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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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  • 21 July 2020 2:22 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Chichester College Group welcomes new incentive for apprenticeships

    Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a package of financial support for the UK, including a new incentive for employers to hire apprentices over the next six months.

    From August 2020 to January 2021, any company that recruits a new apprentice aged between 16 to 24 will receive £2,000, while those that hire new apprentices aged 25 and over will be paid £1,500.

    As an ‘Outstanding’ rated apprenticeship training provider, we welcome this as a positive move that will provide employers with extra support to develop and invest in young people, as we emerge from the coronavirus lockdown.

    These payments will be in addition to the existing £1,000 incentive the government already provides for new 16 to 18 year-old apprentices, and those aged under 25 with an education, health and care plan where that applies.

    This means that employers could receive an incentive of up to £3,000 for hiring 16 to 18 year old apprentices during the six month incentive scheme. Find out more about the scheme.

    Paul Rolfe, Group Director of Commercial, Marketing & Sales at the Chichester College Group, said:

    “For businesses that are reopening, and potentially looking at a surge in business, apprenticeships have never been a more affordable option to recruit new talent or up-skill existing talent. There are also many other reasons to take on an apprentice other than financial:

    1. Improving productivity - More than three-quarters (76%) of employers who employ apprentices agree they make their workplace more productive.
    2. Developing staff across all levels of your business - Apprenticeships are also an effective way to up-skill your existing workforce
    3. Aiding staff retention - Employing an apprentice can aid staff retention, providing you with skills staff for the future. In a recent survey, 74% of companies surveyed said that apprentices tended to be more loyal than non-apprentices.”

    Chichester College Group can help to support your business to take on an apprentice. We deliver apprenticeships to more than 1,000 employers across the South East and offer a wide range of apprenticeship programmes.

    To find out more, or to recruit an apprentice, please email employers@ccgtraining.ac.uk or book an appointment online with one of our friendly, expert apprenticeship advisors.
  • 21 July 2020 11:54 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    METALL Round Table Focuses on ‘Survive, Revive and Thrive’

    Four out of every five manufacturers across Sussex are experiencing problems implementing social distancing measures as they begin to ramp up production, according to a survey conducted by METALL, the regional forum for manufacturing, engineering and technology businesses.

    The poll also reveals that over 90% of local manufacturers had furloughed staff, 67% had received a loan under a government scheme and just under a quarter (23%) expected their annual results to be down by 40% or more. 70% also cited contractual issues with suppliers and customers.

    The survey formed the backdrop to METALL’s latest event – a virtual round table of businesses – where a roadmap for ‘survive, revive and thrive’ was on the agenda.

    “There’s no doubt that for most manufacturers these are very challenging times, so the round table was an opportunity for business leaders to engage with expert advisers in areas of finance, law and business support,” said Tony Summers, Partner and Head of Manufacturing at MHA Carpenter Box, a METALL sponsor.

    “Under current circumstances, it is very important that companies keep up-to-date on government support because this can have far-reaching consequences for technology businesses. For example, a business that takes a government backed loan may inadvertently be disqualified from receiving research and development tax credits under state aid rules, which could impact future innovation.”

    The virtual round table also heard from Lou Williams from the Coast to Capital Growth Hub, who emphasised the need to stay in touch with customers during this difficult trading environment, while Debbie Venn, Partner at solicitors DMH Stallard, urged companies to use this period to review their business models to identify areas where businesses could strengthen their trading arrangements, including opportunities for diversification, that could create long-term value.

    METALL is sponsored by sector specialists MHA Carpenter Box, DMH Stallard and Coast to Capital.

    www.metall.org.uk

  • 21 July 2020 11:41 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Masks with positive messages support charities affected by coronavirus

    Worthing-based giftware company, Ellie Ellie, is bringing a little positivity to essential outings thanks to a new range of face mask coverings, with a percentage of every sale being donated to local hospice St Barnabas House and national charity, NHS Charities Together.

    With face masks now a regular feature of daily life and a new norm on public transport, Ellie Ellie’s ‘Positivity Masks’ are designed to promote self-expression amid the pandemic, whilst allowing wearers to make a meaningful contribution to charity at the same time.

    Founder and Managing Director of Ellie Ellie, Danielle Plowman, has supported St Barnabas House since 2017 and felt compelled to find a way to raise money after hearing about the hospice’s drop in fundraising income due to COVID-19.

    “As a company, our aim has always been to bring people together through all life’s moments, including the most difficult times,” explains Danielle. “So, it became evident early on that we needed to play a part in connecting and helping others during this difficult time.

    “A lot of standard face masks which are on the market can actually look quite scary. And like a lot of people, I found that whenever I wore one out to the supermarket I really struggled to convey warmth and friendliness through my eyes alone. We wanted to offer an alternative – something that allows people to protect themselves and others, but also spread positivity.

    “When I heard how much COVID-19 had impacted St Barnabas and their fundraising income, I knew that I wanted to do something to help. Which is why £1 from every mask sold will be divided between St Barnabas and NHS Charities Together.”

    Over the last three years Ellie Ellie has raised over £5,000 for St Barnabas House through overseas treks, fundraising events and team challenges.

    Jo Bacon, Corporate Fundraiser at St Barnabas House, says: “We are so thankful for all that Danielle and her team have done, and continue to do to, to support the hospice. Local businesses are coming up with some really innovative ways to fundraise amidst the pandemic and their drive and commitment is helping to ensure that we can continue providing care services in the months ahead.”

    Featuring original illustrations and uplifting sentiments like 'Spread Kindness', ‘We’re in this Together’ and ‘Keep Smiling’, the Ellie Ellie face masks are available to buy from the company’s website and £1 from every mask sold will be divided between St Barnabas House and NHS Charities Together.

    View Ellie Ellie’s Positivity Masks here: www.ellieellie.co.uk/collections/face-masks


  • 21 July 2020 11:34 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Virtual March Up Ben Nevis Raises Over £2,000 for Armed Forces Charity

    To mark this year’s Armed Forces Day on Saturday 27 June, a group of participants virtually marched up Ben Nevis to help raise vital funds for military charity, Care for Veterans. 

    The climbers individually marched the 8,810 steps – the distance to the summit of the iconic Scottish mountain – either at their homes or in local parks, following the rules around social distancing. 

    Care for Veterans provides residential nursing care and rehabilitation to physically disabled ex-Service personnel and their families. With events cancelled or postponed, the charity has lost a major source of income and still needs to raise £1.9 million this year. Care for Veterans is urgently appealing for people to take part in events such as this so that it can continue to provide its essential service to our nation’s heroes. 

    Event organiser, Phoebe Tether, explains, “On behalf of everyone at Care for Veterans, I’d like to thank all those who took part in our march up Ben Nevis and raised a fantastic amount of £2,254. Your help will go a long way in ensuring that the veterans in our care continue to receive the support they need. Obviously, due to the current circumstances we cannot host our usual popular events, so we are in desperate need of support from our community. With many people still stuck at home, this virtual event was a great way for people to stay active, get exercising, whilst also raising some money.”

    Participant, Judi Burgess, urges other people to get involved. She said, “I undertook the virtual march up Ben Nevis and found it to be unlike anything I've ever done before. It took a great deal of determination to repeatedly climb my stairs at home alone for a period of roughly 8 hours. I can't deny that it was very tedious at times, but when I was finding it difficult, I reminded myself of how much good the sponsorship money would do and how many difficult situations the veterans themselves must have been through. 

    My advice to anyone new to fundraising would be to pick a challenge they find fun and worthwhile. Plan your training for the event, make the most of it and have fun whilst doing it! You might surprise yourself and find you have inner strength.”
     
    To support Care for Veterans, visit their website and see how you can get involved: www.careforveterans.org.uk 

  • 21 July 2020 11:26 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Shop around and prepare a compelling case if actively looking for funding says Kreston Reeves

    Over 100 days into the Coronavirus pandemic and many businesses are still actively looking for sources of funding, but it is important that they take the time to shop around, assess their full financial needs for the next 12 months and prepare a detailed proposal which will be accepted first time and access the most suitable and affordable funding says accountants and business advisers Kreston Reeves.

    Over the last three months many business owners may have invested their own money into their business or taken smaller dividends to help with cashflow. In addition to this there may be longer term borrowing needs which have now been identified but knowing which source of funding is best for your business can seem daunting.

    A recent survey* by Kreston Reeves of businesses in the South East found 41% are still actively looking for sources of funding and 76% of the same businesses have had their cashflow directly affected by COVID-19.

    Steps to take to find the best source of funding are to firstly approach your existing lender, they have built a relationship with you over time and have detailed information about how your business and accounts have been managed and they are focussing on their existing customers so there are a number of options and products available including reviewing the terms of existing lending. Secondly speak to your existing private investors regarding further investment and/or consider attracting new investors.

    Other options available to a business which was both ‘viable and profitable before the pandemic’ are the various Government Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan schemes including the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) or the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

    As of 30 June, there were 967,321 approved loan facilities under the BBLS worth over £29.51 billion (first time approval rate of 81%) and 52,275 approved loan facilities under CBILS worth a total of £11.07billion (first time approval rate of 50%). Applications can be made for BBLS up to 4th November, and until the end of September for CBILS although the Government may extend these further.

    For small and medium sized businesses, the Business Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) is available. Loans of £2,000 up to 25% of a business’ turnover or £50,000, whichever is lower. The scheme provides the lender with a Government-backed, 100% guarantee against the outstanding facility balance (both capital and interest). The borrower always remains 100% liable for the debt.

    Businesses also have access to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). Businesses with a turnover up to £45m can borrow up to £5m. CBILS is for businesses that are viable but experiencing lost or deferred revenues leading to disruptions to their cashflow. A major feature of this loan is that it is interest free to the borrower for 12 months and it can also include a capital repayment holiday of up to 12 months. Lending covered by this scheme includes term facilities, overdrafts, invoice finance facilities and asset finance facilities.

    Most lenders are looking to see at least a 12-month detailed cashflow forecast but it does help to submit a supplementary document which explains more about your business. It is important to consider not just the immediate cashflow challenge but the effect on working capital over the next 12 months, to make sure you ask for enough money.

    John Walsham, Funding and Business Development Consultant at Kreston Reeves, comments: “Many businesses are reviewing all of the issues they face and the possible effect on cashflow before actively applying for first round or additional funding which is sensible and guidance can be found online. There is a lot of reporting and financial information which businesses need to prepare, including detailed cash flow forecasts which needs to be clear and succinct to have the best chance of success. It is advisable to seek external advice to help get this right first time. If you do choose to explore the wider funding options, pricing is an important consideration as there are a number of lenders offering CBILS. They are individually risk rated loans with interest rates charged typically between 2.4%-6% over base rate, but I’ve seen some offered with interest rates as high as 10% over base rate.”

    Details of each of the schemes and further information is available at https://www.krestonreeves.com/coronavirus


  • 21 July 2020 11:19 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Top 20 things SMEs need to do to safeguard their business

    According to the latest poll of SMEs conducted by The Martlet Partnership in conjunction with the UK200Group, 13% of SMEs believe they cannot survive the current crisis and a further 48% have ‘written off’ this year and say they are not in good shape. 1.5% of SMEs say they have to close. The poll was conducted amongst 432 SMEs across the UK in the third week of June and asked them what the future looks like for their business. One third of respondents indicated that business is pretty much as usual. The same question was asked of SMEs in April, at which time their outlook was far more pessimistic.

    The poll highlights the remarkable resilience of SMEs in the UK. Despite everything that has been thrown at them in recent months, they are doing everything they can to be positive about the future.

    But the poll also highlights a stark reality, namely that SMEs are facing some very tough times. Not least due to the impending wall of debt expected next year.

    Government support, from furlough and SEISS to tax deferrals and business loans have helped SMEs to survive over the past 3-months. These schemes have injected money into businesses, have enabled businesses to pay their staff and have held off the inevitable squeeze that will follow.

    We are already seeing redundancies and businesses failing due to lack of cash. To use an analogy, we are currently in the eye of the storm. Exiting the storm will be challenging. But there are a number of steps that SMEs can take to survive this storm and build a platform to thrive in the long term.

    The Martlet Partnership have produced a handy guide highlighting the Top Twenty Things SMEs need to do to safeguard their business, click here to open it. 

    www.martletpartnership.com

  • 21 July 2020 10:55 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Productive Remote Working Through (and beyond) Covid 19

    The UK has been in lockdown from the Covid-19 pandemic since the 23rd March and the signs are that the lockdown is easing and businesses that haven’t been able to trade their way through the pandemic are now beginning to reopen.

    The entire working landscape has changed with businesses adapting to their workforce working from home and embracing collaborative tools and video-conferencing software to ensure continuity. There are concerns and a potential risk of a ‘second wave’ of the virus as people begin to leave the lockdown and unfortunately, a percentage of people failing to adhere to the ongoing social-distancing measures or the wearing of appropriate PPE.

    There are a number of key ways that businesses have adapted during the past few months and all businesses should ensure that they and their teams are fully equipped and ready to trade. We’ve listed what we think are the key tools to use, not only during a lockdown, but at any time as the ‘new’ way of working continues:

    Productivity & Collaboration Tools

    A number of technology/digital companies have long been advocates of online collaboration tools to ensure their work continues remotely.

    At 5 Rings, we are regular users of the Office 365 suite and have been using Microsoft Teams to run daily meetings and discussions between colleagues and departments – even our bi-weekly quiz is held on Teams! Our Digital Marketing department are also big advocates of a number of collaboration tools, such as Asana and Slack to collaborate and schedule workload.

    Telephony

    Yeah, of course it’s important to ensure your phone system is flexible and cloud-based. Having a single, on-premise phone is just not feasable in the current climate as customers and clients will still appreciate phone contact or to discuss work.

    VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocal) systems can be deployed and setup in minutes. All done remotely, through the cloud, with no hardware needed – we are biased being we offer that as a core service, but you really will notice the difference and embrace the current standard in telephony. Microsoft Teams also integrates with our VoIP systems, meaning greater connectivity with your phone system as well as your internal collaboration systems.

    Cloud Servers

    Before the lockdown, many SME’s were still utilising on-site or local storage for their emails, documents etc and found an issue with storing their work when not in the office. This is partly down to not having a reliable cloud-based server and additionally, a certain amount of distrust. In this current climate, a secure, cloud-based server or storage solution is one of the most important things you can have to run your business effectively. Cloud storage can masquerade in many forms – from simple desktop programs like Dropbox, or utilising storage through OneDrive or Google Drive. These are to deploy and can save you lots of time and stress, leaving you to concentrate on the important things – like running your business.

    Document Management

    Remember the days of having paperwork everywhere, files and folders cluttering up the office? Well for some it is a necessity but many have now switched their business to be almost entirely paperless. For businesses that have to be security and conscious of confidentiality, many online solutions are GDPR compliant, with Cyber Essentials & ISO27001 accreditations, so you know your documents are secure. Additional functions such as revision history and the ability for  multiple people to work on a document means your business becomes clearer of paperwork but doesn’t lose the security or collaborative aspects of a paper-filled world. For this, we recommend using Microsoft SharePoint, which comes with the Office 365 suite.

    Online Backup

    If you have anything stored digitally, it’s imperative you have an online backup. Automated online backup solutions can backup all data critical to a business. There are many solutions available to use, some of which integrate into Office 365. Having an online backup This secures all your emails, contacts and documents and protects you should there be an issue and you suffer any data loss, which can be crippling to a business.

    And one of massive importance…

    Anti-virus Solution

    Most people will already have this (or if using a company machine, their IT team will have ensured it does) but having a solid anti-virus solution on your IT network really is crucial. Working from home tends to be less secure than an office internet system and if people combine using their devices for both business and personal use, should a device become compromised by a virus this not only causes problems for the user, but for their company too as the virus can then spread easily to a connected server, putting any other users at risk. There’s a virus risk outside at the moment, don’t risk your IT network inside too!

    www.5ringsgroup.co.uk 

    0333 2200 555

  • 13 July 2020 2:28 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Register your business for the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

    Businesses are encouraged to use the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme to offer a discount to diners and encourage them to eat at your restaurant.

    Businesses can use the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme:

    • all day, every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 3 to 31 August 2020
    • to offer a 50% discount, up to a maximum of £10 per person, to diners for food or non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in
    • to claim the money back from the government

    There is no limit to the number of times customers can use the offer during the period of the scheme. Customers cannot get a discount for someone who is not eating or drinking.

    Alcohol and service charges are excluded from the offer.

    Registration will close on 31 August.

    Click here for more information or to register your business

  • 13 July 2020 2:06 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Discretionary Grant Funding Round 2 now open until 19th July 

    Adur & Worthing Councils are pleased to offer a second round of the Discretionary Fund for any businesses in need and impacted by COVID-19 and who have not already received a government business grant.

    In Round 1 of the Discretionary Grants, Adur & Worthing Councils adopted the West Sussex County Councils' Discretionary Fund Guidelines. The guidelines were produced to ensure businesses in the most impacted sectors were provided most assurance of support. Whilst the Councils still use these guidelines when reviewing claims, during this round of funding, Adur & Worthing Councils are keen to receive applications from any business that can clearly evidence a significant impact from Covid. Whilst the Councils can not guarantee a grant will be awarded, as funding is limited, we welcome applications so we can review situations on a case by case basis. The process may also provide us an opportunity to support you in other ways.

    Click here for full information

  • 13 July 2020 1:57 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Message from the AWBP Chair, Andrew Swayne

    I hope that all those in the hospitality industry that have reopened in the past week have done so safely and successfully.  We all appreciate there has been challenging times and much learning will be happening over the next few weeks. The additional support from the Chancellor should also assist – let’s hope the new schemes and VAT change are easy to implement.

    We know from partners that the first weekend was generally successful for the local businesses -  which is an encouraging start.   

    It will be interesting to see how the relaxation on foreign travel develops to provide overseas tourist footfall.  

    When looking around the world including the UK, its wise to remember that lockdowns can happen very quickly in localities and we should all be working to minimise the chances of this happening in our area, but being prepared to react if we have to. From what I understand the Resilience Forums are well prepared for this, including potential second waves in the autumn. Lets all do our best to ensure it doesn’t happen in our area. 

    Clearly the recent announcements from the chancellor on home improvements are opportunities for some local businesses and for retraining. We wish all those in this sector a local success.  We will be looking at how ‘Buy Local’ can be communicated. 

    Now that we know the governments plans for school reopening in September it will be interesting to see how each school or college plans to meet the guidelines and how this impacts traffic flows in September.  As businesses we all need to know how this will affect our employees ability to work.

    Yesterday’s news from the Culture secretary will also help the leisure sector and give people an opportunity improve their well-being. I hope all the publicly supported and commercial provision can open on time to the maximum permitted capacity.


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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
© 2018 Worthing & Adur Chamber


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