15 July 2022 – Message and heat warning from Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council


The forecast is for intense heat over the next few days, particularly on Monday and Tuesday when the highest Red Warning has been issued, so, please follow the advice here

Dig out the factor 50 and keep an eye out for children, older people and the vulnerable, as well as pets; it is all too easy to get too much sun or become dehydrated. Keep drinking water.

(Listening to the radio in my car, I heard a report about men being more likely to suffer from skin issues, presumably, we are not so good at putting on the suncream?)

With the weather set to reach the mid 30oC or even hotter, the idea of running round a track or even playing badminton or table tennis all sounds a bit out of place. Hopefully it will be cooler for the athletes, but the Commonwealth Games really is just round the corner. OK, I am not known for my sporting talent (or physique), but I am genuinely getting excited by the event, where Solihull is playing a big part, and the boost that it could give to our region.

Even if you haven’t got tickets, there are still plenty of ways to join and have some fun, from cheering on the baton relay to getting along to the B2022 Festival Sites in Solihull town centre at Mell Square, Theatre Square and Touchwood.  From 28 July to 8 August there’s a full programme of events with a Commonwealth Games theme, opportunities to try sports, see demonstrations and follow all the action on a big screen.

In my role as Environmental Champion at the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), I wanted to draw attention to the Clean Growth Grant, a capital grant of up to £10,000 towards the cost of installing energy saving measures for businesses and organisations within the GBSLEP area.

The grant is to help eligible businesses make their products, processes, services and buildings more sustainable. The funding could support or help investing in clean growth such as installing solar panels or energy or energy reduction measures. The grant is intended to help businesses transition to the zero-carbon economy we want by 2041, but quite honestly many may be attracted by the possibility of saving money on energy bills.

In more local news, our new Holiday Activities & Food (HAF) programme was launched recently.  This will see us provide free activities along with a healthy meal to thousands of eligible children aged 4 to 16 across Solihull this summer.

The HAF programme offers support to families in receipt of benefits related free school meals and is funded via a £997,000 government grant.

This year’s range of activities is the widest ever we have provided.  It includes sessions such as creative craft, where children can produce their own fashion design and take part in a mini fashion show or drama sessions from Birmingham REP who will work with children to create and put on a new play in just one day.

For children feeling inspired by the games there’s also sports activities including everything from curling to ultimate frisbee, with the usual favourites of football, netball, tennis, cricket, table tennis, basketball, volleyball, dodgeball, archery, handball, and hockey.

School holidays can be a difficult time for some families and this programme can keep children occupied in a range of interesting and educational pursuits, as well as providing a free healthy lunch.

It was nice to hear praise for Solihull’s Integrated Addiction Services (SIAS) following the grand opening of the newly refurbished Newington Centre.  The Mayor attended on our behalf and met Professor Dame Black, who was fulsome in her praise.

Following the refurbishment, the centre now has additional space to host an extensive programme of events for its service users and more clinic rooms so people can be seen on a one-to-one basis or in groups.

SIAS is a partnership of organisations. Commissioned by Solihull Council, the partners work closely together to support Solihull residents who are struggling with alcohol, drug or gambling addictions.

Dame Black said “You’re doing what I'd like every place in the country to do, you’re doing it in a joined up, partnership and collaborative way and we've a long way to go elsewhere.”

These services are vital to help those facing drug, alcohol or gambling addictions to recover and reduce the health, social, family and economic harms that these addictions can sometime cause. Well done SIAS, I look forward to seeing the new centre myself in the future.

I repeat myself, but please, do take care in this heat.

Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council