30 June 2023 – Message from Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council


30 June 2023 – Message from Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council

The new Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) at Solihull Hospital is open for business and seeing patients. This is extremely good news for residents who previously had to travel fairly long distances if they needed medical assistance for minor injuries and minor illnesses. I alluded last week to how warmly the news had been welcomed by my colleague Councillor Karen Grinsell, our Deputy Leader. She has passionately campaigned for the return of urgent services to the hospital since the original Covid-enforced closure of the minor injuries unit and is rightly delighted to see that diligent work on behalf of the people of Solihull rewarded. I commend her for her persistence, and I’d also like to commend University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB), the Trust who run Solihull Hospital, for moving quickly to restore services when they were able to do so.

The new centre will operate from 8am-8pm every day. Whilst it’s not a 24-hour service, a lot of work went into the establishment of the UTC and what it offers to residents, and I know that UHB weren’t seeing many visits to the old MIU outside those hours. We’re also assured that these hours will be reviewed and extended should there be sufficient need.

We’re proud of the role our hospital played in maintaining vital NHS services including life-saving operations at a time when the Trust had to reorganise services on a huge scale due to Covid. I know the decision to close Minor Injuries, as difficult as it was for Silhillians to accept, was not taken lightly.I’m pleased that UHB recognised our campaign and the needs of our residents. We can all now look to the future with the new unit serving us here in Solihull.

The first ‘Your Future Solihull’ Primary School Event showcased the very best of Solihull and the school pupils who are already doing so much for the environment. The event, held in the Council Chamber, saw 8 local schools given certificates for their exceptional commitment to sustainability and environmental conservation. I was particularly impressed with how confident the students were at reading their poems and sharing with everyone the eco-initiatives taking place in schools.

My feelings about the importance of taking positive action to combat the effects of climate change are well known, I mention them in this message nearly every week, but I’ll continue to do so as long as I have a platform. Instilling the need for action in our young people with events like this is particularly important, as it will be future generations who continue the fight. Saying that, many of our young people need no encouragement on climate matters, and I appreciate the energy and ideas I saw in the room this week. Long may it continue.

It was wonderful to see the involvement of young and old alike in the transformation of a graffitied tunnel to a vibrant and welcoming approach  called the ‘Poppy Path’, which leads towards our Armed Forces Community Garden in Hillfield Park. With the support of the RBL, Monkspath School and our environmental partners Veolia, local veterans and school children have created some beautiful public art which I know means a great deal to our local veterans and serving personnel. We’re very proud of the Armed Forces Community Garden, and it provides an important space for remembrance, reflection, and relaxation for local veterans and the wider community. The project has provided a fitting walkway for people to get to the garden, that is fittingly themed with poppy murals along the way.

I was disappointed not to be able to attend the National Windrush Day service on Sunday, but our Deputy Mayor, Cllr Ken Meeson, was present and tells me it was a fantastic event. I did provide some remarks for the programme and I’m happy to reproduce them here to give them a wider audience given the importance of the occasion.

We are all immensely proud of the rich and diverse culture we enjoy across the borough, and the Windrush generation remain a key part of our shared history.

Annual events such as National Windrush Day give us an opportunity to pause, reflect, and celebrate the wonderful contributions that different communities have made – not only in Solihull, but also across the country.

The Caribbean Family History Group, for example, who regularly meet at The Core Library in the town centre, have made it their mission to record stories of those who travelled to the UK so that future generations can learn from their experiences.

Their hard work has resulted in building one of the largest UK collections of Caribbean family history records outside of London. It is wonderful that community groups such as this choose to base themselves in Solihull and can share their storied histories with us all.

Solihull is a place where tolerance and respect for others is part of our DNA, where discrimination in all its forms has no place, where an inclusive society for people to visit, work, and live in, is what we all strive for.

Finally, the Festival 36 bards I’ve mentioned before in this will be roaming the town centre this weekend and there’s still some free tickets left to see Shakespeare’s First Folio at The Core on Sunday, you can book here for a chance to join the revels before they have ended…

Thanks, and have a good weekend,

Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council

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