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The West of England Initiative – Progress Report Summer 2015

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The West of England Initiative works to a set of priorities which have been agreed each year by the Bristol Chamber of Commerce and Initiative (BCCI) Board. These are the key priority policies which enable us to positively influence the way our area is shaped, managed and developed. Our executive team and members work together with partners to take these policies forward. Whilst much of what we are trying to achieve is long term, we would like to share the progress we have made during a busy 2016-2017 and wish to thank you for your involvement and ongoing support.

The main priorities for the WoE Initiative in 2017 are:

• Governance & Long Term Planning – Bristol Futures & City Devolution – EU Referendum
• Land Use & Transport – WoE Joint Spatial Plan – WoE Joint Transport Plan
• Education Linking with Employers


Supporting Younger & Older People

Bristol Young Heroes Award – Bristol Young Heroes Awards is an annual gala dinner to celebrate the best of Bristol as found in the lives of its young people. It’s the city’s ‘Oscars’ for those who have overcome challenge and adversity to live life to the full, both for themselves and for others. BBCI will continue on-going annual support of promotion of the Awards and helping the organisers gather sponsorship, raise profile and include in any relevant Business West communications.

Key4Life – A social venture and charity creating innovative solutions to help reduce youth offending and gang warfare. BCCI is supporting through introducing Key4Life to businesses within the area and helping through mentoring opportunities. The challenge is to help young men coming out of jail onto a new path through mentoring, work tasters, and ultimately to assist them in finding and sustaining long-term employment in order to create a new future.

Learning Partnership West – John Savage as BCCI Chairman, chairs this organisation which aims to provide education to troubled teens.

Hugh Thomas – Learning Ships – We’ve continued to support this project through the Bristol Initiative Charitable Trust. A project for Year 5 and 6 pupils providing schools with an exciting and practical way of engaging them and their families with the city’s heritage and cultural landscape.

Linkage – LinkAge is a Bristol based partnership, working to support the facilitation of inspiring social activities that enrich lives, reduce isolation and loneliness and promote active participation in local communities. The Initiative supported Linkage’s bid for funding into research projects to look into functions that may help promote active participation. This is in conjunction with UWE and the Robotics Lab.

Skills & Education

Avon Scouts – James Durie sits on the Board for the West of England area and is helping to establish new groups in some of the areas across the West of England where there are gaps, in particular in some of the more challenged communities.

South Bristol Youth Consortium – Aim of raising attainment and bridging gap between school and college. SBYC run events such as Young Professional Women’s Week, aimed at 11-16 year olds. The consortium currently supports over 1350 students. Business West is making ourselves aware of this as it’s part of our skills agenda and feeds into the bigger picture. Our Skills team also work to support this Consortium.


Building a diverse and successful Bristol – Involved and leading on a number of different initiatives and research, to better understand our diverse communities and economy to build a more resilient workforce and help create social capital and cohesion; and also to create stronger and more successful businesses. We are working in a number of ways to achieve this and have developed a series of events with a number of different members and partners, including West of England LEP and Mayor Marvin Rees and Bristol City Council, Babbassa, Bristol Pakistan Association.

James Durie & Amie Vaughan recently met with community leaders at Stapleton Road to view the diverse and thriving businesses within the area.

BCCI, Business West recently ran a dedicated BAME Export workshop at Barton Hill Settlement. This was a fully booked workshop, feedback extremely positive so planned to run more of these within the community.

91 Ways – Bristol Food Connections – We’re continuing to support through the Bristol Initiative Charitable Trust.


Homelessness – Mayor Marvin Rees has set up a “City Office” which aims to tackle city-wide issues – one of which being the Homeless within our City. There are now over 100 people sleeping rough in the city, risen from under 20 only 3 years ago. We at BCCI are working with a number of partners including Golden Key, Second Step, Crisis Ministries and Bristol Bath Regional Capital to develop a series of programmes aimed at reducing homelessness in the city. First priority is to create 100 new bed spaces in locations identified by the working group. Second priority is to a Hearts & Minds Campaign and thirdly a Livelihood programme. The Initiative team works closely with the City Office to help achieve these objectives.

First Bus has donated 2 double-decker buses to be converted into homeless shelters. We will be inviting Initiative members to help develop this project. For further information please visit:

Bristol YMCA – James Durie sits on the Advisory Board and worked alongside partners to enable the build of a new 90 bed hostel for the centre of Bristol. The initiative will continue to support the development of future projects involving a hostel and nursery concept on Filton Airfield.

Exploitation & Ethical Business

Anti-Slavery partnership (ASP) & Unseen – ASP is made up of Avon & Somerset Constabulary, local authorities, business representatives and Unseen. The Initiative and Unseen recently held a business information event centred on the newly released TISC Report which helps business register their intent to help tackle modern day slavery. The Initiative sits on various crime forums to ensure we are providing the voice of business and sharing our knowledge with our business community. Future business engagement events will be planned with our partners.

Fairtrade Business Awards – These Awards reward businesses that demonstrate commitment to using and promoting Fairtrade. We encourage all our businesses where possible to make this commitment and support locally sourced, and Fairtrade products. Business West supports these awards with Event Management and promotion and has done this for a number of years and will continue to do so.

Bristol Zero Tolerance – This initiative aims to ensure we are a city free from gender-based violence, abuse, harassment and exploitation. BCCI supports this initiative and was a lead organisation signing the Zero Tolerance pledge.

City of Sanctuary – This is a national network to welcome and celebrate sanctuary seekers. BCCI help this organisation to engage with the business community by running a variety of engagement activities.

Sustainable Place

Green Sustainability – Post 2015 European Green Capital, David Mellor as Vice President of BCCI sits on the board of the Bristol Green Capital Partnership which aims to create a low carbon city with a quality of life for all. Projects on this include Reuse Bristol.

Go Green – BCCI continue to work in partnership with Low Carbon South West to deliver the Go Green project across our city. This aims to inspire all businesses to adopt more sustainable practices through its online tool and event programme. Currently this project has engaged with over 1500 businesses since its birth for 2015 European Green Capital year.

Sport – Health & Wellbeing

BCCI is helping to create a new Bristol Sports partnership which uses sport to create opportunities for business and people; enabling us to lead healthier lives through sporting engagement.

BCCI has partnered with Bristol Sport with an aim of adding value for members and both parties promoting to the wider business community to actively get involved with sport and its associated health and wellbeing benefits during Bristol’s year as European City of Sport. BCCI also supports the work done by Bristol Sport, helping them engage businesses and showcase the city region’s top tier professional clubs.

We also support and work with Wesport, managing grass roots and community projects and supporting the Workplace Challenge. This challenge encourages businesses to get their staff active by “Livening up Your Lunch” which helps employees discover bite size activities. Access Sport is also supported by BCCI and uses sport as a mechanism to engage youngsters from difficult backgrounds and help to advise and support them to make smarter life choices.

Bristol is European City of Sport 2017. Bristol (alongside 15 other European cities) has been awarded the prestigious title of European City of Sport 2017. This is in recognition of our great sports facilities, our current physical activity levels, success of local sports clubs and sporting events and how Bristol works together to provide high quality sports provision. This year will feature European City of Sport activity cumulating in a city-wide conference toward the end of the year.

Armed Forces

The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise from the nation that those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly. BCCI are working with the Armed Forces to support through services, policy and projects relationship and support on-going.

Bristol Futures

Having published High in Hope, a 40 year vision for our city region which set out the ambition and opportunity for Bristol, we continue to work with the UAs and stakeholders to set out an ambitious sustainable future growth strategy for the city region to 2050. We are working to agree a long term land and infrastructure growth strategy in the shape of the West of England Joint Spatial & Transport Plan, to meet the needs of the economy and population.

City Devolution

The Chancellor, George Osborne has put out a very clear message that regional devolution is on the table for those who really want it. We recognise that currently, we are lagging behind our regional counterparts and we must act quickly so we do not miss any opportunities to have a real say on housing, transport, skills and long term planning for the region. The Initiative has been pressing the issue of devolution and we are searching how to secure more powers and resources for the WoE city-region.


Bristol Transport

Land Use and Transport

Transport & Connectivity

-West of England Joint Transport Plan

The 4 UAs have agreed for the business community to have representation on the Programme and Project Boards of the West of England Transport Plan to 2036, which is now starting to be produced. As a consequence, the Initiative and its members are an active part of the board formulating the Plan and consequent schemes on a Council led process.

We hosted a first session for business members and other business groups at Bristol Marriott Hotel to engage and feed into the formulation of this Plan on the 19th May. Over 70 business representatives were present along with Atkins, the appointed consultants for the scheme. The results and ideas raised at this event have been fed into the board and the Plan is currently programmed to run through to March 2016.

-Enterprise Arc

The Enterprise Arc area of North Bristol stretching from Avonmouth to Emersons Green will witness a significant increase in houses and jobs in the future. The growth in this area is crucial to the rest of the city region and The Initiative is working to stress the need of an effective transport infrastructure for the area. The Initiative has developed a document highlighting our concerns and we recently met with the Chief Executive of South Gloucestershire Council, Amanda Deeks and her senior officers to discuss the need for strategic infrastructure planning. We will also be ensuring the Enterprise Arc project ideas are fed into the new West of England Transport plan.

-Office for Low Emission Vehicles Bid (OLEV)

We are working as private sector partner with the 4 councils on an OLEV bid which seeks to secure up to £19m to build new infrastructure for electric cars, taxis and low emission buses. The deadline for the bid is in October and our involvement is part of our commitment to a cleaner and greener city-region.

-Residents’ Parking Zones (RPZ)

The Initiative continues to try and gain workability for a number of members and employers negatively impacted by the way the RPZ’s have been brought in. We have succeeded in getting the council to monitor the impact of the scheme once implemented.

-Schemes Supported

As well as continued support for the MetroWest and MetroBus Schemes we also support the Gateway to Growth campaign launched to secure the funding and approval for the Emersons Green M4 Junction 18A. We have proposed it is one of the elements included in the new WoE Transport Plan and it is one of the pieces of infrastructure we have been calling for within the Enterprise Arc project.

Vision of Bristol

Planning & Development

-West of England Joint Spatial Plan

We want to ensure that there is credible research and input into the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) in order to meet realistic housing and employment growth forecasts, improving quality of life for all in the region. We are working to seek an agreed JSP in 2018 that embraces agreed sustainable growth, links to the Transport Plan and which can be realistically delivered.

-Inward Investment & Development Progress

The Initiative continues to work closely with Invest Bristol and Bath to attract inward investment into the WoE and is helping to support and work with a number of developments and projects happening across Bristol. Projects include Commercial Estates Group with Aspire, their new 200,000 sq ft speculative office building on Victoria Street, Bristol. Projects we are actively supporting include: Plot 6 Temple Quay, Redcliffe Neighbourhood, Finzels Reach Scheme, and the new £7m museum Being Brunel.

-Avon & Cumberland Basin Group.

A major project in our 2050 Vision is the development of the Cumberland Basin. We run a working group which continues to explore the options for reconfiguring the road system, including the high level bridge, and thereby releasing significant development land for residential and commercial use to the North and South of Cumberland Basin.

The Initiative is also engaged with the studies on building a barrier across the Avon to protect Central Bristol from anticipated major future flooding and allowing the level of the river to be maintained at a higher level, creating an environmental, cultural and economic asset.


Economic & Business Growth

West of England Local Enterprise Partnership

Business West and the Initiative continue to work closely on, and in the LEP, as an important body and source of influence and funding.

The LEP board was refreshed in June. We would like to thank members Katherine Bennett, Vice President – Public Affairs of Airbus UK and Malachy McReynolds, Chief Executive of WE Care & Repair, who stepped down from the LEP board for all their hard work and commitment. We also wish to congratulate members Simon Bird, Chief Executive of The Bristol Port Company; Nick Horne, Chief Executive of Knightstone Housing Group; John Pritchard, Chief Executive Officer of GKN Aerospace; Professor Steve West, Vice Chancellor at University of the West of England; Kalpna Woolf, Director at KBM Ltd; Robert Sinclair, Chief Executive Officer of Bristol Airport and Neil Way, Managing Director of Jeff Way Electrical Services on their new appointment. Colin Skellett has agreed to continue to serve as Chair. James Durie, Executive Director of Bristol Chamber of Commerce and Initiative has been reappointed as business representative on the newly formed Board.

The first post election LEP Board meeting covered matters including: City Devolution, Bristol Arena Update, Skills Mapping, Update on the Joint Strategic Plan & Transport Plan and a Report from the Health and Life Sciences Sector Group.

Education Linking with Employers

One of The Initiative’s main goals is to improve opportunities for young people throughout the region by connecting schools and all young people to local business and employers. As a result, we have been continuing to support a number of projects, including Learning Partnership West, Ablaze and My Future My Choice which give young people better and alternative education opportunities. Our long term aim is the improvement in attainment of jobs, labour market, productivity and the reduction in unemployment and benefit claimants.

The Bristol Chamber of Commerce & Initiative (BCCI) Board

  • Ian Bell – Executive Director Bath Chamber of Commerce & Initiative
  • Kelvin Blake – BT SW Regional Board Member
  • Martin Boddy – Assistant Vice-Chancellor University of the West of England
  • Richard Bonner – Partner E C Harris LLP
  • Nishan Canagarajah – Pro Vice-Chancellor – Research University of Bristol
  • Jaya Chakrabarti – Managing Director Nameless Media Group Ltd
  • Charles Chami – BJC President 2017/18 Glamis IFA
  • John Chaplin – Director of External Relations & Special Projects of The Bristol Port Company
  • Simon Cooper – Managing Director CSR Consultancy
  • Paul Craig President – Customer Services Rolls-Royce plc Defence Aerospace
  • Ned Cussen – Consultant Jones Lang LaSalle Partner
  • Caroline Duckworth – Treasurer of The Society of Merchant Venturers
  • Bob Durie – Director Robert Durie & Co
  • James Durie – Executive Director Bristol Chamber of Commerce & Initiative
  • Katherine Finn – Partner- West and Wales of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
  • Kevin Gibbs – Partner Bond Dickinson LLP
  • James Gore – Head of Communication Bristol Airport
  • Jo Greenwood – Director of Finance Business West
  • Roger Key – Director Key Transport Consultants Ltd
  • Andy Marsh – Chief Constable of Avon & Somerset Constabulary
  • David Mellor – Consultant Alec French Architects
  • Simon Prescott – Partner Barton Willmore LLP
  • Peter Rilett – Chair North Bristol NHS Trust
  • John Savage – Executive Chairman Bristol Chamber of Commerce & Initiative
  • Phil Smith – Managing Director Business West
  • Matthew Tanner – Chief Executive Brunel’s ss Great Britain Trust
  • Steve West – President Bristol Chamber of Commerce & Initiative