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Salford, UK Future Search, July, 2008 “Seizing Salford’s Moments: Connecting People With Opportunities�

Leaders Column - The Advertiser w/c 28July 2008


It has been an exciting week and even as I write this column the news concerning Salford Reds has been released.  The hard work put in by Salford Reds and the Council working in partnership has achieved every Salford Reds supporters dream with the return to the top flight of the Super League.  This is a wonderful opportunity and the team must now challenge at the highest level to win trophies.  This announcement coupled with the plans for the new stadium will begin a new and exciting era for the club. I am sure that you will all join me in congratulating the club.

On a different theme I was delighted this week to take part in a unique event – a special, three-day conference to find out how our City can make the most of the exciting opportunities in the future.

MediaCity:UK alone is expected to bring employment opportunities for more than 15,000 people, adding more than £1.5 billion to the regional economy. There is clearly a lot of promise and expectation and it is imperative that the City Council and its partners make the most of this opportunity for all residents.

The conference called a Future Search, brought together into one discussion, under one roof, a cross-section of our community: different ages, different walks of life, different opinions, different perspectives.  We brought together residents, the community and voluntary sector, business, health, regeneration, police, fire service, schools, university, economic development, councillors and most importantly, young people.

This approach has been successfully used as a catalyst for action in other parts of the world so I was keen to see it working for our City.

The event was organised by the Salford Strategic Partnership with brings together agencies working in the City.  Key decision makers and residents from across the City worked side by side to identify the issues they felt would really improve people’s lives, whilst discussing the barriers that may prevent them from fulfilling their full potential in life. However, we all agreed on one objective: the importance of connecting every person with the opportunities that our City offers in terms of jobs, education, training and leisure activities.

Future Search is an approach that harnesses the energy and creativity of people to encourage them to work together on key issues. The 60 people who attended really want the City and those within it to fulfil their potential.  One thing that really encouraged me was the positive approach shown by young people who are genuinely excited by our City.  The young people that attended had so many ideas on how we should move forward and I can only applaud them for their exuberance.

Throughout the conference significant commitments were made by different individuals and organisations. We will be taking these forward over the coming months to make sure that these ideas are brought into fruition.

However it is not just the responsibility of those that attended the conference to ensure that things happen, we can only make significant changes in the right direction if we all sign up and take hold of the opportunities that are given to us and I hope that residents will support the commitments that we unveil in the future.

Posted: 7/30/2008 

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