13 August 2021 – Message from Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council

Released:

Following several weeks of gradually falling infection rates, it seems they have plateaued at around 350-370 per 100,000 people.  Frustratingly, they remain the highest in the West Midlands.

Whilst the case rates remain highest in the 16-24 age group, there has been a worrying increase in the 60+ age group-  28% over the past week to 132.4 per 100,000 people.  We know the older you are, the harder it is to deal with COVID. The high rates among the young mean community transmission is inevitable and that is why older people are getting infected.

So the messages remain the same-  get double jabbed and keep getting tested, don’t be the one passing this virus on. Over 84% of residents aged 18+ have had their first vaccination, with around 75% having had both doses. But we need everyone who can, to grab a jab, especially 16 and 17 year olds, now that the vaccine has been opened up to them. 

GPs will contact you for your first or second doses, or you could book an appointment online (only for those 18 +), maybe find a walk-in centre near where you live? And if you’re heading in to Birmingham this weekend, you can grab a jab at Primark! 

Or closer to home get a Pfizer jab at Asda in Parkgate, Shirley, this Saturday 14 August between 10:00am - 5:00pm and then in Mell Square Thursday 19 and Friday 20 August, 9:00am to 5:30pm. More details about all walk-in sessions are here

The past 18 months has challenged us all and I want to send a heartfelt “congratulations” to all those receiving ‘A’ level, GSCE and BTEC results this week.  Well done, you have all triumphed in extremely difficult circumstances. I wish you well in your future endeavours, be that university, apprenticeship, college or into the world of work.

My thanks also to our schools and colleges, in particular all the staff who made sure our children and young people got the best education possible during the pandemic.  Not forgetting all the support pupils and students have received from their parents and families!

Our thoughts must be with those that have suffered from the intense heatwave across Europe, and now Africa. The pictures of those wildfires were terrifying, another stark reminder of the urgency required to tackle climate change. 

Many of the key policy decisions need international agreement, with action at a national level. This is why I look forward to COP 26, the UN’s Climate Change conference hosted in Glasgow, being able to renew a world-wide coordinated response.  You can keep up to date with COP26 by subscribing to the newsletter.

One of our many contributions to environmental action in Solihull will be our Net Zero Action plan which we will be consulting on from next week.  It will guide our efforts to be a zero carbon Council by 2030 and support the borough, and region wide aim to be zero carbon by 2041. 

We are currently asking people to comment on our vision for Solihull Train Station and have a final webinar coming up in September.  Please take part in the survey or join the webinar, we need to know what you think of these ambitious plans.

We are also developing a new Housing Assistance Policy to give us more flexibility in how we use our funding, (called Disabled Facilities Grants), to pay for housing adaptations so that children, and adults, with care and support needs can stay in their own homes and live independently for longer.

Remember there’s still time to enter Visit Solihull’s photo competition. Submit up to ten photos to 'Visit Solihull' by direct messaging their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts or by emailing Visit Solihull along with the location and a description of your submitted photo(s).  The closing date for entries is Wednesday 1 September. Full details including terms and conditions can be found here.

Finally, congratulations to all the Team GB medallists and competitors for a thrilling Tokyo Olympics, but I must highlight Galal Yafai, who was a former pupil at Light Hall School, worked at JLR and is now a gold medal winner following his brilliant boxing success in the flyweight class. A fantastic performance.

Stay safe and keep doing the right thing for Solihull.

Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council