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Sponsored by: Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council Sutton Coldfield


Chamber of Commerce


Contact: Chris Brewerton T: 0845 6036650


Sutton Coldfield Chamber Patrons


Sutton Coldfield Charity of the Year


Sofa so good for YMCA fundraisers


Supporting Royal Sutton Coldfield during the Coronavirus crisis


By councillor Simon Ward, leader, Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council


Tucked in: Anita Ellis taking part in the sofa surf


Sutton Coldfield YMCA’s annual Sleep Out fundraiser was transformed into a ‘sofa surf’ as the charity held its first virtual fundraising event. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Chamber’s charity of the year was forced to adapt the event, which usually involves business and other community figures sleeping out in the open to raise money and awareness of youth homelessness. Instead, more than 120 people slept on their


sofas for the night – with participants from as far away as Leighton Buzzard and Northern Ireland. The ‘sofa surf’ featured a number of live


broadcasts throughout the night, including Pete Morgan from Monkey Pants Productions who hosted a live pub quiz.


Emily Rose, Staffordshire’s first female poet


Laureate, also performed a poem about homelessness that was written for the charity. So far, the event has raised nearly £10,000 –


with £2,400 alone raised by PLOTT Creative. Anita Ellis, marketing manager at YMCA


Sutton Coldfield, said: “When I realised there was a way to go ahead with the event and raise awareness of hidden homelessness whilst also keeping everyone safe, I had to go for it! “It was fantastic to see so many Chamber


businesses getting behind the event and supporting the switch. “It even prompted additional sign-ups which


just highlights how supportive and strong our businesses community is.”


Residents are better together


A new partnership has been set up to support Sutton Coldfield residents in need during the coronavirus public health challenge. Sutton Coldfield Together has been set up


by Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council and Age Concern Birmingham to work with the Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust voluntary, community and faith organisations across the town. The partnership was established to ensure


vulnerable and older people, especially those aged 70 and over can access vital help to get through the challenges now and ahead. Sutton Coldfield Together is working closely


with the Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust, which is helping to get funding to local organisations that are part of the response to support local residents.


Where additional resources are required to


support local organisations in their response, the Town Council Community Grant is also available to provide financial support. Through the website Sutton Coldfield


Together website vulnerable residents can request support, including help with shopping or non-prescription medical supplies, delivery of food packs and telephone befriending. For residents unable to visit the website,


Age Concern Birmingham run a phone service to discuss support for themselves or a relative/ neighbour. This is available on 0121 362 3650 and is open 09:30-16:00, Monday to Saturday. Residents can also call St James Church in


Mere Green on 07483 829 891 for support, including delivering hot meals, help with shopping, or a friendly chat.


Across the UK, businesses have been forced to pause due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The impact of social distancing rules and enforced closure of non-essential businesses means the current social and economic environment is one many of us will never have experienced. These are exceptionally challenging times


for everyone, from business owners to the self-employed, workers, families and the members of our community at high-risk and requiring considerable support. In March, a new partnership, Sutton


Coldfield Together (tiny.cc/suttontogether), was formed by Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council and Age Concern Birmingham to work alongside Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust and voluntary, community and faith organisations across the town. This initiative harnesses the great community spirit we have in our Royal Town to support vulnerable people. The website also provides details on


current business support from central government, Birmingham City Council and Sutton Coldfield Chamber of Commerce. It has been great to see the business community playing its part at this most challenging time. There will be further challenges, once


restrictions are lifted, to encourage people to return to work and visit the bars, cafes, retailers and restaurants across our Royal Town. The impact on consumer purchasing and business practices, such as an increasing shift to online purchases and working from home, will further redefine what ‘a trip to town’ looks like. We cannot yet predict what ‘normal life’


will look like, but our town and local centres will quickly and effectively re-open for business as soon as government advises it is safe. By working together, we can and will overcome these challenges. Royal Sutton Coldfield remains a great place to live, work, raise a family and do business – our Royal Town is showing its great community spirit and will emerge stronger.


May 2020 CHAMBERLINK 41


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