Recent stories in the media, alongside the testimony of so many women about the threat of male abuse or violence affecting their everyday lives, has revealed how much we have to do to create an environment and culture where women and girls feel safe.
As part of that work here in the West Midlands, I was very pleased with the news that our Police & Crime Commissioner’s Office has secured half a million pounds from the Government’s Safer Streets fund to help tackle violence against women and girls.
Solihull, along with other Councils across the region, Transport for West Midlands and other partner organisations will be collaborating closely on this vital work, on a number of projects including 16 Days of Action, starting next month.
This West Midlands-wide campaign will include information about where to get support locally. As a Council we are committed to doing everything we can - find out about support in Solihull here.
As part of our preparations for COP26, (a conference to be held in Glasgow in November which will bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) we are asking our young people in Solihull for their views on climate change and how we can meet the challenge of getting our CO2 emissions to net zero by 2041.
Please fill in Solihull’s Youth Climate Action Survey. In particular, we want to hear from our pupils aged 10-16 years in Solihull as the survey will be discussed at the Solihull Schools Climate Conference on 11 November, timed to take place during COP26.
Can I also ask parents and guardians of young people to encourage them to fill in the survey? This is one way we can listen to Solihull’s young people and let them have their say on the issue of climate change action in the borough and understand their hopes and expectations.
As an example of the Council’s contribution to tackling climate change, the recently announced new environmental services contract has our climate change ambitions embedded in it, alongside other improvements to services. These will be achieved by much greater use of technology to help us become a net zero Council by 2030 and a net zero borough by 2041.
It’s been a trying time for so many businesses and their employees throughout the pandemic; as we approach something closer to normality, some may need to consider reskilling their staff now that furlough has ended.
Help and support is available for businesses of all sizes through the Regional Redundancy taskforce. This meets regularly and includes Birmingham City Council, Solihull Council, Serco, the Department of Work and Pensions, National Careers Service, People Plus, ACAS, GBSLEP Triage and Support Service and the West Midlands Combined Authority.
The Taskforce may be able to offer bespoke options for a business if they ask for support. A range of options are on offer from each of the members of the taskforce. There’s no “one size fits all”, and all the services are free. And there’s support for individuals too. Call our employment and skills team on 0121 704 8076 or email: employmentteam@Solihull.gov.uk .
There’s more information about support for businesses on our Solihull for Success website.
I would also like to mention October is Black History Month. Throughout this month we will be encouraging people across the borough to share their stories and responses to the question ‘who are you proud to be?’
We’ve asked the Council’s workforce to share their experiences as part of our commitment to being an inclusive and welcoming employer. Without understanding their experiences, just how can we provide effective services to all of our communities?
We are also in National Hate Crime Awareness Week. It remains a scourge of our times that people view difference as an excuse to be verbally to physically abusive.
The definition of hate crime is: “any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards a person based on their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or gender identity.”
In Solihull we have zero tolerance to hate crime. My message is that if you experience hate crime or see it happening, please report it here.
Solihull is a tolerant and diverse borough. This was a key message that I used to promote when I was Mayor ten years ago. I just hope that through our work, highlighting events and issues such as Black History Month, National Hate Crime Week and Holocaust Memorial Day, we can bring understanding, respect and tolerance between all our wonderful communities within Solihull.
Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council