A year living with the pandemic has now passed by, every imaginable challenge has been faced, but coming together and tackling this with a united front has been by far our biggest strength and we must continue along this trajectory as we move into the spring and summer months. During this time we have worked through Growth Platform and alongside our business support organisations, council partners and the Combined Authority to collectively support thousands of businesses to access government schemes, commercial advice and guidance to help keep them in business and build their resilience during this pandemic. The support offered has covered not only funding such as the ground breaking Future Innovation Fund but also the Recovery Grants that saw over £1million in grant support to businesses in our area; we also supported businesses through peer networks, business programmes and mentoring, plus sector specific advice as well as offering guidance and support to employers to help maintain staff wellbeing including their mental health. As we once again look to emerge from various stages of lockdown restrictions our thoughts and actions must move to getting our economy as active as possible again with the aim of minimising risk whilst maximising productivity. As a business community we must act now to get our businesses in the best position possible to build up revenues and retain talent so we can seize the opportunities for growth that will certainly emerge in the coming months. Whilst this year has indeed been unprecedented, I take pride in what we, as a City Region, have achieved. Much of these achievements and opportunities will be discussed at our LEP Annual Conference this Friday so I would encourage you to join us to discuss these key themes and the exciting opportunities that can accelerate the City Region’s future growth. Please register here. Now, more than ever, is the time for us to come together as a region to explore options, opportunities and ideas as a whole.