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Updated: Apr 9

Robin Kerr, Co-ordinator of the Bath Alliance for Transport and Public Realm, has warned of the challenges facing the city of Bath's motorists, both residents and businesses, as the new clean air zone and cameras are introduced and traffic congestion grows.

Recent press coverage in the Bath Chronicle, Chew Valley Gazette and Somerset Live, reported the range of concerns expressed by the Alliance. Robin Kerr, also a Director of Bath Bridge, a local community interest company concerned with the profile and identity of the city, has said that the city's new clean air zone will do little to tackle traffic congestion but the introduction of cameras could serve a dual purpose, although this may well result in some motorists being penalised with financial charges twice.

The strength of concerns from key stakeholders across the city are represented in the ongoing work of the Alliance, established five years ago, with 21 members including the city's two universities, Bath Preservation Trust, Bath BID, Bath Rugby, Bath City Football Club and the RUH amongst them.

Robin, on behalf of the Alliance, has commented on the city's transportation issues and some of the key aspects needing immediate attention. These include:

  • the damage to Cleveland Bridge

  • low traffic neighbourhoods

  • the need for a monorail.

Image: Cleveland Bridge

Himself resident in Bath for over 50 years and an engineer by profession, Robin reinforced the seriousness of the city's transportation issues; issues he said have been a significant problem for many years, impacting on both Bath's businesses and residents. He advocates forcibly the need for urgent and consistent action that starts to address the root causes of these problems, arguing that policy changes every four years are not the answer.

Robin puts forward the case for a number of actions including:

  • retaining the 18-tonne weight limit on Cleveland Bridge, following the forthcoming repairs, to stop much heavier lorries continuing to cause damage and pollution to the city

  • piloting the concept of low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) in a small number of areas of the city to enable the assessment of impact on residents and traffic flow

  • investing significantly in the city's public transport, both buses (their efficiency and cost effectiveness for users) and the development of a monorail located along the river as a way to relieve congestion on London Road

  • extending the city's park and ride scheme to become 24/7 to allow for deliveries and alternative uses such as the night time economy

  • identifying an additional park and ride facility for road users coming into the city via London Road

  • utilising cameras to impose a congestion charge ('road user pricing') to cut the number of vehicles on the roads during peak times

He argues that the Council and the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) collectively need to give serious consideration to these ideas and draw up an action plan for urgent implementation, if the volume of traffic and pollution levels in the city are to be reduced. Robin also commented on the aim for the city becoming carbon neutral by 2030 saying that as drivers move to electric vehicles, the introduction of road user pricing could provide an opportunity for the Council to replace lost revenue from taxing petrol and diesel cars in the future.

Detailed planning and consideration will also need to go into exploring new and emerging technologies to support the charging of electric vehicles as car owners make the inevitable shift away from petrol and diesel. For Bath as a World Heritage City, it will not be straightforward to install charging points on the many Georgian buildings and streets, so opening up discussions with different suppliers to identify the most effective solutions for the future will be critical.

Robin concluded by saying:

“You have to make buses so attractive and everything else so unattractive. In London the Tube is better than anything else. You make parking so difficult and buses so good, and a reasonable price."

Read the full interview with Robin Kerr in the Chew Valley Gazette

Further information contact Robin Kerr, Bath Alliance for Transport and Public Realm

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Updated: Apr 10

After waiting it out for close to a year now, as a result of Covid-19, we are excited to finally be set to launch this year's Bath Future Talent Programme 2021 with 12 participants on 22 April. Given the challenging year experienced by us all, it has been hugely rewarding to find a strong recognition by Bath-based organisations, of the importance of continuing to invest in their workforce, and specifically, leadership development. This is perhaps more important than ever, as strength of leadership, capability, resilience and adaptability, becomes ever more critical to organisational success through increasingly tough economic times.

This year, as in past years, our cohort promises to offer a rich learning environment as our 12 participants, drawn from charities (large and small), start-ups, global companies and differing sizes of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), bring a broad range of knowledge, skills and experience to the programme.

We are delighted to be welcoming participants from organisations which have been supporting the programme since its inception five years ago including Altran, Mayden, Bath Rugby Club and Julian House. Additionally, we are also welcoming some new organisations on board - Pure Planet, Wateraid, Dorothy House, Mitos and Creativity Works.

As in previous years, Bath Bridge is pleased to be sponsoring two local charities, Julian House and Creativity Works, with free places on the programme.

A new development for us is the delivery of the first two modules online this year - You as a Leader and You Leading Others. Given the nature of the last year's workplace, our team of consultants have had plenty of practise in their own work in delivering online, and we have redesigned each of the modules to provide 'bite-sized chunks' of learning as opposed to our face-to-face model of 2.5 days consecutively. We continue to travel optimistically that modules 3 and 4, scheduled for the autumn, can be delivered face-to-face.

Our programme promises to be an exciting one with some brilliant external speakers - the first of whom, Pablo Lloyd, OBE, will join us on 6 May as part of module 1 to explore ethical leadership. Pablo brings significant experience as a social entrepreneur, having co-founded four organisations in the education and training sector combined with extensive non-executive experience. He is currently CEO of visionnaires, a social enterprise increasing social mobility by incubating business start-ups, co-founded with Capital City College Group in 2019. Pablo has also served on commercial and not-for-profit boards in the education, music and other sectors for over 20 years. Following Pablo in subsequent modules, we will be welcoming a local leader, Alison Sturgess-Durden, a Director for Bath's very own Mayden - a highly successful company providing software solutions for the healthcare sector. Mayden has been a huge advocate of the programme since the outset and, as I took over the Programme Director's role in November 2019, I had the privilege of meeting with the eight Future Talent Alumni at The Old Dairy, Mayden's offices in Oldfield Park, each providing me with insight to the experiences of the programme. With lead responsibility for their business and organisational development, Alison will be sharing some thought-provoking ideas with our participants around organisational structures and cultures, as well as challenging their thinking on hierarchies.

Later on in the programme, we will hear from Dr Ann Limb, CBE DL - first woman Chair of the Scouts Association, amongst many other lifelong and significant achievements, not least being recently named #1 LGBTQ+ public sector role model in the OUTstanding List, and one of the 50 most influential women born in the North of England in the Northern Power Women Power List. Dr Margaret Heffernan, our very own Professor of Practice in the School of Management at the University of Bath, author of six highly influential books on leadership and management in addition to the delivery of TED talks viewed by over 13 million people, will join us at the end of the programme to stimulate some discussion around Leaders of the Future. And to add to our star-studded list of exciting speakers, we are introducing a new topic this year, to be led by Sue Turner, formerly Chief Executive Officer of the Quartet Community Foundation, and now immersing herself in the world of all things digital and artificial intelligence, around digital leadership.

As always, we have many returning and very popular consultants on our team this year including former Future Talent Programme Director, Dr Tracey Stead, Anna Britton, Piero Vitelli, Kirstie Sneyd, Steve Fuller FRSA and Dr Graham Abbey. We are also pleased to be joined by some new faces too - Amanda Wylie, Mark Hughes, Charlie Vernon, Sammy Burt and Jonathan Salisbury, each of whom will be introducing some new elements to the programme including thinking strategies, resilience, managing difficult conversations and difficult people, developing your own brand and your online presence. Supported by a first class team of highly experienced, professional coaches and business mentors, drawn from our local community, we are set to deliver what I hope will be a great programme again this year.

Working alongside this team of consultants, coaches, business mentors and speakers together with 12 great participants, all raring to go, I have no doubt that this year's programme will provide an engaging and creative learning environment into which we will all bring not only our knowledge, skills and experience, but also our insight and reflections from the last 12 months, which has tested us all in very many ways and through significant disruption has brought about organisational and life changes that most of us could never have anticipated. This will be an added dimension to our learning this year, I am sure.

Once again, we are partnering with Bath Rugby Club, who are kindly hosting us at the Recreation Ground when we return to face-to-face delivery. Our sincere thanks to them - it is a pleasure to be working with them.

Sarah Williment, Programme Director, Bath Future Talent Programme

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West of England Mentoring (WEM) is a unique group mentoring programme that matches business mentors with groups of local school students aged between 12 and 15. We believe the employability, skills, and experiences of every kind of employee can be inspirational to school students.

The face-to-face programme consists of six two-hour sessions that take place for targeted student groups, five of which are held in the workplace and the sixth in the school, over 12 weeks. We have currently adapted the programme to do WEM virtually (VWEM). This involves six virtual sessions (max an hour long) over a period of six to twelve weeks, with business mentors working together to support a group of students based in a computer room with the school mentor lead overseeing each session.

Benefits for Businesses

Businesses see the benefits of getting involved in their local community, both in terms of the perception of their social responsibility and in attracting new employees. It is a great way to be introduced to a school in your local area and work with them and to start to build a meaningful relationship.

“After two successful years of running the West of England Mentoring scheme with Ablaze, we have noticed the benefit has been twofold. As a company, it’s been really positive to see the benefit of Herman Miller’s involvement in the development and confidence in these young people locally. We have watched them grow through the weeks. Internally we have seen an increase in engagement, a greater networking of colleagues and development of the mentor’s skills as part of this journey. The impact has been really beneficial for everyone and the feedback received has reinforced this each time.” Alexandra Hemns, Talent Management Consultant, Global Talent Management Team

Benefits for Mentors

Most mentors sign up because they are interested in young people and keen to get involved and give something back to their community. Our mentors come from all different backgrounds and with different routes into the workplace. This means that mentors can share their stories with examples of how they got into their chosen career, which is beneficial for the students and empowering for the mentors. Taking part also increases employee engagement and makes them feel part of a worthwhile organisation - as well as finding WEM really rewarding!

“My time at WEM has taught me one critical thing. The positive impact a 10-minute conversation can have on a young adult’s early career path. This may seem trivial, but the career development skills offered to students not only strengthens their understanding, nurtures their confidence, and broadens their career horizon, but gives way to the removal of the anxiety, doubtfulness and confusion that often clouds those early career decisions. This refinement and focus on a student’s passion, will undoubtedly, help strengthen the ethos of whatever organisation, business, or collective group of people that student choses to be a part of. “Sam Oliver, WEM Mentor Lead, Rolls Royce

Benefits for Students

This programme targets pupils who are capable but may benefit from extra encouragement to fulfil their potential. Typically, they will be from disadvantaged, challenging backgrounds with low aspirations but high capability. Mentors impart knowledge of workplace skills, employability opportunities and pathways, inspiring and motivating students to raise their aspirations. The activities encourage students to build confidence and communication skills, set goals and work out pathways to achieving them. Our volunteer business mentors can inspire and encourage them to realise the clear benefits of school, build their confidence and self-esteem and enable them to develop a clear and achievable career plan.

“The West of England mentoring programme has opened up an amazing opportunity for our students through partnering us with Herman Miller. We thank Herman Miller for supporting us for a second year, this time with a group of our Year 9 students. It was great to see the students’ confidence grow throughout the programme as they built up relationships with inspirational role models and became able to identify their own skills and realise their own potential. Through this programme, these students have had an invaluable insight into the world of work. The support, guidance and encouragement they received has increased their self-esteem and improved their understanding of the actions they can take to open up future career choices and paths.” Catherine Young, North Wiltshire WIN HE Adviser and Careers Leader at Kingsbury Green Academy

We do evaluation surveys with mentors and students and give a full evaluation at the end of the programme so all schools can see the impact of WEM and all businesses can see the difference they made.

Find out more about WEM and get involved

Contact Ceri Bowers, WEM Project Manager

Mobile: 07971533558

Further information on Ablaze and the other programmes we run

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