Julian Knight's Westminster Diary, 28/09/18

Solihull is a town which runs on volunteers – something I’ve seen time again in my time representing our town in the House of Commons.

That’s why I set up my ‘Points of Light’ award. It’s my way of giving a little recognition and respect to some of the amazing people who work so hard behind the scenes for charities, sports teams, community organisations and a huge range of other groups.

My latest winner was Christine Dunster, and a couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of joining her and Olton’s ‘Literary Litter Pickers’ – on her birthday, no less – to help tidy up the area around Olton Library. Between us, we picked up 37 full backs of rubbish!

Earlier this summer Christine was awarded the British Empire Medal for her services to the community, and thanks to the generosity of local florist Fleur-de-lis was my pleasure to present her with a certificate and lovely bouquet as a personal token of thanks for her hard work.

Of course, even the most expert and energetic volunteer can only do so much. Many really worthwhile projects would benefit hugely from a little financial support.

That’s why I want to encourage as many local people as possible to apply to the Aviva Community Fund, which will be offering support to 500 local projects or groups this year.

Grants will range from £1,000 to £25,000, and will be disbursed to projects in three categories: Environment, Health & Wellbeing, or Skills for Life. Nominations close on October 9th, so get those applications in at www.avivacommunityfund.co.uk.

Finally, I just want to let everybody know that Solihull Council is inviting residents to an information event to find out more about what’s available for young people with special educational needs as they prepare for adulthood.

Two sessions will be held – the first on Tuesday 16 October and the other on Wednesday 17 October – and are aimed at young people aged 14-25 and their parents or carers. It will give young people an opportunity to see the different routes they can take after leaving school, as well as find out what support is available in the borough as they get older.

People are asked to register their interest by emailing informationevent@solihull.gov.uk or calling 0121 704 6166, providing details of any specific access requirements.