It was my first time ever at the Queens’ Hall in Hexham. I hope it’s not my last as it is an impressive building and a great place for the performing arts. The reason I was there was for the North of Tyne Mayor’s question time. This is the first time that I have ever been to such an event. I was going to say a political event but I guess that that the time for politics is in the past, at least for the time being. If not, I would have had to blog this on a Thursday.
I went as I wanted to hear how the Mayor was making progress on some of the things that he had described in his manifesto. Getting big ideas off the ground can take time and I assumed that a lot had been going on in the background. I was also interested in the announcement of a fund for the digital sector in the region and this is clearly of interest to Dynamo North East and Digital Union, both of which I am a member.
I posted a question in advance and got to ask it in person. ‘The announcement of £10 million for the digital sector is very welcome. How will organisations and businesses bid into this fund?’ The question went down well. He remembered who I was, I have met him a couple of times before and recognised the contribution that Dynamo is making to the tech industry across the region.
His answer was in line with what I had expected. He described how the money was going to be divided into pots targeted at specific initiatives and to check the details on the North of Tyne Combined Authority website.
It was a good and interesting event, with more than a hundred people there with all sorts of questions. The mayor came across as very knowledgeable about the things he is interested in, especially transport, housing and the environment etc. In the main the audience came across as positive, even when talking about negative things in their lives and I came away with two things having struck me: the audience got most animated when talking about plastic bottles and: there is some education to be done regarding what the mayor can and cannot do.