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Regular news and updates from the Chamber, our members, local Councils and other relevant business news will be posted regularly here. 

Don't forget, as a member one of your many benefits is being able to submit your press releases and news for inclusion here as well as on either the members or business news emails and social media. Please submit to 

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  • 21 February 2024 10:01 AM | Anonymous

    Carpenter Box Joins Sumer Group

    Sussex and South East accountants Carpenter Box has announced that it has joined Sumer, the UK’s fastest growing accountancy and professional services group.

    The firm, with offices in Worthing, Brighton, Chichester, Crawley, Portsmouth and London, now forms part of the rapidly expanding Sumer network, which focuses on serving small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

    Sumer has become a top 15 UK accountancy practice in just 12 months, having established hubs nationwide led by eight leading regional firms. Carpenter Box operates the South hub and sees being part of Sumer as an important step in delivering its ambitious expansion plans. Separately, the firm recently reached an agreement with Jones Avens accountants to merge the Chichester and Portsmouth practice into its south coast operations.

    Alan Edwards, Managing Partner of Carpenter Box said: “We are delighted to be joining Sumer Group, which shares our vision and values and will play a valuable role in helping us achieve our plans for the future. As such, this decision represents a significant milestone in the Carpenter Box journey because it will enable us to enhance the value-adding services we offer to our clients, invest in new technologies, grow our geographic reach, and offer our people new and enhanced opportunities.”

    Sumer’s mission is to champion the vital role that SMEs play in the UK economy. The Sumer Group of firms employs more than 1,000 colleagues across over 40 offices, with further ‘hub’ announcements imminent. The Group’s operating rationale is to bring together the best in business services by uniting like-minded accountancy practices embedded in their local communities to harness the power of collaboration for the benefit of SMEs.

    Carpenter Box is an award-winning firm of chartered accountants, tax specialists, business advisers and independent financial advisers with a reputation for innovation and excellence. The practice, with a team of 240 people, continues to expand across the south and in London, helping businesses grow in a profitable, sustainable and tax-efficient way.

  • 06 February 2024 12:28 PM | Anonymous

    George Square Monthly Market Commentary In Conjunction With Albemarle Street Partners - February 2024

    Global growth losing steam, but recession may skirt US

    Economic growth has slowed across the world with the UK and much of Europe experiencing recessionary conditions. US growth has surprised positively, bolstered by consumers spending excess savings. The strength of labour markets has been a key difference versus prior cycles as unemployment rates have remained at pre-pandemic lows. This contributes to economic resilience and improves the likelihood of a shallow recession in the developed world. Inflation on both sides of the Atlantic continues to fall, with major further drops anticipated in UK inflation in the coming months. This backdrop has enabled central banks to consider rate cuts in the second half of 2024. The Federal Reserve and Bank of England both kept their respective benchmark interest rates unchanged at policy meetings. Both central banks removed language about the need for further tightening, signalling a turning point while noting restrictive policy still needs to be maintained for some time. Like most market participants, we anticipate rate cuts to start mid-year. China remains a notable negative for global growth in 2024. The bankruptcy of Evergrande last week is testimony to the ongoing unwind of China's growth miracle. China's central bank announced some measures to allow more lending into the troubled property sector, but investors anticipate a limited impact.                                           

    Markets pause as risks circle post-2023 rally

    The sharp rally in bond and equity markets in the final months of last year took a breather as we entered 2024.  Lacklustre economic data from Europe, rising geo-political risks and the lack of a decisive response from Chinese authorities thwarted the positive sentiment heading into fourth-quarter earnings. A quarter of US companies have reported earnings, with financials and technology producing the strongest growth and energy and materials the weakest. Earnings are tracking down 1.4% but analysts expect profit growth to resume in 2024. In recent days, developed market equities are within touching distance of all-time highs with US, Japanese and European equities leading the charge. Asian equities remain under pressure as China's property sector continues to impact sentiment. The UK market has failed to make headway after a disappointing 2023.  

    Portfolios consolidate after buoyant 2023

    One-year returns have improved in recent months, and we anticipate continued progress in 2024 when interest rates are lowered in response to falling inflation. We expect bond markets to rally as central banks begin cutting rates. Government bond and investment-grade corporate bond exposures provide a ballast to portfolios from which to recover. The inclusion of higher-yield bonds to portfolios in 2023 helped returns. Equity allocations within portfolios have favoured larger companies. This has allowed portfolios to benefit from the outperformance of larger company stocks. We are mindful of the risk to cyclical companies as economic growth slows but appreciate the depressed valuations on offer in some areas such as smaller companies. We will look to take advantage of these opportunities in a risk-controlled way throughout 2024.

    The content of this material is a marketing communication, and not independent investment research. As such, the legal and regulatory requirements in relation to independent investment research do not apply to this material and it is not subject to any prohibition on dealing ahead of its dissemination. The material is for general information purposes only (whether or not it states any opinions). It does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. Nothing in this material is (or should be considered to be) legal, financial, investment or other advice on which reliance should be placed. No opinion given in the material constitutes a recommendation by George Square Financial Management Ltd that any particular investment, security, transaction, or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. Although the information set out in this marketing communication is obtained from sources believed to be reliable, George Square Financial Management Ltd. makes no guarantee as to its accuracy or completeness. George Square Financial Management Ltd. shall not be responsible for any loss that you may incur, either directly or indirectly, arising from any investment based on any information contained herein. This material may include charts displaying financial instruments’ past performance as well as estimates and forecasts. Any information relating to past performance of an investment does not necessarily guarantee future performance. George Square Financial Management Ltd. is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

  • 06 February 2024 11:44 AM | Anonymous

    How a Virtual Coffee Morning is Enhancing the Lives of Analysts and Programmers

    A Monthly Dose of Camaraderie in the IT World

    In today’s digital era, where remote work has become the norm for many, the value of human connection and interaction cannot be understated. Recognizing this, a novel initiative has taken shape within The Institution of Analysts and Programmers: a virtual coffee morning, held on the first Thursday of every month. This gathering, far from being a mere casual catch-up, serves as a lifeline of camaraderie and exchange in the often-isolated world of IT professionals.

    The event, birthed from the need to break the monotony and isolation of home-based work, offers a unique platform for professionals to connect, share insights, and discuss various topics predominantly revolving around software and IT. It's not just a conversation; it's a community being woven together, one virtual cup at a time.

    Informal gatherings like these play a crucial role in fostering a sense of belonging and community. They offer a reprieve from the structured, often rigid world of programming and data analysis. In these virtual meetings, ideas are brewed alongside coffee, providing an environment where creativity and innovation can flourish.

    The coffee mornings have become a hub for knowledge exchange. Participants share their latest findings, discuss emerging technologies, and sometimes troubleshoot problems together. This sharing of knowledge not only enhances individual skills but also contributes to the collective growth of the profession.

    One of the most significant impacts of this initiative has been on the mental health and well-being of its participants. The sense of community and connection, often missing in remote work settings, is a vital component in combating feelings of isolation and burnout. These meetings offer a safe, informal space for professionals to unwind and connect on a personal level, reminding them that they're part of a larger, supportive community.

    The positive effects of this virtual coffee morning go beyond the participants. Ideas and solutions born from these discussions often find their way into real-world applications, benefiting a wider spectrum of the tech industry. Additionally, the success of this initiative serves as a model for other organizations, highlighting the importance of creating spaces for informal interaction, especially in remote work environments.

    As we continue to navigate the complexities of a world increasingly reliant on remote work, initiatives like the virtual coffee morning are more important than ever. They remind us of the value of community and connection, even in the most technology-driven professions. By simply logging in and sharing a cup of coffee, participants are not just exchanging knowledge; they're reinforcing the human element that remains at the heart of the tech industry.

    Whether working for yourself, or within a small company or something larger, home working has its benefits and challenges, loneliness should not be one of them. Perhaps the virtual coffee morning could work for you.


    John Ellis FIAP Cmpn, FRSA, MBCS

    Wellis Technology

    John is senior partner of Wellis Technology, and works locally with domestic clients and small businesses providing technical IT support and consultancy, specialising in business continuity planning. He also works with organisations like The Institution of Analysts and Programmers (IAP) providing their admin and technical support. Through these, he has worked on projects with the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Department of Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT), Cabinet Office, National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), The UK Cyber Security Council, Cyber Security Alliance, The Trustworthy Software Foundation (TSF), British Standards Institute (BSI), International Standards Organisation (ISO). The latter two, where John is considered an expert on trustworthy software. 

  • 01 February 2024 11:44 AM | Anonymous

    Future Skills Sussex Announcement

    Sussex Business Survey 2024 - Your views are vital!

    The purpose of this business skills survey is to gather intelligence from Sussex businesses to aid in the continuing development and delivery of the LSIP and help local education providers to put on the provision that meets the skills needs of businesses.

     To thank you for your time in supporting the LSIP and completing this survey, the first 50 organisations to do so will be entered into a prize draw and three organisations will be picked out to receive a voucher for a free training course provided by Sussex Chamber of Commerce.  Our training events can be found on the Sussex Chamber website.

    Take the survey here

    Education & Skills Provider Survey 2024 - Calling all education and skill providers ,we want your views

    As stated, over the next few months we are looking to update all our skills evidence-based data and this will help inform our annual progress report to be published in June 2024. This survey is specific to you as providers and the more comprehensive your response, the more in depth the intelligence will be that we share with employers and the Department for Education (DfE).

     The survey consists of 21 questions and is broken down by the themes within the Future Skills Sussex Improvement Framework relating to skills provision

    Take the survey here

  • 01 February 2024 11:31 AM | Anonymous

    Santander UK launches its Breakthrough Women Business Leaders Mentoring Programme 2024!

    • Santander UK this week launches its sixth annual Women Business Leaders Mentoring Programme1, which matches female business owners with experienced business professionals to mentor them across a nine-month period. 
    • Applications for the programme are now open until Monday 19 February.
    • New research2 shows that almost half of UK business-owners believe their business would have got off the ground quicker if they had asked for more help in the early days. 
    • While only 27% of businesses have a mentor when starting out, 93% of these said it made starting their own business easier. 

    Santander UK this week has launched this year’s Women Business Leaders Mentoring Programme1 to inspire the next generation of fast-growth ambitious female founders and business owners.

    Now in its sixth year, to date, the programme has supported over 750 female founded businesses take their businesses to the next level with almost 19,000 hours of mentoring. The programme matches female business owners with experienced professionals to mentor them, sharing their knowledge and skills over the course of nine months.

    New research2 by Santander shows that while only 27% of businesses have a mentor when starting out, 93% of these said it made starting their own business easier. However, 87% said that seeking support is easier said than done, with one in four being unlikely to ask for help when they need it. 

    Susan Davies, Head of Business Banking at Santander UK said: “In business and in life, asking for help and advice is essential, but it’s not always easy to do. For as hard as it can be, asking for help means you can learn and grow – and hopefully avoid making a few mistakes along the way too.”

    According to the research, more than a third of UK adults have had a situation in their career where they have regretted not asking for help at all or sooner, with 50% of these instances leading to a mistake that could have been avoided, and after reaching out for help at work, 57% said it helped them progress their careers.

    Susan Davies added: “Asking for help is not a burden; it's an investment in your own growth. That’s why we launched our programme - to match female business owners with experienced business professionals, giving them the opportunity to share insights and experiences. A problem shared is a problem halved, and you’d be surprised how much people are willing to help if they’re only asked for it.”

    Almost two thirds of entrepreneurs said that starting a business on their own was one of the hardest things they have ever done, with 47% believing their business would have got off the ground quicker if they had asked for more help in the early days.

    Sarah Willingham, entrepreneur, and Dragons Den star said: “It’s a no brainer! Asking for help is like pushing on an open door, there are so many people and organisations out there willing to help, guide and support business owners. I know how lonely it can be, but having a mentor is one of the best ways to help you and your business, whatever stage your business is at. At each meeting, agree what you’re going to do and take action – no action means no change.”

    Applications for the 2024 cohort of the Santander Breakthrough Women Business Leaders’ Mentoring Programme are now open. To find out more, or to apply before the deadline on 19 February, visit:

  • 31 January 2024 1:52 PM | Anonymous

    Andy's Angels are inviting you to their very first Spring Fair Fundraiser. 

    Come along and support our Bereavement Charity on the 11th May 2024 at Heene Community Centre 2.30-4.30pm. Free entry with some exciting interactive stalls and business stalls. 

    Sponsorship opportunities: 

    If you would like to sponsor a stall, £50 per stall plus donate a raffle prize, you choose the stall and we'll promote your business on all our social media platforms before/after and you'll also get advertising on the day. The venue is a very busy place with other things going on, so guaranteed a busy footfall. 

    We also have a few business stalls available £20 per stall. 

    Please email if you would like to sponsor a stall or book a business stall.


  • 31 January 2024 1:41 PM | Anonymous

    Hr Smart share new UK Employment Legislation

    You may or may not be aware, but 2024 is about to witness the largest number of Employment Law changes since the Pandemic.

    The changes are wide ranging including the following areas:

    • Flexible Working Requests
    • Increased Maternity Protection
    • Carers’ Rights
    • Workers’ Rights (Predictable Working Patterns; Harassment Prevention)
    • Holiday
    • TUPE
    • National Minimum Wage & Living Wage increases
    • Post Termination Restrictions

    It is fair to say that the above will affect every UK employer somehow during 2024, which is why you are lucky you have HR Smart to rely on to make sure you are up to date.

    To read more details on the above changes, please go to

    If you have any questions, simply email or call on 01903 754107

  • 24 January 2024 11:17 AM | Anonymous

    Get ready for changes to UK company law!

    Since the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act became law in October 2023 Companies House have been preparing to introduce new measures bought in by the act. The first set of changes will be introduced on the 4th March 2024 (dependent on parliamentary timetables).

    The three main changes are

    • New rules for registered office addresses
    • Requirement for all companies to supply a registered email address
    • New lawful purpose statements

    Make sure you are prepared and read the full document here 

  • 24 January 2024 10:51 AM | Anonymous

    Can you help Ickle Pickles with raffle prizes?

    We are currently looking for some prizes that can be used in our upcoming fundraising event at Worthing Football Club against Dover Athletic on Saturday 10th February.  If you or your business would be kind enough to donate something that I can use in our fundraising activities on the day this would be greatly appreciated.

    This could be a voucher, a bottle of wine, chocolates or some toiletries that can be used in our raffle raising funds towards a specialist milk warmer that the staff on the Special Care Baby Unit  at Worthing Hospital have requested.

    Ickle Pickles works with neonatal and special care baby units across the country to raise funds to purchase vital equipment needed to support these vulnerable babies.

    To donate or to find out more please email

    Why not come down on the day? Gates Open : 12.30pm Kick Off: 3pm
    Buy your ticket online and Ickle Pickles will receive 50% of the booking fee

  • 24 January 2024 8:32 AM | Anonymous

    Carpenter Box announces Jones Avens merger

    Sussex and South East accountancy firm Carpenter Box has reached agreement with Jones Avens accountants to merge the practice into its south coast operations.

    The merger expands the Carpenter Box network into Hampshire for the first time and will see Jones Avens, which has offices in Chichester and Portsmouth, rebranded Carpenter Box Jones Avens. Carpenter Box currently serves its growing client base from offices in Worthing, Brighton, Chichester, Crawley and London.

    Commented Alan Edwards, Managing Partner at Carpenter Box: “We are delighted to welcome Jones Avens into the Carpenter Box family. The firm is a great fit for our growth strategy, with its culture of customer service excellence and staff development, and will enable us to expand both the range and reach of our services to existing and prospective clients.”

    Commented David Knight, Partner at Carpenter Box Jones Avens: “This merger represents a significant milestone in our journey. By joining with Carpenter Box, we will unlock additional resources, expertise and services that will directly benefit our clients by providing access to additional specialist knowledge.”

    Peter Reading, office lead at Carpenter Box’s Chichester office, added: “This is a very positive move for both firms, our clients and our people and we look forward to working with our Jones Avens colleagues to grow our presence in the Chichester and Portsmouth areas.”  

    The merger brings together two firms with a combined 215+ year track record of providing tax planning, advisory services and financial planning expertise to clients in Sussex, Hampshire and beyond.

    Carpenter Box is an award-winning firm of chartered accountants, tax specialists, business advisers and independent financial advisers with a reputation for innovation and excellence. The firm continues to expand across the south and in London, with specialist teams helping businesses grow in a profitable, sustainable and tax-efficient way.

    Photo L-R: Sarah Fitzgerald, Carpenter Box Partner, David Knight and Peter Reading outside the new Chichester Office.

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