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We are urging residents to follow the latest government guidance to slow the spread of Covid-19 as parts of the region are now in high risk (tier 2) or very high risk (tier 3) alert levels.

Following a rise in hospital admissions and high levels of Covid-19 cases across the West of England, Bath and North East Somerset is in tier 2, while Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire are now in tier 3, which means new restrictions for residents and businesses.

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Employability, skills and training support


We’re working with our partners to ensure that all our residents have the opportunity to get the skills and training they need.

Our new web portal lists the support services and training available in the West of England, to help you to find the right support – whether you’re starting work for the first time, looking for a new job, or looking to progress at work. We have a number of new guides available for download that bring together the local, regional and national skills, training and employment services available.

Our West of England Growth Hub is continuing to help SMEs cope with the huge challenges presented by Covid-19. We're finding new ways to maintain our connections to businesses that use us regularly for advice and guidance. Contact us today and see how we can assist you. 

No matter what stage your business is at, we'll help you achieve your ambitions during unprecedented times so you can adapt and improve resilience, and survive and thrive. Our support covers five key areas:

Major investments to be discussed by Combined Authority 


Funding for major regional redevelopment which could deliver 1,435 new homes; 12,000m2 of new employment, commercial, retail, educational and community space, and a new park, will be discussed at the WECA Committee meeting on Friday 4 December. The Hengrove Park project is the first scheme being considered as part of a proposed new £21m West of England Development Infrastructure Fund, which will support new homes and infrastructure right across the region.
 
The Committee will also discuss ongoing transformation of the region’s railways and the MetroWest network. The new 10 year Rail Delivery Plan sets out to deliver a fast, frequent, low-carbon ‘turn-up and go’ network, with upgraded and improved stations helping residents to jobs and opportunities anywhere in the region.
 
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West of England leaders welcome Chancellor's announcement on investment


The West of England Mayor and Chair of the LEP have welcomed the Government’s commitment to “levelling-up” regions announced in the Spending Review.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer set out a number of investments that will benefit the West of England, including:
  • A new £4bn Levelling Up Fund for local infrastructure that has a visible impact on people and their communities and will support economic recovery
  • A share of £2.5bn for WECA as part of a five-year intracity transport settlement – including investment in MetroWest to improve rail services across Bristol and the surrounding region
  • A new UK Shared Prosperity Fund, replacing EU funding, of around £1.5 billion a year; supporting regeneration with investment in people and skills, local businesses, communities and place including
  • £490 million for Innovate UK core programmes and infrastructure to support ground-breaking technologies and businesses.
  • Over £200 million for flagship digital infrastructure programmes, including the Shared Rural Network for 4G coverage, Local Full Fibre Networks, and the 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme
  • £291 million for Further Education and £72 million to support Institutes of Technology.
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Don't miss your chance to have a say on the future development of the West of England


People living and working in the West of England have until 14 December to share their views to help shape the Spatial Development Strategy, to make sure homes, employment spaces, and vital transport links are planned in the right places over the next 20 years.

We've already received 1,000 responses to the our survey, and more than 260 people have registered to attend a series of online webinars over the last month. 

Residents and businesses can still give their views via the survey on our website.

Green spaces survey reveals changing habits of public during lockdown


A survey by UWE Bristol has revealed changes in the way people are interacting with the region’s parks and green spaces following the first UK lockdown. The survey was carried out in collaboration with WECA to learn more about the public’s changing habits. It also asked questions about the use of the home and how this may have altered during lockdown.

The survey results will be used by WECA, local authorities and others to inform planning policy, particularly in the delivery of local green spaces (e.g. parks and nature reserves).

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Public consultation to shape the future of Midsomer Norton town centre


Proposals to regenerate Midsomer Norton High Street and create an attractive multi-use public space have been unveiled, with residents encouraged to give their views.


The improvements are the first of many projects in the £2m Midsomer Norton High Streets Heritage Action Zone – supported by WECA’s Love Our High Streets scheme – to celebrate the historic high street and encourage sustainable economic growth.
 
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Railway bridge replacement 

Work to replace a railway bridge on Gipsy Patch Lane, Stoke Gifford, has been completed. The new 4,260-tonne railway bridge was the heaviest precast concrete bridge move of its kind ever undertaken in UK. The new wider bridge, which is part of the Cribbs Patchway metrobus extension (CPME), will provide room for new bus lanes in each direction and shared use cycle and pedestrian pathways, as well as general traffic lanes.

CPME is funded by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and by the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership through the Local Growth Fund.

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Workforce for the Future and Food Framework events


We’re holding a Workforce for the Future digital event on 8 December at 10am. This interactive workshop will highlight how employing a young person in your business can bring new ideas and fresh thinking as well as providing them an opportunity to start their career. During this workshop you’ll hear first-hand experience from Wessex Water, the charity Ablaze and the Western Training Provider Network.
 
You’ll gain advice and guidance on how to prepare your business to work with young people and what you need to consider from recruitment to mentoring and training. We’ll also explain the benefits of government employment initiatives – from the new Kickstart programme to T-Levels – which will help you provide employment opportunities for young people. Secure your place for ‘Inspiring thinking: the benefits of employing young people’.
 
We’re also supporting the South West Food Hub with their ‘Future Food Framework’ pilot; a new approach to public sector food procurement that will help small and medium sized producers in the region to sell directly to public sector institutions. We are keen to engage with procurers, suppliers, influencers and anyone else interested in changing public sector food procurement for the better. Register today for a webinar on 10 December at 10.30am to get an overview of the Future Food Framework, what it aims to achieve, how it will work and how to get involved.

Upcoming meetings:

Mayor's blog
In this week’s blog, Mayor Tim Bowles talks about the new Covid vaccine. 

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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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