I hope everyone celebrating had an enjoyable Easter weekend- I know Easter always offers a good opportunity to spend time with family and friends as well as offering a time for reflection.  I spent Easter with family and friends, revisiting a stage of the GM Ringway long distance walk and volunteering at the annual Friends of Victoria Park Easter Event where I was put in charge of handing out the Easter eggs.

On the Monday prior to the Easter weekend, I was grateful to be invited to a Ramadan Iftar hosted at Lancashire County Cricket Club.  It was the first time I’ve attended an Iftar, and it was a lovely occasion.  I joined several community and faith leaders from across Greater Manchester and it was another opportunity for people to come together to reflect and share food after sunset.

The following day, we officially entered what is called, pre-election period.  This is where the Council publishes a notice of poll for the elections on 2 May 2024.  There are two sets of elections that day, the Trafford Council election and the GM Mayoral Election.  This year, I am a candidate for Stretford & Humphrey Park Ward, once again, and I submitted my nomination papers to be a candidate just before the Easter weekend.  I’ve been a councillor since 2008- first for Stretford Ward and now for Stretford & Humphrey Park Ward following boundary changes last year.

The pre-election period often means that many of the meetings I would normally attend do not happen because extra restrictions are put in place.  However, this gives me the opportunity to get out on the doorstep, which I have enjoyed doing with my brilliant ward councillor colleagues Jane Slater and Steve Adshead.  It was also great to welcome the national Chair of the Labour Party, Anneliese Dodds to a doorstep session in Stretford this week.

I also enjoyed attending Andy Burnham’s campaign launch with some of my Trafford councillor colleagues and other leaders from across Greater Manchester.  I’m so proud of the work Andy Burnham has led on and he has an inspiring vision for the future – including affordable housing and exciting plans around education and skills.  Greater Manchester County turned 50 this week – just like Trafford Council – and I don’t think there’s ever been a time where our sense of place and vision for the future have been so strong.

At a Greater Manchester level, I’ve held the Green City-Region portfolio for the past year and had the opportunity to chair the latest meeting of the Green City Region Partnership earlier this week.  The topics we covered included an update on active travel from Dame Sarah Storey, an update on the GM State of Nature Report and our Biodiversity Emergency, and an update on preparations for our next Five-Year Environment Plan.

One final highlight this week was the opportunity to see Urmston Musical Theatre’s production of Oliver!  I was joined that evening by Deputy Leader, Cath Hynes, and our Mayor.  We had a wonderful evening and were so impressed by the quality of the performance.  I was in a production of Oliver! in 1994 and so I was looking forward to seeing the show again and it did not disappoint!

Have a great weekend.