September 2022

Posted by: Councillor Tracey Dixon on 30 September 2022 12:41

Councillor Tracey Dixon, Leader of South Tyneside Council
Councillor Tracey Dixon, Leader of South Tyneside Council

September has been a month of mixed emotions. The sad passing of Her Majesty the Queen was the cause of much sadness across the borough and beyond, losing our Monarch who was a steadfast figure and inspiration to many of us. At the same time, a change in parliamentary leadership and a raft of announcements from the Chancellor brought a level of uncertainty that continues at present. I want to reassure people across South Tyneside that as a council we will continue to do everything we can to respond to national change and support you at a local level.


I was particularly proud to see South Tyneside come together as a community to mourn, reflect upon and express their gratitude for her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and her lifetime of devotion to our nation. Our Borough has always stood out for its sense of civic pride, and it was no surprise that people also came together to show their support for their new sovereign, King Charles III at the local South Tyneside proclamation.


Despite everything going on in the country as a whole, there were some positive highlights for South Tyneside. We welcomed back the Great North Run finishing line to South Shields for the first time since the pandemic hit in 2020. Although muted as a mark of respect following the passing of Her Majesty the Queen, it was still a momentous occasion to see the finishing line back on home turf and a wonderful celebration of charities and acts of courage.


September also saw the opening of Epinay Business and Enterprise on the site of the former South Shields School. An investment of £1.9million has allowed buildings to be adapted and refurbished for children with special educational needs, while a number of new educational features have been installed, including a new rebound therapy room with trampolines and matting, a sensory light area, and a specialist ball-pit. The re-location of the school from its base in Jarrow means that more children with special educational needs can now be taught within South Tyneside, instead of having to travel outside the Borough for their education. The move also means that more children with a greater range of special needs can be taught on the new site. The additional space also provides for Epinay's sixth form, which was formerly located on off-site rented premises and now has its own dedicated space on the new site for 32 young adults.


As we continue along the path of recovery from Covid, I am delighted to say that we have agreed the first steps to confer Freedom of the Borough to all local NHS, carers, and key workers, who served us during the pandemic. The honour - the highest the Council can bestow - is also to be extended to Ray Spencer MBE who has spent over 20 years promoting South Tyneside's performing arts and culture sector and raising the profile of the Borough as a visitor destination.


Lastly, I want to say that I understand how challenging the current cost of living crisis is for so many of you. While the government has capped energy prices, the higher cost of energy combined with soaring food and petrol prices is pushing many to the brink. We are committed to doing everything we possibly can to support you. We have identified a raft of other measures including warm spaces for anyone struggling to heat their homes and making welfare rights support more visible to offer some assistance. A poverty summit next week with our partners will drive forward actions on this crucial area and I'll update you on the outcomes in next month's blog.  A webpage outlining support is available at

In the meantime, I want to reiterate that we know this is an issue of real concern to you so please know that we are on your side and will do whatever we can to help you through these difficult times.

Councillor Tracey Dixon
Leader of South Tyneside Council

Last modified: 30 September 2022 12:42