March 2023 Newsletter

March 2023 Newsletter Highlights

  • Local Skills Improvement Plan
  • Gravity Sphero STEM initiative
  • Stantec STEM promotion in local schools
  • Quantock Education Trust 
  • Bristol Bordeaux Trade Delegation
  • FSB Sustainability Achievement Award
  • Panel on the future of the South West’s economy
  • Great South West Partnership events
  • Gravity on Digital Somerset podcast
  • Puriton Park playground open to the public
  • Gravity receives Bat House built by local college students

Local Skills Improvement Plan

Gravity was pleased to attend the launch event for the Local Skills Improvement Plan with the Somerset Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Skills will be a vital part of workforce development to meet future occupier needs. Working closely with Bridgwater and Taunton College, and wider partners, Gravity has inputted into the plan development process to ensure we promote international investment in Somerset, to connect training and employment opportunities to local businesses and communities.

Following on from our work with Bounce Forward – teaching and providing support on emotional resilience in schools – and the design competition with MOBIE to seek out creativity and talent in design, Gravity is delighted to now be working on a new skills initiative.

Gravity Sphero STEM initiative reaches over 500 local children in Bridgwater 

Gravity is proud to share that within two school terms since its launch, the Gravity Sphero STEM initiative has reached over 500 children and young people in Bridgwater, delivered through Bridgwater United Community Trust.

Weekly sessions are delivered in Woolavington, East Huntspill and the surrounding areas, across term-time school deliveries, afterschool clubs and various holiday camps. 

Read more

Stantec –  Lego ‘Green’ Bridge 

Gravity consultant, Stantec has been reaching into local schools as part of their environmental and social governance commitment. Stantec are introducing children at Northgate and Willowdown Primary Schools to the opportunities of engineering, through its Lego Bridge Building activity. This mirrors and translates the Gravity ‘green bridge’ into a school environment to connect children into the built environment and stimulate interest in potential future careers.  

Stantec’s team were impressed by the year 3 students’ enthusiasm. The teams started thinking about the wider engineering design, for example, lighting, safety and amenity.

Stantec is delighted to have been invited back to run the activity again for years 3-6 for Northgate Primary School.

Miss Bailey: “Thank you so much for such a fantastic afternoon yesterday! The children absolutely loved it and learned lots too. I think we might have some budding engineers in our class now! 

Bounce Forward furthers positive impact with Quantock Education Trust INSET day 

Bounce Forward, the UK-based education charity that Gravity introduced to local schools in 2021 to deliver its evidence-backed resilience curriculum is continuing to have a positive impact locally. In February, Bounce Forward hosted an INSET DAY programme for the Quantock Education Trust- the day was a space for discussion and exploring shared values as a team.

The session was designed to help build a sense of belonging, showing trust and care for each member of staff. Ideas shared on the day would be useful personally and encourage a shared language framework for problem-solving. This could then be applied as staff engage with each other, with students and with parents. The programme received hugely positive feedback from attendees. Learn more about the day and Bounce Forward by visiting the link below.

Bounce Forward case study

Claire Pearce attends trade delegation as part of the 75th-anniversary twinning of Bristol with Bordeaux 

As part of our Business Charter, Gravity is committed to championing the South West, promoting economic development opportunities and accelerating progress on sustainability and climate adaption.

In February, our Director of Planning & Economic Development, Claire Pearce met a Bordeaux Trade Delegation hosted by Business West. This was part of a wider visit celebrating the 75th anniversary of the twinning between Bristol and Bordeaux. An MoU was signed between the University of Bristol and the University of Bordeaux. 

This was the first visit to Bristol by Bordeaux officials with the aim of sharing learning on issues of mutual interest specifically in relation to climate change and clean growth; to strengthen existing ties e.g., between the two universities, and to explore future collaboration around trade, investment and community links.

Gravity awards Feritech Ltd with Sustainability Achievement Award

For the third year in a row, Gravity sponsored the ‘Sustainability Achievement Award’ for the Federation of Small Businesses South West.

This year our Programme Director, Paul Lowndes, awarded it to Feritech Limited, a Cornwall-based engineering and technology company for their holistic approach to the development of their £3m purpose-built Innovation Center.

Read more

Claire Pearce joins panel on the future of the South West’s economy

Our Director of Planning & Economic Development Claire Pearce was invited to be a panelist to participate in the discussion ‘What lies ahead for the South West’s Economy?’ hosted by The Business Desk. This was their first-panel discussion for the region. 

The panel discussed what sets the South West apart, what could be done to make it easier for businesses to prosper, the challenges facing firms when it comes to employing the very best talent and what needs to be done to make the region even more attractive to investors. The panel consisted of representatives from Western Gateway, Saffery Champness, Womble Dickinson Bond and Marsh Commercial. 

Learn more about Business Desk here.

Great South West Partnership events 

The Great South West Partnership will be running a series of local launch events over the next 6 months or so across Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset to share the Great South West’s emerging ambitions and priorities for the region. The first event was hosted in Taunton, Somerset on 29 March. Over the coming months, events will also be held in Cornwall, Devon, and Dorset.

For more information on the events, click here.

Paul Lowndes discusses Gravity’s digital connectivity on Digital Somerset Podcast

Gravity Programme Director, Paul Lowndes was invited to speak on Digital Somerset’s podcast where he discusses how central ‘digital’ is to the development, Paul explains how digital technologies are enabling Gravity to accurately monitor its sustainability journey. Aspects monitored include the amount of imported recycled stone from National Grid T-pylon sites and the LiDAR drone scans of the site tracking exactly where that stone has been placed. 

Paul also detailed the benefits of Gravity’s digital connectivity, through its resilient Dark Fibre supply and the recent 5G Logistics test bed that directly connects Gravity to Bristol Port. 

Full interview found here.

Gravity’s funding enables Puriton park playground open to the public 

Gravity has been pleased to work with Sedgemoor District Council to fund the delivery of a new and improved local play area for Purtion Park, located on Manse Lane. The new playground opened to the public on Friday 17th March. It consists of a bespoke play tower with a slide that can accommodate 24 children aged 2 and up, with an additional 3m x 1m trampoline suitable for all abilities and accommodates a wheelchair.

Aligned with Gravity’s ambition for clean growth and its commitment to environmental and social governance, sustainably sourced materials for the playground were a priority, the dark teal panels and posts were made from 100% post-consumer ocean recycled waste and 100% recycled textiles respectively. 

Gravity worked in close partnership with Puriton Parish Council and Sedgemoor District Council to make this community asset a reality. This is part of Gravity’s ongoing commitment to creating social value locally, ensuring that our legacy initiative to replace and enhance children’s play equipment beyond the existing 37 Club.

As a next step on legacy delivery, our consultants Keystone have kindly volunteered to help Puriton Parish Council to clear land for the new assault course. With further Gravity funding to match other local resources, the Parish will now be able to commission this new facility for older children.

Local college built Bat House delivered to Gravity

Last month Gravity took delivery of a new Bat House which was built in partnership with Bridgwater & Taunton College (BTC) and our Ecology Clerk of Works, Ecology Solutions.

BTC students on Construction programmes at the Taunton campus constructed the Bat-house and their Welding students on an ECITB Welding Scholarship manufactured the steel frame to make it transportable and mobile. The guide specification and further expert support was supplied by Ecology Solutions.

Having real projects for students to work on gives them a great sense of achievement and participation in the local community, as well as a chance to test out their newly acquired skills.

The Bat House is designed to provide a safe and secure habitat for the bats and ensures that this important species can continue to thrive in the local ecosystem

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