation communities will be hosting a Big Lunch to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee, with many streets shutting for the day for a big bash.

Read more: Huge four day Jubilee celebration planned in Birmingham city – schedule, line-up, and beacon lighting details

We’ve rounded up all the very best of the events happening in Birmingham, Solihull, Wolverhampton, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall, Worcestershire and elsewhere in the Midlands over the long bank holiday. Read on below to find out what’s happening near you over Jubilee weekend, as well as details on street closures, beacon lighting locations, tips on how to throw your own party – and more!

Little Shop Of Horrors 5⭐️

Little Shop Of Horrors – Sutton Coldfield Musical Youth Theatre

Sutton Coldfield Town Hall

Monday 30th May

By Nigel Gambles

Photography – Nigel Gambles Photography

Last night we were invited to the dress rehearsal of Sutton Coldfield Musical Youth Theatre’s first production in 2 years thanks to the pandemic. Little Shop Of Horrors will be running from 31st May -4th June at Sutton Coldfield Town Hall.

Having only ever seen the film I was really looking forward to seeing this musical version and I can honestly say I was not disappointed the show is outstanding in all areas, the acting particularly that of the leads Nate and Millie was nothing short of captivating showing maturity beyond their years. Their singing was note perfect, to me, Millie’s voice was outstanding and I predict a future for her in the music industry.

The whole cast perform with great  energy and passion derived from months of rehearsals no doubt but well worth it when you watch the results.

The story follows a hapless shop worker, Seymour (Nate) who raises a plant that feeds on human flesh and blood who he names Audrey II (voiced by Zeph)  after Audery who he secretly loves, there begins the story, it is accompanied by some  well know n tunes, “Suddenly, Seymour ” “Skid Row” “Somewhere Green” the music which is enthusiastically played by the band at the front of the stage with a nod towards early sixties rock’n’roll and Motown.

The show is on until Saturday, don’t miss out get your tickets while you can you won’t be disappointed.


Rub Me Tender & Trinity Brewery

Thursday evening we were very privileged to be invited to the soft launch of “Rub Me Tender ” at Trinity Brewery in Lichfield.

Rub Me tender many you will know, have been appearing at festivals and events around the region selling their amazing food, and will now be at Trinity Brewery every Thursday  to Sunday every week as a permanent residency

Thursday 5pm till 10pm
Friday 5pm till 10pm
Saturday 12pm till 10pm
Sunday 12pm till 8 pm
For those who have not been to Trinity Brewery it is a micro brewery situated on a small industrial estate off Birmingham Road, not the place you would except to find some of the best BBQ food I have ever eaten. You can sit inside the brewery or outside either on colourful picnic tables or very comfortable sofas.
You order your food at the kitchen we had the Classic Cuban Sandwich and the House Nachos. Whilst waiting for your food wander down to the bar and order yourself one of the amazing Trinity beers or even a short or glass of wine.
Our food arrived and wow! Nicely presented and smelling amazing. The Nachos with chilli beef smoked beans and chipotle mayo were wonderful, full of flavour and texture. The cuban sandwich, hickory smoked mojo pork, sweet mustard, dill pickles all in a soft roll, the flavour was exceptional. Tender pork with a wonderful smokey flavour complemented  by the dill pickles and slaw.
If you are looking for truly authentic and awesome BBQ food then get yourself down to Rub Me Tender and Trinity Brewery
As it says on their Facebook page ” Awesome BBQ at its most awesomeness” I could not agree more we will be back and soon.