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Friday 12 August

I'd like to say a big thank you to everyone who came along to see the Stockton International Riverside Festival over the four days. SIRF has been a great success on its welcome return, and it was wonderful to see thousands of people of all ages from the Borough and across the region once again enjoying this amazing spectacle.

My working week began with my regular portfolio briefing with Shona Duncan, Head of Education, Employment and Skills at Tees Valley Combined Authority.

On Tuesday the Department for Work and Pensions' new Director General for Work and Health Services, Barbara Bradley, paid a visit to the Stockton-on-Tees Employment and Training Hub, in Wellington Square.  It was good to show her the great work at The Hub to help local people into employment and training and see the joint working we have in place.

Midweek I had what will be a regular catch up with Mike Greene, who takes over from Julie Danks as our Managing Director once Julie retires.

I then met with Gordon Allinson, Principal Consultant from independent research consultancy ERS. We discussed a number of local issues, including education innovation and collaboration, apprenticeships and future priorities for the Tees Valley.

Later I had a useful online Leader's Briefing from the Council's Assistant Director of Administration, Democratic and Electoral Services, Margaret Waggott.

Yesterday I met with Gary Cummings, the Council's Director of Finance, Development & Business Services, for a regular catch up.

Corporate Parenting Board convened in the Jim Cooke Conference Suite this morning. When a child comes into care, we as the Council become their 'corporate parent' which means we have a collective responsibility for providing the best possible care and safeguarding for the young people who are looked after by us.

This afternoon I will attend an event celebrating the life of my former colleague, the late Ann Cains, at Norton Cricket Club. The former councillor and Mayor of Stockton-on-Tees, who died in May, aged 85, dedicated herself to public service and is hugely missed in the Borough.

This weekend I'm looking forward to spending time with my family and also seeing if Middlesbrough can record their first win of the season when they host Sheffield United at The Riverside.