Tuesday, 23 February 2010

The Insider

Take part in the UK’s Most Important Business Survey

It’s that time again: fieldwork for the Quarterly Economic Survey begins TODAY. Your responses this quarter will be crucial to shaping business policy during a hard-fought election campaign. We can’t win real policy changes without your responses we can’t win real policy changes – so we’d greatly appreciate your ongoing support.

In Memory of Rifleman Aldridge

This Saturday afternoon, Folkestone Invicta Football Club are inviting the local community to join them in observing a minute's silence before the match with Croydon Athletic in memory of Rifleman Aldridge. To precede this there will be a roll-call of organisations, businesses, schools and clubs in and around Folkestone who are represented on the day to pay their respects. The Club have agreed to waive the normal gate charge and allow free entry.

Three Parliamentary Candidates face Question Time

Folkestone and Hythe’s three parliamentary candidates have agreed to a spot of Question Time grilling from an invited audience at a Breakfast Forum in Elham, near Folkestone, on Friday 12 March.

This free event will take place at the Rose and Crown, Elham, from 8 to 9.30am. Places are limited to 30, and a breakfast buffet of bacon or sausage sandwiches will be served on arrival, If you are interested in attending this forum, please contact anne@employment-relations.co.uk, tel: 01303 840001 You are also invited to send questions in advance.

Key transport projects will deliver £85 billion benefit to UK economy

Prioritising thirteen crucial transport projects over the life of the next Parliament - twelve regional and one national - would bring the UK economic benefits worth a massive £85 billion, according to research by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

Businesses from across the UK revealed the transport projects that they believe are essential to the future success and growth of their regional economies. The projects include:

London - Crossrail Cost: £15.9bn Benefit: £36bn
South East - M20 Operation Stack Cost: £48m Benefit: £75m
South West - A303/A358 Improvement Scheme Cost: £184m Benefit: £1.1bn
East of England- A14 Ellington to Fen Ditton Scheme Cost: £765m Benefit: £2bn
East Mids - A453 widening (M1 Jtn 24 to A52 Nottingham) Cost: £98m Benefit: £320m
West Mids - Birmingham Motorway Box Cost: £149m Benefit: £399m
Wales - M4 Relief Road Cost: £478m Benefit: £2.1bn
Yorkshire and the Humber - East Coast Mainline Cost: £606m Benefit: £1.7bn
North West - Manchester Hub Cost: £937m Benefit: £3.7bn
North East - A19 junction upgrades Cost: £171m Benefit: £707m
Scotland - Forth Replacement Bridge Cost: £1.4bn Benefit: £6bn
Northern Ireland - M1/Westlink Cost: £46m Benefit: £201m
National - 3rd Runway at Heathrow Cost: £9bn Benefit: £30.7bn

Despite pressure on the public finances, and the need for spending cuts to bring down the UK’s huge budget deficit, the Chambers argue that this powerful package of road, rail and airport improvements – chosen by Britain’s businesses - must be delivered over the next decade, with both the funding and political will to construct them guaranteed.

Number Eleven Supper Club – New Menu Tasting Evening

Our members, Number Eleven in Folkestone are holding a new menu tasting evening on Sunday 21st March. The evening will launch their Spring Menu, and will celebrate the new season using ingredients such as Romney Marsh lamb, mackerel, rabbit, purple sprouting broccoli and rhubarb. Douglas the chef will guide diners through 9 courses, explaining the ingredients and suppliers used. This is a unique opportunity find out more about the sourcing and inspiration behind the dishes and sounds superb value at only £50 per person, with wine and coffee.

Places are limited so please book early to avoid disappointment on 01303 259535 or obtain a 10% discount online at : info@numberelevenfolkestone.co.uk

Shadowing Days for SEEDA Executives

We are looking for a Chamber member in East Kent who would like to host a senior SEEDA member staff for two days during the next couple of months. This is a great opportunity for the appropriate company to share knowledge and experience with a senior Regional Development Agency executive and promote the unique characteristics of your own dynamic business.

Would you please contact Channel Chamber on 01303 270022 if you are interested and you will be fully briefed with details of the placement.

For further details of the Chamber's forthcoming events, please log on to


Tuesday, 16 February 2010

The Insider

Minister for Transport meets Channel Chamber Members

This morning at Dover Priory Station Lord Adonis, the Minister for Transport accompanied by John Prescott and Lord Heseltine met with a small group of prominent Chamber members to hear their views about the Fast Rail service to London and how this could be the catalyst for reviving our local regeneration plans.

Channel Chamber, CEO was contacted by the Department of Transport last week to identify major local employers who could meet up with Lord Adonis and the following responded:

Dover Harbour Board, GSE Group, Holiday Extras, Veolia Water Southeast, Howletts Wild Life Park and London Ashford Airport.

Please keep an eye open this evening for the media coverage.

0% loan from the Carbon Trust

In the current economic climate every business needs to stay one step ahead. A 0% loan from the Carbon Trust could help Chamber members do just that. You can borrow between £3,000 and £500,000* (flexible to your business needs), interest free and unsecured. Applying is straightforward and with no arrangement fees, capital can even be accessed without denting cash flow.

Please feel free to visit http://www.britishchambers.org.uk/energysavinghub for additional information.

Charity concert for the Haiti Earthquake Appeal: Wednesday 17 February

This Charity concert taking place at The Quarterhouse (7pm), in Tontine Street Folkestone features exciting live performances by musicians from Folkestone and beyond. Tickets are £9 on the door (£8 adv) and bookings should be made directly via the box office on:01303 858500 www.quarterhouse.co.uk

The Marquis at Alkham - Michelin rated 'Rising Star'

Our congratulation go to Chamber member Charlie Lakin of The Marquis Restaurant who is one of only three chefs in England to be awarded a rising star in the 2010 Michelin Guide.

Sadly, due to the snow last Thursday our Networking Breakfast at the Marquis was cancelled but we have quickly rescheduled this event at the 200-year-old former village inn to Thursday 25 February.

We've just a few places left and if you want to be pampered at 7.30am in such delightful surroundings, please phone Tracy TODAY on 01303 270022.

For further information about the Marquis, to reserve a table or book accommodation, visit www.themarquisatalkham.co.uk or telephone 01304 873410 or email: info@themarquisatalkham.co.uk

New - Jersey service from Lydd Airport

For full details of the new service please visit here for further details

Sainsbury's Supermarket planning application in Hythe

News has just reached us that the Secretary of State has decided that any invention would not be justified and will allow Shepway District Council to proceed with this application.

March Events for your Diary:
Shepway Young Chef 2010 Competition

On the 3rd & 4th March the Rotary club of Folkestone together with Folkestone, Hythe & District Hotel & Catering Association (FHDHCA) will be holding the Shepway Young Chef 2010 competition held at Folkestone Academy and South Kent College respectively. This competition will culminate with a presentation dinner at The Kingsnorth Restaurant, South Kent College, Shornecliffe Road, Folkestone where Chamber members are invited to support this excellent youth project by bringing friends, partners/ spouses.

Tickets for the evening costs £16 per person for an excellent three course buffet dinner with coffee, plus an arrival drink with canap├ęs Please email: daniel@castlewoodhotels.com if you wish to attend.

Are You Ready To Tender? ISO Workshops

The Channel Chamber Of Commerce is holding a number of workshops over the next three months to help small businesses qualify for big money contracts.

A series of three workshops are being sponsored by the British Standards Institute (BSI) and will be delivered by David Hall, Managing Director of Business Flow UK Ltd and are an introduction to the ISO standards.

Kent County Council's Strategic Procurement Manager - John Tunnicliff will also be taking you through the schedule of tenders suitable for SME's during the year ahead

Andy Wilson, Business Development Manager from the British Standards Institute (BSI) will be showing us the way forward and how to certify and the benefits to your business, and a Business Link executive will offer practical help and expert advice on how to take full advantage of these opportunities for public sector procurement.

Spaces are limited so early booking is recommended. Call Tracy on 01303 270022 or email info@channelchamber.co.uk

Dates & Venues:

Tuesday 16th March (8.00am - 10.30am) - Channel Chamber of Commerce, Folkestone

Tuesday 13th April (8.00am - 10.30am) - Ramada Hotel, Dover

Tuesday 18th May (8.00am - 10.30am) - Thanet - Venue TBC

Cost (including full English Breakfast) :

£15 +VAT Chamber members

£20 + VAT Non-members

Networking Breakfast - Holiday Inn Express, Kent International Airport 23rd March

As a bonus to Chamber members the Hotel is offering an introductory rate on the 22 March of £25.00 per room reduced from £59.95 Paul Etheridge, the General Manager will be hosting a drinks reception that evening in the bar from 7.30 - 9pm. For further details and booking please telephone Paul on 01843 820 250

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

The Insider

Interested in a Graduate Placement?

Channel Chamber currently benefits from the employment of two young graduates –Aromal and Abbishek, who are helping us to deliver two separate business-related projects over the next few months. Their skills and expertise have already enabled us to make huge strides with our marketing programmes and, in return we are providing them with essential hands-on experience plus day-to-day contact with local business people at all levels.

We strongly recommend that Chamber members also consider taking advantage of a new graduate Internship scheme being launched by the University of Kent on Wednesday 10th February, at the Canterbury Innovation Centre on the University’s Canterbury Campus (5.30pm-7.30pm).

Up to 100 new graduate Internships are being offered to local business, all funded through the Higher Education Funding Council. The evening will feature presentations from companies currently engaged with the University of Kent. Cheese, wine and soft drinks will be provided in an informal setting along with plenty of opportunities for networking.

For more information please telephone 01227 827376 or book a place online www.kent.ac.uk/enterprise.

New Website Promotes Road Safety

A new website (www.kmscp.org) has been created by Folkestone-based Sagittarius Marketing aimed at changing people’s attitudes towards road safety in Kent. This follows four separate integrated campaigns they have helped design which drive home life-saving road safety messages to motorists across the region.

The website includes new educational areas on speed limits for different types of vehicles and also an interactive safety camera map showing every fixed camera location in the county.

Sagittarius Marketing will shortly be delivering a number of high-profile road safety campaigns starting with the Safety Cameras Save Lives campaign, which debunks the myths many people have about safety cameras.

For more information visit www.sagittarius-digital.com

Construction of New Strategic Main

A £1.4m scheme to build a new strategic main at St Mary’s Bay is being launched by Veolia Water. The work (involving 1.6km of pipeline) which is due to begin very shortly will improve security of supply in the area and is part of a wider upgrading of the mains network across Romney Marsh costing more than £33m.

Temporary traffic lights on the A259 at St Mary’s Bay will be needed to allow the work to be completed. An Enterprise helpline for enquiries on the work will be available tel: 0800 521660. The Veolia Water helpline is 0845 888 5 888.

Lydd Airport Corrections

Lydd Airport’s advertisement in the current edition of the Herald newspaper has shown some incorrect figures relating to future projections and they tell us that a correction will be published in the next edition.

The copy should have read: Research shows that the total revenue generated by visitors using the expanded airport would be £1.8 million each year for 300,000 passengers and £3.25 million for 500,000 passengers.

Grand Welcome to Robert Richardson

We have a new Manager at the Grand in Folkestone and Channel Chamber sends him our very best wishes on behalf of all his fellow Chamber members.

Robert Richardson has worked extensively throughout the hotel industry during the past twelve years and as part of his plans for 2010 he is focussing on Kent produce being served across his bars and restaurants, including the Keppels Bistro and Palm Court restaurant). Homemade scones and cakes, Chapel Down wines and Biddendens cider and apple juice are all being served and will complement a very busy ‘event’ programme being designed to attract locally-based customers in particular.

For further details of this programme including Art exhibitions, a bigger Charity Focus, Classic Car Rally, Real Ale & Wine tastings, Murder Mysteries, Theatre Shows, Wedding Fairs & Open Days please telephone Robert on 01303 222 222.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

The Chamber Insider

2010 Member Special Offer:

In partnership with Vital Software Limited, Channel Chamber is delighted to offer our members across East Kent ContactTracker - a powerful and cost-effective Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system from only £149.99 per license. ContactTracker CRM is now in use by Channel Chamber as our preferred system, and we are one of many organisations that are using this system to improve sales and marketing efforts, and enhance customer satisfaction and communication.

To find out more join us at our Networking Breakfast at the Marquis Restaurant, Alkham in 11th February when Roger Knight, Vital Software will tell you all about our exclusive, no obligation 7-day trial . Or contact Channel Chamber on 01303 270022

Business Support Awareness Survey

Chambers of Commerce across the South East England are working with other partners to identify the level of awareness of Business Support Services amongst businesses. This is to ensure that you have good access to this support and the services can be shaped to fit business needs. Please help us by completing this short survey which will take only a few minutes. Your replies will be treated in confidence, in accordance with the Market Research Society Code of Conduct.

Free IPod Touch to be Won

Everyone completing the survey can be entered into a prize draw for an iPod Touch. If you would like to be entered, simply complete the email address section at the end of the survey. Details entered for the prize draw will not be used for any other purpose. The closing date is noon on Friday 12th February.

To enter just click on this link: Chamber Business Support Survey

Corporate Open Day Burlington Hotel: Thursday 4th February

It's been a few years since Daniel Sangiuseppe and his staff last invited local businesses to view the Burlington’s conference, restaurant and bedroom facilities. Why not pop along and join them from 4pm to 9pm for an afternoon of networking and enjoy a cup of tea and some nibbles. As an extra incentive, attendees will be offered 10% off their first conference booking.

University of Kent free networking session: Wednesday 10th February

This event, called Strengthen Your Business, is free to attend and takes place over cheese and wine, from 17.30 to 19.30. A series of short presentations will demonstrate how companies can work in close partnership with the University, and tap into its extensive commercial knowledge and resources. Included will be testimonials from companies currently engaged with the University in commercial ventures. Speakers will also outline the opportunities for businesses to work with the University via government-funded projects, work placements, graduate recruitment and specialist initiatives such as the newly launched Digital Media Hub.

For more details or to book, call 01227 827376 or book online here.

London 2012 - Creative & Digital Opportunities: Tuesday 2nd March

Business Link and MediaTree are hosting this free workshop for creative businesses in Kent, to find out from the experts more about the latest opportunities. Taking place at the Maidstone Studios, Vitners Park, Maidstone, registration opens at 8.30am and the workshop is run from 9am to 4pm.

£2,500 to Take on an Apprentice

Over the next ten weeks the National Apprenticeship Service is providing £2,500 grants for employers of 16 and 17 year olds. This will enable employers to offer new Apprenticeship places and take on an unemployed 16 or 17 year old as a new apprentice immediately.The grant is in addition to the costs of training which are already met by the National Apprenticeship Service.

Small and medium sized employers in particular are being encouraged to take advantage over this new grant which will be paid in two instalments. £1,500 when the young person starts their Apprenticeship and A further £1,000 after 12 weeks. Both payments and the paperwork will be administered by South Kent College.

Find out more by contacting Loretta Izod on 01303 858419

The costs of workplace parking

Just when you thought it was safe to drive your car to work again, the Workplace Parking Levy (England) Regulations 2009 are set to make their entrance. Britain’s first workplace parking levy scheme is proposed soon for Nottingham and has been approved by Nottingham City Council. This will result in employers being charged for providing the benefit of enabling their employees to park their car at the workplace. The parking levy scheme in Nottingham will no doubt set a precedent for other cities across the country, once the operational practicalities and considerations have been observed and ironed out.

Five Ways to make the most of the Recovery

There will still be tough times ahead for most local businesses, but the Govt’s announcement of growth is a step in the right direction. To help your business benefit as the recovery advances, Business Link has compiled a useful guide on key areas, including:

Retaining and motivating your people.
Keeping costs under control.
Planning for growth.

Select this link to view the guide. Or contact Business Link at: 0845 600 9006