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Leader Wayne Fitzgerald's blog - 13 October

13 October 2023

One of the best aspects of being Council Leader is seeing firsthand some of the wonderful work that our dedicated teams do to help those really in need of support.

This week saw World Homeless Day take place, a global campaign which aims to draw attention to the needs of people who experience homelessness locally.

It gave us a chance to highlight the life-changing work that our rough sleeping team does. We don’t want to see any rough sleepers on our streets, and endeavour to help them as much as we can; so far 126 rough sleepers have been helped into accommodation this year.

Our Communications team has produced several case study videos showing success stories; these are on our social media accounts and are well worth a watch. One of the case studies isBarry, who found himself sleeping under a bush for several days as his life took a turn for the worst after several terrible experiences, including his daughter’s mother taking her own life and a struggle with addictions.

However, thanks to the council’s rough sleeper team he was welcomed into temporary accommodation and is now back seeing his family including his 11-year-old daughter.

Barry described our team as an ‘absolute Godsend’ and I would like to personally thank them - they work tirelessly behind the scenes to help people in need, often in difficult circumstances.

We are also continuing to appeal to landlords with family-size properties who would be happy to rent their homes to the council, so these can be used to support homeless families with accommodation.

In return, we offer risk free guaranteed income on their properties for the duration of the lease period. Find out more by visiting

Continuing on our journey of improvement, on Monday cabinet members will meet to discuss plans for an attractive Eastern gateway to the city centre by transforming two car parks as part of a comprehensive regeneration scheme.

If agreed, this will see the car parks in Dickens Street and Wellington Street disposed of – Wellington Street is the site of the former gas tower of course. Both are underused and could be transformed into something much more inviting, bringing widescale benefits to the area.

The council will then take all necessary steps to sell the car parks, with a view to a delivering a regeneration scheme.

We are also looking at longer-term car parking provision in the city and options to build new ones as and when they are needed and in the right locations.

It only seems like five minutes ago that schools re-opened following the long summer break, but another holiday is just around the corner.

Once again, we will be issuing supermarket vouchers during the October half-term to help eligible families in need of support.

Families who are already signed up to the scheme will get their vouchers later this month, however I would encourage anyone who has not signed up but is eligible to please do so.

There’s lots of information about the scheme on our website including details of eligibility and how to apply.

In closing, I’d like to wish everyone taking part in the Great Eastern Run on Sunday the very best of luck.

The much-anticipated event sponsored now by AEPG will see thousands of runners and spectators descend on the city.

There will be a few road closures during the event, you can find out more at