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Mental health support for businesses and employees 
We’ve launched a new support programme which will help West of England employers respond to mental health concerns in the workplace, particularly those arising from Covid-19.
Our Thrive at Work West of England programme aims to address the key mental health issues that businesses say are affecting their employees, and impacting productivity.

The package of support is available through our 
West of England Growth Hub website. It includes mental health e-learning to equip managers with the confidence and skills to have supportive conversations with their staff about mental health and wellbeing.

Read more…
Recovery Taskforce plans for future
Ambitious plans for the region’s economic recovery have been discussed by our West of England Regional Recovery Taskforce.

The recovery action plan has been put together by the taskforce, led by Regional Mayor Tim Bowles, which comprises senior figures from industry, education and local government. It sets out five ambitions: Rebuilding business; Getting residents back into work; Strengthen inclusion; A green recovery; Renewing places.

Over 160 businesses, education and community sector organisations gave their input, and the views of thousands more have been canvassed, to develop this action plan.

Read more…

'Invaluable' support for small business

When the UK’s swimming pools closed earlier this year, Caroline Sparks knew that she would have to adapt her business - Turtle Tots - to survive.  With the support of our new Trading Better Online programme, Turtle Tots invested in its website and social media presence. The business, based in Flax Bourton, Bristol, also drew on expertise available through our Growth Hub to protect and grow their intellectual property.

Caroline said: “The key benefits of the Growth Hub to local businesses is the advice that they can give and the depth of that advice. It’s also signposting small businesses to other advice organisations and funding and grants that they may not know are available, and could be really helpful – especially in times like these.” 


Watch Caroline's video by clicking here.

KickStart job placement opportunities for young people 

We are working with our partners to ensure that as many of our region’s young people as possible can access the Government’s new Kickstart Scheme, which will create new 6-month job placements for young people on Universal Credit.

Through the new scheme, funding is available for businesses to cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus employer NI contributions and minimum automatic enrolment contributions. There is also £1,500 per job placement for set-up costs, support and training.

Businesses able to create 30 or more job placements can apply for the funding directly on the Government


SMEs interested in creating one or more placements need to apply through an intermediary. Please register your interest here and our West of England Growth Hub team will provide you with the information you need to select an appropriate local intermediary.

We can also make sure that our additional regional business and skills support is available to participating SMEs and individuals, so that placements may develop into sustainable employment opportunities.

Rural communities win green energy funding

Communities across the South West have been awarded a total of almost £200,000 in feasibility funding from the Rural Community Energy Fund for a range of renewable energy schemes.

From Chew Valley, to South Devon, to the Isle of Wight, the projects cover a variety of locations but all share the ambition of reducing carbon emissions while tackling local issues such as reducing fuel poverty.
The funding scheme is administered by the South West Energy Hub, based within the West of England Combined Authority.

Read more… 

Finding Joy in the Journey

Residents in the West of England are invited to ‘find joy in the journey’ by swapping short car journeys for walking or cycling to help reduce congestion and improve air quality in the region.

Our new campaign promotes the benefits of cycling and walking to boost health and wellbeing as well as helping to build a cleaner, greener future for the West of England.

It comes as the number of people cycling and walking reached record levels during lockdown and new cycling and walking measures have been put in place to build confidence and enable residents to cycle and walk more easily.

Read more… 

Ashley Down railway station consultation

We’re asking local residents for their views on the proposed design of public access arrangements for the new Ashley Down railway station in Bristol.

Ashley Down is one of three new stations that will be built as part of the MetroWest railway network, a transformational rail improvement programme which will re-open the Henbury Line to passengers for the first time since 1964.

MetroWest is a WECA initiative, in partnership with DfT, local councils, Network Rail and Great Western Railway. It will significantly increase travel by rail in the region generating over a million new rail journeys and giving 80,000 more people access to train services.

Read more… 

Portishead rail moves a step closer 

A major scheme to reopen the Portishead to Bristol railway line – as part of the MetroWest programme - has reached an important milestone.
The scheme involves reopening over 5km of railway which will be added to the national network, the construction of two new stations at Portishead and Pill and works to upgrade 9km of freight only railway. This will enable an hourly passenger train service on a reopened Portishead Line, while maintaining the current freight train operation to and from Royal Portbury Dock.

Read more…

Economic briefing
We’re tracking the impact of the pandemic on our region’s economy, building up the picture over time, drawing on what businesses are telling us, and the economic indicators available.

We’re putting together regular briefings intended to deepen our understanding of the challenges faced by businesses across the region’s industries, and where there might be gaps in support coming from government.

You can find the latest briefing here.

Mayor's blog

In his latest blog, Mayor Tim Bowles talks about a sustainable recovery for the region through jobs, skills and business.

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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