New regional mayor is looking forward to “delivering success” for area

Posted by: Belinda Hargreaves

Wed 15th May 2024

The new East Midlands Mayor has stated that the “region needs and deserves,” to be: “better connected, better funded and better prepared for a future of opportunity and growth,” after “decades of under-investment.”
Following the latest UK elections on May 2, Claire Ward was elected as the very first Mayor of the East Midlands.
The Spirit of Alfreton contacted Claire to ask what her promises are to the residents across the region, in particular to the residents of Alfreton – a former mining town which, some feel, has become quite a ‘forgotten town.’
Here’s what Claire said: “It is an enormous honour to be elected as the very first East Midlands Mayor and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to share some first thoughts with Alfreton people about the future we face together as we work to make this region the best place in the country to live, work and learn.
“It’s safe to say that Alfreton’s high street has seen better days; major brands have moved out or disappeared completely, leaving local people looking for new jobs, new places to shop, and empty shop units, making the place look unloved and forgotten. When you look at how Alfreton has been hit by political decisions made in Westminster, it’s no wonder locals feel left behind.”
Claire continued: “Our devolution deal means we’ve taken decision-making out of the hands of strangers in Whitehall and brought them closer to home. Over the next few years we will have access to more than £4 billion of Government funding to invest in skills, transport, housing, regeneration and net zero.
“Spending that money wisely, where it will have the biggest impact on people’s lives, is vital and I want to make sure that no-one is left behind as we tackle some big challenges ahead. We need to be better connected, better funded and better prepared for a future of opportunity and growth. It’s what this region needs and deserves after decades of under-investment.
“I know people – residents, businesses, community leaders and more – in places like Alfreton sometimes feel frustrated by the obstacles they face in delivering success, but everyone agrees our region has an incredible amount to offer. We have world-leading manufacturers based here, a talented workforce, some world-beating tourist destinations and there’s a real determination to work together to tackle these challenges across the political divide.”
Claire added: “It’s early days for me as your Mayor and there is a lot to do. But the welcome I’ve had from so many people in this new role fills me with optimism. There’s a real will to succeed in this special part of the country we’re all proud to call home and I’m looking forward to playing my part in delivering success for us all.”

What do you think? Email our editor Belinda at editor@spiritof.co.uk