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Friday 22 July

My week began with a briefing from Shona Duncan of the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA). Shona is Head of Employment, Education and Skills at TVCA and it was useful to get the update as it falls under my portfolio as a Cabinet Member at TVCA.

This was followed by a briefing on the Council's Forward Plan from the Council's Assistant Director of Administration, Democratic and Electoral Services, Margaret Waggott.

Later I was joined by Deputy Leader Cllr Lisa Evans for our early in the week catch up with Managing Director Julie Danks to discuss any ongoing issues and the week ahead.

Tuesday saw an informative visit to the Employment & Training Hub, the one-stop-shop in Stockton town centre to help people on their search for job and training opportunities. I was accompanied by Julie Marsden, the Council's Economic Development Manager, Finance, Development and Regeneration.

In the middle of the week I was again joined by the Deputy Leader for two of my regular catch ups with the Borough's ward councillors.

Then on Wednesday evening it was full Council at the Baptist Tabernacle. It was great to see the Bright Minds Big Futures (BMBF) representatives there to receive their Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. The prestigious award recognises BMBF's outstanding work in the community to support young people growing up across the Borough. The award is the latest in a string of accolades for BMBF, and to have secured this huge honour in such a short space of time is nothing short of phenomenal. Well done to all the young people involved!

Yesterday I met with Mike Greene following his appointment to be the new Managing Director of the Council. Mike will take over from Julie Danks when she retires after more than 30 years in local government.

Last night it was my pleasure to attend the Teesside University 2022 Graduation Dinner.

Today I've a full schedule of meetings with both TVCA's Cabinet and Annual General Meeting being held this morning. Beforehand I joined the Tees Valley Mayor & Leaders pre-Cabinet meeting.

This afternoon I'll be joined by Deputy Leader Cllr Evans for the third of this week's catch ups with ward councillors.

I will also be looking over the papers ahead of next week's Executive Scrutiny Committee.

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