It has been a busy month since the last newsletter.
Introduction by LEP Executive Chair - Peter Pawsey
I was glad to welcome around 350 delegates, mainly from businesses, to this year’s Annual Conference on 10 October at the Chateau Impney Hotel where keynote speaker, Culture Secretary and MP for Bromsgrove, Sajid Javid MP, clearly outlined how important culture is for business alongside both media and sport. This is particularly important as we look forward to the potential of a 2021 City of Culture bid for Worcester.
Mary Rhodes of BBC Midlands Today was a superb host and contributions by other speakers from Jaguar Land Rover, PostcodeAnywhere, Joy Global, Chamber of Commerce, West Midland Safari Park, Worcestershire County Cricket Club, UK Wheelchair Basketball, UKTI and Worcestershire County Council each added great value – thank you to all. Thanks also to our sponsors: OGL Computer, Hewett Recruitment, First Great Western, Growth Accelerator, Pertemps and Sanctuary Group. For those who were unable to attend, I would urge you to look out for details of next year’s conference as we would like to welcome even more of you next year.
The Conference was an opportunity to share a host of achievements from recent history which resulted in investment, growth and job creation. An international focus was also provided with contributions from both China and Indonesia, two of the world’s most dynamic economies. I will personally be seeking to further business relationships later this month through a Worcestershire delegation to Hezhou City, China, and then I will go on to Jakarta, Indonesia.
We are really seeing the profile of the County being raised regionally, nationally and internationally. As I said at the conference, I firmly believe that we all have a vital part to play in raising the profile of the County. Tell your supply chains, your foreign partners and others about World Class Worcestershire as the place in which to live, work, play and invest.
You can view our video and download the World Class Worcestershire inward investment brochure from the website www.investinworcestershire.com or request copies of the brochure by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter users can join the conversation by using #WorldClassWorcs.
Achievements and plans
If you haven’t yet seen the annual report, it is now available on the Worcestershire LEP’s website to download.
This year’s report includes a letter from the MP for Tunbridge Wells and Minister for Universities, Science and Cities, the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, as well as a foreword from the Executive Chair of the LEP, Peter Pawsey, and introduction from the Executive Director, Gary Woodman.
The Annual Report includes a review of the year and success stories from 2013-14 which were also outlined at the Annual Conference. Too many to list here, they include: additional Pinchpoint funding of £4.9million from the Department of Transport to support the second Phase of the Hoobrook Link Road in Kidderminster, improvements to the Southern Link Road which have already commenced and railway developments are significant, including work to construct a new station at Bromsgrove as well as improvements to Worcester Foregate Street Station, Malvern Link Station and trackworks at Redditch Station.
We are also seeing a number of other successes. The work to connect schools and businesses to inspire the next generation of employees to have the skills that businesses need for the future has gathered apace with all High Schools on board, and the Tour of Britain had a hugely positive impact on the local economy.
The Premier Inn Hotel, Worcester, is seeing an average of 95% occupancy and the sporting prowess of the County continues to increase. Facilities include the new conference centre and offices at the Cricket Club and the University Arena, home to Worcester Wolves and training base for Team GB Wheelchair Basketball teams. David Lloyd Tennis and Fitness Centre has located at Sixways, other big retail brands have indicated they would like a base in the City, and there are a number of major housing developments taking shape across Worcestershire.
A large focus of the past year has been the development and submission of the 10 year Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) which has attracted an initial £47m from Government for our Growth Deal. Importantly, the Annual Report, therefore, also looks forward to the year ahead and beyond.
There is a keen focus on our strategic sites (also known as Gamechanger sites), and on infrastructure schemes such as planning for the new station at Worcestershire Parkway and further development of Kidderminster Rail Station. Work will commence on the completion of Hoobrook Link Road, whilst further improvement phases to the Southern Link Road and various flood alleviation road schemes including New Road, Worcester, are being planned. Progress is well on programme for providing high speed Broadband to at least 90% of business and residential premises by 2016 and to 95% by 2017.
The Worcestershire LEP has also obtained funding to expand the Centre of Excellence for Engineering (COVE), tackling the lack of training facilities for engineering apprenticeships in the County, and for supporting the Worcestershire.Business.Central Growth Hub in providing a new innovation incubation service to help get new ideas off the ground and into business. View the full annual report here.
World Class Worcestershire at MIPIM UK – the UK Property Marketplace
Earlier this month (15-17 October 2014) World Class Worcestershire, was represented at MIPIM UK, which took place at Olympia, London.
MIPIM has been hosted for many years in Cannes, France, and this was the first time that this premier property marketplace has been held in London. It is, therefore, the first UK property trade show gathering for all professionals looking to close deals in the UK property market and to understand other investment opportunities.
Colleagues from all partner organisations promoted World Class Worcestershire to the national and international property market as attendees included investors, developers, local authorities, occupiers, hotel groups, agents and business service providers. On Friday (17 October) the stand welcomed a delegation from Asia and China who were the first to receive the World Class Worcestershire brochure translated into Mandarin as they discussed the opportunities available locally.
The stand was busy over the three days with some great leads and enquiries which are now being followed up. Interested parties also received their invitation to an exclusive inward investment event at the Thistle Hotel Marble Arch in the Worcestershire Suite in November where they will hear from key speakers about the opportunities available within Worcestershire.
Pictured left to right: Shaun Riley, Evesham Business Partnerships Manager, Wychavon District Council, Gary Woodman, Executive Director of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and Chris Brookes, Regeneration Development Manager, Wychavon District Council.
Lottery funding to help voluntary sector to access European funding
The Big Lottery Fund has awarded funding to 36 organisations across England to raise awareness within the Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector of the opportunities available through the European Social Fund (ESF). The funded projects will provide advice and guidance on the European funding that will be matched by the Big Lottery Fund in their Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas and will be available from 2015.
Congratulations to Vestia Community Trust on receiving £10,000 of funding to support the work of the 'Shadow Consortium' that has been established to co-ordinate and promote Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) involvement in the Worcestershire LEP. Vestia will work alongside partners to set up a dedicated web portal and run workshops to increase understanding of European funding requirements.
Over the next few years the Big Lottery Fund has outlined plans to put up £260 million of National Lottery funding to match a similar figure from Europe, subject to sign off from the European Commission at the end of this year. Together, the matched funds will be used to tackle poverty and promote social inclusion.
The money from Europe comes from a new seven year cycle of European funding – the European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) Growth programme, of which ESF is one part. It will support a wide range of projects including improving employability for the most disadvantaged, helping those with multiple and complex needs, improving financial literacy, and helping communities to overcome challenges in their lives.
To read the full announcement, you can visit the Big Lottery Fund’s website
Progress on the Game Changer sites
As businesses will be aware, there are four key strategic Game Changer sites within the County: Worcester Technology Park, Malvern Hills Science Park, South Kidderminster Enterprise Park and Redditch Eastern Gateway. Progress is being made on each of these four sites.
The most recent announcement is that Birmingham-based commercial property developer, Stoford, has been appointed earlier this month as the development partner by the landowner, The Spetchley Estate, to deliver the £120m Worcester Tech Park, which could provide over 5,000 new jobs.
The developer has now appointed leading planning consultants, Barton Willmore, to submit a reserved matters planning application by early November, and the entire scheme could provide up to 1.5 million square feet of accommodation in business units.
The move means that work on local off-site highway improvements could be scheduled for commencement before the end of this year with further on-site infrastructure being procured and constructed by the middle of next year.
Stoford Director, Gerard Ludlow, said the new proposals would be even more ecologically sensitive than the previous plan, retaining ancient woodland and putting an area of wetland right at the heart of the development. The company is working alongside the Environment Agency, the Wildlife Trust, Natural England, the Ramblers Association and local councils.
“We are delighted to have been appointed as the Estate’s development partner and we are confident that this strategically important project will provide the region with an enormous economic boost by attracting high quality occupiers,” said Gerard.
Peter Pawsey, Executive Chair of WLEP, said: "The Worcestershire Strategic Economic Plan puts this key employment site at the top of its priorities for economic growth and job creation. It is the best undeveloped site between Birmingham and Bristol with first class access and connectivity to the rest of UK. The development will bring Worcester and the county ‘out from behind the curtains’ and be fundamental in our drive to create a World Class Worcestershire for inward investment and growth.”
Councillor Simon Geraghty, Deputy Leader of Worcestershire County Council and Cabinet Member with responsibility for Economy, Skills and Infrastructure, said: “The County Council's top priority is to ensure Worcestershire is 'Open for Business'. The delivery of these ‘game changer’ sites, along with other infrastructure schemes, is a key part of the drive to ensure that business in the county thrives. Creating the supply of employment land is vital to support business conditions to allow companies to grow and compete on the world’s stage.”
Pictured left to right: Gerard Ludlow, Director of Stoford, Peter Pawsey, Executive Chair of WLEP and Simon Geraghty, Deputy Leader of Worcestershire County Council and Cabinet Member with responsibility for Economy, Skills and Infrastructure.
Third Sector Nominations for Worcestershire ESIF Committee - Deadline
7 November 2014
The 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) covering England have been asked by Government to set up a Local European Structural Fund Strategy (ESIF) Committee in each LEP area. In accordance with EU rules which govern EU Funding Programmes, the Local ESIF Committees have prescribed membership places representing a range of sectors and perspectives.
The Worcestershire LEP is currently identifying representatives for each place on the Worcestershire ESIF Committee with a view to forming a Shadow Committee to commence in November 2014.
Representatives of third sector, voluntary and community organisations and networks across Worcestershire are invited to submit applications for two membership places; one to represent the Voluntary and Community Sector and one to represent Equalities and Non-Discrimination. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) is working with a partnership of Worcestershire Voices, Community First and Worcestershire Community Foundation to ensure a fair, transparent and accountable process.
For more information regarding the role descriptions and an ESIF briefing note, please visit the WLEP's Social Economic Inclusion webpage.
The deadline for applications is 5 pm on Friday 7 November 2014. Potential applicants are asked to apply in writing (or electronically) with a statement (of no more than 2 sides of A4) detailing how you meet the person specification. Please note that this position is unremunerated.
Applications should be submitted direct to Sally Herbert at Worcestershire Voices either electronically to email@example.com or in hard copy to Worcestershire Voices, Community Centre, 52 Prospect Close, Malvern, Worcestershire, WR14 2FD. If you have any technical queries about the application process, please contact Gary Woodman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01905 346180.
We look forward to receiving your application.