It’s been a varied week in terms of engagements and meeting people from all walks of life.
I had a very interesting tour of the police operations centre at the Glastonbury Festival at the end of last week. The team work really hard to make sure the festival goes smoothly and any problems are dealt with quickly and efficiently. The visit provided an insight into how large scale events like this are run like clockwork. While our own events are run extremely well, there is always room for improvement and the visit has provided me with some thoughts on how to make our events even better.
On Monday I had the pleasure of meeting with a Chinese contingent who are visiting Bath and North East Somerset to forge links with the city. The visit was arranged by Bath Tourism Plus in the hope of attracting even more visitors from the Far East.
The Bath Chronicle Business Awards were launched this week to celebrate the success of local businesses. We have so many successful and innovative local businesses in Bath and I look forward to reading the nominations list when it is published.
On Tuesday I visited the Swallow Housing charity which supports teenagers and adults with learning disabilities. I was given a tour of their supported housing flats in Westfield. It is really important that young people with learning disabilities who are able to live independently have the opportunity to do so. The Swallow charity has been providing support through housing, education and training for 20 years and I congratulate them on their outstanding work in the community.
On Wednesday I attended the first meeting of the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) which has new powers for transport, housing, adult education and skills. I am delighted to have been voted Deputy Mayor for WECA and look forward to working with Mayor Tim Bowles, Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, and Leader of South Gloucestershire Council, Councillor Matthew Riddle, to improve the area and the opportunities it can provide.
We formally agreed ways of working to ensure the organisation makes the most of new devolved powers, which will unlock opportunities and funding for the region at a scale not seen before. We also discussed progress on how the Combined Authority will prioritise funding to projects that generate economic growth, including funding for skills, business and infrastructure.
It’s hard to believe that it’s now 20 years since the death of Princess Diana and on Thursday I was invited to attend an event hosted by the Diana Award, a charity legacy to Princess Diana, at the University of Bath. The event celebrated Princess Diana’s life and legacy and has been travelling across the UK highlighting the achievements of exceptional young people for their selfless commitment to transforming the lives of others.
The young people from the South West had been volunteering, fundraising and campaigning for good causes, with many of them overcoming significant adversity in their lives. I am honoured to say that I have never been in a room with so many brave people in all my life. The event was extremely emotional and I was totally inspired by these remarkable young people.
Two of the young people who attended the event have gone on to receive one of just 20 Legacy Awards in the world this year, which were presented to them at St James’s Palace by HRH The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
This week I also attended a very enjoyable evening hosted by the Bath Philharmonia’s Concert for the People of Bath. It was the second annual memorial concert celebrating the life of philanthropist, entrepreneur and visionary Brian Roper.
Visual artist Adrian Wyard premiered a live visual accompaniment to pictures at an exhibition with music by Mussorgsky at the Forum.