Agenda item



Welcome everyone to the Council’s Annual General Meeting. I find it incredible that a whole year has passed since I became Chair of our Council – and what a year it has been. It is something of an understatement to say it has flown by. I have thoroughly enjoyed my first year as Chair and I am immensely looking forward to the next year.


A friendly reminder that following the meeting, lunch is provided for Members and CLT who have requested it. Please do join me in the canteen. I look forward to seeing you all there.


Chris Norman RIP

I am afraid I begin with the sad news of the passing of Chris Norman, former Conservative councillor in the Chertsey division. Chris passed away in April, after a long battle with illness. Some of you will remember Chris, who retired from public office in 2017 having served two terms as a county councillor. I am sure you will join me in sending condolences to his wife Judith.


Installation of the High Sheriff of Surrey, 2024-25

In March I attended the installation of the High Sheriff of Surrey 2024-25, Shahid Azeem. This is Shahid’s second term as High Sheriff, having served in 2020-21, and I am delighted that I will be in post as Chair for Shahid’s year. His theme for his term of office is ‘interfaith and community cohesion’. I wish Shahid a highly productive and enjoyable year.


Chair’s Theme: Celebrating Diverse Communities

As you are aware, my theme for my time as Chair is ‘Celebrating Diverse Communities’. Throughout the past year I have met with many organisations and individuals who do so much to support, celebrate and empower many of the different communities in our county. Surrey is a richly diverse county and it has been a fantastic yet deeply humbling experience to discover and learn more about the various cultures, communities and individuals that have made our great county their home.


Amongst the communities and organisations I have supported, is the wonderful Surrey Youth Focus, who I am sure you are all familiar with. I have been able to help fund very valuable research into exploring ‘inclusion’ for children and young people with neurodiverse traits, to amplify their voices to influence the difference they would like to see in their communities. This project aims to address the needs expressed by young people who are both neurodiverse and have another protected characteristic or need, such as being from a minority ethnic background or living in poverty. I will share the outcomes with you all in due course.


I have also supported the Surrey Coalition of Disabled People (SCDP) to purchase IT equipment for those they support, in order to help with on-going employment and job opportunities; to connect with others over the internet; and have the opportunity to engage more with life and with people that many of us so often take for granted. Technology really can be an invaluable lifeline for so many people with disabilities and SCDP does a marvellous job in supporting those who need it.


As well as these larger organisations, I have visited and supported many smaller groups and communities throughout our county, such as Briars Field Forest School and Mindfulness for SEN, a charity which aims to improve the lives of SEN (Special Educational Needs)children and their families through outdoor activities and nature; LeatherHEAD Start, which provides emergency, short-term accommodation for the homeless; Egham Constellations, a swimming club for the disabled; and Global Grooves Foundation, which promotes cultural interaction in the community – amongst many others.


Throughout my next year as Chair, I look forward to working more closely with SCC’s diverse communities and networks and offering support and a voice where I can.


If you would like to learn more about the organisations I have been supporting, or would like to nominate a group or charity for me to visit, please do get in touch with my office.


Thank You

As always, I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to Surrey County Council’s officers who do such an outstanding job of supporting Members and serving and protecting our residents. Thank you for all that you do. Please do keep it up!




The Chair:


·         Informed Members of the deaths of Chris Norman, former Conservative county councillor for the Chertsey division, and Barbara Musgrave, formerly Councillor Pattman, former county councillor for the Shere division; and led the Council in a moment of reflection.

·         Highlighted the recent Chair's Volunteers' Reception for volunteers nominated by Members, welcomed those nominations and noted that it was encouraging to see the number of volunteers that support the county.

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