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Friday 9 October

It has been another busy week as the Council responds to the ongoing rise in cases of coronavirus in the Borough.

On Monday I joined the Deputy Leader, Councillor Jim Beall for an update on Covid-19 with the Council's Managing Director, Julie Danks, and Director of Public Health, Sarah Bowman-Abouna. The Borough remains classified as an "area of enhanced support" by the Government following the ongoing spike in cases - I would like to remind everyone that we must all act now and follow the guidelines to keep ourselves, our loved ones and communities safe.

Later that day I chaired a remote Cabinet pre-agenda meeting in preparation for next Thursday's Cabinet meeting. We'll have a range of items to consider, including a report on investment in town centres across the Borough.

On Tuesday morning I dialled into a Teams meeting with officers from Tees Valley Combined Authority who gave an update on the Employment, Education and Skills work by the authority so that we continue supporting people in this sector as best as we can.

I then had a scheduled phone call with the Council's Assistant Director of Administration, Democratic and Electoral Services, Margaret Waggott.

That was followed by the first of my regular catch-ups with Julie Danks and Councillor Jim Beall.

The Council's political group leaders also met with Julie virtually on Wednesday morning to discuss our ongoing recovery and response to Coronavirus. It's vital that we all continue to understand how the pandemic is developing and affecting people across the Borough.

After that I met with the Council's Director of Development and Business Services, Garry Cummings and Inclusive Growth, Planning and Development Manager, Chris Renahan. Our monthly meetings are a useful opportunity to keep up to speed with business and regeneration activity across the Borough.

The Tees Valley Leaders, Mayor and Chief Executives met on Wednesday where again, discussion focussed on the region's response to Coronavirus. We were joined by the authorities' Directors of Public Health and representatives of Public Health England who gave a useful update on the impact of the pandemic across the region.

Yesterday I met with Members for an informal Cabinet meeting and today I attended the second of my bi-weekly meetings with Julie Danks and Councillor Jim Beall.  

I also met with Jon Carling who is the Chief Executive of VCSE organisation Catalyst, and Guru Naidoo who is the Chair of its Board of Directors. We have been working in partnership with Catalyst and other local VCSE organisations to support our residents, particularly those most vulnerable, so it was very timely to meet with them and understand some of the challenges and issues they have been facing.

I ended the week by chairing the Local Outbreak Engagement Group (LOEG) today which meets weekly to discuss the latest numbers of coronavirus cases in Stockton-on-Tees. We are continuing to watch the situation very closely as the rate continues to rise and of course, you can keep up to date with the latest updates via the Council's News pages.