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

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

  • 15 February 2021 2:47 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Government announces NEW £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund

    The £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund, offers support to help small businesses adjust to new customs procedures, rules of origin, and VAT rules when trading with the EU.

    Eligibility: The SME Brexit Support Fund could give you up to £2,000 if your business has up to 500 employees, and no more than £100 million annual turnover.

    SMEs who trade only with the EU, and are therefore new to importing and exporting processes, can apply for grants of up to £2,000, to pay for practical support including training and professional advice to ensure they can continue trading effectively with the EU.

    For more information on the SME Brexit Support Fund, click here

    Full guidance on how you can use the grant, who can apply and how to apply, click here.

  • 15 February 2021 2:29 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Government boost to rapid workplace testing

    An online portal has been launched to make it even easier for business in the private sector to get involved and find out more about offering rapid testing in the workplace. Business that are open during lockdown can now sign up to rapid testing programmes that identify cases of Covid-19 in employees who are not showing symptoms, to help stop the spread of Covid-19, and ensure vital public and economic services can continue.  

    Businesses can register to order coronavirus rapid lateral flow tests for employees if:

    • Your business is registered in England
    • You employ 50 people or more
    • Your employees cannot work from home
    Testing is key to breaking the chains of transmission. Around one in three people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and may be unknowingly spreading the virus. This expansion of testing will find more positive cases, keeping workers who cannot work from home unknowingly passing on the virus and protecting vital public services. For more information, click here.

  • 15 February 2021 2:15 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    COVID-19 local update from West Sussex County Council

    Rates of COVID-19 are continuing to fall in all areas of West Sussex but it's really important we continue to follow lockdown restrictions and stop the spread. Anyone can catch and spread coronavirus. Act like you have it and keep West Sussex safe.

    In the seven days to Saturday 6 February there were 1,384 new cases. This is 160.2 per 100,000 population.

    The latest data indicates there have been 38,354 cases so far in West Sussex, as at Thursday 11 February 2021. In cases among those aged 60+, in the seven days to Saturday 6 February there were 357 new cases. 

    You can get further information on the infection rates in your area by visiting

    When will I get my jab?

    The NHS continues to roll out the COVID-19 vaccination programme across our communities.

    In Sussex, the NHS is on course to meet the national target for offering the COVID-19 vaccination to the top four priority groups by mid-February. All vaccination services are continuing to work this week to invite anyone in the first four priority groups who has not had their vaccination yet, and who wants it, for an appointment by next week;

    To ensure everyone has been offered the opportunity to have the jab, people aged 70 and over who have not yet been vaccinated and who would like to, are now able to contact the national booking service directly to arrange an appointment. You can go online or call 119.

    The latest (up to 7 February) official national data on vaccinations is available on the link below.

    Chichester vaccination centre 

    A new vaccination centre is expected to open in Chichester city centre this month for local residents who are eligible to be able to receive their COVID-19 vaccine. The details of how the site will operate are being finalised and residents will be informed which groups will be able to access the service next week.

    For up to date information on the vaccine programme including a full FAQ please click the link below. 

    Symptom-less testing for businesses 

    Businesses in West Sussex with more than 50 employees could now benefit from asymptomatic COVID-19 testing.

    The government scheme is open to businesses registered in England whose employees are unable to work from home.

    Further details, and an update on the local symptom-less testing programme are available via the link below. 

    Council 'Reset Plan' approved

    Councillors today approved our 'Reset Plan' which sets out what we should focus on in the future, and how we should spend our money.

    The Reset Plan sets out our key priority outcomes over the next four years, focusing on learning from the response to COVID-19 to ensure we provide the best support we can for residents both now and in the future.

    Our budget for the coming year

    Today West Sussex County Council’s budget for the financial year ahead was set at the annual Budget Council meeting. The budget includes additional day-to-day funding for adults and children’s social care, an extra £12m investment in highways, and £10m to address the challenges of climate change. 

    The Budget meeting also approves the council tax level for 2021/22.

    The increase in council tax will be 1.99% - plus an additional 3% for adult social care – making a total increase of 4.99%. This puts the County Council element of an average band D council tax bill at £1,510.56 – or just over £4 per day. This is an increase of £71.82 per year or just under 20p per day compared to last year’s bill.

    Read more about our financial position via the link below.

    Investing in our future 

    Whilst we continue to look for ways to fund our essential day-to-day revenue expenses, we’re pleased to say we have a revised and updated five-year capital investment programme of over £660m that will help our county to prosper in the future.

    Climate change has a new capital investment of £10m over the next five years which will be used to help the council become carbon neutral by 2030. This is in addition to £42m which is already allocated for future energy generation and storage projects.

    £12m additional investment will also be made in highway condition improvements on top of £87.5m already allocated in the capital programme to maintain and improve roads, cycle paths and pavements across the county.

    You can read more about our investment plans on the link below.

  • 12 February 2021 10:52 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Action on climate change proposed by Adur & Worthing Climate Assembly

    Greater protection for green spaces, more cycle routes and support for local food production, are included in a series of recommendations drawn up by the Adur & Worthing Climate Assembly. 

    The 18 recommendations - which cover biodiversity, education, energy use, planning, transport, waste reduction and recycling - are to be put before leaders of Adur & Worthing Councils’ next week at the Joint Strategic Committee. 

    Forty three local residents were randomly selected from the local population to form the Adur & Worthing Climate Assembly. Its members met online over five weekends between September and December 2020 to hear evidence from leading experts on climate change. They also heard from local community groups and businesses about the work they have been doing to tackle the climate crisis. 

    The recommended actions, which are for the Councils, local community groups and wider stakeholders, including private and sector organisations and residents, include: 

    • Protecting our green spaces by encouraging and promoting biodiversity through rewilding and establishing a network of community growing spaces to support local food production and tackle food poverty.
    • Educating and encouraging behaviour change around key themes including reducing plastic use, biodiversity, recycling and energy use. 
    • Encouraging and incentivising energy efficiency improvements; and improving access to low, zero carbon and affordable energy options.
    • Incorporating the highest standards of biodiversity and sustainability and environmental protection into planning applications. 
    • Reducing car use by creating more safe cycling routes, installing more charging points and parking spaces for electric vehicles and investing in affordable, accessible and greener public transport. 
    • Reducing waste by establishing more opportunities for upcycling and repairing; supporting and encouraging composting and promoting ways for residents and businesses to eliminate unnecessary waste. 

    Cllr Angus Dunn, Deputy Leader of Adur District Council, said: “It’s clear that the members of the Climate Assembly have put a considerable amount of work into this process; and drawn up some great recommendations for the Councils and wider stakeholders to consider and take forward.”

    Cllr Daniel Humphreys, Leader of Worthing Borough Council, said: The good news is that there’s a lot of synergy between the recommendations and our ambitions for tackling climate change. I look forward to seeing how these recommendations are developed into local action for tackling the climate crisis.” 

    In 2019, Adur & Worthing Councils declared a climate emergency and has committed to become carbon neutral across Adur and Worthing by 2050. The Adur & Worthing Climate Assembly was called as part of the Councils’ commitment to strengthen its response to the climate crisis. The recommendations from the Climate Assembly will inform the development of the Councils’ SustainableAW programme for protecting and improving the environment in Adur and Worthing. 

    The Climate Assembly was run independently by Democratic Society, a non-partisan organisation committed to improving democratic participation, with the Sortition Foundation running the recruitment for the Assembly.

    More information can be found at

  • 12 February 2021 10:48 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Worthing Theatres and Museum surpass £10k Crowdfunder target

    Supporters of Worthing Theatres and Museum (WTM)  have raised over £10,000 towards the charity’s crowdfunding campaign  Save Worthing Theatres and Museum. In just over seven weeks over 300 donors contributed to achieving the target. The campaign launched on 18 November as part of the Theatres Trust nationwide #SaveOurTheatres campaign. 

    The national campaign was designed to raise valuable funds to support theatres throughout the country.  Worthing Theatres and Museum was one of the most recent to sign up for the scheme and set itself an ambitious fundraising target of £10,000. Today, exceeding that target, with over a week remaining WTM have set an additional £2k stretch target so supporters continue to raise more much needed funds for the charity. The campaign was supported by an array of theatre, comedy, music and television stars such as singer and songwriter: Chesney Hawkes, Strictly Come Dancing Star: Ian Waite, A1 boy band star: Mark Read, comedians Vikki Stone and Patrick Monahan, and Katie Pritchard: Katie hosting a star studded pantomime awards live online in November last year.

    Amanda O’Reilly, CEO, Worthing Theatres and Museum said: 
    Our community's response has surpassed all our aspirations, a huge thank you to those who have donated and for their lovely messages of support, they have really inspired the team. We couldn’t have done this without the generous support of the artists, comedians, musicians and celebrities who gave their time and voice to support the campaign. This financial boost, together with the government support of the Cultural Recovery Fund, means we can begin to look forward and plan WTM’s return bringing our community the programme of arts, film and heritage we know they love.

    Before the third lockdown, WTM had been working hard to reopen their venues step by step and safeguard as many jobs as possible as a priority to ensure the future survival of WTM. With the capacity for socially distanced events at the Connaught Theatre, Connaught Studio, Assembly Hall, Pavilion Theatre and Worthing Museum vastly reducing the charities income, WTM reached out to their community towards raising a proportion of the additional £270,000 needed to help WTM recover over the next year. You can view the journey of the charity’s campaign and see the remarkable support and comments from donors on WTM’s crowdfunder page.

  • 12 February 2021 10:41 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Adur leisure centres poised for lifeline deal to reopen

    A deal has been done that rescues leisure centres after Adur District Council signed a contract with a trust that operates across the border in Worthing.

    South Downs Leisure (SDL) has taken over the running of the centres which closed last March as victims of the pandemic lockdown.

    Now SDL will operate Lancing Manor Leisure Centre, Southwick Leisure Centre and Wadurs swimming pool in Shoreham and begin preparations to open as soon as the government lifts lockdown rules.

    SDL operates leisure and community services in Worthing including the Splashpoint Leisure Centre, Worthing Leisure Centre and Davison Leisure Centre as well as the Field Place Manor House and Barns.

    The leisure trust will begin work to offer all users membership rates for all facilities across Adur and Worthing.

    Adur District Council’s Executive Member for the Environment, Cllr Emma Evans, said, ‘I’m delighted we have got this deal over the line. South Downs Leisure has an excellent record of delivering first class sports and leisure services and I am sure we in Adur will benefit from its expertise.

    ‘This deal means that as soon as the government decides it is safe to do so we will be able to reopen these facilities which, if lockdown has taught us anything, we know can play an important role in helping with our health and wellbeing.’

    The Adur leisure centres were previously run by Adur Community Leisure (ACL) which declared itself insolvent during the lockdown in July. The buildings, which are owned by the District Council but were run by ACL, were immediately mothballed. 

    In a report to the District Council last year SDL was described as having 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’.

    Chief Executive of SDL, Duncan Anderson, said, ‘It's great to be working in partnership with Adur District Council to take over the operation of these leisure facilities and get them ready for reopening to the community with a new and improved membership package.  In the meantime we would encourage all residents in Adur to download our South Downs Leisure App which has 45 free weekly classes being live streamed each week’

    The proposed deal between Adur District Council and SDL is for five years and the council will 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.

    Any eventual profit SDL, a charitable trust, generates will be invested back into the facilities or help activities within the community.   

  • 12 February 2021 10:34 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Pioneering music charity set to move into vacant Worthing town centre store

    A ground-breaking charity which uses music to inspire and help youngsters is moving to Worthing.

    The chief of AudioActive, which helped patron and world-famous singer Rag ‘N’ Bone man on his ladder to success, believes the town is ‘rich in talent’ - and will benefit from housing a space for musical artists and pioneering projects.

    The deal was brokered by Worthing Borough Council and means the charity will take over all three floors inside the old Dorothy Perkins clothing store on Montague Road, as a workshop and performance space.

    Adam Joolia, chief executive officer of AudioActive, says arts and culture organisations like his can lead to a renaissance of town centres like Worthing’s, which are facing a declining retail economy and the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    It supports the Council’s bid to create vibrant town centre life and attract new creative and cultural entrepreneurs.

    The move has been revealed in the February 2021 edition of Adur & Worthing Councils’ BuildingAW magazine.

    The digital publication aims to keep residents and businesses across both areas up-to-date with the latest developments in their communities.

    It features an exclusive Q&A session with Mr Joolia, who when speaking about the inspiring plans, said: “Worthing is a great place to get things done. The Council is very open, accessible and supportive of us. We now have a great opportunity and we believe we can really achieve something in Worthing.”

    The latest edition of BuildingAW includes details on the plans for 171 new homes on the former Adur Civic Centre site, which are to be submitted to Adur District Council in due course.

    Cllr Brian Boggis, Adur’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “Last year was all about COVID - but responding to the local impact of the global pandemic has not stopped Council teams from supporting businesses and driving forward with the regeneration of our communities.

    “This magazine features an update on the development at the old Civic Centre site on Brighton Road, which offers opportunities for commercial activity and local employment, as well as information on the Monks Farm and Queensway developments.”

    Readers can also learn more about the exciting proposals to expand Colonnade House to help it keep up with the demand for artistic and creative space in the area.

    Cllr Kevin Jenkins, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, added: “Worthing continues to grow a strong reputation for the creative industries and the town is benefiting from investment in gigabit broadband and a growth in demand of co-working facilities. 

    “The Council’s investment in Colonnade House as a creative, digital hub continues with further development that will see it grow in size and workforce capacity.

    “How we work and live will continue to evolve. Worthing is well-placed to respond to these changes with a Council willing and able to make significant interventions to help harness the potential of the town.”

    Read the latest issue of BuildingAW at:

  • 12 February 2021 10:29 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Message from the AWBP Chair, Andrew Swayne 

    Its good to see infection rates reducing and pressure reducing on our hospitals. The trends are not strong, but the reopening of schools and business is likely to be in measured steps – we just have to wait and see for the promised announcements on 15 and 22 February.  There is also progress on community and workplace lateral flow testing.
    It’s now very clear that border control will have a slower rate of relaxation than the internal economy within the UK, so my bet is for a strong staycation pitch for the hospitality and culture sectors.  Getting our offer fresh and sharp to challenge the competition will be important. That applies to the businesses and the public realm.
    When it comes to fiscal support, I think all the big announcements will come in the budget in early March.
    We are starting to see movement on green recovery planning and the government seeking interest in projects which are “shovel ready” – if you have something in mind, please contact AWBP.

    There is a particular focus on hydrogen and “Hydrogen Sussex” has a launch event on 26 February 1030-1200. We are keen to engage more businesses as there is a wish to build a hydrogen driven economy in Greater Brighton. Click here to register
    In the next edition we want to share some local business success stories – please share yours with us via Adur & Worthing Councils -

  • 12 February 2021 10:23 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Government boost to rapid workplace testing

    An online portal has been launched to make it even easier for business in the private sector to get involved and find out more about offering rapid testing in the workplace. Business that are open during lockdown can now sign up to rapid testing programmes that identify cases of Covid-19 in employees who are not showing symptoms, to help stop the spread of Covid-19, and ensure vital public and economic services can continue.  

    Businesses can register to order coronavirus rapid lateral flow tests for employees if:

    • Your business is registered in England
    • You employ 50 people or more
    • Your employees cannot work from home
    Testing is key to breaking the chains of transmission. Around one in three people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and may be unknowingly spreading the virus. This expansion of testing will find more positive cases, keeping workers who cannot work from home unknowingly passing on the virus and protecting vital public services. For more information, click here.
  • 11 February 2021 11:59 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    We will not be blown off course by pandemic pledge council leaders

    Leaders of Adur & Worthing Councils today pledge not to be blown off course by the pandemic with a renewed commitment to pursuing long term programmes that help their communities thrive.

    A range of practical building projects, wellbeing schemes and environmental actions are outlined in a six-month progress report, Platforms for our Places: Going Further presented to councillors this week.

    The ‘direction of travel’ document outlines commitments for the next three years and concludes that the majority remain on course despite the blow delivered by the Covid crisis.

    The report before the Councils’ Joint Strategic Committee says officers ‘have continued to move forward at pace with an ambitious agenda showing resilience and an ability to innovate that are genuinely exceptional’. 

    It outlines the five platforms for action for both Adur District Council and Worthing Borough Council and reports back that progress is being made despite the buffeting of the economy and gives examples of work going ahead in each. It also points out that careful stewardship of budgets means that despite having to take on more responsibility and work during the crisis finances are in decent order and, unlike other authorities, no cuts to services are currently planned.

    • Prosperous Places: on the first commitment work has continued to develop major sites to create jobs or build houses. In partnership with the NHS the borough council has gained planning permission for a Worthing Integrated Care Centre as part of a new Civic Quarter on its land behind the town hall. In Adur the district council is delivering hundreds of new affordable homes are being built and plans to spend more than £12m to build a further 57 further homes in spaces taken by underused garages.
    • Thriving People and Communities: a pioneering digital response from Councils has allowed officers to identify people made vulnerable by lockdown and put them in touch with volunteers recruited through the website. An innovative scheme with landlords called Opening Doors is helping to find much needed housing for those facing homelessness.
    • Tackling Climate Change and Supporting our Natural Environment: a citizens’ Climate Assembly has been established to propose to Councils actions on tackling the crisis and land has been bought at New Salts Farm between Lancing and Shoreham to maintain green spaces and promote biodiversity.
    • Good Services and New Solutions: Prudent financial control has meant Councils are currently breaking even but still delivering extra services required by the pandemic. Improved digital services, including a new website, are enabling residents to access information and services more efficiently than ever before.
    • Leadership of our Places: Councils have developed a range of partnerships and alliances with crucial bodies and have developed reputations as innovators and places ‘open for business. The Time for Worthing place brand, a long-term inward investment initiative, has been driven by the borough council.

    Welcoming the report the Leaders of Adur District Council and Worthing Borough Council said the publication of the report proved their commitment to action on behalf of residents remained despite the severe blows delivered by the pandemic.

    Leader of Adur District Council, Cllr Neil Parkin, said, ‘By publishing these commitments and then updating them in this way we are happy to be held to account for progress. In this year in particular it would be easy to hunker down and consolidate but we are continuing to look to the future beyond the life cycle of this terrible virus.’

    Leader of Worthing Borough Council, Cllr Daniel Humphreys, said, ‘It is important to keep moving forward so this report is welcome. For example to be able to make a significant step forward on Teville Gate by jointly purchasing it to build much needed homes while responding to the pandemic is a remarkable achievement in my opinion.’

    More information on the Platforms for our Places programme can be found here:

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