Manchester City Council

Building Jerusalem

The title of Tristram Hunt's excellent book on the rise of the Victorian City, a story that has many lessons for us still today, not least the need, even in the current climate, to have confidence and ambition.

Tristram joined our Creative Director, Peter Saville, at a breakfast seminar in our Albert Square tent organised by AGMA's Economic Commission as part of the Manchester International Festival to talk about what we can learn from the past to help us develop our city's future. After they had both made short but fascinating introductions they were joined by Mike Emmerich, the Commission's Chief Executive, and I had the thankless task of trying to Chair a Q and A session, with three people who can all talk for England. Actually we got in lots of interesting and probing questions from the floor and had a really good discussion. Also shows the more serious side of the festival which also has a great educational programme. Not just fun and frivolity, although having been to " It felt like a kiss " last night, frivolous it wasn't.

The excellent discussion makes me a few minutes late for a 9.30 meeting with the Chief Executive and Hon.Secretary of Manchester Council for Community Relations where we are joined by Council Deputy Leader Val Stevens, who has lead responsibility on the Council for Community Cohesion, Equal Opportunities, and the Voluntary Sector, to talk about the thorny issue of grants. It's a positive meeting where we are able to acknowledge a number of improvements in how we have handled grants to voluntary organisations over the years but also recognise some areas for further work. My diary then says I'm helping launch Manchester's bid to be part of England's bid for the 2018 Football World Cup, but as we did that yesterday (log onto www.manchesterworldsport.com to add your support), there's time to catch up with some of my casework. It's going to be a long day going well into the evening when I have a first proper meeting with the new interim Chief Executive of CityCo, the City Centre Management Company and no lie-in in the morning either as I have another breakfast event tomorrow, this time with the British Council.

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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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