It's been great to have a lovely weekend of warmer temperatures and feel like we're getting properly into Summer.
The previous weekend's Sunderland Food & Drink Festival also brought a real summer vibe with stalls in city centre streets and activities in the Keel Square marquee including cookery demonstrations and masterclasses. Headlining the event was Michelin starred chef Jean-Christophe Novelli and it was a real treat to welcome him and all other visitors to Sunderland.
We're also cheering on our England Women's Football Team in the World Cup and people right across the city are showing huge support for the lionesses from Sunderland and the North East - we have no less than a 'magnificent seven' from the area playing the football of their lives in France at the moment and we couldn't be prouder of them.
I'm also really proud of some of the debates and decisions at full Council recently including the agreement to permanently install messages of hope on city bridges as a way of trying to prevent people taking their own lives and letting them know they're not alone and there are places where they can get help.
We also paid tribute to Captain Robert Nairac, a Mauritius-born soldier who lived with his family in Sunderland for twenty years. On 15 May, it was the 42nd anniversary of his death, having been killed by the IRA. He is one of only three people killed in the Ulster Troubles who has never been found and we felt it important to recognise the ultimate sacrifice made by a member of our community.
Events like these and the prevention work I just mentioned above remind us that our residents, families and communities throughout the city do face all sorts of issues, some of which can be extremely challenging. So this Labour-led council remains committed to doing all that we can to help and support people and provide the best opportunities possible, now and in the future, ensuring that no-one is left behind.
In order to do this, we do need to hear and understand resident and stakeholder issues, challenges and aspirations on an ongoing basis and soon we will be asking everyone to get involved in shaping the council's budget for next year.
The spending decisions we make need to align with our ambitions for the city, priorities to address key challenges and what residents tell us they want and need. So please do respond to any surveys and come along to discussions and events wherever you can, including a State of the City Debate that we're starting to plan for the Autumn.
Your views are extremely important to us and I am very much looking forward to hearing them over the next few months. And as always, your ward councillors are available the year round on any issue, so do get in touch at any time if there's something you need to raise.
Cllr Michael Mordey