This week we launched Together West of England – a new initiative to help our businesses and residents on the road to recovery from Covid-19.
Together West of England is connecting businesses with the support and guidance they need to adapt, build resilience and prepare for the future, as well as helping residents to access new skills, training and employment opportunities.
As part of this, we’ve released a newBusiness Support Guide, which will help businesses navigate the wide range of support on offer through our dedicated business support service, the Growth Hub.
We're working with a range of public and private partners to submit a bid to government for Freeport status. Companies operating within freeports can benefit from deferring the payment of taxes until their products are moved elsewhere, or can avoid them altogether if they bring in goods to store or manufacture on site before exporting them again.
Freeport status would be a huge opportunity for our region. It would benefit businesses and their supply chains as well as attracting more businesses to grow and locate here, creating more jobs and skills opportunities for residents across our urban and rural communities.
We're keen to speak to businesses who want to know more about how a Freeport might work and how it could support their ambitions to grow and export. If you want to know more, please get in touch at email@example.com
We're inviting organisations to get involved in two new skills programmes aimed at helping businesses plan and respond to their workforces needs as they face challenges due to Covid-19. The initiatives will help provide training/retraining opportunities for residents.
The second funding round of our £8m Workforce for the Future programme will support upskilling/reskilling employees; working with schools and colleges to engage students taking on more apprentices; offering work placements and shaping courses to ensure learners acquire the skills needed by employers.
Our new £2m Digital Skills Investment programme will address businesses' growing demand for digital skills to drive recovery and growth, close the skills gap and fill vacancies.
Green Business Grants of up to £15,000 are available to help small and medium sized enterprises in the West of England to improve their energy efficiency. We're running the £1.7m grants scheme as part of our Low Carbon Challenge Fund.
Potential projects include LED lighting, air source heat pumps, solar thermal, wall and roof insulation, variable speed drives, air compressors, induction cooking and solar PV.
Green Business Grants can pay for 40-80% of eligible costs, depending on the business’s size, location and project.
People across the region can now rent an e-scooter and take it home after WECA and Voi Technology announced the launch of their long-term rental scheme, as part of the region's e-scooter trials.
The WECA region is the first area in the UK to offer residents both the Voi hop-on-hop-off and the long-term rental options. The long-term e-scooter rentals can be used by residents across the whole of Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire, giving unlimited access to cost-effective and socially distanced transport, within the entire geofenced WECA area.
Major investments to redevelop the region and create a sustainable transport network to drive recovery will be discussed at the WECA Committee meeting tomorrow, Friday 29 January.
The new West of England Strategy for Homes will be discussed, alongside a plan to decarbonise transport. A £19.5m development of Kingswood High Street and £11.8, to support film/television and creative industries across the West of England will also be considered.
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