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Thursday 14 April

On Monday morning I was joined online by Deputy Leader Jim Beall for our early in the week catch up with Managing Director Julie Danks to discuss any ongoing issues and the week ahead.

In the afternoon I met with the Council's Assistant Director of Administration, Democratic and Electoral Services, Margaret Waggott for my regular Leader's briefing where we discussed issues which fall within her area plus any business coming forward for consideration.

This was followed by a meeting with Reuben Kench, the Council's Director of Environment, Culture, Leisure and Events, for a review of play equipment at various sites across the Borough.

Later there was a Cabinet pre-agenda meeting, ahead of next week's full Cabinet. We discussed issues due to be considered at that meeting, including the next stages of A Fairer Stockton-on-Tees (FSOT), our ambitious ten-year vision to tackle inequality and deprivation in the Borough.

On Tuesday morning I attended a General Licensing Committee Meeting, which was held in person at the Jim Cooke conference suite.

I also sat on the first of two appointments panels this week to discuss shortlisting for  senior management positions in the Council. The second was on Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday I received a useful briefing on the new Council Tax Support Scheme from Gary Cummings, the Council's Director of Finance, Development & Business Services.

In the afternoon the Council's Managing Director Julie Danks met with Political Group Leaders to update them on Thornaby's  £23.9million Town Deal. She also took time to update us on the Flexible Working pilot following the recent staff survey carried out at the Council.

Later I joined other regional stakeholders for a virtual meeting with the Social Housing and UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) Commission. We discussed the role of social housing providers in relation to the UKSPF and the Levelling Up agenda.

This morning I had the pleasure of visiting the new Yarm Wellness charity. The charity  focuses on improving wellbeing and reducing isolation in the community and is based in the newly refurbished Yarm Youth and Community Centre. The Council contributed over £100,000 to provide essential repairs to the building's structure and improve its facilities, with more support coming from local businesses and the community.

This afternoon I am due to be interviewed by ITV Tyne Tees, discussing how we handle recycling in the Borough.

Later I will join an informal meeting of Cabinet Members online to discuss next week's full Cabinet papers.

This Easter weekend I'm looking forward to spending time with family and seeing how Middlesbrough do in their two crucial matches over the Bank Holiday against Bournemouth and Huddersfield, when hopefully we can bounce back into playoff contention.

I wish everyone a safe and happy Easter.