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Fairness for you

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Fairness at the heart of decision making, an economy supporting prosperity and promoting fairness in working lives and practices, accessibility to affordable energy and decent affordable homes.

You can download a full copy of the Icon for pdf Achieving Preston's Priorities (APP) 2022/23 [2.5MB] document here.

What actions are we taking?

Embedding Fairness in the Council's Strategic Planning

The Council is committed to ensuring that its budget and strategic decision making processes reflect the principles of fairness and ensure that the budget reflects the priorities set out in the Achieving Preston's Priorities.

The principles in the Fairness Charter underpin all of the Council's activities.

Community Wealth Building - Leading Resilience and Recovery in Preston

We continue to progress this agenda through innovative and progressive dialogue and action with anchor institutions and community partners.

Key work streams within this agenda include:

Social Value

Social value plays an integral role in the Council's Community Wealth Building Agenda.

Significant strides have been made in progressing this work over the last 12 months, working with partners to establish the Preston Towns Fund Social Value Framework and ongoing work with local NHS partners to develop an anchor network focused on delivering social value across Central Lancashire. This is in addition to the long-standing Procurement Practitioners group we lead with members from our anchor institutions.

Co-operatives

Much of the Council's continuing commitment to cooperative development has focused on social and economic inclusion, including:

  • Working in partnership with black and minoritised communities
  • Preston's Food Hub Network
  • Young people and the criminal justice system.

Raising wider awareness of the co-operative model and providing specialist expertise to support the start-up worker cooperatives remains a priority and the Council has worked closely with the Preston Cooperative Development Network and the Centre for SME Development at UCLan to achieve both these objectives.

Real Living Wage

The Council is a proud to be an accredited Living Wage Foundation Employer and actively encourages other employers to join us in paying the Real Living Wage.

Together with partners, we are leading the Preston Real Wage initiative to promote and increase the number of Preston businesses and organisations paying their employees a fair wage and we are working towards Preston becoming a Living Wage City.

Mutual Bank

The North West Mutual Bank is currently seeking interested parties to move forward the business plan.

The North West Mutual is a community bank and its aim is to create a new, ethical, trustworthy, customer owned bank serving all the people, small businesses and local organisations of the North West of England.

Financial Inclusion

Those organisations in receipt of Financial Inclusion Grants continue to adapt their services to offer online and telephone support to clients. Through conversations with these organisations we know that they continue to support both existing and new clients who are recently unemployed who are negotiating benefit systems for the first time. 

We anticipate that there will continue to be  a significant increase in demand for these services now that the furlough scheme has ended.

We incorporated Financial Inclusion services into our community champions network, a conservative estimate of the number of families and individuals who have been supported into appropriate services including debt management is over 150.

The Help in Preston website has attracted 9,182 visitors from 14 April 2021 to 21 September 2021 - 83.9% new users and 16.1% returning visitors. 

The main areas people are visiting are:

  • Weekly Jobs Bulletin - 4,303 visitors
  • Volunteering - 1,707 visitors
  • Services in Preston - 1,765 visitors
  • Learning, Working and Volunteering - 1,084 visitors
  • CAB - 1,080 visitors
  • Health and Wellbeing - 1,010 visitors
  • Millbank - 956 visitors
  • Sahara in Preston - 635 visitors
  • Food Access - 553 visitors
  • Furniture and Household items - 508 visitors

Advice Services provide a free and confidential telephone service offering in depth advice on welfare benefits and debt.

Financial inclusion surgeries have been reinstated in full at St Matthews, Pukhar, Ascension Church, Sion Park, Children and Family Wellbeing centre, Millbank and Tanterton Community Centre.

The officer also attends appointments booked by other referring organisations for example Primary schools and community organisations.

The advisers continue to support clients through the benefit and debt journey, including representation at tribunals and face-to-face tribunals starting to be scheduled.

In recent times Covid-19 has focussed attention on those most in need and the team formed the foundation stone of the Council's response to the crisis, in the form of a Vulnerable Support line, covering personal budgeting support and welfare, together with many other needs (isolation, food bank, prescriptions etc).

The Vulnerable Support line continues to be manned and whilst not as busy at the height of the pandemic, we are still dealing with approximately 100 queries per week.

The Household Support fund launched on the 23 November 2021 to assist residents of Preston that are struggling during the winter period.

The award to Preston City Council from the DWP was £420k. Spend to date is £125,186.27 - assisting people with clothing, utilities, food, carpets, flooring, household goods and furniture. 

The fund has made 951 awards from 843 applications. The scheme is due to end on 31/03/2022.

Equality, Fairness and Social Justice

Equality, Fairness and Social Justice are key principles for Preston City Council.

We have always worked to ensure that we provide excellent, accessible services to our communities.

We continue to support staff to complete Equality and Human Rights Impact Assessments and to provide  updates to the project management area on the Councils internal intranet.

We are in the process of developing a retrospective Equality and Human Rights Impact Assessment (EHRIA) - Preston's response to Covid 19.

Once agreed this will be shared with the Inclusion Reference Group for comment. After this, the document will be available on the council's website and Help in Preston website encouraging representatives of protected characteristic groups to supply relevant information on how the pandemic has/is affecting their clients.

We continue to support the national Holocaust Memorial Day and Remembering Srebrenica commemoration.

The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2022 is 'One Day'and we will be working with the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust to promote throughout all of our communities. Subject to the restrictions that may be in place in January, we will find the most appropriate way to mark this event.

We have recently started to work with 'Show Racism the Red Card'and are planning to invite some local schools to engage in their anti-racism programme.

We continue to work with our partners to mark other key equality events, most recently we actively supported the Wellfest World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September and are planning for World Mental Health Day and Alcohol Awareness week later in the year.

Making Homes from Houses

Covid has had a detrimental impact on delivery of this scheme as the Council's Empty Homes team were redeployed to other duties. However, activity has started to resume and the successful partnership with Community Gateway Housing Association (CGA) continues.

In total 30 properties have been acquired so far and are undergoing refurbishment; of these 21 are already  reoccupied.  

Prior to Making Homes from Houses bringing these houses back into use, these 21 properties had been empty for a total of 90 years.

To date, the Council have invested £630k of developer contributions in to the first two phases of this project.

Alongside the investment of £2.9m from CGA and Homes England, this is a significant boost to the provision of affordable housing in Preston.

The Council were also shortlisted as Council of the Year by the National Housing Awards for developing this innovative scheme.

Looking ahead, the Council has agreed for a third phase to retender, which is imminent, and allocated a further £800k of its commuted sums for affordable housing to fund the next contract.

Affordable Warmth

Preston continues to support vulnerable households in fuel poverty.

During 2020/21 92 households were assisted, bringing the total for the last three-year funding stream to 893 households now living in warmer, more energy efficient homes.

The measures installed included the provision of new boilers and central heating systems, cavity wall insulation and loft insulation, representing £490k of funding levered into the City.

Looking ahead, new funding streams are now in place through to the end of 2022 so that more Preston households will continue to benefit, although the types of measures being funded are now moving away from fossil fuel heating systems to a wider range of alternative forms of heating and more efficient insulation.

The first installations of these new measures commenced in Lancashire in August.

The measures currently being installed require the use of specialist contractors; all those appointed are based in Lancashire, and one in Preston, which also adds a community wealth building perspective to the current programme of work.

All work in this area is delivered via the Lancashire collaborative partnership of CHiL, Cosy Homes in Lancashire.

Accessible and Affordable Leisure Services

Preston City Council continues to work with the Leisure Operator Better (GLL) to ensure that accessible leisure facilities are provided at a local level.

As an advocate for our communities we support all opportunities to access grant funding from the Government, National Governing bodies and industry partners to improve leisure facilities in the City.  

Preston Wall recently opened at the Better (GLL) West View centre featuring state of the art roped climbing and bouldering facilities.

Partnership working to end Rough Sleeping

The Council has recently received confirmation that all of the Rough Sleeping Initiative (RSI) year 4 funding has been approved and will be provided to the Council in the form of a ring fenced grant.

This is a really good opportunity to ensure that there are a maximum number of positive move-on options for those people who were accommodated through the "Everyone In" response to the Covid 19 situation. This will be enhanced via the accommodation being brought on line through the Rough Sleeper Accommodation Programme.

It has been indicated that there will be a RSI year 5 with a potential for this to be a two or even three-year programme. All partners are currently reviewing delivery to identify what funding would be required in the longer term to deliver on reducing rough sleeping in the City.

The Council has recently been notified and invited to submit a 3-year funding application to continue the work around rough sleeping and the government's agenda to reduce the experience and length of time an individual spends sleeping rough.

The application will contain a self-assessment tool and detailed plans for the next 3 years.

The main focus will be extending the range of accommodation options with support and developing a complex needs pathway with partners and a pathway for female rough sleepers, all underpinned by a trauma informed care approach.

Accommodation for Offenders

The Council was recently successful in applying for monies from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) to work with ex-offenders to access the private rented sector.

The Council have commissioned Calico to provide support to this client group and source accommodation within the private rented sector. This is a funded 12-month programme commencing 1 January 2022 ending  31 December 2022.

Changing Futures Programme

The Council has recently approved a funded budget increase in response to the award of funding from DLUHC to deliver the Changing Futures Programme.

The fund is for local organisations to work in partnership to better support those who experience, multiple disadvantages, including:

  • Homelessness
  • Substance misuse
  • Mental health issues
  • Domestic abuse
  • Contact with the criminal justice system.

The aim is to deliver improvements at both the individual, service and system level through stabilising then improve the individuals situation, transform local services to provide a person centred approach and therefore reduce crisis, and test a different approach to funding, accountability and engagement between local commissioners and services.

The delivery model will be based around integrated Hubs using existing provisions.

A tender will soon be advertised on the Chest for a team of Navigators with lived experience support will engage with an identified cohort. This team will take on role of lead professionals linking service users with the other elements around the Changing Futures programme which includes health, housing, substance misuse services, probation and other wider partners.

This programme will run from April 2022 through to December 2023.

Improving Employability and Upskilling Communities

Work clubs

The Community Engagement team continue to support a network of 9 work clubs across the City run by various partner organisations and volunteers.

Our aim is to provide practical support to ensure work clubs are set up successfully, able to deliver their aims and improve employment prospects for Preston residents.       

During the Covid 19 pandemic, two work clubs have had to close temporarily, with seven moving to online support.

All 9 remaining work clubs have now reopened. One work club has had to close completely due to staffing issues and lack of room availability, support has been offered to restart if/when they are able.

We have continued to circulate our weekly email alert with up to date Preston job opportunities, training, volunteering and apprenticeship vacancies to all work clubs who share this with their members.

The Help in Preston website is also updated weekly, with links to live, local vacancies.

We are supporting work clubs with their transition into recovery following the pandemic, supporting their digital engagement offer and sharing best practice amongst organisations on how to deliver socially distanced activity.

Maximising new employment opportunities

The Community Engagement team continues to work with the Planning Department and relevant partners to provide support to developers in completing the adopted Central Lancashire Employment and Skills Supplementary Planning Document.

It has now been approved by Cabinet that Calico will provide assessment, implementation and monitoring of Employment and Skills Statements. This service, for which developers will be charged, will ensure that they meet their commitments and that conditions attached to the approval of planning permissions are adhered to.

Providing this support increases the engagement of developers and thereby increases the opportunities for Preston residents to obtain appropriate training and employment through new developments.

We continue to circulate new employment opportunities as part of the weekly bulletin and we are aware that this has resulted in work club participants gaining employment.

New discussions are taking place with Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and partners, to identify employment opportunities resulting from the pandemic, such as the urgent need for extra cleaning staff in local hospitals.

Training is being sourced to upskill local unemployed people with guaranteed interviews to help them to secure local jobs.

Officers are currently working with NHS, Sahara and Lancashire Adult Learning, to set up an event to support the NHS with their recruitment for Health Care Assistants. This will give people the opportunity to apply for HCA vacancies or upskill if required to meet the required criteria.

We were involved in discussions with Royal Mail, who recruited approximately 317 seasonal vacancies across Preston. Support sessions, with training providers, were set up at two community centres and also the JCP office in Preston to help people with their applications for jobs.

Discussions are taking place with HR, Chamber of Commerce and JCP to set up Kick-start opportunities within the Council. This will create new work opportunities for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long-term unemployment.  One opportunity has already been advertised.

Fishwick and St Matthews (FAM, formerly known as FOFS)

As a result of restructure, the Big Local Partnership group in Fishwick and St Matthews has now formally separated from the FOFS local community group with the Big Local group now known as FAM.

The Council continues to work with FAM and remains one of their designated Local Trusted Organisations. (We will also support the FOFS group in due course.)

The four FAM Partnership priority themes:

  • Skills and Jobs
  • Environment and Play
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Financial Inclusion and Poverty

The four FAM priorities have now become three, with Skills and Jobs merging with the Inclusion group.

FOFS has continued their part-time funding contribution of a Community Engagement Officer to support the group in improving the employment and training prospects of residents within the area and the officer has supported the Sahara work club attendees to obtain Covid 19 specific jobs (such as those in health, care and retail) during the pandemic.

During July, Council officers supported Sahara in Preston in organising a recent jobs fair, which was attended by over 200 visitors, who were able to apply for live job/volunteering opportunities on the day.

Another jobs fair is being planned at the moment, for January 2022, with a focus on supporting Young People.

In November, Council officers supported Sahara in Preston in setting up a Hospitality Jobs Fair, focusing on job opportunities within the hospitality industry, which has suffered due to  the  pandemic.

The event was well attended, with approximately 100 visitors on the day, gaining access to live job opportunities and being offered interviews following on from the event.

We are currently also supporting Sahara to become a Youth Hub for DWP with JCP staff working outreach in the centre.  Discussions are taking place with DWP to take this forward.

Food Poverty

Holiday Markets

A Holiday Market Network including a dedicated WhatsApp group with over 50 active members continues to be supported by the Council.

The network offers support to the volunteers by improving communication and sharing best practice and surplus food between markets and other food providers. This network has been instrumental in delivering the Covid-19 food response and enabling those most in need to access food during the pandemic.      

The work carried out by Preston communities during this difficult time has been outstanding and continues to make a huge difference to families and individuals within the City. One of the priority areas for the network is the development of a new strategy to reflect the work being developed to address food poverty across the City.

A draft copy is currently being developed by Preston City Council in partnership with Preston Food Hub Network.

  • Figures December to March: 2,100 families supported, 27,300 parcels provided, 327,600 meals provided (8 food banks, 3 hot meal providers, 4 food pantries, 19 holiday markets). These groups are funded via the Government Emergency Assistance Grant.
  • Figures April to May to cover Easter and Ramadan: 2,820 families supported, 22,560 parcels delivered, 270,720 meals provided (10 food banks, 3 hot meal providers, 5 food pantries, 29 holiday markets).
  • Figures June to August: 2,340 families supported, 28,080 parcels provided, 336,9600 meals provided (8 food banks, 2 hot meals, 5 food pantries, 24 holiday markets).
  • Figures September to December: 1860 families supported, 22,320 food parcels provided, 267,840 meals provided. (5 food banks with 1 project partner coordinating fresh produce from local allotments, 5 food pantries, 1 hot meal provider and 19 Holiday Markets).

The additional Household Support Grant funding will see an increase in groups wishing to operate including 2 additional food banks, 3 hot meal providers, and 6 Holiday Markets.

Local Authority Food Development Network

Preston City Council have formed a network with local authority officers working to address the food insecurity agenda to enable an opportunity to share good practice and join up resources where feasible.

At present monthly meetings take place between Preston City Council, Lancashire County Council, Lancaster City Council and South Ribble Council. One area which has been discussed has been a need to have demographic information on food insecurity ward by ward, and how as a network this can be carried out as part of a Lancashire wide piece of work.

Neighbourhood Food Hubs

Preston City Council continues to develop work with community groups in Fishwick and St Matthews and the Ingol area to establish how food poverty activity can be co-ordinated across a geographic community.

The Council is supporting the Preston Community Hub in the Fishwick/St Matthews wards in the development of a consortium and business plan to develop and deliver a wider programme of food poverty activity, including the development of a community kitchen. There is scope to extend the nature of this work in Broadgate and Deepdale and discussion are taking place with appropriate partners to explore potential developments.

Community Food Activity

Preston City Council is supporting Intact in its development of its Thrifty Kitchen project which aims to educate people on how to cook on a budget.

Although Covid 19 meant that workshops were unable to be delivered as originally planned, online cookery demonstrations and recipe cards were produced and distributed with food parcels. During November and December cooking classes were able to recommence and Preston City Council Community Engagement team, alongside Intact's food pantry were able to provide wrap around sessions to inform residents of further support available via the Council.

Preston City Council has set up a new network to specifically support groups and organisations wishing to develop community cooking classes and provide an educational programme for both children and parents in areas such as cooking on a budget and healthy eating.

We are currently working closely with:

Several family cooking classes have already taken place in schools in Fishwick, St Matthews and Ingol including Ingol Primary, St Joseph's Primary and Mill Bank Wellbeing Centre Places for People Housing Association.

This area of work is also part of a national network Food for Life Get Togethers, led by the UK Soil Association.

The Council is continuing to liaise with Lancashire County Council Public Health in supporting and increasing the uptake of Healthy Start Vouchers.

Monthly zoom meetings with Lancashire County Council Public Health and the Community Engagement Team have started to help forward plan collaborative work, following the easing of social restrictions.

During October half term PCC supported the distribution of over 280 'Veg Boxes' and information on Healthy Start vouchers via Lets Grow Preston and LCC Public Health.

Co-operatives UK provided some seed funding for a 12-week project to pilot the Cooperation Town model of food buying groups in Preston.

The three groups involved were: Preston Windrush, Preston United Youth Development and Fishwick Rangers.

We are now continuing to support the groups in the development of a co-operative model.

A central online database for all food hubs to record data on the distribution of food parcels has been developed following 6 months of development and trial runs with the network.

A new DBS and GDPR check has been set up on the database and the system is now being rolled out.

Experts by experience: working more closely with young people and families whom are directly affected by food poverty. Discussions are underway with 'They Eat Culture' to explore a creative way of presenting peoples stories and experiences.

Wraparound service for all food hubs are now being delivered, working closely with other Preston City Council services to provide advice on issues such as financial inclusion and links to the work clubs across the City.

To support this Preston City Council have produced a food access flyer which provides essential information on where to access emergency food provision and financial support.

Breakfast Provision

Big Breakfast: Development of a schools breakfast initiative is currently being explored, inviting local food suppliers, supermarkets, food pantries and public health to set up cook and taste breakfast demonstrations for children and parents alongside a child voucher system enabling children access to free fruit.

We are currently liaising with Sustain - national alliance for better food and farming to explore how they can support and connect with local suppliers and food cooperatives.

Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee - Big Lunch Sunday 5 June 2022

The Lancashire Lieutenancy Office in collaboration with the Eden Project [NW] and Preston City Council Community Engagement Team are working together to develop and support local communities in the development of a Big Lunch which this year will incorporate the Platinum Jubilee Celebrations as part of its theme and Preston's celebration of 20th year of City Status.

The official Big Lunch national programme of activities will take place on the 5 June 2022.

Youth Engagement

Officers continue to work alongside Preston's youth support organisations through the Youth Forum. Members of the Forum have shared information, experience and resources including activity ideas and training offers to help young people in Preston with the impact of the pandemic over the last year. From developing connections, the group is exploring how it can maximise support for young people by creating more opportunities for mentors  and new youth workers in Preston.  

Also a rejuvenated Lancashire County Council Children and Families service has found the hub a good place to start to reach out to young people in Preston and are working with Youth Forum organisations to start to plug gaps in the provision.

In the New Year, the group will be exploring further ways to increase provision across the city for young people, including exploring whether some community groups find it difficult to engage with teenagers and if so what may assist them in to do so.

The Forum also has a sub group that is dedicated to developing pathways to education and employment (Preston Youth Aspiration, Education, Training and Employment) which works with the colleges, university, DWP and non-formal education providers like PVC and PNE, which has since the summer focussed on supporting young people leaving school and college.

Unfortunately this group has not been able to meet since the summer although partners have been sharing information and knowledge via email and telephone. This has been vital to partners in the group, as it has expanded knowledge of opportunities for young people and has increased the information they can give parents and students.

The shared knowledge also helped the colleges and other partners develop good mental health support after the last year.

The Community Engagement team continue to circulate a Young People's email alert on a monthly basis, which helps to promote volunteer/work and training opportunities suitable for Young People who may find themselves struggling with their next steps due to the pandemic.

Officers are also having regular conversations with DWP and other partner organisations as to how we will set up Youth Hubs, offering outreach support in Preston for 18-24 year olds, in a more joined up way.

General Community Engagement Activity

Connected Communities

The Connected Communities project in Plungington has restarted after a hiatus caused by the Covid restrictions.

Speaking to local organisations and residents this is still very much wanted and felt useful in the area. There have been changes in the last year, so reconnecting to relevant people and new people has been done and UCLan are now in the process of organising a steering group meeting to get the project rolling. This of course may be affected by any Covid restrictions development.

The Broadgate Community Connector group continues.

A new development officer is now in place following the original officer stepping down due to a change in family circumstances. The new officer continues to develop new projects to bring residents together.     

The groups is working with Preston City Council and Lancashire County Council to help find resources for an environmental project with the school, develop a community safe space and launch the Broadgate walk.

Preston City Council will also support the funding raising effort that the development officer is hoping to carry out.

Working in partnership

  • Faith Covenant - a joint commitment between faith communities and local authorities to a set of principles that guide engagement, aiming to remove some of the mistrust that exists and to promote open, practical working on all levels.
  • Procurement Practitioners Group - a group of procurement, policy and economic development practitioners which seeks to progress procurement policy and practices by sharing knowledge and experience, while developing common actions.
  • The Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Forum - a group formed to act as a focus for a BME voice and activity and to promote co-operation.
  • Social Forum - is an opportunity for people with an interest in the City to get together and discuss and influence issues around equality and fairness in Preston.
  • Shadow Lancashire Combined Authority (LCA) - focused around key themes such as Prosperous Lancashire, Connected Lancashire, Skilled Lancashire, Better Homes for Lancashire, Joined up Public Services for Lancashire.
  • Central Lancashire Health and Wellbeing Partnership - aimed at building strong and effective partnership working between Preston, Chorley and South Ribble Councils, the NHS bodies, Lancashire County Council, the Voluntary Community and Faith Sector and other public bodies to improve local people's health and wellbeing.
  • Preston Children's Board - a partnership which comes together to take forward actions to improve the lives of children and young people.
  • Community Safety Partnership - working with neighbouring Councils across the Police Division footprint a partnership which comes together to take action on the priorities it has identified for Preston such as: reducing offending and re-offending; harm reduction and support to communities particularly those most vulnerable and prevention and early intervention.

What impact are we making?

Icon for pdf The Achieving Preston's Priorities document [2.5MB] sets out the impact the Council hopes to make in each of its strategic priority areas.

During 2020/21 and beyond we are making a significant impact in the City working alongside our partners:

  • Supported the development of 2 new cooperatives through the Open Society Foundation project led by the University of Central Lancashire, including the Preston Cooperative Education Centre.
  • Hosted regular meetings of BAME and migrant community anchors to share experience and learning from 2020/2021 piloting cooperative community initiative.
  • Delivered a series of cooperative themed webinars in partnership with the PCDN, the Centre for SME Development at UCLan and Coops UK.
  • Cross-directorate participation in the climate-focused Place-Based Action Network, through the University of Central Lancashire.
  • Hosted regular virtual meetings to provide urgent Covid 19 briefings and consult with the Faith Covenant and representative of community groups.
  • Working with Coops UK and the PCDN, secured £20,000 to pilot food buying cooperatives with BAME community organisations within Preston's Food Hub network.
  • Established 'Bringing the Preston Model to Justice' with partners from the Ministry of Justice, the NHS and UCLan to pilot a new cooperative based approach to supporting the social and economic integration of people leaving prison.
  • Increased the number of affordable housing completions.
  • Attracted significant funding from the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government towards Homelessness and Rough Sleeping.
  • Seen an increase in the procurement spend in Preston by its anchor institutions.
  • Attracted external funding for energy efficiency improvements in private homes.
  • Provided targeted debt and welfare advice to help clients regain control of their finances and to maximise their entitlement to benefits.

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