This week I had the privilege of attending a reception for Ukrainian refugees and their hosts from across Solihull. The event, at the very impressive National Motorcycle Museum, saw over 200 people come together as we continue to ensure that our Ukrainian guests settle into our borough as best as they can. They and their country have been through so much, but I’m proud of the support that the UK has offered on an international scale and equally proud of the support that the people of Solihull have furnished at this most difficult time.
Here in Solihull many residents have opened their homes to people who have been forced to leave their own homes behind. It was a real honour to meet and talk to some of them, they truly do represent the values we hold most dear. Their kindness, their selfless generosity, and their deep sense of community are an inspiration that will be long remembered.
I hope and pray for the safety of all those who remain in Ukraine, and for their victory as they continue fighting to restore the freedom of their country in the face of an unprovoked, violent, and wicked invasion.
Yesterday morning I caught up with Midlands Engine Chairman, Sir John Peace to discuss our ambitious vision for UK Central Solihull, the brand we use to describe exciting growth opportunities across the borough, whilst stressing how committed we are to maintaining the environment that we all love in Solihull Borough.
Already a hugely successful economy in the region, careful investment has the potential to transform UK Central Solihull into one of the most exciting and accessible development growth projects in Europe.
Midlands Engine is a regional partnership which works to accelerate growth and prosperity across the Midlands by bringing together and championing its partners at national level and on the global stage.
We discussed some of the opportunities for continued investment in the borough, such as Arden Cross at the HS2/Birmingham International site and the potential to create tens of thousands of jobs, 5,000 homes and 650,000m2 in new commercial space over the coming decade or so. Focusing on key strategic sites like Arden Cross will help us to deliver on this while protecting our precious green space and the unique character of our borough.
The Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund is set to make a real difference, supporting local authorities to accelerate their tree and woodland planting plans, and helping to tackle the climate change and biodiversity crises. Solihull Council successfully applied for the DEFRA fund and is one of 57 local authorities to benefit, receiving just under £150k which will greatly help in our plans to plant thousands of trees.
I welcome details of the government funding for Solihull from the Adult Social Care Discharge Fund. This is going to help our residents who are ready to leave hospital to be discharged promptly, with the right support and make the best use of hospital bed capacity by minimising delays. We are developing plans at speed with our partners so we can begin to spend the funds to best support our residents and ease pressure on our hospital beds.
During the run up to Christmas, we will again be supporting Solihull families by running the HAF (Holiday Activities and Food) programme, which provides free activities and a healthy meal, for children in receipt of benefits-related free school meals. A range of borough-wide provision is available, including activities accessible for children with additional needs. To book places and for more information see here.
Further resident support is being offered to help with the cost of living, including information to help keep warm, healthy and safe, plus details of financial help and assistance Preparing for Winter 2022 and Here2Help
Have a good weekend,
Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council