Welcome to this week's update bulletin from the WMCA, sharing news and information from across the region. Your input is vital in keeping us up-to-date with the work you are doing.
£4.7m jobs boost for disadvantaged
Thousands of disadvantaged people and long-term jobseekers across the West Midlands will receive specialist tailored advice and support to help them get into work. The Department for Work & Pensions has earmarked up to £4.7m to trial the use of social networks to help improve the prospects of individuals getting jobs and progress the careers of those on low incomes.
The pilot scheme is expected to help support 4,500 WMCA residents – including young people, the disabled and other vulnerable groups and will provide support not only for the unemployed, but those already working on low incomes.
It is due to be delivered in locations where unemployment and low paid jobs are highest. Advice will be provided on local opportunities, training and support for job applications and interviews will be in residents' own neighbourhoods.
This community-based approach is seen as crucial to making sure that the right job opportunities are targeted at the right people. The WMCA is also in discussions with further education colleges and adult education services with a view to developing a local ‘Citizen’s Curriculum’ to support the pilot scheme.
Congestion-busting plan for region
An action plan aimed at preventing traffic disruption on key West Midlands’ roads was launched by the Mayor today (August 3) as he committed to a step change in investment in public transport infrastructure to reduce the region’s dependence on cars.
The WMCA has already secured £4.4 billion from Government to improve connections to HS2 and work is now taking place to tackle congestion hotspots across the region to ensure greater co-ordination and the avoidance of disruption as major infrastructure schemes and essential repairs to key road networks take place.
The WMCA recently secured another £5.8m of Government funding to address congestion at 10 locations across the West Midlands. We have also submitted a request for over £40m of further funding to tackle additional congestion hot spots which, if successful, will lever in over £90m of investment.
Blueprint for Black Country transport
A blueprint for the development of the Black Country over the next 20 years is being designed to make it easier to get around the area. Transport is a key theme of the Black Country Core Strategy and people are being urged to have their say and help shape the future.
Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton residents have the opportunity to decide whether there should be more large-scale public transport schemes (such as the multi-million pound Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro extension), more focus placed on improving roads and motorways, or an even greater emphasis put on health, encouraging more people to walk and cycle.
Residents have until September 8 to register their views. For more information about the consultation and to take part, visit: blackcountrycorestrategy.dudley.gov.uk or pick up a leaflet from a local library or request one by calling 01384 814136.
From Downing Street to Toronto
Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, has been fulfilling two of his election manifesto pledges this week.
As part of his first 100 days in office, he promised to visit Prime Minister Theresa May in 10 Downing Street, which he did on Tuesday (August 1). Discussions included the ways in which government can further assist the region in delivering its priorities.
The Mayor then boarded a flight to Canada as the head of a trade delegation to Toronto, alongside Paul Faulkner, Chief Executive of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce. The visit aims to capitalise on the good relationship between the two regions, explore investment opportunities and further trade links following Brexit.
Demand for houses focus of debate
Councillor Sean Coughlan, Leader of Walsall Council and WMCA Portfolio Lead Member for Housing and Land, was among a panel of experts discussing the housing situation in the region at a special meeting this morning (August 3).
It is essential that the private, public, education and non-profit sectors work together to deliver the urgent demand for new homes in the region. The panel at the Business Insider Residential Development event in Birmingham explored how to get the housing sector moving in the West Midlands, building and refurbishing the homes people need and driving the economy forward.
Century of bears for intrepid hunters!
A small group of WMCA staff took Tuesday (August 1) off with one aim - to visit all 100 big bears in 12 hours - as part of he Big Sleuth in aid of Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity.
Collecting money for the charity along the way - and using only public transport between each bear - the team successfully 'sleuthed' a century of the colourful statues in just 11 hours 30min. And most importantly, they raised more than £600 for the great cause, with more money still being donated and collection buckets yet to be counted.
The trek proved to be a social media success, with local business and transport operators spreading the word and getting involved so that over 80,000 people were reached on Twitter alone!
Watch the day’s events at: https://www.facebook.com/networkwestmidlands/videos/1404393842943743/
Donate at www.justgiving.com/NWMBearHunt or text WMCA50 £2/£3/£5/£10 to 70070
Future meetings schedule
WMCA Board (public meeting)
- Friday 8 September - 11am
- Friday 13 October - 11am
- Friday 10 November - 11am
WMCA Programme Board (private meeting)
- Friday 11 August - 9am
- Friday 25 August - 9am
- Friday 15 September - 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
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