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Friday 18 June 2021

A busy week got under way with a meeting with Shona Duncan, the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA)'s Head of Education, Employment and Skills to review and discuss some funding opportunities relating to our work in this area.

Later on Monday morning I met with Margaret Waggott, the Council's Assistant Director of Administration, Democratic and Electoral Services, for our regular briefing. As you'll remember there were a raft of elections held in the Borough last month so it was a good opportunity to catch up on these and also discuss the proposals from the Boundary Commission of England to make changes to parliamentary constituency boundaries. 

In an interesting change of pace, I took part in an interview with a Master's candidate from the University of Cambridge on the topic of devolution. The student's work includes a case study on intergovernmental interaction within the Tees Valley so I was only too pleased to help out and share my knowledge and experience.

I then joined my colleagues for a pre-agenda meeting of Cabinet as we look ahead to the items that will be considered at the full meeting on Thursday 24 June.

On Tuesday, alongside the Deputy Leader, Councillor Jim Beall, we met with the Council's Managing Director, Julie Danks. It was one of our frequent briefing meetings where we ensure we're all up to speed on the latest developments in issues affecting residents and businesses across the Borough.

In the afternoon it was a privilege to get an inside look at the fully restored Globe theatre which is reopening in the coming months and will be such a huge boost for our area. The venue is stunning and its operators, Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), have already put together a stellar opening programme of acts. I'm very much looking forward to visiting with my family.

Wednesday brought around a radio interview with BFBS' Catterick station who aim to bring news and entertainment to our armed forces personnel wherever they are serving. I was quizzed about what we've got planned to mark Armed Forces Week which is next week and it was a pleasure, as the Borough's Armed Forces Champion, to spread the word about how committed we are as a council to recognising the service of both acting and retired personnel in Stockton-on-Tees.

On Thursday I met again with Julie Danks, this time to review a number of informal Cabinet papers relating to the TVCA.

I also met my Cabinet colleagues again that day to focus on a serious of developing projects and issues. It was a useful opportunity for us to review our progress and plot out some future actions.

Today I have held a couple of meetings relating to the latest situation in our area regarding COVID-19 case numbers and our response to the challenges they pose. You'll no doubt have seen the Government's announcement at the start of the week about restrictions remaining in place for longer so please take care to protect yourself and your families.

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

It was very pleasing to see England be so in control and win their first game of the Euros against Croatia and I'm really excited for tonight's match against Scotland. A win will see us comfortably into the next stage of the competition but it should make for pulsating viewing as Scotland are also in need of the points.