Cllr Abby Brennan has been welcomed to Rushcliffe Borough Council’s Cabinet, assuming responsibility for key projects and strategies to benefit the Borough’s community and environmental focuses.
The Radcliffe on Trent ward councillor joins the authority’s executive with a wealth of public and private sector experience having worked for government agencies in the UK and in Europe and also running her own businesses. She was elected to the Council in 2019.
Deputy Chief Executive of the former East Midlands Regional Development Agency, with a career that has also included roles at the European Commission, the United Nations University and with the Civil Service, she hopes this range of different perspectives will help drive forward her portfolio’s priorities.
They will include steering direction on leisure, cultural services and health and wellbeing within the Borough, projects to benefit young people as well as the Council’s progress on energy and carbon reduction and its climate change programme.
Links with Town and Parish Councils and the Armed Forces will also be under her remit.
Cllr Brennan said “I am delighted to be able to take up this role. The resilience of our local communities has been tested over recent months as the pandemic has impacted them.
“Issues such as health and wellbeing, including mental health, are at the front of our minds. Loneliness and isolation have affected many people, especially the elderly.
“Young people have had their education disrupted and seen many of their opportunities for first and entry level jobs limited by the impact of COVID on industries such as hospitality.
“A key priority for this portfolio moving forward will be to help rebuild that community resilience and to support partners and stakeholders to reach out and support the most effected groups.
“Town and Parish Councils have demonstrated their ability to deliver and support communities on the ground through networks of volunteers and a responsiveness to their local areas. I look forward to working with and strengthening the Borough’s relationship with them.
“The Leisure industry has also felt the impact of the COVID crisis. Leisure Centres are gradually reopening and customer confidence is growing, but it is important that we support this very important sector as we go forward to ensure they can operate on a secure footing.
“Our excellent leisure facilities across the Borough add greatly to our quality of life and are a key priority for us.
“Despite COVID, the Council has made clear its determination to fulfil its environmental goals. This remains a very important priority and we need to plough forward with this work.
“I think lockdown really brought home to many people how important the environment is to us and how our impacts on it can be felt very directly in our personal lives.
“I am pleased that Rushcliffe Borough Council will continue to invest in this agenda, keep it at the forefront of our thinking and recognise the contribution we can make to reducing fossil fuel energy consumption and carbon reduction.
“I also wish to build on the very successful work done to date in supporting our Armed Forces. All parts of the community need to feel involved and supported and we should celebrate the contribution diverse groups make to a strong and resilient community.
“I’m very keen to engage as many local councillors from across the Council in this agenda as possible, local elected representatives know their communities well and understand their needs and challenges.
“As we, hopefully, get on top of this virus we can use the Council’s support systems to help build up our community strengths and be ready to respond if local situations change.
“Finally, our cultural and civic events have had to put on hold for the time being but I’m looking forward to a time, hopefully in the not too far distant future, when we can once again come together to enjoy the range of successful events that the Council puts on across the Borough.”
She assumes the role from Cllr Debbie Mason who stood down from Cabinet at last week’s Full Council meeting after a remarkable 18 years.
Leader of the Council Cllr Simon Robinson warmly welcomed the new appointment.
He said: “Cllr Brennan brings exceptional insight from her background at such a crucial time for us as we adapt to the challenges COVID is throwing at us and our communities.
“Her focus and drive will be a huge asset to us as a Cabinet and Council as we tackle it head on and ensure we continue to deliver our priorities on the environment, quality of life, efficient services and sustainable growth.”