Mayor Dan Norris has reacted with delight at the news that a new supercomputer set to be one the most powerful in Europe is to be built in Bristol.

A new national supercomputer research facility named after Brunel, and focusing on artificial intelligence, will be hosted by the University of Bristol.

It will based at the National Composites Centre, which works closely with the Mayor’s West of England Mayoral Combined Authority, already hosting the £10 million Combined Authority-funded Digital Engineering Technology & Innovation programme.

Mayor Norris said: “This is a massive vote of confidence in the West of England, and our world-leading researchers and high-tech and science sectors. I’m sure it’s something Brunel himself would have been incredibly proud of.

“This cements the West’s position as one of the leading regions for cutting-edge research and innovation, and one that will be absolutely vital in helping this country harness the game-changing potential of these new technologies in a way that’s highly positive for everyone.

“I’m delighted that our city is becoming a key location for investment, cementing the West of England at the heart of the AI revolution, and the future of the UK economy.”


Three rare breed ‘heavy horses’ are getting the new Jubilee Park in Cadbury Heath ready to bloom as part of a project funded by the region’s directly elected Mayor Dan Norris.

Mr Norris met the horses, named Flynn, Kipp and Quin, who will be walking the length of the park for two weeks starting this week (on Monday 11 September), loosening the ground in preparation for seeds to be sown by the marvellous mares later on to create not one, not two but three blooming wildflower meadows.

This is all part of a project to transform the disused ‘pitch and putt’ site into a wildflower haven – with wild daffodils, snowdrops, bluebells and more – for Cadbury Health locals and pollinators alike, funded by a £53,000 cash injection from Mayor Norris’s West of England Mayoral Authority.

Mayor Norris, who met Councillors Louise Harris and Alex Doyle on the day, also heard how the Council will form a ‘Friends Of’ group to help manage the park long term, plus there will be opportunities for residents to get involved, with two major planting projects planned for the Autumn.

Mr Norris said: “Bees matter. Simply put, we can’t live without them. That’s why I was so delighted to meet Flynn, Kipp and Quin helping get Jubilee Park ready to bloom thanks to funding from my Mayoral Combined Authority. I wouldn’t give them a B – they deserve an A+!

“I’m proud to be investing in projects supporting our region’s pollinators like this soon-to-be wildflower haven at Jubilee Park – good news for Cadbury Heath locals, and even better news for its pollinators who do so much for us. It’s projects like these that will really help us make our amazing West of England region the bee and pollinator capital of the whole country.”


Support is available to the dozens of Wilko workers in Bristol and Kingswood at risk of losing their jobs, the region’s directly elected Mayor Dan Norris has reiterated.  

It comes after today’s news that all 400 of the much-loved home and hardware chain’s stores will be closing by early October, after a rescue deal collapsed.

GMB Union says this means redundancies are now “likely” for the entire 12,500 workforce.

The family-owned retailer has five stores in Bristol, and one in Kingswood, meaning dozens of workers in the West could find themselves without a job during a cost-of-living crisis.

Talks continue with Poundland, which is believed could take on around 100 stores under the Poundland brand, while last week, B&M agreed to buy up to 51 stores from administrators, although it is unclear in both cases which stores will be rescued, or if any jobs will be retained.

Responding to the news, Mayor Norris reiterated his Mayoral Combined Authority will support workers in his patch made redundant, pointing to packages available to help affected workers such as his ongoing hands-on training courses for high-demand sectors.

He said: “This is heartbreaking news, not least for the hundreds of workers and their families in the West of England, who were, like many of us, holding out hope for a rescue deal keeping all jobs and all stores safe. That clearly hasn’t happened.

“I continue to hope a solution or rather solutions can be found to keep as many jobs in the West, and across the country, as safe as possible. Because people will understandably be very worried about losing their jobs in the middle of a really frightening cost-of-living crisis.

“My Mayoral Combined Authority, however, stands ready to help locals made redundant by giving them access to the services and resources they need to find good-quality, unionised jobs as soon as possible, and as soon as that becomes necessary.”

To learn more about the support available from the Mayoral Combined Authority, email


Mayor Dan Norris joined and welcomed new City of Bristol College students set to benefit from a brand-new innovative simulation and training ward that will train and upskill the next generation of NHS and other health and social care staff across the city.

Mr Norris met current health and care students during the first week of term at Bristol College who will benefit from the exciting new facilities on site, including life-like manikins that blink and groan, along with virtual reality headsets, Bluetooth equipment and more.

All this high tech means that lecturers can achieve multiple objectives within these super-practical sessions to reinforce learning of the skills they will need in the NHS, and other health settings, as well as things like patient safety and tackling health inequalities.

Rebecca Collins, who runs the Health, Education and Care department, and Nicola North, from the local Bristol, N Somerset and South Glos ‘Integrated Care System’, explained to the Mayor how this type of training allows students to get real practical experience, which means they are better prepared for placements and jobs in both Bristol and other NHS Trusts and social care settings.

The new Simulation Space is also a key part of helping the NHS by addressing the skills gap in health and social care, easing pressure on understaffed NHS trusts in the long term, Mr Norris learnt.

This year, City of Bristol College plans to train and upskill over 200 new students, with most of them going on to work in the NHS.

The Mayor got to chat with students about the new facilities and how it allows them to practice a range of different skills as they apply their theory to practice before getting hands on, taking a tour of the human body with the Virtual reality headsets, and taking a blood pressure on an interactive manikin!

Mayor Dan Norris said: “I’m delighted to check out the brilliant and brand-new facilities at Bristol College, though I have to say those patient manikins are worryingly lifelike!

“Here, the next generation of West of England healthcare professionals will learn the skills and techniques they will need and use for the rest of their careers, plus it will get learners engaged and excited about the range of careers right across health and social care.

“It means students and existing health and care staff within the community will get the chance to have real, hands-on experience, and get to practice skills where they might not otherwise get a chance to do so. That’s going to be really vital when it comes to training up the skilled NHS staff we so desperately need.”

Julia Gray, Principal and Chief Executive Officer at City of Bristol College, added: “The new facilities and resources here at CoBC will enable us to work closely with partners, supporting students into employment in NHS and Social Care settings to meet the current and future workforce need.”

“This new equipment not only provides hands on learning for our students, but also supports our teachers to deliver real-life learning experiences using a gold-standard, sector approved approach.”

Next year, City of Bristol College will also be launching a T Level and a new apprenticeship for those looking to go into nursing and other health professions.

The College received over £6 million from the Mayoral Combined Authority through the ‘Adult Education Budget’ last year.


West of England locals should buy second-hand clothing to save pennies, and the planet, the region’s directly elected Mayor Dan Norris has urged.

Mr Norris, who leads the West of England Mayoral Authority, is backing second-hand September, the national fast-fashion-fighting effort led by Oxfam encouraging people to shop pre-loved and donate what they no longer need or wear – which kicks off on Friday.

Marking the annual campaign, the Labour Mayor said that only 10% of the average West of England resident’s wardrobe in the area is second-hand.

But, he pointed to new research showing that if every single person in West of England, and across the country, bought half of their wardrobe second-hand, it could prevent emissions equivalent to a whopping 261,000 flights to Greece entering into the atmosphere.

Buying and donating second-hand clothes gives them a longer life and helps to slow down fast fashion which produces dirty emissions when they’re made, he explained.

“It is time to move away from the ‘buying for buying’s sake’ mentality”, Mr Norris said. A focus on second-hand would also help West of England locals with the rising cost of living, he added.

Mayor Norris, who toured the Oxfam store on Argyle Street in Bath, said: “I’ve always said the cost-of-living and climate crises are two sides of the same coin. Choosing second-hand is one way we can all leave a lighter footprint on the planet while saving some cash during this really difficult time for so many at the same time.

“Plus, when you shop at second-hand stores, like Oxfam, you’re raising really important pots of cash for the brilliant charities we have in this country which do so much for so many. That’s frankly a brilliant place for West of England locals to put their cash.

“I urge everyone in the West of England to make the most powerful fashion statement they can and pick old over new this September – and beyond.”