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£23million extra for businesses affected by Covid-19 restrictions

A new grant scheme worth £23m has opened to businesses in the West of England to secure jobs and deal with the effects of Covid-19 restrictions.

The Additional Restrictions Grant is a discretionary payment to help businesses that have been adversely impacted by national restrictions imposed to control the spread of Covid-19. This is in addition to the Government’s Local Restrictions Grant which is aimed at businesses who are required to close as a result of lockdown.

The West of England Combined Authority has been working in collaboration with the region’s councils and the Regional Recovery Taskforce to create a consistent regional approach to awarding discretionary grants based on economic need.

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Supporting businesses – Bailey Balloons 

Bailey Balloons is based in Bristol and run by husband and wife team Clive and Jo Bailey. Their balloons are a familiar sight in the skies across the West of England. Covid-10 and national lockdowns have had a major impact on the business, reducing bookings by 90%.
Jo got in touch with our West of England Growth Hub to find out what support was available to help them survive and navigate the new business landscape. She said: “It’s been a really challenging year. The Growth Hub helped our business at a time when, during lockdown, I felt that no-one was listening to us. I just think they’ve been brilliant in so many ways and supporting so many companies like us.” 
Jo worked with one of our Growth Hub enterprise executives, who signposted her to grant funding available. The Growth Hub team also helped her to tap into local business networks for ongoing support. Jo added: “To other entrepreneurs I would say please do get in touch with the Growth Hub. They’ve been invaluable to us.” 

To find out more about how the Growth Hub could support you and your business, get in touch today at

If you or your business has been affected by Covid-19, you might find that we already have some initiatives in place to help you. A summary of what is available can be found here:

Extra £3m investment for cycling and walking

We have secured an additional £2.96 million from Government to encourage more cycling and walking in the region. This investment will see new routes for people to walk and cycle safely built rapidly in 2021.

The funding comes as a survey by Kantar Media last month reveals 65% of people across England support reallocating road space to cycling and walking in their local area. Nearly eight out of ten people (78%) support measures to reduce road traffic in their neighbourhood.

Our constituent councils have already been working with us at WECA to rapidly plan and implement measures such as widening pavements and installing pop up cycle lanes to help people travel safely, while social distancing is required. Through underwriting the cost of these schemes WECA has enabled councils to act quickly in advance of receiving the Government funding. Councils will be consulting with the public on the future proposed schemes as part of the second tranche of funding.

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Over £1.6m to support creative companies

Another 21 creative businesses have joined WECA’s Creative Scale Up scheme – which provides online peer and mentoring support to help them respond to the impact of Covid-19.
This means that 57 creative companies are now benefiting from the business development programme, which is worth around £684,000. In addition, WECA has planned up to £1m investment to support the cultural and creative sector through our Regional Recovery Fund.
West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, announced the latest Creative Scale Up cohort via a video featuring a huge variety of businesses from the creative and cultural sector that the region is renowned for.

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Unlocking space innovation and growth

Our region’s ambitions to harness innovative space-related activities and unlock their economic, social and environmental benefits have been given a boost by the UK Space Agency.

The Government has announced that the UK Space Agency will provide financial support for a new space hub led by WECA. The consortium includes the National Composites Centre (NCC), the Centre for Modelling & Simulation (CFMS) and the Universities of Bristol and Bath, which are engaged in cutting edge research for the space sector including engineering, astronomy, planetary science, and life and health sciences.

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DETI skills update

The DETI Skills team at UWE Bristol has launched a new Diversity Demonstrator. This aims to address the skills and employment gap in engineering by championing engineering to children in the West of England, using a network of diverse engineering role models to inspire them.
The Digital Engineering Technology & Innovation (DETI) initiative is receiving £5m from the West of England Combined Authority and is expected to deliver at least £62m of added research and development value over five years.

In order to appeal to under-represented groups and increase diversity in the profession, the Diversity Demonstrator will focus on breaking stereotypes and challenging perceptions about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers by showcasing a wide variety of engineering role models from under-represented groups within the industry, including women, people from low socio-economic backgrounds and people of Black, Asian and minority ethnicity.

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We want to hear your thoughts on the future of the region

We’re asking people living and working in the West of England for their views about the future of the region, to ensure the region is a greener, more connected place to live and work.
The feedback will help shape a Spatial Development Strategy that will make sure that homes, employment spaces and transport links are planned in the right places over the next 20 years.
We're also holding a series of webinars to explain why we need a Spatial Development Strategy and how it will help the region be a greener, more connected place to live and work.
Register for one of our public webinars at

Upcoming meetings:

Mayor's blog
In this week’s blog Mayor Tim Bowles welcomes ambitious investments for a Green Industrial Revolution.


The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) covers
Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire.
WECA also supports the Local Enterprise Partnership and
Joint Committee, which includes North Somerset.

Our mailing address is:
West of England Combined Authority, 3 Rivergate, Temple Way, Bristol BS1 6ER

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