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What's been happening

We want you to know what's going on in your town.

On this page, you can read the latest news about Middlesbrough and the council, and how it affects you as a young person.

Middlesbrough to welcome new Eton College

The world-famous Eton College will open a new college in Middlesbrough.

Eton, which has been attended by Prime Ministers and members of the Royal Family, has entered into a partnership with Star Academies to open three new colleges in England - one of them will be in our town.

Mayor Chris Cooke congratulated Eton and Star after it was successful in an application for funding from the Government’s Free School Programme.

The college says it will focus on giving opportunities to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and helping them to achieve places at the UK’s best universities.

Middlesbrough already has excellent colleges and sixth forms, with tens of thousands off young people currently studying in the town - including in the town centre at Middlesbrough College, Teesside University and the Northern School of Art.

Mayor Cooke said: “Young people around the Middlesbrough area already have a fantastic range of options for further education and the addition of Eton Teesside further strengthens our offer.

“My focus now will be working with Eton and Star to make sure this college delivers for Middlesbrough and our young people. I’ll be meeting with them at the first opportunity to set out our expectations."

Find out more about this story by clicking here.

Meet our new mayor

Middlesbrough Council is slightly different to some others in England because the people of the town choose its political leader.

In other areas, people vote for their councillors who then choose the leader.

But in Middlesbrough, Chris Cooke was directly elected by voters, beating the former mayor Andy Preston in May.

Mayor Cooke represents the Labour Party, and was a councillor in the Newport area of town before he stood for mayor.

He grew up and went to school in South Bank and spent time in the care system as a teenager, before getting into politics in his 20s.

Setting out his priorities for his time as mayor in an interview after his election, he said: “Make sure services work for everyone and are accessible for everyone.

“It’s about making sure the council is seen as an organisation that helps people and puts them first.

“The best place to start is by raising the life chances of the most vulnerable in our society so we can all grow together.”

Read the full interview with the new mayor here.
Mayor of Middlesbrough Chris Cooke
Executive Member for Regeneration Theo Furness, Middlesbrough Council Chief Executive Clive Heaphy and Middlesbrough Mayor Chris Cooke outside Boho X

Jobs of the future at huge new offices

You don’t have to leave your hometown if you would like to work in the digital sector, doing jobs like designing video games or creating websites.

Middlesbrough is already home to lots of successful digital businesses, many of them based in an area of town known as the Boho Zone.

There are lots of office buildings already near Middlesbrough Railway Station where these businesses are based.

And recently, Middlesbrough Council built a brand new, luxury office block which will become the base for staff at one of the most successful digital businesses in town.

Called Boho X, it’s been built in the oldest part of Middlesbrough, near Middlesbrough College and the Riverside Stadium.

Middlesbrough’s Mayor Chris Cooke was impressed when he had a tour of the new building.

He said: “We need to be ambitious and show our young people that they can follow their dreams in their hometown. Developments like this do just that.”

Read the full story here.

Arctic Monkeys concert made Middlesbrough £1m

A concert at the Riverside Stadium by rock band Arctic Monkeys saw Middlesbrough’s economy boosted by £1m.

Around 32,000 fans saw the band – who headlined the Glastonbury Festival weeks later – perform in Middlesbrough on Monday, June 5, with many visiting town centre shops, bars and restaurants on the day.

Lots of other gig-goers were from outside of Middlesbrough, so had booked hotels in the town.

Middlesbrough Council looked at data which showed that Middlesbrough drew the highest number of visitors to the town centre on any Monday since they began keeping records.

Encouraging more people to visit our town centre is very important, as it helps our local businesses make more money.

Two other big music events also drew crowds of thousands of people to central Middlesbrough, this time at Albert Park.

Madness, who became famous throughout the 1980s, played a solo show. A host of other 80s bands played an all-day festival, while thriving Australian indie band DMA’s played at the Empire in the town centre.

Read the full story here.
Gig-goers enjoy Arctic Monkeys at the Riverside Stadium
Johns News in Middlesbrough

Dangerous vapes seized from shop

Vape pens worth more than £20,000 were seized by council officers from two shops selling them illegally.

Johns News on Linthorpe Road and the Mixture Shop at Norfolk Shops in Berwick Hills have been closed down for three months by the magistrates’ court.

During that time, they won’t be able to open and serve customers.

The vapes seized were dangerous because they either had illegal quantities of nicotine, or were incorrectly labelled.

At Johns News, many were hidden in crisp boxes.

The owners of both shops have had to pay money to the council to cover the cost of the legal work done to seize the vapes, and bring the cases to court.

Middlesbrough’s Mayor Chris Cooke called the practice “illegal, immoral and totally unacceptable”.

He said: “The recreational use of nicotine vapes, especially by young people, is becoming a real concern.

“Firm action has and will continue to be taken against retailers that engage in this illegal trade.”

Read the full story here.

How we look after children in Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough Council’s Children’s Services department is responsible for supporting and protecting vulnerable children in the town, including those who need to go into care.

In 2019, the service was inspected by Ofsted who said it was ‘inadequate’, the lowest rating of the four it could give.

In 2023, Ofsted visited Middlesbrough again and produced a new report about how well the service was performing and improved its rating by one to ‘requires improvement’.

In its report, this is a flavour of what Ofsted said:

• Since the last inspection in 2019, senior leaders in the council have made improvements in all areas of support to children in their families.

• Senior managers need to continue to work at keeping social workers working for them in Middlesbrough. This will mean that children and families do not have too many changes of social worker. Inspectors saw that when families had the same social worker for a long time the changes they could help families make happened quickly and children were able to build good relationships with their social worker.

• Inspectors found that when people have worries about children, social workers and managers act quickly to give them support or take action to make sure that children are safe.

• They found that social workers know the children they support well but that the plans they write need to be better at explaining what needs to happen to keep children safe.

• When children cannot stay at home safely, social workers and managers make decisions much more quickly now to make sure they can live with other family members or foster carers. This is a big improvement in Middlesbrough.

• Most of the children in care in Middlesbrough are settled and making progress. The council needs to improve how they listen to children in care and young people leaving care and involve them in making decsions about what care looks like and how the council could improve this.

Read the full story here.
Middlesbrough Town Hall
Mayor Chris Cooke and head of Public Protection Sinead Upton with some of the fakes seized

Fake designer clothes seized

Fake designer clothes and accessories like handbags and sunglasses were on sale in two shops in Middlesbrough.

Trading Standards officers working for Middlesbrough Council seized the items and say if they were real they’d have been worth more than £5m.

The fake items included copies of brands such as Gucci, Chanel, Prada and Hugo Boss.

This included more than 180 bags, 350 watches, 170 scarves, 600 pairs of sunglasses, 170 pairs of trainers, 350 t-shirts, 120 hats and more than 1,500 pieces of jewellery.

Our officers say that many people who bought them must have known they were fakes as they would have been a lot cheaper than the real thing.

Other people may have believed they were real.

It’s important to take these fakes off the streets because the money that’s made from their sale is often used to fund organised crime.

Mayor Chris Cooke said: “It’s really important we make sure counterfeit goods have no place in Middlesbrough to make sure we keep consumers safe and keep the economy going.

"Selling counterfeit goods is not a victimless crime.”

You can find out more about the seizures.