Poppies to Paddington: Metro Mayor boards memorial train with message from West of England

Poppy wreaths from people across the West of England were transported on a special memorial train to mark Remembrance Day today (Friday 11 November).

Metro Mayor Dan Norris was aboard the train leaving Bristol Parkway station at 9.16am and carried a wreath bearing the message:

“We will never forget the sacrifice of those from the West of England who have served. We owe a debt beyond measure.” which he will lay at the war memorial on Platform 1 at Paddington in time for the 11 November Remembrance Day service at 11am.

The Poppies to Paddington event, organised by The Veterans Charity and Great Western Railway, started during the pandemic as memorial services had to be cancelled due to Covid, and is now returning for its third year.

The train expedition symbolises the long journey made by soldiers on their way to war and will see swathes of poppy wreaths placed on the GWR trains from across the region all going to Paddington.

Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “We honour and remember the sacrifices made by West of England service men and women, veterans and their families. Theirs is the ultimate public service. Poppies to Paddington provides a touching modern-day illustration of the long, long train ride that so many soldiers took on a perilous path to war in continental Europe. Many years on it is even more important to remember these dark days and to pass on the importance of Remembrance to the generations to come”.

TIME TO SCOOT: URGES METRO MAYOR AS “LIFELINE” YATE SCHEME BACKED

A scheme that provides mobility scooters and wheelchairs in Yate Shopping Centre is getting the word out about the vital help it provides to so many South Glos residents to lead independent lives thanks to the West of England Combined Authority, led by Metro Mayor Dan Norris.

As well as producing a brand-new poster for the much-loved group to encourage even more locals to try out the snazzy scooters to get around town, the Combined Authority is providing a further £2,000 cash injection each year, every year to help them weather the current economic storms.

Shopmobility was established 16 years ago and has become a lifeline for many older and disabled South Glos residents, helping them lead independent lives by visiting the shops, like anyone else.

Since its launch in 2006, hundreds of locals have registered with the scheme. The Combined Authority cash is in addition to the £5,000 it gives every year to enable anyone with a bus pass to use the Shopmobility Yate service completely free of charge.

But times have been tough for those running the scheme, says Shopmobility Chair Janet Biggin, with Covid and the cost-of-living crises seeing numbers drop to lower levels than before, which is why the promotional push fully funded by Mayor Norris is so important.

Ms Biggin showed Mayor Norris how the West of England Combined Authority funding and other support is making a difference when they met some of Shopmobility’s most loyal customers.

Mr Norris said: “If you need a bit of help to get around Yate, then you could always scoot your way to where you need to be. That’s the message I want to send out today. I’m pleased funding from the West of England Combined Authority means these vital services – which I know are a lifeline for so many Yate residents – will be able to make even more of a positive difference to people’s lives. It means even more people will be able to pop to the shops for their Christmas shopping this year and pass the time with friends. And it’s not just about shops; it is about helping more and more people feel they are part of their community. This support means Shopmobility can look to the future with great confidence”.

Anyone who wants to use the scheme can email shopmobilitysouthglos@yahoo.com or phone 01454 868718 or 07999 574474 for further information.

Mini Bee Buddies! Bradley Stoke school buzzing after Mayor bee award win

Pupils at Wheatfield Primary School in the heart of Bradley Stoke are buzzing after scooping one of the top prizes in the West of England Bee Bold Awards organised by Metro Mayor Dan Norris.

The Mayor presented the West of England Bee Bold Award 2022.

The mini bee buddies beat off stiff competition to win the award for their impressive project which has seen them turn their school’s grounds into a pollinator’s paradise. The “Our Nature Needs” plan has been driven by the inspirational leadership of the 12 young leaders on the school’s pupil-led, hands-on Eco Council.

The pupils showed the Mayor around the school’s wildflower meadows and pointed out the newly planted nectar-rich fruit trees to help Bradley Stoke’s busy bugs. The Eco Council has created “bee hotels” and even a “bee bank” to help them whiz from flower to flower.

But the pupils aren’t stopping there, Mayor Norris learnt, as they also plan to add wildflower borders and green roofs so even more pollinator superheroes can make their home there. They will also work with neighbours to develop a hedgehog highway through their and others’ gardens.

Metro Mayor Dan Norris: “Congratulations to everyone at Wheatfield Primary School on winning this Bee Bold Award. Bees and pollinators are amazing – their hard work means we have fresh fruit and veg to eat year-round, not to mention they keep our precious countryside and forests looked after. It has been fantastic meeting everyone from the super Eco Council and hearing how they have got even bigger and bolder plans for the future. It gives me confidence not only that these awards will inspire others to take action, but that thanks to projects like this one – and with such dedicated young people – we can trust our future is in safe hands”.

The Bee Bold Awards will return in 2023 and organisations are encouraged to plan their bee-friendly activities now

Let’s get sustainable! Skills Bootcamp to help West of England companies go green launched by Metro Mayor

Eco-minded West of England workers – from the food sector to construction and everything in between- will receive expert advice on how to reduce their companies’ carbon footprint, thanks to a brand-new Skills Bootcamp launched by Metro Mayor Dan Norris.

The Skills Bootcamp in sustainability is a completely free nine-week course to help budding business brains slash their companies’ emissions. Participants will receive training, go on site visits to some of the biggest and best sustainable firms around the West of England, and get support to implement a bold plan to get their companies’ emissions down with clear, achievable goals.

It’s all part of a £3.3 million investment across the West of England in Skills Bootcamps that in total will see 1,300 people learn new skills in the green economy as well as in construction, logistics and other areas.

Speaking at the bootcamp launch, Metro Mayor Dan Norris pledged that the West of England would continue to lead in the bid to slash emissions. Mr Norris said: “As part of my drive to meet our really ambitious net-zero by 2030 target, I’m proud to launch this brand-new Skills Bootcamp fully funded from the West of England Combined Authority I lead. At this Skills Bootcamp in sustainability, local people will benefit from the knowledge and expertise of some of the region’s leading experts in supporting super West of England firms and their workers make the necessary changes to cut their emissions and so take advantage of the Race to Net Zero. It is not only about making the region cleaner and greener, it’s also about driving jobs and growth too. So many companies I meet are keen to go green and under my leadership, we’re giving them the tools to make this a reality”.

Sarah Ives, Project Director at YTKO, who are delivering the courses, said: “This Skills Bootcamp is a fantastic resource to support businesses and those looking to start a career in this area. YTKO will be training people to better understand emissions, break down jargon, change behaviours, know how to create and sell a sustainable brand and much more. As a result, we’ll see more businesses across the West of England implement strong, long-term strategies, gain more clients, increase employment and lead the way as a sustainable region”.

NO MORE COP OUTS ON NATIONAL AIRPORT STRATEGY – METRO MAYOR ADDRESSES STOP BRISTOL AIRPORT EXPANSION RALLY

Metro Mayor Dan Norris addressed residents campaigning against the expansion of Bristol Airport as the High Court challenge to the decision to allow the airport to expand gets under way.

In his speech, the Metro Mayor urged the Government to set out a “national airport policy with the environment centre stage” during the COP27 talks taking place this week.

“A piecemeal approach does not work”, the Metro Mayor said. “If 20 regional airports all individually decide to expand, it would lead to an extra 80 million passengers a year. But due to a lack of government policy, no consideration is being given to the combined impact of their additional emissions. Treating each regional airport in isolation is artificially minimising the perceived climate impact.”

Metro Mayor Dan Norris, who opposed the airport’s current expansion plans in his manifesto, successfully changed West of England Combined Authority policy to this position soon after he was elected. Bristol, Bath and NE Somerset, South Glos and North Somerset councils also oppose the expansion.

Mr Norris questions if the Government’s lack of a national airport policy is consistent with their obligations under The Paris Agreement agreed at COP21.

Mayor Norris said: “If the planet wasn’t heating dangerously; if the tech for zero carbon flights existed commercially; if Bristol airport was at capacity for passengers; if local people wholeheartedly supported the expansion – then maybe there would be an economic argument. But that’s a lot of ‘ifs’ and that’s not the case. The expansion of Bristol Airport would drive a coach and horses through our net-zero-targets, and set a really dangerous precedent when it comes to other airports and their expansion plans. It shouldn’t go ahead. Yet I fear judges will be hampered by a lack of national airport policy. Local people can see the climate emergency, and the need for action now. The government should show leadership at this week’s COP climate summit.”

The two-day appeal case will start tomorrow (Tuesday 8 November) and end on Wednesday.