Agenda item



I am sure that I am not the only one who is pleased to see daffodils in bloom and more daylight. Spring is on its way, a sign of new beginnings, and that is especially the case for Surrey. We will come together next month for our Extraordinary Council Meeting, and I invite you to the garden room following the meeting for tea, coffee and cake. I hope to see you all there.


Charity Visits

Since our last meeting, I have been fortunate enough to be out in the county visiting some of Surrey’s charities and recognising the hard work that goes into each of these charitable organisations. In February I visited the Hashim Welfare Hospital, a charity hospital providing the relief of sickness in rural Pakistan, in particular by assisting in the provision and management of a hospital. I also paid a visit to the Grange Centre for people with disabilities. The Grange does a tremendous job, supporting people with disabilities to lead independent and fulfilling lives. I have seen firsthand the incredible difference these charities make in their communities and to Surrey’s residents. I will be continuing to visit charities over the course of the year in line with my theme, ‘celebrating diverse communities’ and I look forward to sharing more of the work taking place in the county with you. 



On Saturday 24 February I stood at Jubilee Square in Woking to commemorate two years of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Even now, it is still hard to believe that in 2022, the world entered an unprecedented era, irreversibly altering the lives of Ukrainians and countless others across the globe. Over these challenging two years and as we start the third year, the resilience of the Ukrainian people continues to shine through.



One of the many, enjoyable tasks undertaken in the role as the Chair are grand openings, and this month I had the pleasure of attending the official opening of Heathside School in Walton-on-Thames who were also lucky enough to have His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester in attendance.

I welcomed residents to Blanchman’s Farm Nature Reserve who, after being granted £119,000 by Your Fund Surrey, installed a trackway around its reserve. Nature reserves have historically been very hard to access for everyone and the previous trackway had become unfit for purpose. The new track has made the reserve completely accessible for people of all abilities and circumstances, just as it should be. It was a privilege to officially open the track and thank every member of the team for all their efforts in bringing the project to life, a very proud moment for the reserve and for the county.


International Women’s Day

8 March marked International Women’s Day 2024, and the theme for this year is ‘Invest in women: Accelerate progress’. As a male Chair, I feel I have an even greater duty to ensure woman are celebrated.

The world is facing many crises, ranging from geopolitical conflicts to soaring poverty levels and the escalating impacts of climate change. These challenges can only be addressed by solutions that empower women. By investing in women and championing gender equality, we can spark change and speed the transition towards a healthier, safer, and more equal world, where everyone in society can thrive, creating a world of boundless opportunity and equal empowerment for all.



The Chair:


·         Noted that he had the privilege of visiting the Grange Centre in Great Bookham, which supports people with disabilities; noted that it would be a good place for Members to support using their allocations.

·         Highlighted the recent Surrey Armed Forces Covenant Conference at Pirbright, noting that the Council works closely with the military and it was interesting to hear speeches from those in the army and those who provide support.

·         Encouraged Members to complete their Related Party Disclosure form.

·         Noted that the rest of his announcements could be found in the agenda.