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18 November 2022

On Monday myself and the Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Lisa Evans, met with the Council's Managing Director Mike Greene. Mike is settling well into the role and I'm really excited to be working with him.

In the afternoon I attended the Bright Minds Big Futures (BMBF) Big Committee to see what work they are doing for the young people of the Borough. BMBF is a youth-led movement that works with the Council to make the Borough a great place to grow up, and recently won a Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.

On Tuesday, I joined other senior officers in showing the Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, Mrs Sue Snowdon, around the newly refurbished Employment and Training Hub in Wellington Square. Mrs Snowdon also gave her thanks to us for helping to mark the passing of Her Majesty the Queen in September.

Mid-week I attended an Independent Strategic Review session for the North Tees & Hartlepool and South Tees Hospitals' NHS Foundation Trusts. The session was part of a wider review of the trusts to build on partnership working between the two.

On Thursday I joined the Mayor of Stockton-on-Tees and other guests to bury a time capsule at IB Leisure Centre in Ingleby Barwick. The time capsule project began in 2017 with pupils from both Myton Park Primary School and All Saints Academy. Some of the items included are makeup trends in 2017, a selection of coins and a discontinued £5 note, a Mayor's t-shirt with chain logo, and we even have a lock of hair from Luca Howlett who was a pupil at All Saints.

Cabinet met in the afternoon to consider a busy agenda. I gave an update on the Armed Forces Covenant, which is a voluntary agreement between the local civilian and service community to work together to support and honour our armed forces community, past and present.

It was also good to hear from fellow Cabinet member Councillor Norma Stephenson that the Council has been accredited with meeting all 57 points of compliance within the Government's Customer Service Excellence mark - a testament to the work of officers here.

Today I am attending the Catalyst Conference and Awards ceremony. This is an important day in the calendar for the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector. In the morning there will be workshops, networking, and key speakers, with an opportunity for people to visit stalls of various VCSE organisations on display.

The awards will take place in the afternoon, where nine awards will be given to worthy winners to celebrate and recognise the ongoing efforts and work of the sector. It's always a worthwhile event that makes me proud of the Borough I live in.

This weekend I'm looking forward to spending time with my family. Middlesbrough enjoyed a thrilling win over Norwich last weekend, and now have a bit of a break from football as players begin their journey to Qatar for the World Cup. I will be watching the hosts take on Ecuador to open the tournament on Sunday.