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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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  • 02 July 2020 2:23 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Worthing Theatres and Museum Restructure Consultation.

    The global Arts sector has been hit incredibly hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

    Having originally advised the public not to go to the theatre but not offering any closure orders, on 20th March 2020 the British Government finally ordered ‘theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres to close ‘as soon as they reasonably can, and not to open tomorrow.’ 

    Since then no venues have been able to open their doors and the industry as a whole is still in the dark about when we will be allowed to hold live performances again or exactly what this will look like. Whilst we were thrilled to be awarded funding from the Arts Council England COVID-19 Emergency Fund, and have utilised the Government Job Retention (furlough) Scheme, without additional support from the Government we have no choice but to make the difficult but necessary decision to restructure and are currently in a process of consultation with employees.

    The proposed changes include redundancies and reduced hours. WTM has a staff of 150 and we have sadly added 19 staff members, from across all departments but weighted towards public facing, to a redundancy consultation list. A further 29 staff members will be facing a temporary reduction in hours and pay. We have consulted with Worthing Borough Council, and BECTU on these changes with the input of WTM union representatives.

    WTM became a charitable trust on Nov 1st 2019. Being ordered to close after only 5 months of operation is an incredibly challenging situation and we are doing everything we can to survive and to reopen our venues for the people of Worthing as soon as it is safe to do so. We were incredibly proud of our debut season as a new company with strong sales and an air of excitement about the future. This process has been absolutely heartbreaking to all of us at WTM. If we do not take this action then we fear we may never be able to reopen.

    Amanda O’Reilly
    CEO and Head of Programming
    Worthing Theatres and Museum

  • 02 July 2020 2:16 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    South East businesses looking to international markets for post-COVID bounce, finds research from Kreston International

    South East businesses are planning for increased international trade over the next 12 months looking for a post-COVID bounce, finds new research commissioned by Kreston International and accountants, business and financial advisers Kreston Reeves.

    The research, conducted in May amongst 514 SMEs and published in a report Trading internationally in 2020 - a post COVID-19 perspective, found that whilst 55% of businesses have cancelled or delayed plans to export to overseas markets or trade internationally as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, 51% say their view on the importance of international trade has increased.

    45% of businesses surveyed expect international trade to return within 12 months, suggesting they are expecting a v-shaped economic recovery. 40% of those surveyed also expect to see increased levels of import trade.

    Headline findings:

    • 71% of businesses in this survey told us that pre COVID-19 they were trading internationally.
    • 55% of businesses have delayed or cancelled plans to trade overseas as a result of COVID-19.
    • 51% of business leaders say their view on the importance of exporting has increased in a post COVID-19 world.
    • 40% of business leaders surveyed expect to see import trade increase.
    • 45% of business leaders expect international trade to return within 12 months, suggesting they are expecting a v-shaped recovery.
    • Of those businesses that were not trading internationally before the outbreak of COVID-19, 34% say they are likely or very likely to expand internationally in the next three years.
    • 39% of business leaders believe COVID-19 will provide opportunities for their business.

    Andrew Griggs, Senior Partner at Kreston Reeves and board member of Kreston International, said: “Our research has shown that UK businesses are outward looking, generating considerable revenues from international markets. COVID-19 has, unsurprisingly, placed businesses under varying degrees of stress and temporarily halted much international trade – 80% of businesses told us that they are under a little or a lot of stress, and that 55% of them have delayed or cancelled plans to explore export markets or trade internationally as a result.

    “But the research presents a much more positive picture. Over half (51%) of those businesses surveyed say that their view on the importance of international trade has increased in a post-COVID world, and that 40% expect to see import trade increase.

    “What is particularly encouraging is that 45% of businesses surveyed expect international trade to return within 12 months, suggesting the much hoped for v-shaped recovery.”

    In November and December 2019, Kreston Reeves surveyed 1,109 small and medium-sized businesses for their views on the reputation of the UK internationally and barriers to international trade as the UK looked to officially depart the European Union.

    That survey found 52% of businesses believed the UK’s reputation on the international business stage had improved in the last 3 years, with 70% of businesses saying that it is the skills and expertise of entrepreneurs and businesses that drives our reputation. 79% of businesses surveyed in late 2019 believe that it is the actions of politicians and policy that threaten our international reputation.

    Andy Wallis, Corporate and International Tax Partner at Kreston Reeves adds: “The first survey was due to be published in March this year but was delayed because of COVID-19. Yet as the UK looks to agree a trading agreement with the EU, its findings are still important and relevant.

    “Our research found that the biggest concerns for businesses trading internationally are tax, VAT and duties (23%), currency fluctuations (20%), and tariffs and trade barriers (19%). Red tape (18%), the cost of international trade (18%), logistics (17%), and getting paid (14%) are all very real barriers to international growth. As we look to redefine our position on the world stage these remain live issues.

    “We asked businesses what help they would most value when trading internationally, and, reflecting the complexity of international growth, there is no one single measure that would help more than others.

    “Businesses told us that free trade deals (32%) would be the most helpful but would also want to see tax breaks (26%), financial incentives (25%), partnering opportunities (25%), less red tape (23%) and help in identifying customers (21%). A package of support is quite clearly required to help British SMEs take on the world.”

    Businesses looking to trade internationally turn to many different sources of information for advice including professional or trade body (41%), Department for International Trade (39%), accountants or financial advisers (32%) and local chambers of commerce (31%).

    Andrew Griggs concludes: “Brexit has changed the face of international trade for UK businesses, and that will bring both challenges and opportunities. We are encouraged by the outward face of SMEs, but government, professional and trade bodies, and their advisers, all need to play a greater role in helping secure the long-term international future of British business.”

    A full copy of the report can be found here;

  • 29 June 2020 11:42 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Worthing Observation Wheel set to return to the seafront

    The Worthing Observation Wheel (WOW) is set to roll into town next week ahead of opening again for the summer in early July.

    With the government announcing restrictions for open air attractions will soon be lifted, the private operator de Koning Leisure Ltd will start erecting the wheel on the seafront opposite Montague Place from Monday (June 29).

    Construction is set to take seven days with a section of the promenade being temporarily closed or partially narrowed to allow the specialist team to safely install the structure.

    It will mean that in just over a week the WOW will start turning again, offering visitors the chance to hop in a pod for unparalleled views of the town, downs and English Channel from 46 metres up in the air.

    The operator has pledged to ensure strict social distancing measures and regular cleaning of communal areas are in place to ensure the attraction remains safe for all visitors.

    Worthing Borough Council, which is responsible for the seafront, welcomed the news and hoped it would act as a catalyst to bring people safely back into the town centre to boost local businesses.

    Cllr Kevin Jenkins, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “The WOW was undoubtedly a huge hit last year, becoming a landmark which attracted tens of thousands of visitors to the town and helped bring money into the local economy, as well as creating an impromptu photography competition between local residents and enthusiasts alike.

    “While times have changed, the attraction of heading to the seafront and going on a large observation wheel remains. I’m sure there will be plenty of people wanting to take a ride so they can peer at the town from a different perspective.

    “Obviously there will be a little bit of inconvenience as the WOW is constructed in the next week or so. We ask for patience during this time, as a section of the prom will need to be closed or narrowed to allow this excellent addition to the seafront to be installed for the summer.”

    The Council entered into a three-year lease arrangement with de Koning Leisure Ltd last year. This allows the WOW to operate for a six to nine month period between April and October before it is dismantled for the winter. 

    More than 40,000 people went for a ride on the attraction last year when it operated from July through to October.

    The Council continues to incur minimal costs for bringing the WOW to town with de Koning paying for all construction and operating costs as well as assuming all trading risk.

    For a full FAQs on the WOW, which includes details on ticketing and installation, visit:

  • 25 June 2020 3:22 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Official Visit Britain industry standard - We’re good to go’

    The We’re Good To Go industry standard and supporting mark means businesses across the sector can demonstrate that they are adhering to the respective Government and public health guidance, have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and check they have the required processes in place. 

    The scheme is free to join and open to all businesses across the sector. 

    To obtain the mark businesses must complete a self-assessment through our online platform including a check-list confirming they have put the necessary processes in place, before receiving certification and the ‘We’re Good To Go’ mark for display in their premises and online. 

    Businesses across the UK are required to follow their respective national guidance, including the social distancing and cleanliness protocols that must be in place. In England, businesses must align with the UK Government’s official guidance for the sector which was published yesterday. 

    The Government's guidance for hotels and accommodation providers - such as campsites, caravan parks and short term lets - indoor and outdoor visitor attractions and conference and events centres outlines the processes and facilities that tourism businesses in England need to put in place before re-opening, so that both staff and visitors can be kept safe.

    These include:

    • Hotels and accommodation providers will need to introduce deep cleaning regimes between guests.
    • Meal services including breakfasts will need to be pre-booked and timed, and shared facilities will only be accessible to one family group at a time.
    • Timed tickets will be introduced for exhibitions, theme parks, galleries and attractions to reduce the number of visitors in locations at the same time.
    • One way systems, clear floor markings and a queue management system should be in place to maintain social distancing measures at all attractions and help to limit contact between both staff and visitors.
    • Organisations should also encourage cashless payments throughout to avoid cross contamination.
    In addition, visitor attractions will need to introduce regular deep cleaning regimes across their site and some interactive displays will need to be temporarily closed. 

    An ‘alert’ system has also been set up to ensure that businesses signed up to the‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard are notified if there are changes to the official guidance. A call-handling service will provide support and assessors will also carry-out random spot-checks to ensure businesses are adhering to the guidance.

  • 25 June 2020 10:17 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Benefits of distance guided learning

    Distance learning has many positive attributes compared to classroom based learning.

    We as instructors love both methods of teaching but under the current circumstances distance learning is certainly the preferred method of teaching and learning.

    Benefits of distance learning:

    • Choice- Provides and opportunity to study more subjects  and reach out to training that is not available in local area
    • Flexible- Distance learning is much more flexile that traditional classroom based training. Learning who need to take other classes or work can do classwork whenever is suitable to them.
    • Networking- Open group distance learning courses allows learners to obtain a larger range of network opportunities. Instead of being restricted to network in the local area, enabling learners to make wider connections, which will also enhance their learning.
    • Pace- Online education allows the learners to work at their own pace in many circumstances. Due Dates of work are flexible and individual zoom webinars can be arranged to fit the individuals circumstances.
    • Scheduling- The schedules for distance learning are more open and allow for learners (which could be parents/students/professional) to take courses whenever it fits in with them and individual zoom webinars can be arranged to fit the individuals circumstances. This is beneficial over classroom based courses that require learners to schedule work and childcare around the class time.
    • Money- Any online courses tend to be cost less than face to face classroom based environment. There are less space limitations and materials required for each learner.
    • Travelling- A huge advantage to getting an online/distance learning education is that there is no need to travel to and from a venue. Someone who doesn’t drive or want to spend money on the cost of public transport will likely choose online training  (especially during the risk factors currently in place)
    • No classroom sitting- Sitting in a classroom is not always the best way for a learner to take on board all the course information. Everyone has their own learning style and will learn at their pace.
    • Effective- Having instructor zoom webinars during distance learning courses ensure effective learning and allows the learner to clarify their understanding and ask questions.

    Contact us about our Distance learning courses for Safeguarding and First Aid for Mental Health in the workplace or visit our website

  • 25 June 2020 10:05 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Better Together: Kick-Starting the Coastal Economy Webinar

    Date: Wednesday 15th July 
    Time: 3:00pm - 4:30pm 

    As the lock down measures start to ease, it’s time to start thinking about restarting the economy here on the West Sussex coast. In a brand new series of webinars brought to you by the Coastal West Sussex Partnership, we’ll be discussing how the business community and the public sector can work together to get our economy moving again, and what changes we can make now to ensure the area sees long-term benefits. 

    Our select panel of influencers from both the private sector and local authorities will include:

    The first webinar will take place on Wednesday 15 July 2020 from 3 - 4.30pm, and will offer a unique opportunity to influence our leaders.

    Please send us your questions for the panel before the event, and come prepared for a discussion on what your business needs in order to recover and how, together, we can help the economy move again. 

    The second webinar in our series will explore the impact that the lockdown has had on young people with a particular focus on skills and employment.

    Don’t forget to sign up for this exclusive series of webinars to receive the first event link. We’re looking forward to seeing you there.

    Register Here

  • 24 June 2020 9:25 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Consider HMRC amnesty for furlough abuse, says accountants Kreston Reeves

    The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been a lifeline for many businesses, yet there is increasing evidence that it is being abused, for example, by employers asking staff to work whilst on furlough. Whilst it is clear that this is wrong, businesses may easily find that they have inadvertently breached the rules, as little guidance was available when the first claims were being submitted.

    Draft legislation is being rushed through parliament to provide HMRC with powers to check furlough claims and is expected to introduce a 30-day amnesty period allowing businesses to repay any money they have received without threat of sanction or penalty, says accountants and business advisers Kreston Reeves.

    Andy Wallis, a Partner in the Corporate Tax team at Kreston Reeves explains.

    “The uptake of the furlough scheme has been extremely high. Kreston Reeves in May surveyed 221 small businesses and found that over 60% of them had taken advantage of the Government’s furlough scheme. It is now widely believed that up to a third of businesses have in some way stretched the rules surrounding furlough allowing staff to work.

    “Whilst the guidance is clear - businesses are not allowed to let staff work whilst on furlough - what happens when staff decide to work in some capacity without their employer’s knowledge, for example helping a customer or advising a colleague isn’t.

    “Given the likely high rates of infringements of the furlough rules and the potential difficulty in recovering incorrect claims, the draft legislation will introduce an amnesty allowing businesses to repay money taken through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme without any sanction or penalties.

    “Those businesses that do not take advantage of such an amnesty and are later found to have stretched the rules may find themselves under serious investigation and facing substantial fines. Businesses should therefore triple check their claims and discuss the amnesty with their advisers if they have any concerns of potential infringements, especially as business owners may well be pursued directly and could even be named and shamed.

    “It is vitally important that businesses keep good and clear records of staff on furlough. The guidance surrounding the furloughing of staff has been complex and changeable, and in the next few weeks further changes allowing staff to return part-time really does require the employer to keep appropriate records throughout. Copies of communications to all staff, particularly those on furlough, reminding them of the rules is the bare minimum.”

    “Replying to investigations does take up valuable management time. Many businesses have access to assistance when replying to HMRC on such investigations and enquiries either through the Tax Investigation Services offered by their accountants and tax advisor or through their business insurance policies. Details of whether this is covered is advisable. If not already in place, businesses should consider getting such assistance. At Kreston Reeves we can confirm that such assistance is included within the Tax Investigation Service that we provide our clients.”

  • 24 June 2020 8:53 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Webinars that get your business working

    Over the next two weeks, our webinars focus on helping you to raise business grant-funding as well as introducing you to a range of equity & other funding options that could help you to find match-funding for your Invest4 grant. These webinars are being hosted by our expert delivery partners, WSX Enterprise and YTKO: Get Set for Growth

    Our popular How to Start a Start-up series of daily one-hour workshops is back to help pre-start and early-stage businesses get all the knowledge they need.

    Don't forget that you can always email our Invest4 Grant Fund Manager directly with your questions regarding the fund.

    The Business Hot House Workshop - How to Start a Start-up - Book a free place

    WSX Enterprise - Range of workshops - Book a free place 

    Get Set For Growth - Range of Workshops - Book a free place

  • 24 June 2020 8:39 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Freedom Works - 'Flexible Passes' 

    Freedom Works, like most of us  have been massively impacted by the economic bulldozer bestowed on us by Covid-19.  That said, their focus is to ensure that they maintain their Coworking spaces across Sussex.

    Based on feedback within the business community they are really proud to announce the launch of their new 'flexible passes' which can be used by 'individuals' and 'teams', for those now having to work from home.  These 'passes' are aimed at individuals and companies, where they can;

    • Use ANY of our Freedom Work spaces 24/7
    • Can combine home working with the healthy interaction with likeminded souls
    • Work in a Covid Safe collaborative and peer supporting environment.

  • 23 June 2020 1:29 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Raise finance & build business resilience

    Learn how to raise the finance you need to start-up or to scale-up your business and understand how to re-shape your business to make it more resilient and sustainable - our brand new remote workshops show you how.

    Applying for an Invest4 grant? Our dedicated workshop will ensure that you make the strongest possible application - helping you to fill out the form and understand the process.

    We're also offering Raising Finance 1-2-1 remote sessions with Rachel Baker, our Finance Specialist, who will steer you through your range of potential business finance options.

Don't miss out on our upcoming events! Click here to book your next event now

Worthing & Adur Chamber of Commerce is the trading name of Worthing & Adur Chamber of Commerce & Industry Ltd.
Company registered in England & Wales. Company number: 00345261.  
VAT No: 275 6477 60
Registered Office: Sphere Business Centre, Broadwater Road, Worthing,
West Sussex BN14 8HJ
© 2018 Worthing & Adur Chamber

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