I went to my first meeting last night abour grassroots sport in the town. It was chaired by Pete Barron, the Echo editor, who is convening Darlington Parnership's Enquiry Group on Health and Leisure.
The enquiry group process is looking to breathe new life into key issues facing the town. There was a wealth of experience from local sports clubs around the table yesterday, with a lot of horror stories (and not all of them Council generated). Indeed, Council officers have worked hard with groups to promote sport around the Borough. Some key blocks, however, have been with Council plans for example, which haven't taken sufficient regard of organised sport, and so have left us in a poor position to work with developers when proposals are made. There's a key issue for me too about the extent to which the various arms of the Council work together on cross-cutting issues such as health and leisure (something I'm familiar with from my days in Transport).
Evidently Pete has worked hard to produce some draft proposals which met with a lot of support last night. It's not for me to discuss them here - after further meetings, Pete will take the recommendations to the Local Strategic Partnership later in September, when the other Enquiry Groups will report.
As a newcomer to Health and Leisure, I went along yesterday very much to listen to the points made. I gave a commitment, however, that I see my work as Portfolio Holder very much to see that the final recommendations are actioned. I'm happy to be judged on progress as time develops.