£5.84m road improvements underway
A £5.84m programme of road enhancements aimed at reducing congestion and improving journey times across the West Midlands has started.
The WMCA is carrying out the works after £5.84m funding was secured from the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) programme and is the region's share of a £210m national pot set up by the government last year to improve transport networks.
The WMCA programme is primarily focused on the upgrade of traffic signal technology, bus lane priority and enforcement in the region and also the repair of a bridge to help the network run smoothly in Solihull during HS2 construction.
The WMCA also submitted additional bids on behalf of the seven constituent authorities for further funding from the next round of the NPIF, with a decision expected in autumn.
Wheels in motion for collaboration
Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) staff will be working in collaboration with Aston University transport students, to help develop their research, as well as providing advice and guidance.
TfWM employees will act as student mentors - offering practical assistance around areas such as training - and also as guest lecturers. Regular guest lecture slots will be available from September with undergraduates, post-graduates, those on work-based programmes, staff and alumni invited. Colleagues from TfWM are encouraged to present a lecture on a topic of their choice.
Staff interested in a particular aspect of transport can also engage students to carry out research and analyse data on their behalf, as part of final year projects. Please contact Daniel Pass for more information: Daniel.Pass@tfwm.org.uk
When the Mayor met the Bear!
The Mayor marked this week’s launch of The Big Sleuth, posing with the WMCA’s bear Banteay Srei, known as 'Banty.
The Big Sleuth is an outdoor art experience run by Wild in Art that puts giant bears around Birmingham City Centre and suburbs to raise critical funding for Birmingham Children’s Hospital. The public can visit the bears and scan them to collect rewards from local businesses, while schoolchildren are able to decorate their own bears.
Swift, the public transport smartcard, is offering a special edition Pay-As-You-Go card, retailing at £13 ( which includes a £3 donation to Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity) and available online from the NWM website or New Street Travel Shop until Monday (September 17). Do pop along and take a photo with the bear and share to show support and follow @BantyBear and tag the bear in your social media.
Construction in focus for youngsters
An event aimed at inspiring the young people who will help construct and shape the physical future of the West Midlands was held in Solihull yesterday (July 12).
The creative ideas and vision of Year 9 and 10 students, parents and teachers were recorded at the focus group event last night, gathering the views we need to make a step change and open up career opportunities for young people.
Following the session, a short film and social media package will be produced by the WMCA that will prompt youngsters to consider work in and around the construction industry. With major infrastructure projects getting underway in the West Midlands just around the corner, it is vital to have the right people, with the right skills, in the right place to make things happen and the WMCA is key to this.
Mayor's question time to visit Walsall
The Mayor is to hold the second in a series of 'Ask Andy' sessions – an informal Q&A session with members of the public - in Walsall on Thursday (July 20). Around 80 people attended the first event in Coventry last week.
Ask Andy is a chance for residents of Walsall and the wider West Midlands to come and talk to the Mayor about the issues that matter to them in an informal environment. The event is taking place between 7-8pm, in the Upper Room, The Crossing at St Pauls, Darwall Street, Walsall, WS1 1DA. Doors open at 6.45pm.
Tickets available at :https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ask-andy-walsall-tickets-35913487207
Mayor's Office contact details
- Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands: Andy.Street@wmca.org.uk
- Natalie Zari, Executive Assistant: Natalie.Zari@wmca.org.uk 0121 214 7346
- Andrew Browning, Chief of Staff: Andrew.Browning@wmca.org.uk 0121 214 7963
- Allan Andrews, Senior Policy Adviser: Allan.Andrews@wmca.org.uk 0121 214 7960
- Meera Sonecha, Policy Adviser: Meera.Sonecha@wmca.org.uk 0121 214 7453
- Mat Danks, Press Officer: Mat.Danks@wmca.org.uk 0121 214 7966
- Ed Cooke, Policy Researcher: Edward.Cooke@wmca.org.uk 0121 214 7968
- Will Mills, Policy Researcher: Will.Mills@wmca.org.uk 0121 214 7962
Tweet support for Black Country firms
Tomorrow (July 14) has been designated Black Country Day, when we are urged to celebrate businesses in the area through social media, via @blackcountrylep.
The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, with the four Black Country local authorities, is asking local businesses to tweet about their products, workplaces or staff by:
- Taking a photograph of their product, workplace or staff
- Posting the picture on Twitter
- Including the hashtag #MadeInTheBlackCountry along with others which might apply (i.e. #manufacturing, #business etc).
Please also mention @officialBCday where possible.
Survey targets sustainability in schools
As part of developing excellent resources to teach sustainability to young people in the West Midlands and beyond, the WMCA has created a survey for teachers / education providers aimed at understanding what resources are needed and how to deliver them.
The survey forms part of a larger piece of work which is key to providing teachers with the most suitable and effective resources to teach sustainability to pupils. Please forward the details of this survey on to your network of relevant contacts, including websites and social media:
For further information, please contact Rinku Banerjee: Rinku.Banerjee@wmca.org.uk
Brand new website a hit with users
The new WMCA website is proving popular with people accessing its content of all things West Midlands - and the work the Mayor and staff are doing to promote the region.
Indeed, the region's influential political website, The Chamberlain Files, carried out an audit of the new site and compared it favourably to those of other Combined Authorities, complimenting its strong brand identity.
Visit the new WMCA website at: https://www.wmca.org.uk/ and please feel free to leave feedback.
Social media update
Our @WestMids_CA Twitter account now has 5,373 followers – with more than 350 people joining us since the start of June, a 6.5% increase, with over 1,000 link clicks and 550-plus retweets. The incoming chief executive, Deborah Cadman, a call for Year 9/10 focus group participants and the Mayor’s Mentors scheme have been some of the subjects of interest to our followers.
Meanwhile, the WMCA’s Facebook page has 4,890 Likes – a 6.5% increase in July alone so far – with the Channel 4 bid and Catch the Bus Week some of the most popular stories. Please join us on LinkedIn where our corporate page has 3,436 followers and more than 200 WMCA employees are active members.
Future meetings schedule
WMCA Board (public meeting)
- Friday 21 July - 11am
- Friday 8 September - 11am
- Friday 13 October - 11am
WMCA Programme Board (private meeting)
- Friday 28 July - 9am
- Friday 11 August - 9am
For more information or to send content for the next WMCA news bulletin, please contact:
PR Executive, West Midlands Combined Authority
0121 214 7157
Follow us on twitter @WestMids_CA