This week has been a big week for important announcements. We’ve seen the announcement of there being overall public support for the proposed £1billion West of England devolution deal. I’m grateful to everyone who took part in the public consultation and attended the public events over the past six weeks. I am pleased that overall the public supported the deal. You can see more detail about the results and the deal here: www.westofenglanddevolution.co.uk/
The next step will be for the Secretary of State to consider the results and based on the comments received to determine if the deal goes ahead. When we have the Government’s view we will consider all of the comments, including those from the wider business community, community leaders and colleagues and decide at that point if we are to endorse the deal.
There was another key announcement made this week by the Council and NHS BaNES Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
Our joint aim is to support people to stay healthy and independent with less time in hospital and more care closer to home. Working in partnership with the CCG, our your care, your way review of community health and social care services has listened to the priorities of thousands of local people and professionals. These range from the health visitor who meets new mums to palliative care nurses.
After several years of engagement, debate and an incredibly rigorous evaluation process, Virgin Care was selected as the preferred bidder to provide vital services for thousands of people. It is an important step but one which I think prepares us well for the future. You can find out more about the review at www.yourcareyourway.org.
Talking of staying healthy, I’m more used to riding on four legs than two wheels but I’m really looking forward to the Tour of Britain when it comes to Bath in September. This week we got a taste of the event as businesses took part in a brightly- coloured cycle trail. It launched on Thursday in some 50 venues, and for three weeks you will be able to see the red, white and blue bikes at the premises. A map showing the locations is available encouraging residents and visitors to explore the city. Many of the businesses involved are also offering special promotions and competitions for people who visit their bikes or post photos on social media. I think it looks fantastic so if you want to find out more visit: www.bathnes.gov.uk/tourofbritain.
I did get a very interesting insight into a place much further away on Thursday night when I attended a reception welcoming the Mayor of Beppu from Japan. It is a small city famed for its hot springs – does that remind you of anywhere? We hope that our 20-year partnership can continue and develop. Certainly, with Beppu one of the venues for the 2019 Rugby World Cup and Japan hosting the next Olympics there will sports stars and supporters from Bath and North East Somerset getting to know that country well in the years to come.
It looks like we’ll have a tough time in Japan surpassing our achievements at the Rio Olympics with the medal rush at 50 and counting. I’m so proud of the part played by sports people who have grown up in our area or made it their home because of the fantastic facilities on offer. We’ve medals for swimmers Jazz Carlin and Siobhan-Marie O’Connor while Minerva Bath Rowing Club patron Helen Glover and University of Bath graduate Heather Stanning successfully defended their Olympic title. Congratulations to them and all our other competitors.