We have just finished the local elections and I’m delighted with the results which I think show that even in difficult times, people realise we are trying to do our best for Bury and are ambitious for its future.

Campaigning is a great chance to talk to more people than I get chance to normally and it has been really encouraging and insightful to hear feedback on how we are performing as a council, and how well our partnerships are working.

I think that it’s clear listening to people on the campaign trail that the state of the borough’s roads is obviously a big issue, and they were glad to hear that we have invested to save and are spending £40 million on roads over the next 10 years, as we know that the only way to tackle this issue is to find money to create sustainable highways.

I think people can also see that we are making improvements in tackling the pothole problem which we accept and acknowledge is an issue and are working hard to address it.

I am delighted that in March and April the council filled almost 3,000 pot-holes — the fastest rate that we have ever filled potholes, after a delay caused by the Beast from the East and the damage that it did.

We have a growing and ageing population and talking to residents, they understood our priority to invest in our most vulnerable people.

Our £8.5 million investment in Peachment Place is testament to this — the council’s biggest ever single investment in adult services which is due to be completed in October.

As Leader of Bury Council, I have been very clear since taking post that despite the challenges we remain as ambitious as ever to make positive changes to our borough.

We will stand up to cuts, continue to campaign against the closure of local services, like the walk-in centres, and we will use innovation and creativity, working with our communities to deliver our vision.

We have an ambitious year ahead as we continue to make the most of opportunities presented to us by devolution and the Mayor of Manchester’s priorities.

We are very good at working with partners to create our own opportunities against the backdrop of devolution, making the most of funds that we wouldn’t have access to before.

An example of this is the recent news of the £2,250 grant that’s been secured for Bury College to support its bid to build a new Health Innovative STEM Centre.

It will provide high-quality education to 600 students right across the borough and hopefully bring new businesses into Bury creating higher level, higher skilled and higher paying jobs which will contribute to our ambitious Growth Plan for the Borough.

Together we are stronger, and this was a key theme which ran through many of my conversations during my campaign. It was great to hear about the impact of some of the projects where communities and the council have shared responsibility in tackling the issues we face.

This is particularly evident in the case of fly-tipping and littering — we just need to look at the number of new community groups that are springing up across the borough that are organising local clean-ups. People were bowled over by our community litter pick with McDonald’s staff and volunteers from businesses and communities in Radcliffe and they want to see the same in places like Ramsbottom and Prestwich.

Bury is particularly good at pulling together to provide the best for our people — it’s been brilliant to get the thumbs up from the Department for Education and NHS England for Bury’s Special Education Needs and Disability provision for our progress since being criticised for falling below standard.

In fact, it described the speed of our turn around on the quality of provision as remarkable. Again, this is a prime example of how we are better together as it’s through working with parents of SEND children and young people as well as schools and health services that we are now becoming a model of best practice.

People were concerned about our homeless population and wanting to know what we were doing to help these people. Eradicating homelessness is high on the Mayor of Manchester’s agenda and we support that priority in Bury.

A couple of weeks ago, in partnership with Homeless Friendly, we launched a national first — a new initiative that guarantees medical attention for homeless people.

Historically, rough sleepers, sofa-surfers and others without a permanent home have been denied healthcare at surgeries because they cannot produce a permanent address.

From now on, homeless people will receive a card that enables them to find appropriate round the clock treatment, and signpost them to organisations that can help them with housing, training and even curbing addiction.

These are the people in our society who need health and social care provision the most which is why we have joined forces with Homeless Friendly to send out a powerful message that their community cares.

Finally, as we marked the anniversary of the arena attack last month, we are reminded of the solidarity of our communities, the way people joined together last year in support for the families of Olivia Campbell-Hardy and John Atkinson and for each other reflects the character of Bury — it’s the people who make our place.

Please keep inviting me to events and projects and let’s keep working together to build a better Bury.