11 August 2023 - Message from Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council


This summer seems to have brought more rain than shine recently, but I’m hoping for a sunny outlook next Thursday for the thousands of young people across Solihull and the rest of the country as they receive their A-level results. Whilst many will be justly rewarded for their hard work and move on to their chosen next step in life – be that University, a job, further training or just some time out, it will be a disappointing morning for some. This year will see a return to pre-pandemic grading arrangements, which many are expecting will mean lower grades on average than in the last couple of years. If anyone does find themselves in a situation where they haven’t got what they had hoped for, either next week or the week after when GCSE results are published, and is worried about what to do next, there is plenty of help available. The Council’s Skills for Success programme offers support to year 11 and 13 leavers who:

  • want to get advice on alternative options with their results
  • need guidance on the college enrolment process
  • have changed their mind about what they'd like to do next
  • need help with searching and applying for opportunities

If you or someone you know has recently left school and isn’t sure what to do, still searching for something that will provide a rewarding future, then can I humbly suggest a career in social care. There are plenty of opportunities for advancement, with lots of training provided. You can find out more about it here.

On the topic of social care, I welcome the additional care workforce funding announced by the government last week.  Plans are being developed with local care providers to ensure the best fit with the funding conditions and greatest impact for Solihull residents, as we look to bring more good people in to join our hardworking teams.  

The annual Solihull Half Marathon takes place this Sunday (13 August). Firstly, good luck to everyone running, whether you’re in it to win it, only racing against yourself, or running purely to raise money for a good cause. Naturally, with so many runners on the roads, there will be closures in place to keep everyone safe. If you’re directly impacted then you should have had plenty of warning, but for everyone planning to travel locally that day I’d recommend you make yourself aware of the affected roads so that you don’t get caught out. Find full information on the road closures in place here.

The Council’s HAF (Holiday Activities and Food) programme is now in full swing, providing a wide range of fun activities for children in receipt of benefits-related free school meals. In addition to the children’s activities, there are a number of venues offering HAF family activities this summer, where adults can also take part. Typical activities include swimming, ice skating, badminton, tennis, table tennis, with bouncy castle and soft play sessions suitable for younger children. For more information and access details click here.

There are also plenty of activities and days out across the borough open to everyone, many of which are free or at very low cost. Our Family Information Service has collated some into a very useful resource for any parents or carers who might find themselves running out of ideas to occupy their children by this point in the summer. 

A few weeks ago, I talked about the anniversary of the Commonwealth Games and the continuing legacy that event has had in the region. That legacy continues to grow with the Gen22 campaign. Gen22 looks to provide placement opportunities for young people who typically face access barriers to traditional career and skills development. If you run a start-up organization, sports club, digital/media, creative, or cultural organisation and are passionate about creating positive change in your community then take a look at their website to find out about the funding available to become a grassroots delivery partner for Gen22.

Finally, I’ve already talked about one road closure this weekend but just want to make sure everyone is aware of another quite significant one. The M42 between Junction 6 and 7a (Northbound) and Junction 7 and 6 (southbound) will be temporarily closed from 9pm on Friday 11 August until 5am on Monday 14 August. For more information, please visit the HS2 website. Please check before you travel.

Thanks, and have a lovely weekend,

Cllr Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council.