The increase in cases generally, including in Solihull, is of course very concerning. We do know we have the means to control the virus, but the lessons from Bolton, which has seen a worrying spike, tell us that we have to test and test again, make sure we get our two doses of vaccine when we can – and of course stick to hands, face, space and fresh air.
Great to see UEFA EURO 2020 starting tonight, but if you are planning to watch the games together in pubs and pub gardens across the borough – you know what to do (and not to do) … please.
As a reminder our teams will be out and about in our towns and villages with our ‘Keep your eye on the ball’ campaign, which takes its cue from EURO 2020 and will try to hammer-home the COVID safety messages in a light-hearted manner.
Looking forward, Solihull has a number of projects and schemes that promise to create the new homes and jobs that we need over the coming years: jobs that will help us with recovery, and homes that will build communities.
For example, the £370 million series of contracts to build Solihull’s HS2 interchange station were launched on Monday. The huge island running over the track is complete and now work on the station can begin.
This has been a controversial project, but the Council is determined to obtain any benefits it can for the borough. Work will support up to 1,000 jobs and the Council will work with the main contractors and all the local sub-contractors to ensure whenever possible local people can access these jobs and that we help our young people get into any apprenticeship schemes on offer.
At the heart of the Council’s economic plan for the borough is inclusive growth. This is our version of the national ‘levelling up agenda’. We want good jobs and good homes for everybody in all parts of the borough. We know the expected economic growth from the investment already in place has the potential to bring prosperity over the coming years. My pledge is to make sure wherever you live, you will have the opportunity benefit from Solihull’s success.
On a more local note I hope community groups in the Dorridge, Knowle, Shirley East, Shirley South, Silhill and St Alphege wards enter bids for the £263k of Community Infrastructure Levy fund to improve their local neighbourhoods.
This funding is collected from new developments as part of the normal planning process and is intended to support community projects in areas where development has taken place. There is more information on how to bid here.
Finally, as Carers Week comes to a close I’d like to pay tribute to all our borough’s 27,000 unpaid carers and the support provided by Carers Trust Solihull.
I encourage carers of all ages, particularly young carers, to take advantage of the amazing support offered by Carers Trust Solihull, including information, advice and access to a range of services and events.
To find out more about what the charity offers and to view inspiring carers video visit their website and follow on social media @solihullcarers
PS. I know you have heard a lot about Wildlife Ways, but I thought I would just say that I went to see some of the work in Kingshurst Brook this week, along the riverside. Now a lovely riverside area. One family were out enjoying the sunshine and they called over to me to say that was the first time they had been able to sit and enjoy the green space, thanks to the work that was done. Thank you team!
Keep doing the right things for you, your family, friends and Solihull. Stay safe.
Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council