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


As the cost of living crisis dominated our headlines, on Wednesday we had the sobering sight of Ukrainians across the world celebrating their independence day, as well as it marking the six-month anniversary of Russia’s invasion. You can see how people observed the day at: #standforfreedom and #SunflowersforUkraine .

As with all conflicts that aren’t decisive and move to a stalemate, they fall from the headlines, despite the fact that Russia continues to bomb, kill and maim civilians caught up in this illegal and abhorrent war.

Here at home the cost of living is occupying all our thoughts, particularly with today’s energy cap announcement and it will be the big ticket item in the next Prime Minister’s inbox.  But despite our domestic woes, I know we all still support Ukraine and its fight for survival in the face of Russia’s unwarranted and senseless aggression.

The cost of energy is determined by national and international factors outside of this Council’s control, but we will endeavour to do whatever we can to support communities across the borough. 

In practical terms we will keep pushing for more support to better insulate our homes and put in place retrofit programmes to make homes across the borough more energy efficient and cheaper to heat.

Alongside our partners, we will also carry on offering advice and support such as through the Mobile Warm Hub which is touring the borough over the coming weeks. 

There are things we can all do to keep our homes warm and keep our energy bills down and the Warm Hub team will be in Shirley and Meriden offering advice and support.  Do try and get along as they might be able to give you crucial energy advice that will help you get through the winter.  There’s more about the Mobile Warm Hub here.

If you are struggling, then please take a look at our Here 2 Help pages on the Council website.  There’s lots of information and contact details for getting help with food, fuel or financial advice.  And remember - during the pandemic our community and voluntary sector rose to the challenge of helping people through those tough times and I am sure they will once again be on hand to offer advice and support, so do go to our Community Advice Hubs in Chelmsley Wood Library and The Core in Solihull town centre.

And finally, allow me to encourage you to take a walk round Balsall Common, incidentally where I live. Thanks to the efforts of the local Berskwell and Balsall Parish Council, local historians and Solihull Council’s business support team, we now have two new circular walks that are plotted on a new Balsall Common Heritage Trail map.

It’s a great way to get some exercise and find out about the local history of this part of the borough. There’s a short and long walk, so download the trail leaflet and come and visit Balsall Common

And if it’s too far to go, there are Solihull and Shirley heritage trails that might be closer to home, have a look here.

Have a great bank holiday weekend

Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council