November has been another really busy month. A number of new strategies have been agreed to help us along our journey which we believe will help you all to live happy, healthy and fulfilled lives. While for some, these may seem just like written plans, I can assure you they are far more - they are the foundations on which we can build and measure our work to make a better South Tyneside.
I'd like to thank all of you - residents, businesses and partners - who took part in engagement sessions and made the approach to this new way of working a genuine partnership.
Based around five core 'Ambitions, our Vision is to see you financially secure, healthy and well throughout your lives, connected to jobs, skills and learning and part of strong communities. Underpinning all this we will target support to make things fairer.
It's important that everyone in South Tyneside has a good life with equal access to opportunities. This plan sets out how we will achieve this, based on what you have told us you want to see. It will tackle some of the biggest and most fundamental issues in society. Every three months, we will report back on how we are progressing on our promises so you can hold us to account.
As we continue on our journey to put you at the heart of everything we do, the Vision also supports a number of other strategies which have been co-produced.
The new Living Better Lives Strategy for adult social care, for example, was co-produced by people who draw on care and support, local partners and people working in social care. The key objectives are based on local and national priorities and local people's views of what must change to match their vision of living a better life. The Vision also supports the delivery for other strategic plans such as the Health and Wellbeing Strategy and the Sustainable South Tyneside Strategy.
I am pleased to advise that our new way of working has also been endorsed by the Local Government Association who described our progress as 'impressive' since their initial visit earlier this year. We brought in the peer team from the LGA so that we could take stock of where we were and set out a plan of how to get to where we want to be.
We have acted swiftly on recommendations and worked at pace to bring forward changes to the way we work to be more open, transparent, and better at listening and understanding our communities. The fact that the team thought we were doing all the right things and had no new recommendations for us was assuring.
Elsewhere, work has started to re-align a section of the A183 Coast Road to help protect it from erosion. By bringing the road further inland, we can enhance public safety and protect the route for decades to come while supporting the natural erosion of the cliffs.
This month also saw the expansion of our innovative Mockingbird fostering model. Based on the concept of the extended family, our third 'constellation' will be for children of mixed ages and those with disabilities. The model helps foster carers overcome challenges, avoiding placement breakdown and meaning more children can grow up with the stability they deserve.
On a similar theme, we have also submitted planning applications for two new residential children's homes and an assessment centre. At the moment, a lack of places means that some of our looked-after children have to move out of the Borough. We want to give all our young people the best home and parenting experience we can so that they can stay in their schools, see family and enjoy time with their friends.
Our work to support you with the cost of living is ongoing. More than 200 people were using our Warm Spaces at the start of this month and I'm confident these will become even more vital as temperatures fall.
As we move into the festive season I'm delighted that we are once again offering some fabulous free family entertainment. Our popular lights switch-on events in South Shields, Jarrow and Hebburn were a great success and I'm sure we are all looking forward to the Christmas Parade on 9 December.
I'd also like to thank you all for supporting our Armistice Day events earlier this month to remember those who died in conflict serving their country.