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Message from the Leader - Councillor Matthew Brown

Business person

For almost a year now, we have found ourselves navigating an ever-changing landscape, working tirelessly to support our residents, communities, and businesses through an extremely difficult situation with significant social, economic and health impact.

Covid has exposed the vulnerability that inequalities in terms of ethnicity, gender, income and disability have caused. This is something the Council will seek to address going forward.

It has not been "business as usual" for Preston City Council, it has been business as never before. We have adapted to the evolving situation, working closely with partners from across the county to protect and support our residents.

The Council leadership has consistently argued for effective interventions whether local control of contact tracing, the self-isolation grant or tackling the virus in educational setting. As key workers, our staff have worked flexibly and many redeployed as we implemented new areas of work such as the Preston Together Locality Hub, urgent accommodation for rough sleepers, various iterations of business and support grants, hosting community testing sites and providing local support for the national test and trace system.

I am proud to say that we have gone above and beyond wherever possible. This has included supporting the 24 food hubs hosted by local schools, faith and community groups throughout Preston during the national lockdown.

We have engaged closely with both community and faith leaders, ensuring a genuine two way dialogue with our diverse communities so residents have the support and information they need. We also continue to work with key partners to support the safe and successful re-opening of the high street as the restrictions allows.

Alongside the urgent Covid work we have undertaken, we have continued to pursue our ambitious agenda for Preston by progressing our Towns Fund Bid, Harris Re-Imagining Project and other key areas of work.

We maintained high quality services across the board including waste collection, environmental health, parks, Preston Markets, cemetery and crematorium services.

We remain committed to our ambitious Community Wealth Building Agenda to address local inequalities and put ownership in a wider number of hands post Covid. Our revised Community Wealth Building strategy which will be launched late February 2021, we outline our intentions to strengthen this area of work based on an inclusive recovery and environmental justice, factoring into all our major decisions and will continue to influence the future of Preston.

Our work with Community Wealth Building is just one strand of our Fairness Agenda, which also includes important work across the City with projects and initiatives such as the Holiday Markets, Connected Communities and Somewhere Safe to Stay which saves families money on food during term times, tackles rough sleeping and embeds community knowledge.

We are proud to be progressing the Climate Change Agenda in Preston as we work with partners to better understand what role we can play to tackle the climate crisis. Despite the difficult budget decisions that we have had to make in recent years, I believe that we are delivering high-quality frontline services to Preston's residents. Unfortunately we are faced with unprecedented levels of financial and economic uncertainty as we continue to support our residents, communities and businesses through the pandemic and prepare for the recovery phase.

Our ambitions remain high and we are proud to serve this City and of the work we, alongside partners, continue to achieve.

Councillor Matthew Brown - Leader of the Council

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