Hollywood star visits Preston to see local council’s work

Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell and Michael Sheen visit Preston
Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell and Michael Sheen visit Preston
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Hollywood actor Michael Sheen has visited Preston to see the exciting community work being done in the city.

The actor, well know for playing roles such as Tony Blair in the Helen Mirren film The Queen, has become increasingly involved in politics since the Brexit vote.

Earlier this year he said he would be focussing on activism for the foreseeable future, after the country’s vote to leave the EU left him “sad and frustrated”.

He visited Preston this morning together with Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell to see how Preston’s council has reacted to government funding cuts.

After a tour of the city, the two met local leaders at the University of Central Lancashire.

Michael Sheen, said: “I first read about what was happening in Preston through recent media coverage and it got me really interested to find out more. I was excited to hear the journey they’ve been on and to explore what other communities, like my hometown of Port Talbot, might be able to learn about drawing on that approach.

“This week I’ve been announced as the new Patron of Social Enterprise UK, so it feels right to be in Preston looking at how institutions can help grow a truly social, local economy and support empowering the people of our communities. The way the Preston model uses the Social Value Act is inspiring and should provide encouragement to towns across the UK that this is possible.

“I’m really pleased to see high level political interest in these ideas with John McDonnell also visiting on the same day and I hope all political parties invest time in understanding where cooperatives, social enterprises and the wider social economy can provide real solutions to the wide array of challenges facing our communities.”

John McDonnell MP added: “I’m very pleased to be in Preston again as I think the council here has provided a model of how an innovative Labour council can act creatively to build a richer local community.

“This kind of radicalism is exactly what we need across the whole country. Preston is showing how to push back against Tory austerity by creating local entrepreneurial states.”