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Leigh On Sea News. Welcome to summer! - By Coun Tony Cox, leader of Southend City Council.

Leigh On Sea News. Welcome to summer! – By Coun Tony Cox, leader of Southend City Council.

Welcome to summer! - By Coun Tony Cox, leader of Southend City Council.

By Coun Tony Cox, leader of Southend City Council.

THE summer holidays are finally here – although you wouldn’t necessarily know it thanks to the weather! Let’s hope the sun comes out soon so our residents and visitors can enjoy all that our wonderful City has to offer.

The last term at school is always full on for parents, families and of course teachers – and that doesn’t always stop in the six-week holidays, as children still need to be cared for and entertained, and parents often still need to work.

Which is why we run the Holidays Activity Fund or HAF, which does what it says on the tin and provides fun activities and delicious food for the children who take part.

If you are not eligible there is a whole host of free and cheap fun activities on over the six-weeks holidays, including the fabulous Herd in the City trail, seven miles of beaches, events and activities at the City’s museums and galleries.

A new play area has opened outside The Forum, which means families can enjoy the playground to spark imagination and play, visit the Forum library or Focal Point Gallery and it’s right in the heart of our City centre.

Plus, there’s no doubting that Southend has some of the most fabulous parks and playground areas, for families to also enjoy. Beautiful flowers aside, we have lakes, playgrounds, football pitches, cricket grounds, wildlife areas, heritage areas, bandstands and cafes.

And the hard work that the council officers put into our parks is paying off as we now have nine national green flag awards for parks across the City.

This includes Priory Park, which did lose its flag for a short period of time, but has regained it. The list also includes: Chalkwell Park, Southchurch Park, Southchurch Hall Gardens, Leigh Library Gardens, Shoebury Park, Belfairs Park, Sutton Road Cemetery & Southend Crematorium and Shoebury Common North.

It’s not just the parks teams, this tremendous achievement is also down to the community groups, and visitors who help keep the parks in top shape by putting litter in the bin and taking care of the equipment and facilities.

Ahead of the summer holidays there were also some changes within the council, as councillors at full council on 24 July, agreed to Rob Tinlin MBE returning to Southend City Council as interim chief executive.

Rob previously led the organisation to LGC council of the year in 2012. He is well respected and well regarded locally, and I know that he will provide the strong leadership and vision to take us forwards onto our next stage as an organisation and to a place where a permanent chief executive can be appointed in the future.

Rob has already started his nine-month fixed-term contract and I know he is looking forward to meeting local stakeholders and the community.

As a council we also held a special meeting to induct David Stanley as Freeman of the City and former councillor Andrew Moring as honorary alderman. It was an emotional and celebratory evening and demonstrates the true heart of Southend. Two men whose hard work, dedication and passion for serving others, has been recognised and awarded.

They will forever be synonymous with the City of Southend-on-Sea and they deserve our heartfelt thanks and congratulations.

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