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Friday 16 July 2021

I took the opportunity presented by a slightly lighter diary on Monday to catch up on some important Council paperwork.

On Tuesday I attended a meeting of Bright Minds Big Futures' Big Committee. It was great to be updated on the many things the young people are working so hard for including their preparations for SIRF, the Norton Green project, a food festival at Ropner Park they are part of and a wide range of activities planned for the school summer holidays. The group are a credit to themselves and the communities they are helping, I'm looking forward to my next meeting with them in September already.

A launch meeting for the Institute for Public Policy Research's Environmental Justice Commission's final report was held on Wednesday morning. The commission was established in May 2019 to develop a plan for the UK to address the climate crisis and restore nature while also creating jobs, increasing fairness in society and improving everyone's quality of life. This briefing brought together politicians, policymakers, businesses and civil society groups to discuss the report's findings and its implications.

This was followed by a webinar led by the Government's Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall MP. The call focussed on the easing of coronavirus restrictions set to happen on Monday 19 July plus an update on adult social care.

Full Council met on Wednesday evening with a busy agenda featuring an update on the consultation happening for the boundary reviews of wards and parliamentary constituencies in our area. There was also a couple of motions regarding Council Tax and the governance of committees.

I joined colleagues at a meeting of the Local Government Associations' Community Wellbeing Board on Thursday morning for an update on the Health and Care Bill and a presentation from a Public Health England representative on the topic of living with 'long-COVID'.

I then met the Council's Assistant Director for Administration, Democratic and Electoral Services, Margaret Waggott, for an update briefing on the latest work happening across her services.

This was followed by a Cabinet meeting that had reports from scrutiny reviews of carbon monoxide awareness, care leavers in education, employment and training and hospital discharge. It's the time of year when we also consider the status of the Medium-Term Financial Plan. There were also interesting items on a strategic framework for reducing inequalities in the Borough, which is one of the key objectives of the Council Plan and tackling food poverty among other issues.

Following Cabinet, it was a pleasure to follow the live stream event of the launch of The LINK - a sister venue next to Stockton's Globe theatre. There were some great live performances from local talents as well as an insightful interview the with venue's manager, Jo Ager. The venue will be opening its doors to the public later this month and I can assure you that it is well worth checking out.

This morning I've taken part alongside fellow elected members in an Environmental Sustainability and Carbon Reduction workshop. The aim of the session was to aid the formation of a Council strategy in these areas and how we can maximise the positive impacts being mapped out.

This weekend I am looking forward to spending time with my family.

Like everyone else, I watched on with disappointment as England were unable to get over the final hurdle and lost the EURO 2020 final to Italy in the cruellest fashion on penalties. We fell short during the game but I think we can look back with immense pride on the achievements of a very young group of players and we can all look forward to the future as they develop and hopefully continue, as they are now, to give us all lots of reasons to be hopeful for coming tournaments