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South Gloucestershire Inspire and Innovate Conference

South Gloucestershire has a proud heritage for innovation in engineering, aerospace and defence and through facilities such as the Bristol & Bath Science Park, University West of England and the Filton Enterprise Area we have a powerful cluster for research and development to support a highly-skilled and high-performing economy. But South Gloucestershire is also a great place to live and is enjoying a cultural revolution, with the emergence of unique leisure facilities such as a sky-dive centre, ice-rink, ski-centre, surfing lake, the Wild Place Project and our enviable access to historic market towns and to the Cotswolds.

This conference identifies what makes for a successful place and how we:

  • Deliver innovative and imaginative new homes (notably in the Cribbs/Patchway New Neighbourhood),
  • Revitalise some of our less affluent urban centres,
  • Provide for healthy environments and healthy lifestyles and how we deliver the values expected of a South Gloucestershire community.

The conference also addresses our role to inspire the next generation of students, apprentices and labour force and how we are providing for those at risk of unemployment.

The conference features:

  • Concorde 216 – the opportunity to step aboard an iconic piece of our aviation history
  • Presentations from South Gloucestershire Council’s Leader and Chief Executive, Director of Children Adults & Health and from the developer tasked with the Authority’s largest strategic housing development
  • Panel Sessions covering ‘A New Approach to Urban Living’, ‘Enhancing Post-16 Outcomes’, ‘Inspiring Careers’
  • Business, Local-Authority and NHS co-operation in delivering positive mental health


Below are the biographies of the speakers at the Inspire and Innovate Conference:

Cllr Toby Savage – Leader of South Gloucestershire Council

Toby was born and brought up in South Gloucestershire. In May 2015 he was elected as the South Gloucestershire Ward Councillor for Longwell Green and became Leader of the Council in May 2018. He continues to hold the education and skills portfolio. Toby’s background is in communications and as a researcher in local government, planning and housing. He was a Special Constable with the Avon & Somerset Constabulary for 5 years.


Amanda Deeks – CEO of South Gloucestershire Council (SGC)

Amanda is a qualified accountant and has worked in a variety of organisations across health and local government. Amanda moved to South Gloucestershire Council in 2001 as Director of Corporate Resources and became Chief Executive in 2004. South Gloucestershire Council is a mixed urban and rural unitary authority to the north of Bristol. The Council has over 7,000 staff and a net budget of £216.9m. South Gloucestershire has a vibrant hi-tech economy and is a great place to live and work. Amanda leads South Gloucestershire’s involvement in the new West of England Combined Authority (with Bristol and Bath & North East Somerset), and the WoE LEP (which also includes North Somerset).

She was awarded an OBE in 2009 for services to Local Government.


Seb Loyn & Christiana Makariou – YTL 

Seb Loyn Director of Development and Christiana Makariou Planning and Development at YTL Developments, bringing forward the redevelopment of the Former Filton Airfield that has planning permission for 2,675 dwellings and apartments, 24ha of employment land a Hotel, Rail Station, 3 Schools, community and sports facilities and public open spaces.



Nigel Riglar – SGC Director of Environment & Community Services

I have recently joined South Gloucestershire Council and lead the delivery of the Council’s place based services. In the preceding 20 years I was variously the Commissioning Director for Communities and Infrastructure at Gloucestershire County Council, including being a LNP Board member, Stroud District Council’s Deputy Chief Executive and set up the Beacon Council Scheme for the Improvement & Development Agency. In the dim and distant past I was a Local Agenda 21 / Environmental Management Adviser for the Local Government Management Board and before that had stints in Overseas Development, the nuclear industry and estate agency (but please don’t hold that against me). I have three daughters (12, 17 & 18), the oldest one is at medical school and the other 2 are accomplished footballers. So when not stood on the touchline you will find me inspecting local roads on my trusty bicycle.


Edward Nash (Senior Partner), Nash Partnership

Edward Nash established the multi-disciplinary built environment consultancy Nash Partnership over 30 years ago. Working from offices in Bristol and Bath, the Practice has a 50- strong team of architects, urban designers, planners, regeneration and heritage-asset consultants and research geographers. Nash Partnership is experienced acting as lead consultants in Regeneration, Planning and Design for large scale urban brownfield sites, especially where heritage value interests are involved. Edward Nash was born in one of the cotton mill towns of Lancashire. He studied architecture at the Royal West of England Academy School of Architecture securing his BA and Diplomas there. He is on the RIBA’s Conservation Architects’ register and the Architects Accredited in Building Conversation Register (AABC). Edward’s professional interests are focused on understanding and influencing the quality of processes through which built environment change happens. He is interested in how built environment professionals of all kinds deepen their skills and effectiveness through working together around sensitive, positive placemaking.



Twitter handle:@NashPLLP


Julie Close – Director of Southern Brooks Community Partnership

Julie Close is Director of Southern Brooks Community Partnerships, a Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise organisation based in South Gloucestershire.  It was set up 30 years ago to link Bradley Stoke, then the largest new town in Europe, with Patchway an established community. During the 18 years Julie has worked with the organisation, it has grown from a very small charity working from the back of Patchway library to an employer of over 50 people, providing volunteering opportunities for over 100 people a week and delivering a range of services by working with people and communities across South Gloucestershire.  She is passionate about bringing people together over the issues that matter to them, helping them reach their full potential through actively contributing to their communities.’


Alastair McChesney – Development Manager, Homes England

I am based in the Bristol office of Homes England dealing with the following local authority areas; South Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Swindon and BANES.

I Project manage disposal programmes of sites both new to Homes England as well as Legacy assets and im increasingly becoming involved in the purchase of new sites and transfer of sites for disposal from OGD’s.

In addition I am involved with the LA-AC grant funding programme which seeks to fund Local Authorities to bring forward development on sites they own in order to meet housing demand . The funding is designed to pay for site infrastructure that ordinarily would be a block to development and the outcome sought is speed of delivery with increased levels of MMC.

I also manage a number of older legacy projects; the most significant is the recent sale of Bristol and Bath Science Park.

Prior to joining Homes England I worked in commercial consultancy at 2 major national firms and also as Development director at BAM properties in the Midlands.

James Gibson – Development Director, Sovereign

James has over 25 years of experience in developing residential developments for housing associations, the last 17 years being at Sovereign Housing. Managing a team of 45 development professionals across the southwest he oversees a program of 1600 homes annually covering development for affordable, open market sale and market rent. He has recently led on and secured over £111m of funding through the Homes England partner programme in partnership with Live west.


Chris Sivers – SGC Director of Children, Adults & Health

Chris Sivers is the Director of Children, Adults and Health at South Gloucestershire Council. In this role, she has overall responsibility for the council’s support in the areas of children’s social care and intervention and preventative services, adult social care and housing, education, learning and skills and public health and wellbeing. Previously, she was Director of People at Swansea Council, with responsibility for education and schools, social services and poverty and preventative services. She was responsible for introducing and embedding the council’s children’s rights scheme and developing the work to become a UNESCO Learning City. She was previously at Darlington Borough Council, Swindon Borough Council and Blackburn with Darwen Council.

She has a passion for developing services to support disadvantaged people and promoting equality. She has a background in teaching adults basic skills and commissioning social services. Following her achievement of a degree in Social Science research, she holds two masters degrees and is in the process of completing a third, on International Development Management.




Dr Jon Hunt – Director of Business & Skills, West of England Combined Authority

Jon is a Director of the West of England’s Mayoral Combined Authority (“WECA”) and the Local Enterprise Partnership. He started in April 2018 and is focused on economic development, aligning and funding the support systems for SMEs, business innovation and employment and skills. Prior to moving to WECA, Jon was a Director of Research & Innovation at the University of Bath for four years and supported a growth in income for the University by working closely with the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), Deans, Heads of Departments, and academics. Prior to being the Director Jon was promoted several times over nine years, building in-depth knowledge of governance, research management, economic development, project management and leading teams.



Carolyn Maggs – SGC Employability & Skills Officer

Carolyn has significant experience of engaging with business and education to develop adults and young people’s employability. Over a number of years she has built excellent working relationships with many networks, employers and partners to deliver experiences for young people in particular, to help them grow in confidence and develop their employability skills and attributes. Carolyn is currently managing the local Future Bright service in South Gloucestershire, a DWP funded innovation pilot in the WECA area. The programme is for local residents who are in paid work and claiming benefits to top up their income and aims to support individuals develop their skills, enhance their job prospects and progress in work. Further information of this exciting programme can be found at


Alex Richards – Operations Director at Western Training Providers Network


Alex Richards is the Operations Director for the Western Training Provider Network (WTPN) and has been involved in education and training for over 10 yrs. He has worked for National Apprenticeship organisations and helped set up and grow a local Apprenticeship Academy in the centre of Bristol for young people struggling to secure an Apprenticeship.

Alex left the academy to head up The Western Training Provider Network in June 2016.

The Network is an important regional training provider membership organisation that enables it’s membership to meet regularly and share opportunities, best practice and collaborate. It’s membership of 32 Independent Training providers, Colleges and a University deliver a broad range of training and education programmes in the region including Apprenticeships, Traineeships, Foundation Learning, Higher Education and commercial training. The other valued members of the network offer support services, such as qualification bodies, End Point Assessment organisations and education consultancy organisations



John Lanham – Assistant Vice-Chancellor, University West of England, Bristol

John joined Bristol Polytechnic back in November 1988 as a Senior Lecturer in Manufacturing Engineering.  Since an initial teaching role John has worked in teaching, research and departmental leadership and management roles. In 1999 he successfully completed a PhD in Manufacturing Engineering at UWE alongside his teaching and departmental leadership roles.  Following this in 2005 he was appointed as Head of Engineering leading a team of 40 academics supporting ~ 650 students.  In 2010 he was appointed as Associate Dean for Partnerships in the Faculty of Environment & Technology. At the start of January 2016 John moved to his current university role leading and coordinating UWE-Bristol’s development work as a major provider of degree apprenticeships in the region.

This was a new area of work for UWE and John secured £350,000 of external funding to support the development of apprenticeships at UWE.  This work has included securing UWE as an approved provider on the Education and Skills Funding Agency Register – RoATP and also securing £450,000 of ESFA funding to enable UWE to support apprenticeships with SME’s.  From an initial cohort of 30 apprentices on one programme in September 2017 UWE currently has ~ 350 apprentices on a range of programmes including health, engineering, construction, nursing and leadership/management.


David John – Senior Inventory Planner Team Leidos

David is the Senior Inventory Planner for Team Leidos, in Bristol. He is responsible for managing the team of inventory planners that produce rolling forecasts for Team Leidos’ Ministry of Defence (MoD) contract. From their offices in Emersons Green, Team Leidos use these forecasts to manage the sourcing and procurement of a c.£300 million range of MoD Commodity items; from Combat Clothing and Ceremonial wear to Medical Pharmaceuticals to Operational food and rations. This activity is coupled with warehouses across the country and a new, purpose built £83M distribution centre in Donnington to distribute the MoD’s entire inventory portfolio of c.£5.8 billion to destinations around the world. At the same time, delivering savings to the MoD of £500 million pounds.

David has over 20 years of Supply Chain Management experience.  Since completing A’ levels in Maths and Physics, David has continued to keep a focus on Technology throughout his career.  This has enabled him to develop and transpose his Supply Chain Management skills across a wide range of industry sectors from Energy and Aerospace to Software and Defence.  As a STEM Ambassador, David has mentored A’ level students from across the country during the Black Sea Maritime Archaeological Project.  Closer to home, he developed and delivered an outreach activity programme, as part of the 2018 Team Leidos STEM Outreach Programme, for Years 5 and 6 at Tyndale Primary School in Yate.


Dave Baker – Olympus Academy Trust and Chair of the Concorde 14-19 Partnership

Dave has been the Chief Executive Officer and Accounting Officer for The Olympus Academy Trust since its inception in 2012, having previously been Headteacher of Bradley Stoke Community School since its opening.  Dave was an elected member of the Headteacher Board for the South West from 2014-17.  He is passionate about empowering young people through education.  He has led national leadership programmes for the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, regional headship training programmes and chairs the 14-19 Concorde Partnership.  Dave is also an accredited National Leader of Education, providing support for other schools, Trusts, CEOs and Headteachers.

Dave brings wide-ranging experience of leadership, partnership and school improvement to his role as well as strong regional knowledge and positive working relationships with other school leaders and the local community.  He is also a trustee on the Board of Bristol City Community Trust. The Olympus Academy Trust comprises Abbeywood Community School, Bradley Stoke Community School, Patchway Community School, Winterbourne Academy and Callicroft Primary Academy, Charborough Road Primary School, Filton Hill Primary School, Meadowbrook Primary School and Stoke Lodge Primary School.


Stuart Evans – Assistant Principal 16-18 South Gloucestershire & Stroud College

Stuart joined SGS College in 2000, delivering across a range of provision within the Sport and Public Services Department, as well as being instrumental in setting up the Female Football Academy as one of our highly successful Sports Academies. Stuart is an experienced FE Practitioner and has held management responsibility for a wide range of provision at SGS in both Academic and Vocational curriculum areas, including provision for learners with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

Stuart holds an honours degree in Physical Education and Geography, as well as a PGCE in Further Education. Outside of College Stuart volunteers at a local football club where he sits on the committee, and served as a Governor at a Local Primary School. As Assistant Principal 16-18 Stuart is responsible for performance across Study Programmes.



Julie Cathcart – SGC Interim Head of Education, Learning & Skills

Julie has recently taken on the Interim Head of Education, Learning and Skills within South Gloucestershire Council, from her substantive role as Skills Advisor.  Having previous worked across the school and FE sectors Julie has significant experience working in the Post 14 area, including working within Local Authorities and on central government skills and qualification projects.  Working with partners, Julie is keen to ensure that collectively we maximise opportunities for children, young people and adults in South Gloucestershire.

Sara Blackmore – SGC Director of Public Health

Sara worked in NHS commissioning and public health roles for 10 years prior to joining the Public Health Specialty Registrar training programme. Sara has worked at South Gloucestershire Council  since 2013 as a Consultant and Deputy Director of Public Health. Appointed as Director of Public Health for South Gloucestershire in a job-share arrangement with Mark Pietroni in December 2017, Sara works to deliver public health activities and influence across the council and with partners across the system such as the BNSSG CCG.


Richard Lyle – Associate Director of Service Redesign, BNSSG


Lynn Gibbons – SGC Public Health Consultant

Lynn joined South Gloucestershire Council Public Health in early 2017, after completing public health training in Birmingham. Previously, she worked in sustainable development across the West of England and the South West. Lynn’s work focusses on mental health, children and young people, the built environment and the wider determinants of health (including housing and employment). She works with a range of partners across South Gloucestershire and the West of England to integrate health and well-being into plans, policies and practice.



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