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Chamber News & Blog

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

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  • 29 October 2020 11:53 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Plans for more than 150 “key worker” homes approved

    Innovative international housing developer BoKlok has received approval in principle to create 152 high-quality low-cost properties by Worthing Borough Council’s Planning Committee.

    The company, which has its roots in Sweden and is jointly owned by Skanska and IKEA, has been working with the authority for more than a year to develop proposals for land west of Fulbeck Avenue.

    The majority of the new homes will be priced so they are accessible to local working families. The remaining 30% will be allocated for rent and shared ownership.

    Councillors backed the scheme at a virtual meeting of the planning committee last night (October 21, 2020), praising the innovative approach and its commitment to sustainability. 

    Pending agreement on final drainage plans and site conditions, construction could begin next year with the first homes on the market soon after.

    Cllr Kevin Jenkins, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “I am delighted my colleagues have supported in principle this innovative scheme.

    “We know the high-cost of home ownership is a major concern to local families. This modern high-quality development will provide hard-working key workers the opportunity to get a foot on the property ladder without having to move out of the town. It will also provide a range of affordable options for those who want or need to rent.

    “While there is still work to be done on the outstanding drainage issues, this is an extremely positive step forward on a major development for the town.”

    BoKlok UK Managing Director, Graeme Culliton said: “We are delighted by this outcome and we look forward to starting construction on one of our first sites in the UK.

    “We know that the demand for housing is at an all-time high, therefore offering this solution will support the council’s housing targets and provide a thriving community development.


    “We have paid close attention to committee members' views regarding ecology and drainage and we are confident that our continued work with council officers will bring this to a successful conclusion.

    Councillors approved the scheme, pending agreement on site conditions as well as designing a robust drainage scheme  to alleviate flooding concerns.

    The proposal for 152 flats will provide 51 one bedroom and 101 two bedroom homes distributed across five blocks. 

    Each property will have a balcony, as well as access to landscaped community space, which includes growing pods, shared tool shed, barbeque pit and playground.

    Secure cycle stores and 160 car parking spaces will be provided. A third will have live electric charging points while the remainder will be ‘cable-ready’.

    The completed homes will be manufactured off-site using sustainably-sourced timber. They are then transported to the construction site for assembly with high quality IKEA fittings throughout.

    Environmentally-friendly measures will be included throughout to keep the carbon footprint low, including community air source heat pumps and water saving methods to limit use to 105 litres a person per day.

    Cllr Paul High, Chairman of the Planning Committee, said: “Colleagues are pleased to be able to back this scheme, recognising the benefits it will bring to providing housing to local people. There is still some work to do on drainage but I am confident that we will be able to continue our positive working relationship with BoKlok to resolve these in the coming months.”

    The creation of new housing is a key part of “And Then…”, the Councils' short, sharp programme of interventions and assistance to help the communities of Adur and Worthing bounce back from the impact of lockdown.

  • 29 October 2020 11:50 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Adur Leisure Centres poised for lifeline deal to reopen

    Leisure centres across Adur could be re-opened early next year if a proposal to allow a neighbouring provider to take over the facilities is given the go-ahead.

    Officers and senior members from Adur District Council have been working hard to rescue the sports and leisure services previously run by Adur Community Leisure (ACL) after it declared itself insolvent during the lockdown in July. 

    Lancing Manor Leisure Centre, Southwick Leisure Centre and Wadurs Swimming Pool were immediately mothballed. The buildings are owned by the district council but ACL operated the leisure services within.

    Now a deal could be struck between the Council and South Downs Leisure (SDL) which operates leisure and community services in Worthing including the Splashpoint Leisure Centre.

    A report to go before Adur & Worthing Councils Joint Strategic Committee next week recommends the Director for the Economy is given the go-ahead to negotiate with SDL and that a budget of £280,000 is awarded to the company for the preparation and running of the services to the end of March next year. 

    This money will come from a government emergency grant awarded across the UK to help sports centres.

    The report points out that SDL has an ‘established financial and operational track record’ and ‘a strong reputation for working with local communities to support health and well-being as well as exemplary work to support people in vulnerable groups’.

    SDL would need to recruit staff and, in partnership with the district council,  ensure the buildings were fit for purpose and equipment modernised.

    Adur District Council’s Executive Member for the Environment, Cllr Emma Evans, said, ‘It was sad that ACL could not survive lockdown and that staff lost their jobs. However from that moment we have been working very hard to secure the future of the facilities and SDL have a proven track record in running excellent sports, health and wellbeing leisures services across the border in Worthing.

    ‘We know how important to health and wellbeing activity provided at these centres is to residents especially in these terrible times and we hope we can bring real impetus now towards opening doors again next year.’

    Chief Executive of SDL, Duncan Anderson, said, ‘It's great to be working in partnership with Adur District Council on this proposal, potentially creating new jobs and re-opening these leisure facilities to the community in the New Year with a new and improved membership package.’

    The proposed deal between Adur District Council and SDL would be for five years and the council would provide funds of more than £700,000 for that period. It has already spent £300,000 on maintaining the buildings and equipment and preparing for the future since the demise of ACL.

    The report points out that mothballing the facilities could still cost £480,000 a year. Any eventual profit SDL, a charitable trust, generates is divided between further investment and a dividend to the council.

    The report recommends the Director for the Economy is given delegated authority to award the contract in consultation with the Leader of Adur District Council and the Executive member for the Environment.

  • 29 October 2020 11:37 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Changes at Guild Care as the charity recovers from the impacts of Covid-19

    Worthing charity Guild Care has announced the appointment of Alex Brooks-Johnson as its new interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

    Alex, who has been working with Guild Care for a year in several senior positions, brings over 20 years of voluntary and charity sector experience including Chief Executive roles at both a carers and children’s charity where he helped shape and grow community-based services.

    Guild Care, which was established in 1933, has undergone significant changes over recent months due to the impact of Covid-19 and is now restructuring for the future.  Former CEO, Suzanne Millard will be concentrating on leading the care homes through the next phase of development, driven by the passion and expertise she has displayed for the past 11 years as CEO, with Alex overseeing the changes to the charity’s community-based services.

    New interim CEO, Alex Brooks-Johnson, said of his appointment: “Firstly I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported Guild Care and to all our staff and volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication during this very difficult time.  I’m very proud and excited to be leading this great local charity as we move towards a new chapter in our history.

    “Covid-19 has highlighted how strong the community is in and around Worthing, and how much of a part of that community Guild Care is.  We have a responsibility to help older people, people living with dementia and children and adults with learning difficulties in whatever ways we can, and I’m looking forward to further building the links we have with the community to make that happen.”

    Antonia Hopkins, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said: “I’m delighted to appoint Alex as our new interim CEO. He brings a wealth of charity experience and strategic leadership to Guild Care and the Board looks forward to working very closely with him in helping to secure the future of the charity.”

  • 29 October 2020 11:29 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Local people set to raise over £10,000 as hospice’s flagship event goes virtual

    The first ‘Sunrise to Remember: Virtual Edition’ took place on Saturday 12 September, replacing St Barnabas House’s biggest annual fundraising event ‘Night to Remember’, which was unable to go ahead this year due to COVID-19. The virtual event saw hundreds of local residents setting off from their own homes at sunrise on a seven-mile walk in memory of their loved ones. Sponsorship money is still coming in, but participants look set to raise over £10,000 for the charity.

    Many of those who took part did so in memory of a family member or friend cared for by the hospice, including eight-year old, Beth Hamilton from Worthing who walked with her mother, Marie Hamilton, in memory of her Nanna, Kate Gladden who was cared for by St Barnabas House in 2015.

    “I wanted to take part in Sunrise to Remember because my mummy has done it every year and I wanted to join in too,” says eight-year-old Beth. “I’m walking for my Nanna, because the nurses were really kind and lovely when she was poorly.”

    Beth’s mother, Marie, adds, “Mum and Beth were so close so it’s lovely for her to be able to take part and so special for me to have her by my side doing the walk together. St Barnabas looked after Mum so well, so it is the least we can do to say thank you.”

    Explaining the importance of the event and why the hospice were so determined to make it happen, Events Fundraiser, Sophie Henderson says, “The St Barnabas House Night to Remember midnight walk has taken place for the last 12 years and holds a special place in many local people’s hearts. As it is so important to our supporters – many of whom take part year after year in memory of loved ones, we were determined to make the event possible, in some way.

    “Of course, it wasn’t the same as being able to set off all together as in previous years, but it was amazing to see so many people coming together virtually. The atmosphere was incredible, with walkers joining together live on the St Barnabas House Facebook page at 6am before setting out on their own seven-mile route.”

    Participants listened to good luck messages from the care team and patients as well as taking part in a live warm up courtesy of Anytime Fitness. Lots of people also lit a virtual candle in memory of a loved one, and just before the walk began, everyone stepped outside to watch the sunrise together.

    During the walk, More Radio Worthing looked after supporters with a special Sunrise to Remember takeover and after the challenge, a cook-along with MasterChef Champion, Kenny Tutt, filmed at his restaurant, Pitch, gave walkers the chance to reward themselves with a decadent brunch of Eggs Royale.

    Anthony Ledword, 42 from Littlehampton, took on the challenge in honour of his late partner, Paul Reynolds, who sadly passed away at the hospice in January 2016.

    “St Barnabas were there to support not only Paul, but all his family and friends. The staff there all made sure that Paul was always comfortable and treated with dignity and respect. At first, Paul and myself wanted him to spend his last days at home, but as things moved very quick it was better to have him in the hospice where he would receive 24/7 care,” says Anthony.

    Anthony continues, “I think this virtual event has been a great idea as in view of these difficult times, we are still able to go on Facebook and see and support each other during the event, and raise money for charity.”

    With COVID-19 leading to the postponement and cancellation of many events, virtual events like Sunrise to Remember are vital to ensure the hospice can continue caring for local people, now and in the future. To find out more about other upcoming events you can get involved in visit:

  • 29 October 2020 11:23 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    A&F Pilbeam Construction appotined to construct residential nursing home

    A & F Pilbeam Construction Ltd are very pleased to have been appointed to construct a new build 50-bed residential nursing home for South Coast Nursing Homes Ltd working with ECE Architecture, SWP Structural Engineers and PJR Services. The new facility will be located adjacent to South Coast’s Berkeley Lodge dementia care home in Shelley Road.

    The development requires the demolition of existing buildings and infilling of old basements prior to construction of a new two and three storey building with associated external works and landscaping.

    The structure will be a traditional design with load bearing masonry walls and concrete floors with some steel framing providing spacious circulation and relaxation areas as well as supporting  a feature staircase.

    In addition to the new residential rooms, the new facility includes a kitchen, residents’ cafe, entertainment area, hair salon, two libraries, lounges and dining areas in addition to staff facilities including offices and nurse stations.

    The design of the building will be very much in keeping with the streetscape of Shelley Road with the front elevations having rendered and moulded coins and other features. Flint and masonry boundary walls will complement the building and enclose the 17 car parking spaces with a ‘drive in - drive out’ system at the front of the site.

    The rear elevations and internal designs are more contemporary in nature with the emphasis of this project being to produce a high-quality environment that improves the comfort and experience of residents’ at the home.

  • 29 October 2020 11:14 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    University of Chichester becomes a top 30 UK university

    THE University of Chichester has been named in the UK’s top 30 higher education institutions.

    National rankings produced by the Guardian University Guide 2021 placed it in 29th position – out of 121 others – based on its high student-satisfaction rates and graduate prospects. Its courses were also ranked among the country’s best, including its Art, Education, and Psychology degrees which were named in the UK’s top ten respectively.

    Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane Longmore said: “These rankings are recognition of the University’s remarkable success in building the confidence, resilience, and aspirations of every student. Our staff have continued to deliver high-quality teaching and an excellent student experience during an immensely challenging year for the UK higher education sector.”

    The Guardian University Guide is one of the most widely respected tables for the UK universities, and ranks 121 institutions according to nine criteria. Chichester’s ratings cap a remarkable few months for the West Sussex institution which was named a top-third tier UK university by the National Student Survey for its high satisfaction rates among its undergraduates.

    Find out how the University of Chichester provides an inclusive and enriching experience of higher education for its students at or go to

  • 29 October 2020 11:04 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Bennett Griffin Family Law Clinics 

    Bennett Griffin understand that the breakdown of a relationship can be one of the most traumatic events in your life. During the Covid-19 lockdown, they continued to receive requests from people looking for advice on an impending breakdown, or those who were in the middle of divorce proceedings or any family-related legal process.

    With that in mind, they began to host regular Family Law Clinics, held every Friday between 10am and midday. These sessions, bookable via our dedicated area on their website, offered the chance to speak to our Family Law team on an informal basis, to discuss potential issues or allay any concerns they may have. Given that we were all in lockdown, all sessions took place via Zoom, Whatsapp or the video/phone application that was most convenient. The feedback was superb and the demand just as good.

    Jackie Mensah, who has led the clinics was delighted with the weekly sessions commented: “Often just having the opportunity to have a quick chat with an expert about the crucial issues can provide much needed clarity and reassurance. It is easy to fit the 15 minutes advice session into a busy day and its impact and benefits are long-term and invaluable.”

    The past few months have been extremely challenging for us all and uncertainty will continue for some time, especially as our children return to school and many of us return to the office or from furlough. With that in mind, as well as the clear continued demand for advice and support, they have decided to continue to hold the weekly Family Advice Clinics.

    These will continue to be every Friday morning from 10am-12pm (availability pending) and those looking to book their initial 15 minute slot can do so by heading to our dedicated Family Advice page.

    To book an appointment, simply navigate to or call our team on 01903 229999.

  • 29 October 2020 10:55 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    St Oscar Romero Catholic School shortlisted for the Tes School Awards 2020

    The most outstanding individuals and institutions that the education sector has to offer have been recognised in the shortlist for the Tes Schools Awards  2020.

    It's been revealed that St Oscar Romero Catholic School has been shortlisted for the Best Use of Technology award.

    Tes editor Ann Mroz said: “It is always a highlight of the education calendar to see the best ideas and people lauded at the Tes Schools Awards. But this year, it felt more important than ever to run an event that showcased and celebrated the hard work that teachers and school staff do for children and their local community every single day. This has been one of the most difficult years in education, but – as ever – teachers continue to rise to the challenge.

    "We had a record number of entries this year and the standard was very high, so all those shortlisted should be very proud: it's an extraordinary achievement to be on this shortlist."

    Sadly we cannot hold the awards night in person this year as we had planned. For the very first time, award winners will be announced at a virtual ceremony on Friday 13 November 2020.

    To see the full list of who's in the running, pick up a copy of this week's Tes, or visit

  • 29 October 2020 10:50 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Stark divide in how construction companies in the South are coping with COVID-19 pandemic

    A national survey of construction companies published by Worthing and Gatwick-based chartered accountants MHA Carpenter Box, alongside their national association MHA, reveals a stark divide in how construction companies in the South East and beyond have fared during the COVID-19 crisis.

    In line with national trends, almost half (49%) of companies said the impact of COVID-19 has been substantial; 44% stated it had had only minimal impact on their business; and only 5% described the damage was critical. Future expectations also showed a divide, with almost a third reporting that business activity was now back to normal, while 30% believed it would take over a year to return to pre-pandemic levels.

    The biggest concern, shared by 61% of respondents, is economic uncertainty. Supply chain disruption also ranked high on the list of worries, mentioned by 45% of respondents, with 32% concerned about cashflow, which reflects the industry’s strong balance sheets, low debt risk and improved turnover pre-pandemic.

    Other findings:

    • 81% have made use of the furlough scheme, with seven in 10 planning to bring back all furloughed staff
    • Close to a third (32%) have had to make redundancies
    • 68% have used the VAT deferral scheme
    • 47% reported it was easy to access government funding

    Commenting on the results of the survey, Robert Dowling, Head of Construction and Real Estate at MHA and MHA Carpenter Box, said: “Construction businesses in the South East have generally adapted well since lockdown was lifted. They are managing sites to ensure activity can continue, whilst adhering to social distancing measures by spreading workforces around sites.

    “Inevitably there are delays and completion dates are being put back, which in turn is expected to have some impact on funding by increasing the cost of capital.

    “The future however is very uncertain. Government projects are now the most likely source of revival for the sector; housebuilding, although currently buoyed up by strong demand is likely to suffer from a rise in unemployment; and commercial building is unlikely to thrive, with many companies questioning whether they need as much office space as before.” 

  • 29 October 2020 10:07 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Countdown to Safe in Sussex’s Gingerbread House Fun – Get involved!

    In previous years, local businesses and groups have taken part and this year it is open to everyone. The event this year will be virtual and takes place on Friday, 11th December.

    The last 2 years have been a great success with local companies and groups coming together for team bonding and festive fun whilst raising vital funds for the charity. This year due to COVID-19 plans have had to change with the introduction of a friends and family smaller gingerbread house decorating kit as well as the corporate competition. 

    The Corporate/Groups Gingerbread Decorating Competition like previous years will continue with the winner getting the amazing Gingerbread House Decorating Competition Trophy for a year and having their Group/Business name engraved on it. 

    Fay Millar from Brighton Cakes who makes the gingerbread packs will be judging once again this year, along with another yet to be announced judge, as judging the amazing creations is a difficult task.

    In previous years the gingerbread houses have been given to the refuges, but this year companies, groups and families will get to keep them and enjoy their creations to reduce the risk of possible infection.

    In addition to the corporate competition, a smaller Gingerbread pack option has been designed so that individuals, couples and families can take part. There is no judging event, however Safe in Sussex will host a Gingerbread House Zoom event to allow people to show off their finished houses and enjoy some festive fun.

    Debbie West, Community and Corporate Fundraiser for Safe in Sussex said “Our annual Gingerbread House Decorating Competition has been well supported by local businesses and groups for the last two years raising funds and awareness for the work of Safe in Sussex.  This year we were determined that despite the pandemic the event would go ahead.  I am so grateful that Fay Millar has once again stepped up to the challenge to create and bake the gingerbread houses flat packs for the competition as well as for the families and friend’s option.  Like many charities fundraising during a pandemic is a challenge and we hope that as many businesses, groups and families as possible will get involved to help us to continue to be there for those in our community who are impacted by domestic abuse.”

    To take part and find out more about the Gingerbread House Event email 

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Registered Office: Sphere Business Centre, Broadwater Road, Worthing,
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