Driving Worcestershire Forward
WLEP Annual Conference – 10 October 2013
Further details are announced of our Annual Conference, taking place on Thursday 10 October at Worcester Warriors’ Sixways Stadium.
The theme for this year’s event will be ‘Driving Worcestershire Forward’ (#drivingworcs) and we are pleased to announce that we have secured the services of TV presenter and champion rally driver, Penny Mallory, to facilitate proceedings.
The conference programme is currently being finalised but our aim is to build on the success of last year’s event and to provide an update on our achievements over the past year. We also want to showcase some of the innovative work going on in the county and let delegates know about our plans for the forthcoming year – particularly with regard to the Single Growth Fund (the ‘single pot’) and European Investment funding.
Delegates will be placed in the ‘driving seat’ by ensuring we include plenty of opportunity for interactivity, networking and discussion.
To book your place, visit www.eventelephant.com/drivingworcs
Worcestershire gets a share of Redundant Building Grant
As reported in the last Bulletin, following an announcement by the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, Worcestershire will share a £1.5 million pot awarded from the Redundant Building Grant Programme.
This Programme can provide grants of up to £50,000 or 30% maximum towards the capital costs of bringing redundant or grossly under-utilised buildings back into productive, economic use.
The money will cover schemes in the Worcestershire LEP and the neighbouring Marches LEP area. Grants cannot be used for residential conversion or for buildings converted for agricultural or horticultural uses, nor for speculative development, but the region has a great track record of job creation through providing such business premises appropriate to SMEs.
Final details are currently being confirmed, but Worcestershire based businesses that want to find out more should ring the WLEP office on 01905 346180 or email email@example.com.
Worcestershire bucks latest unemployment trends
The July and August 2013 editions of the Worcestershire Monthly County Economic Summary showed that the county is bucking disappointing trends for the region as a whole.
The number of claimants in Worcestershire is now at its lowest level since December 2008 with claimant count rates having decreased to 2.6% of the 16-64 population. This contrasts with figures of 4.3% for the West Midlands generally and 3.4% for UK as a whole. However it should be noted that unemployment figures across the whole of the West Midlands rose by 0.7% for the period.
Whilst we can take some heart in the Worcestershire figures, we are only too conscious that they are still far too high and that trends can reverse very quickly in a fragile market. There will always be more that we should and must do to enable all who can work to find work.
Further information is available at: http://www.worcestershire.gov.uk/cms/pdf/EconomicSummaryAugust13.pdf
MEPs visit Worcestershire
We were delighted at the end of July to welcome a delegation of 10 MEPs, including Members from the UK, Germany, Portugal and Belgium, to the county.
The group was hosted by Anthea McIntyre MEP (Conservative, West Midlands Region) and comprised Members of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee. The party visited Evesham Vale Growers’ (EVG) facilities at Blackminster and at Fladbury/Lower Moor as part of a three day tour to the West Midlands.
Our Chair, Peter Pawsey, joined the delegation for the tour of EVG’s Springhill Nursery at Fladbury, near Evesham, which was led by Matt Powell, EVG’s Operations Manager. On show were 12 acres of glasshouses, used entirely for tomato growing, surrounded by 2,000 acres of outdoor salad and vegetable production land.
Of particular interest to the group was the firm’s innovative renewable energy plant. Its anaerobic digester turns green waste from the crops into energy that can be used both to heat and light its greenhouses, the excess being sold back to the respective national grids.
The LEP has developed a case study article on the innovative technology used at EVG. For your copy, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Help needed with research on motorway bottlenecks
Neighbouring Gloucestershire LEP, GFirst, is conducting a major piece of research aiming to understand the economic impact of motorway and trunk road bottlenecks, with particular reference to three notorious Gloucestershire hotspots. Although based in our neighbouring county, two have a potentially major impact on Worcestershire businesses:
Junction 9 of the M5 and the A46 approach at Ashchurch where significant traffic delays are common, with the potential to cause problems for businesses in eastern Worcestershire, including Evesham.
The ‘missing link’ near the ‘Air Balloon’ on the A417 near Cheltenham. Frequent traffic delays and accidents on this single track carriageway have the potential to impact on journey times for those Worcestershire based businesses who need high quality road access to the Thames Valley and the south west.
To take part, fill in the online survey by 12 September: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GFirstLEP
The researchers are also hoping to conduct in-depth interviews. If interested, please contact Mike Curran, Business Sector Manager, GFirst LEP on 01452 563325 or email@example.com
Call for Midlands’ Champion Apprentices
Manufacturers in the Midlands are urged to enter their talented apprentices for the EEF’s (formerly Engineering Employers’ Federation) Future Manufacturing Awards. Now in their fifth year, the regional awards will be judged in November with winners competing for the national awards at a prestigious ceremony in London in January 2014.
Manufacturing apprentices are recognised for their achievements and commitment in the Apprentice category, with awards for Outstanding Achievement by a First Year Apprentice and Outstanding Achievement by a Final Year Apprentice.
More information is available at: http://www.eef.org.uk/awards/default.htm