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Andrew Mitchell MP welcomes the West Midlands Mayor Andy Street to the Royal Town

Andrew Mitchell MP has taken the West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, on a one day visit around the Royal Town to meet some of Sutton’s outstanding community groups and to hear more about what local people think are the biggest issues affecting their lives. The itinerary included the Arthur Terry School Sixth Form students in the Town Centre, United Reform Church’s Food Bank, Lower Parade and the Royal Town’s flourishing YMCA.

As the first ever West Midlands Mayor, Andy began his career at the retailer John Lewis combining this with high-profile economic development roles, working both with local and national government.

The day started off at Arthur Terry School addressing the Sixth Form assembly where the WM Mayor and Andrew Mitchell spoke about several initiatives which will benefit the Royal Town, including a bicycle share scheme and the region’s bid to be the new home to Channel 4’s new national headquarters.

The floor was then opened to Arthur Terry’s Sixth Form politics students who had prepared questions about what the two politicians were doing as elected representatives to take on some of the most pressing issues for young people in the Royal Town. Hot issues included pollution in the Royal Town and what was being done both nationally and locally to combat the housing crisis. The Mayor explained why Conservatives opposed building on the green belt – a particularly animated issue in the Royal Town.

Andy Street said:
“You want to build houses on brownfield lands in central Birmingham or what you end up with is more cars commuting from the edges of Birmingham for work every day and congesting the roads even more.”

Another student asked about the Government’s EU withdrawal plan. In response, Andrew replied:
“I want a Brexit that works, that provides the best opportunities for my constituents, particularly those from the younger generations – the Chequers Plan is a good start.”

The next stop on the itinerary was the food bank hosted by the United Reform Church where they saw at first hand the display of generosity by Royal Suttonians. However, it was also an important opportunity to talk to some of the volunteers and food bank users. Volunteers were thanked for their hard work in assisting some of the most challenged people within Sutton and nearby areas.

The visit was very useful in informing the Mayor’s initiatives to tackle homelessness and rough. One of the Mayor’s first actions when he was elected last year as the creation of a Homelessness Task Force which hopes to 'design out homelessness in the West Midlands'.

Andrew Mitchell MP and West Midlands Mayor Andy Street visit the food bank at the United Reform Church

To round off the day, Andrew took the Mayor to see some of the fantastic work that YMCA Sutton Coldfield are doing to help some of the most disadvantaged young people in Sutton Coldfield. Among some of the concerns was the quality of careers advice available in the Sutton Coldfield area.

Andrew Mitchell MP and West Midlands Mayor Andy Street visit the YMCA

In concluding the tour, Andrew said:
“The Royal Town is a catalyst for the West Midland’s economy and is home to some of the best schools in the region. I have taken the Mayor through Sutton Coldfield to meet some of our most outstanding community groups. I am confident that today’s visit has been informative and will play a big role in shaping the Mayor’s initiatives for the region.

“We are very lucky to have a West Midlands Mayor who is so engaged with issues we care about in the Royal Town.”

West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, said:
“The students at Arthur Terry School were very impressive and gave us a real grilling on issues including the economy, future job opportunities, the environment and transport. It was good to meet such a politically aware and engaged group of young people.

“The work being done by both the YMCA and the United Reformed Church in Sutton Coldfield in supporting people facing significant challenges in their life was very impressive. I was very grateful to both organisations for the opportunity to learn more about they are doing for the community.”

Andrew Mitchell MP and West Midlands Mayor Andy Street visit Lower Parade

Photo: Andrew Mitchell MP and Mayor Andy Street at Arthur Terry School, United Reform Church, Lower Parade and YMCA Sutton Coldfield.

Andrew Mitchell MP and Mayor Andy Street at Arthur Terry School

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