Businesses join to support West of England Recovery Plans

Main image: Left to right Heather Cooper, Director at Hargreaves Lansdown; Margot Day, Global Director for Burro Happold; Sammy Payne, Co-Founder of Open Bionics and Patricia Greer, Chief Executive of the West of England Combined Authority and Local Enterprise Partnership.

Businesses across the region have come together to support the West of England Combined Authority’s recovery plans.

Work is underway to ensure the area recovers and becomes “cleaner, greener and more resilient.” 

The West of England Recovery Taskforce was set up in 2020 to drive the region’s economic recovery – following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The taskforce has put together a Regional Recovery Plan to create more than 1,800 new jobs and provide over 22,000 training and skills placements each year. 

Sammy Payne, formerly from Knowle West, is the co-founder of Open Bionics, an award-winning Bristol based robotics company that exports medical devices internationally.

She is also the chair of the Creative Scale Up board and a recovery taskforce member.

She said: “Innovation is key to our recovery as a region. Organisations of all sizes are being helped to innovate, giving them access to expertise, funding and partnerships to bring new products and services to market.

“We’re already seeing creative and innovative businesses adapting, improving their resilience and making their ideas reality.”

Margot Day is the Global Director for Risk and Commercial & Legal for Buro Happold, an international multi-disciplinary engineering and consulting practice based in Bath.

She said she was “passionate about driving equality, diversity and inclusion agendas both inside and outside of work.” 

“Having the opportunity to work on the West of England recovery plan has been really important to me to make sure that building back better means that everyone has access to training and job opportunities. 

“Using changes in behaviour brought about by the pandemic we also need to seize the opportunity to build back cleaner and greener creating greener, healthier, more vibrant places to live and work.” 

Heather Cooper is a Director at Hargreaves Lansdown, responsible for leading the people, culture and Corporate Social Responsibility strategies.

She is also a board member of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership.

She said: “In my work I see the benefits of working together in partnership with other organisations to bring wider social benefits.

“My involvement in the Local Enterprise Partnership and the recovery plan for the region has given me the opportunity to work alongside people in business, education and the public and third sector to make sure that the recovery plan is inclusive and will benefit people across the region…” 

West of England Combined Authority (WECA) has committed £9.4m to support the Plan, taking its total investment in businesses and skills to over £100m over the next four years. 

Chief Executive of the West of England Combined Authority and Local Enterprise Partnership, Patricia Greer, explained: “The Recovery Taskforce is made up of leaders from some key businesses from across the West of England, alongside universities and the public sector – working together on the recovery of our region.

“I am immensely grateful for the time and insight they have given to support our work as we have faced the impact of Covid-19. ” 

Central to the Recovery Plan is the West of England Growth Hub, which provides SMEs with one-to-one advice as well as access to finance, support programmes and expert guidance.

The Combined Authority has also released a new Business Support Guide and residents also can access mentoring and training via the Future Bright scheme. 

For more information about the Regional Recovery Plan visit www.westofengland-ca.gov.uk