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7 October 2022

I joined senior officers, the Deputy Leader, Cllr Lisa Evans and Councillor Norma Stephenson, Cabinet Member for Access, Communities and Community Safety at a meeting on Monday to discuss how we are helping asylum seekers settle in the Borough. I then went to a Cabinet pre-agenda briefing on items due to be discussed at the full Cabinet meeting on Thursday 13 October, including our investment strategy for schools, SEN and early years provision.

On Tuesday I attended a pre-agenda meeting for the Health and Wellbeing Board, which is due to be held later this month.

Mid-week I attended a lunch with the North East Chamber of Commerce, along with 200 senior business leaders from across the North East of England. It was a great opportunity to meet with business representatives from all different sectors and talk to them about the current economic climate as well as promoting what Stockton-on-Tees has to offer for businesses based here.  Former White House foreign affairs specialist, Dr Fiona Hill was the speaker at the event. She is originally from Bishop Auckland but has worked in National Security and Intelligence for many years working under US Presidents Bush, Obama and Trump.

On Thursday morning I had the pleasure of visiting the Stockton-on-Tees Employment and Training Hub in Wellington Square to meet the new influx of 35 apprentices working for the Council along with our Managing Director, Julie Danks. I started out as an apprentice myself many years ago, so I know that the on-the-job experience you gain from an apprenticeship is vital as you step into the world of work.

In the afternoon I met remotely with other Cabinet members in advance of next week's Cabinet meeting.

This morning I attended our Corporate Parenting Board in the Jim Cooke Conference Suite. These meetings are vitally important because when a child comes into care, the Council becomes their 'corporate parent', meaning we have a collective responsibility for providing the best possible care and safeguarding for all those we look after.

Later today I will attend a board meeting for the Association of North East Councils, where I will discuss a range of topical issues affecting the region. We will hear from  the Local Government Association on a number of issues  including climate change and partnership working .

This weekend I'm looking forward to spending time with my family. On Monday Middlesbrough sacked their manager of 11 months, Chris Wilder, after dropping into the relegation zone. I will be hoping to see us win a tough match at Millwall on Saturday to hopefully start a string of good results.