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Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

November 2015

Today I met with senior Council officers responsible for adult social care to get an update about the Local Government Association’s peer review of personalisation.

This is an important topic because it concerns changes to adult social care which will mean services increasingly focus on people’s strengths and preferences.

Later in the morning I met with other Leaders from across the Tees Valley to discuss the latest situations facing us all as we look ahead to the prospect of further devolution for the area and a combined authority.

The final engagement of the day was a full Council meeting at ARC in Stockton. At the meeting the Council conferred its highest ceremonial honour, the freedom of the Borough, to Bob Gibson O.B.E. This is a special accolade which recognises Bob’s outstanding contribution to generations of people living across Stockton-on-Tees.

In addition to this, fourteen former councillors were presented with Honorary Alderman of the Borough awards. The awards recognise their commitment to bettering the lives of those who they have represented over the years.

On Thursday I will be part of the panel to review bids that have been entered to secure money from the Townscape Heritage Initiative. This lottery-funded scheme helps to restore historic buildings and aims to bring any vacant spaces back into use.

I would encourage you all to come into the Town Centre on Thursday evening to be part of the launch night of Stockton-on-Tees Borough’s Winter Festival, Stockton Sparkles. The town centre will be transformed into a magical winter wonderland filled with music, markets and entertainment.

The countdown to the traditional lights switch on will take place at 6.30pm where the Christmas tree and all the extra-large Christmas illuminations installed along the High Street will be lit up in spectacular fashion.

The main entertainment of the launch night sees our unique Singing Christmas Tree return with a 60 voice choir, including Jess Daley (West End star of Mamma Mia!) and Paul Sudlow (The Funk Collective), to delight the crowds.

Over the next few weeks there’s a packed programme of Christmas inspired events, markets and street theatre so make a date in your diary to come into the Town Centre and enjoy the entertainment and soak up the festive spirit. Visit for more information.

On Friday I will be taking the opportunity to catch up on some important Council paperwork in the office.

Over the weekend I am looking forward to spending time with my friends and family.

Middlesbrough are away from home as they take on Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium. Boro were somewhat fortunate to steal all three points late in the day against QPR last week but the win was gladly received.

Huddersfield will be looking to resurrect their season after appointing former Borussia Dortmund’s reserve team manager – following his compatriot Jurgen Klopp into English football. It will be a stiff test but one that the Teessiders must overcome to maintain their promotion push.

Back to work on Monday and I will meet with Paul Dobson, Corporate Director of Development and Neighbourhood Services, and Richard McGuckin, Head of Economic Growth and Development Services, for a briefing on a number of issues.

Later on Monday I will visit the Huntsman premises in Billingham along with Neil Schneider, Chief Executive of the Council, to take a tour of their facility and learn how they are performing in the current difficult economic context.