Manchester City Council

​Covid 4 - Time to Remember

26 May, 2020

Last Friday was the third anniversary of the appalling terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena that left 22 dead, many more with life-changing injuries, and thousands traumatised by the experience. The city made a promise that we would never forget the victims and on Friday we kept that promise. Three years ago the people of the city came together in grief, anger, solidarity and a determination that terror would not win. Covid-19 meant we could not come together physically this year but streamed services from the cathedral and the ringing of the bells on local radio at 10.31 allowed us to come together virtually to remember. 

There is already one permanent memorial  to the arena bombing in the form of the archive stored at Manchester Art Gallery. Last week we launched the public consultation on a more public memorial, a beautiful garden area, called Glade of Light, designed to go down by the Irwell in front of the cathedral. It's intended to be a space for quiet reflection in the heart of the city, and we would welcome feedback on what I think is a lovely design.

It's three weeks since the Council's Executive met to receive reports on what we were doing about the pandemic and to set out a structure to lead recovery. The data we have about the current state of Covid-19, though far from perfect, suggests we are over the worst - but a word of caution, we're not out of the woods yet. An essential requirement of getting back to "normal" is test, track, trace and isolate. We've been doing pioneering work on this in Greater Manchester and I was delighted that last week GM was named as a beacon area for local outbreak management, a fundamental part of any contact tracing system.

In the Council, the working groups looking both at economic and community recovery have started to meet, with a first report on their work to the Executive next week and public scrutiny by the Council's Overview and Scrutiny Committees next month. One thing that is absolutely clear is that it is going to be a long, hard haul back and Manchester will have to show all of its innovative, can-do spirit and dogged determination to succeed. That our recovery will be built on our people gives at least some grounds for optimism though Manchester Together will never be more relevant. 

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

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