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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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  • 20 August 2020 9:36 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    COVID bounceback plan agreed by Greater Brighton

    A regional green infrastructure ‘new deal’ and an online cultural showcase are just two ways in which Greater Brighton could boost growth and help the area bounce back from COVID-19.

    Like much of the UK, the City Region - which covers much of the Sussex coast and reaches north to Gatwick - is predicted to be hit hard by the global pandemic with official estimates of an 11 percent loss of productivity in the next 12 months.

    However experts commissioned by the Greater Brighton Economic Board (GBEB) believe the diverse nature of the regional economy means the area could be back on track within the next three to five years.

    This will be helped by growth in digital gaming, staycations and the independent food sector, all of which have been boosted by lockdown and are significant elements of the Greater Brighton economy.

    To support key aspects of the economy recovery in the coming years, the report by consultants Hatch recommended the board consider using its resources to lobby for a number of interventions. 

    This includes supporting the creation of an online virtual stage to support arts, festivals and conferences; establishing a High Street Recovery Commission to bring landlords together to reimagine town centres; funding an Artists Resilience Fund, to coordinate grants for individual performers; and setting up a Green Infrastructure New Deal, which is bold and ambitious enough to attract government investment.

    Greater Brighton leaders welcomed the report at a virtual meeting held last week (July 14, 2020) and agreed to work collectively on ways in which it could support the regional economy.

    Cllr Daniel Humphreys, Chairman of Greater Brighton, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has, and will continue to have, a huge impact on the global economy. Yet thanks to the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of Greater Brighton residents, and the real diverse nature of our businesses there is lots to be positive about in the City Region.

    “The onus is on us as decision makers and business representatives to think about how we can use our influence to support the regional economy over the next couple of years. We know it will not be easy but we are confident that by working together we can deliver real benefits to the more than one million people living in Greater Brighton.”

    The Hatch report noted that since March an estimated 7,700 businesses have had to temporarily close while, like elsewhere in the UK, around a third of workers aged 18-24 have been furloughed or lost their jobs.

    Among the hardest hit sectors are manufacturing (estimated £770 million losses in 2020 - 23% total value), education (£638 million - 38%), arts & entertainment (£148 million - 42%) and wholesale and retail trade (£431 million - 21%).

    With no support, the region’s estimated year of recovery to achieve pre-COVID Gross Value Added (GVA) levels, the measure of the value of goods and services produced in an area,  is 2028.

    But, the report suggested that if GVA growth was doubled, then Greater Brighton could get back on track within three to five years - but this would require a number of sectors to continue to develop.

    The report says: “There are…many positive stories that signal the Greater Brighton region may be more resilient: the strong advance manufacturing base has only been marginally hit; the region’s strength in pharmaceuticals and medtech has led to revenue growth for many companies; and the strong gaming development cluster in Brighton and data application development cluster in Crawley have both boomed.”

    It noted there would also need to be a focus on areas like retail, food and accommodation, which did not contribute as much financially to the local economy but were essential to its attraction and make-up.

    The report also noted there were real opportunities, such as the increasing trend for working from home leading to London-based businesses looking to relocate away from capital.

    To read the report in full, visit this link.

  • 20 August 2020 9:32 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    New Chair appointed at Coast to Capital

    At our Board meeting in July, we were delighted that Julie Kapsalis was appointed as Coast to Capital Chair. Julie has held the position of Vice Chair for the past year and has been on the Coast to Capital Board for over six years during which time she served as the Chair of the Investment Committee and Diversity Champion.

    Julie is Managing Director of Chichester College Group with responsibility for a portfolio of commercial businesses. She is a board member of the Institute of Economic Development, Gatwick Diamond Business and is the immediate past Chair of Chichester Chamber of Commerce and Industry. We are looking forward to working with Julie in this capacity and will be sharing some of her ideas for the future in coming weeks.  

  • 20 August 2020 9:26 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    #WELCOMEBACKAW: support your town centres post-lockdown

    Welcome back - that’s the key message from town centre traders as our community spaces look to bounce back from lockdown.

    Adur & Worthing Councils have joined forces with businesses across the area to assure visitors that all efforts are being made to make shopping, going out and relaxing in our town centres a safe and relaxing experience.

    A month-long campaign - titled #WelcomeBackAW - features a dozen businesses and organisations and the measures they have taken to adapt to the new normal.

    Among those included are pubs, restaurants, cafes, taxi drivers, hairdressers, galleries and attractions, such as the Worthing Observation Wheel

    The campaign comes after a Councils survey, which received more than 700 responses, showed more than half (53%) of respondents said they would like to visit shops, restaurants or cafes but were concerned about the risks.

    It also showed 20% said they were ambivalent about going out, 17% are happy to go out and just 9% said they would definitely not be going out. 

    Armed with those figures the Councils together with traders are reaching out to residents with details of the measures taken to adhere to the government’s guidelines on safe towns.

    One major trader, Andy Sparsis, founder of Proto Restaurant Group which owns The Fish Factory and The Fat Greek Taverna, said he welcomed the move.

    He said: “Like everyone we take the pandemic very very seriously. It has affected all of us which is why we have put in measures in our restaurants to make them safe and help our customers have a relaxing, fun time out. This campaign will give us all the chance to tell residents just how seriously we are taking their safety and I welcome it.”

    In the next few weeks a number of traders will be profiled telling residents about their businesses and the measures they have taken.

    Cllr Kevin Jenkins, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “It is still vitally important that we all observe measures to combat COVID such as social distancing and washing our hands at least 20 seconds but it is also now possible that we can access our town centres, enjoy shopping or having a meal whilst supporting our businesses safely. They are the lifeblood of our local economy and I personally will be doing as much as I can to support them.”

    Cllr Brian Boggis, Adur District Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “We have all been affected by this terrible virus and as a Council we will remain on high alert. That is why we are behind this safe return to activity in our town centres. We understand we all need to do all we can to answer the genuine concerns residents have and that is why #WelcomeBackAW gives traders the platform to do just that.”

    The campaign will also continue to stress the need for individuals to adhere to safety measures such as washing hands, wearing face masks where required and keeping to social distancing measures.

    It will be supported by the government’s Reopening High Streets Safely Fund, which has provided grants from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to councils across England to support the safe reopening of high streets and other commercial areas.

    #WelcomeBackAW is 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.


    Founded in 2018 and based in vibrant Warwick Street in Worthing town centre, Finch Bar & Eatery has introduced a range of measures to ensure the safety of their customers and staff. 

    As owner Tom Lines, who also owns the Garden Pantry in Brighton Road, explains: “We’re lucky to have outdoor seating, but for those who prefer to sit indoors, we’ve created plenty of space between our tables to make it safe. There’s also hand sanitiser by the entrance for customers to use, we’re currently offering table service only, and all our staff wear face coverings when serving customers.”

    Since reopening, Finch Bar & Eatery has been busier than expected - as well as welcoming back many regular customers, they’ve had lots of new customers too. 

    “We’ve worked hard to make sure that the quality of food and the customer experience won't be compromised by the changes,” says Tom.

    Finch, which is open Monday to Sunday, is part of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. This means that throughout August, from Monday to Wednesday, customers will get 50% off their food and drink. 


    “Home cooked food, sourced from local suppliers, cask marque kept local ales and beers, and most importantly a friendly atmosphere where safe service is a priority.” 

    Darren Gearing, Founder & Director of Our Eating House Group, explains what’s in store for customers returning to The Tap House.

    The venue in East Street, Shoreham, has recently reopened, along with the group’s other venues - The Beach House and The Corner House, which are both in Worthing.

    Darren, who owns the businesses with lifelong friends Matt and Tim Taylor, says his local establishments are doing everything they can to keep customers safe.

    All team members have undertaken “COVID Return to Work” protocol training while socially distanced tables, hand sanitiser stations, one way signage systems, contactless payments and increased cleaning have been introduced.

    All three locations will be taking part in the government’s Eat Out To Help Out discount programme, and they are also offering an added value set menu for adults and children. 

    Darren added: “Our teams couldn't wait to get back to work, we are also fortunate to have many regulars who have all said how happy they are to be back!” 

  • 20 August 2020 9:18 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Message from Director of Public Health, West Sussex

    Below are two letters from Anna Raleigh, Director of Public Health, West Sussex that provide important COVID-19 Advice and Guidance for the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors.  

    Now more than ever, with a number of lockdown conditions easing, we need your support to continue to stay alert and operate your business following current guidance. 

    It’s important that you are aware of your key responsibilities and have access to all the information and guidance you need to carry out the necessary additional risk assessments and arrangements to make your business, employees and visitors safe. 

    West Sussex Public Health have produced a comprehensive resource below that summarises the information that you will need to follow in order to reduce the risk of outbreaks. This includes key guidance, advice on prevention and what to do if any of your employees develop COVID-19 symptoms. You will also find other information and links to resources that we hope you will find useful.

    Click here to view the letter for the hospitality industry 

    Click here to view the tourism and leisure advice 

  • 20 August 2020 9:04 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Latest issue of ThriveAW magazine celebrates the community spirit in Adur and Worthing during the pandemic

    The community spirit of Adur and Worthing and extraordinary working partnerships between the Councils, local groups and businesses - as demonstrated during the COVID crisis - are the central themes in the latest issue of ThriveAW magazine. 

    The 28-page magazine is produced by Adur & Worthing Councils to promote the work underway to improve the health and wellbeing of local communities. 

    The summer 2020 issue leads with a story about the emergency response which was put into action at the start of the pandemic to support almost 2,000 vulnerable residents of Adur and Worthing. It also focuses on the vital role played by 500 volunteers, who signed up to support the community during the COVID crisis. They  provided a range of support, including shopping, collecting medicines and being someone to talk to for those who were living alone. 

    This includes the story of 82-year-old June Cooper, who contacted Adur & Worthing Councils’ Community Response Helpline, which was set up to support vulnerable residents during the pandemic. She was paired with a volunteer called Annie, who according to June has been her lifeline: 

    “It’s the little things like going to the shops to buy some cheese and onion flavoured crisps, when I couldn’t get them online, that I wouldn’t be able to do without Annie’s help,” said June.

    “As I live on my own it’s been reassuring to know that I’ve had someone to turn to if I’ve needed help.”

    The magazine also reports on a range of projects underway to protect young people from exploitation. This includes a ‘transition to high school’ mentoring programme, a time of life when young people are particularly at risk of being exposed to violence, sexual abuse and exploitation. It also highlights the important work of partner groups and organisations who are delivering projects to improve the health and wellbeing of residents. 

    Cllr Carson Albury, Adur District Council’s Executive Member for Customer Services, said: 

    “I have been particularly struck by the response we received to our volunteer drive during the COVID crisis - as we go forward, we are keen to see how we can harness this energy to maintain the connections that people have made, and build on the community spirit that has been borne out of this crisis.” 

    Cllr Val Turner, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Health & Wellbeing said: 

    “We have seen first hand how our communities have pulled together in response to the COVID pandemic - the Councils, our partner organisations and the mutual aid groups all working to support local residents. 

    “We know that for many, the impact of the pandemic is far from over, but with the help of our partner organisations we will continue to help our communities through these challenging times.”

    To read the magazine in full, visit

  • 20 August 2020 8:55 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Businesses across the South East have benefitted from almost £6bn in Covid-19 financial support

    New data from the British Business Bank shows that businesses across the South East have received a total of almost £6bn in funding under the government’s two largest Covid-19 loan schemes, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme. These provide financial support to businesses across the UK that are losing revenue, and seeing their cashflow disrupted, as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

    • Over 144,000 loans worth over £4.3bn have been offered across the South East under the Bounce Bank Loan Scheme, which provides a six-year term loan from £2,000 up to 25% of a business’ turnover, with a limit of £50,000
    • Over 7,300 loans worth almost £1.6bn have been offered across the South East under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which provides Business loans, overdrafts, invoice finance & asset finance of up to £5m to businesses with a turnover less than £45m

    Total funding provided to South East businesses represents 14% of the national total, in line with the relative size of the South East’s business population (16%).

    Click here to read full press release 

  • 30 July 2020 12:09 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    An Emergency Grassroots Music Fund is now open

    An Emergency Grassroots Music Fund is now open, but for one week only (closing - Monday 3 August).  Please share with any music venues you are in contact with ASAP. Many thanks. Davina   - Arts Council

     The £2.25 million Emergency Grassroots Music Venues Fund seeks to ensure the survival of grassroots music venues from now until 30 September 2020.

    This funding is available to venues whose main function is to present live music events for a public audience in the grassroots part of this sector.
    It’s open to live music venues across all music genres, and also to multi-arts venues that host other events and entertainment other than music within which music forms a major part of their activity.

  • 30 July 2020 12:02 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Support a local charity by becoming a trustee - Community Works

    Becoming a charity trustee is a really effective way for skilled people to engage with their community and progress their own professional development.

    Our area is home to many local charities and community groups. They’ve been doing amazing work during the lockdown and will continue to play a vital part in the community’s recovery.  But there are tough times ahead and big decisions to make.  The ‘new normal’ may mean charities have to adopt different strategies, enter into new collaborations or change their operating models. So many are now recruiting new trustees because they know they will need skilled and diverse boards to evaluate options and make the big decisions.

    All kinds of people, of all ages and characteristics are encouraged to become charity trustees. You don’t need to have sat on a board before - trusteeship can be an excellent professional and personal development opportunity. You don’t need to have a specialist professional skill (although such skills are always welcomed) – your value might be your life experience or a connection with the charity’s cause.   And you don’t need to have years of experience behind you. Young trustees (18-35 year olds) are especially encouraged.

    To find out more about being a trustee and how to find a suitable role, please get in touch with the Community Works’ Volunteer Centre or click Could you be a trustee? for information about what’s involved and to browse current vacancies.

  • 30 July 2020 11:56 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    SustainableAW magazine goes live: “collaboration key to climate crisis response”

    A rallying call for communities in Adur and Worthing to come together and tackle the climate crisis is the key theme in the first ever edition of SustainableAW.

    The bright new publication has been created by Adur & Worthing Councils to highlight the breadth of work being done on issues like carbon reduction, transport, energy and biodiversity. 

    The aim is to raise awareness of these key green issues while supporting better connections and collaboration between residents, businesses and organisations.

    The cover story of the 28-page online magazine focuses on the recent Zero 2030 climate change conference held at Worthing Assembly Hall.

    Organised by Worthing Climate Action Network, Transition Town Worthing and the Councils, the community-led event brought together 300 people and 125 organisations to share knowledge and get inspired.

    The magazine includes reports and features on the event, along with a Q&A with Isabella Tree, who has pioneered rewilding at the Knepp Estate, just outside of Horsham.

    Speaking to SustainableAW, she said: “We’re facing a crisis of unprecedented proportions and it’s affecting all life on this planet, including our own. We can talk and talk and talk about it, and theorise about where we went wrong and what we should be doing, but unless we act, nothing will change. Setting targets and acting on those targets is absolutely vital.”

    The central thread to the magazine is the SustainableAW programme, a shared plan between communities and the Councils, which recognises that residents can have greater impact by working together.

    The publication includes details on the work the Councils are doing, such as declaring a climate emergency, implementing a plan to be carbon neutral by 2030 through changes to council transport and energy, and rolling out plans for a climate assembly for later this year. 

    The magazine also includes features projects run by the wider community, such as Eco Open Houses Worthing and the EPIC scheme to bring a new watercourse, walks and wildlife into Sompting’s Church Farm.

    Cllr Emma Evans, Adur District Council’s Executive Member for Environment, said: “The last few months have been dominated by a global pandemic. But, as we move out of COVID lockdown it’s vital that we do not lose sight of the bigger picture and responding to the climate emergency. Within this magazine you’ll see what could appear to be an abstract goal turn into a realistic plan of action.”

    Cllr Edward Crouch, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Digital & Environmental Services, said: “As a Council we have made good progress on reducing carbon emissions, but it’s vital that we as civic leaders show commitment and direction on this extremely important issue. 

    “We invite everyone, all our partners and residents to join us in local action to tackle the climate emergency, which is ambitious, but achievable, and will help protect our local community for future generations.”

    To read the magazine in full, visit:

  • 30 July 2020 11:52 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Worthing Theatres and Museum CEO Statement

    WTM’s CEO Amanda O’Reilly confirms our plans for a phased  reopening of venues  from Saturday 8th August,  first to open - the permanent collections in Worthing Museum closely followed by a Screen Arts Programme at the Connaught Theatre and later in the year, comedy nights at the Pavilion Theatre
    When Worthing Theatres and Museum (WTM) closed its doors in March, no one could have imagined the gravity of the crisis, and the impact it would have on our team, our audiences and the wider culture sector. Leaving the building on 24th March, with all five venues simply empty spaces, I thought back to less than two weeks earlier; we launched our new season and shared our new brand as WTM to our supporters, patrons and press - the building buzzing with excitement for everything we had in store as a newly established charity. 
    We’d programmed Jitney by the incredible Headlong Theatre and were thrilled to have the awe-inspiring Bryony Kimmings performing I’m A Phoenix, Bitch. We were co-programming Rhum and Clay’s The War of the Worlds, and Joseph Toonga’s Born To Manifest with Brighton Festival. We welcomed TRIBE// as our first ever dance company in residence, and launched Anthony Bennett’s Indian Yellow exhibition planned to open in May. Top all this off with a stand out cinema and screen arts programme and it would be fair to say this season marked a new era for us and a spectacular first step in realising our vision as a multi arts and heritage charity that could enrich people’s lives with an incredible and varied programme of culture. This vision was driven by the tireless passion and efforts of the team over the last five years finally making the charitable trust a reality in November 2020. 
    We were delivering the mission we hold dear; to enable everyone to access arts and heritage by creating shared experiences that entertain, educate and inspire. Last year we welcomed over 340,000 people to our venues, exceeding all expectations and previous records. However now we are met with a new mission: given the current crisis, how do we bring those spaces back to life and give you a programme of inspiring events, most importantly in a way that is both safe and retains the experience you love?
    In short, we do it in stages.
    Stage 1 - Reopening Worthing Museum
    We will be reopening the museum on Saturday 8th August and every Saturday through to November with pre booked sessions and bespoke talks from our curators. We will be constantly reviewing the offer so that if we can extend the  number of visits, we will.
    We’re lucky that the design and architecture of the Museum make it possible to open with social distancing in place; for example our large open space on entry and the beautiful galleries. Our exclusive pre booked sessions will have limited numbers and clear guidance on social distancing will be in place throughout the building. With measures including deep cleans and additional cleaning between each session we  can safely welcome you back to your museum.
    Stage 2 - Reopening the Connaught Theatre for our Screen Arts Cinema Programme
    The Connaught Theatre will open on the 29th August with the launch of a wonderful Screen Arts programme including: Andre Rieu, Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes, Pink Floyd: A Delicate Sound of Thunder, National Theatre: Fleabag and Ball & Boe: Back Together.
    While we are aware that the Government stated cinemas could reopen from 4th July, we wanted to take the time to ensure we made the necessary adjustments to the buildings, to train and support our staff team and to speak to our audiences. 
    We will have fewer screenings per day to allow social distancing and avoid crowds, we are completing deep cleans of all spaces with additional cleaning between every screening and will have clear signage directing customers through the venue to avoid bottlenecks.  We will have all the necessary measures in place to provide a safe space for you to enjoy a great night out so we can confidently welcome you all back to the Connaught Theatre. 
    Stage 3 - Reopening the Live Events Programme - a laughter filled autumn at the Pavilion Theatre
    We welcome the government announcement that indoor performances with socially distanced audiences would be able to take place from 1st August, but bringing live events back in a safe and affordable way will take time particularly as most shows and events have now been rescheduled to 2021.  Live performance remains one the most challenging areas for the WTM venues because social distancing and reduced seating capacity makes the economics impossible for the majority of large scale shows and events. 
    However we do have good news. On the 26th September we will be launching a stand up comedy season at the Pavilion Theatre, opening with a comedy fundraiser. Seats will be limited to meet the social distancing guidelines so these will be hot tickets! Join our mailing list to make sure you don’t miss out.
    We know that not everyone will want to return to public venues immediately: but we want to be open for those who do in a safe manner that retains the spirit of WTM and your experiences with us. For those of you who want to wait a little longer - we will be here when you are ready.
    Ways you can support WTM
    The crisis has placed many arts charities like us on unstable ground. We need to prepare for the long term shock to the UK’s economy, or the chance that measures in social distancing might change again in the future. 
    Working to reopen all our beautiful venues and safeguarding as many jobs as possible has been a priority for WTM, but we do have to find ways to save money to get us through this crisis. We sadly do have to reduce the majority of the teams hours and make a number of redundancies, while incredibly painful, this is  necessary to ensure the future survival of WTM.
    We still need your help – here’s how you can get involved
    There are three ways that our audiences can help us right now:
    Become a Member -
    Make a donation -
    Buy a ticket -

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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
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