Councillor Paul Watson became Leader of the Council in May 2008, after previously serving as Deputy Leader since May 2006.

Now, through his blog, he aims to communicate directly with you to give an insight into what is happening in Sunderland as well as the issues and challenges that face the city. With so much going on in the city, he wants to keep you informed about how much work the council is doing but also wants to hear from you.

This is your chance to have your say so please feel free to get in touch.

Welcome to my blog.

In my last blog I talked about Work Discovery Week and looking forward to hearing about the experiences of our secondary school pupils during the course of the week.

I am delighted to report that it all went incredibly well once again this year and was a great success.

As mentioned previously, Work Discovery Week is about connecting our young people with employers and support agencies to help them understand what job and career opportunities are available to them and most importantly, the pathways they will need to follow to fulfil their ambitions.

The week is also about breaking down myths and misconceptions about certain types of work and this year, the same as last, I think some of our schools were really surprised and inspired to find out what it's really like in a modern day, engineering or manufacturing company and the sorts of interesting jobs and rewarding careers that are available in Sunderland and the North East.

Huge thanks must go to everyone involved in making Work Discovery Week happen - the sponsors, businesses, agencies and organisers who put so much into it and take very seriously the need to invest time and energy in our young people today. This is in order to ensure the young people are part of a fantastic local workforce, across a whole range of exciting and world leading industries, in the not too distant future.

I also mentioned last time that Sunderland had been named UK Digital City of the Year in the Municipal Journal Awards, and now the Sunderland Partnership has been highly commended in the Best Partnership Project category at the National Recycling Awards.
The commendation is great recognition of the Warp-it project which has been growing since 2011 and has resulted in reducing carbon emissions by 150,000 tonnes and saving £400,000 across the city council, schools and partner organisations, by re-using resources rather than buying new.

So once again, it is with great pleasure that I say a big thank you and congratulations to everyone involved in this hugely important area of work to make the city a cleaner, healthier, more efficient and sustainable place to live, work, learn, visit and do business, both now and in the future!

Cllr Paul Watson