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Leader's blog - Tuesday 19 December

Hello everybody!

As we come towards the end of 2023 I want to thank everybody for their continued support and for all their hard work in trying to support us and improve the quality of life in Gateshead.

It has been a challenging time, not least because of further government reductions in funding and also many families suffering the dire consequences of the cost-of-living crisis so I want to thank everybody in dealing with those challenges.

But I think we should also take the opportunity to celebrate some of the positive things we have done. We're working hard, listening to people and identifying things that you tell us are most important:

  • We managed this year, despite difficult financial services, we've found additional money to invest in improving the quality of the street scene in Gateshead. We've employed more staff in grounds maintenance and in street cleansing. Those improvements are beginning to be seen and I'm sure in 2024, hopefully, we'll see further improvement.
  • We've also worked hard to develop a new Family Hubs network. This is about targeting resources to those families who are facing the most dire circumstances and trying to help them get their families back on further ground. This has been enormously successful and, again, in 2024 we hope this will continue.
  • We've been working hard to improve environmental quality, to tackle issues of climate change. We've made further investments in renewable energy and in our local energy company, helping to support people by supplying cleaner and cheaper energy, for those connected to the network, and we'll continue to invest in that.
  • In response to the cost-of-living crisis, we introduced the warm spaces concept. This has been widely reported across the media and it's been replicated by local authorities, not just in the north east but across the country but this initiative dreamt up and implemented in Gateshead. We were one of the first local authorities to do this and it has really supported people during the cost-of-living crisis.

So as we go into 2024 let's celebrate what we've done and be grateful and thankful to everyone who has participated in this but let's look forward, optimistically, to 2024. Thank you everybody, the council will continue to support our communities, particularly those in greatest need and most vulnerable. On behalf of Gateshead Council can I thank everyone for their support in 2023 and let's look forward to better times in 2024.