Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The Insider

Winter Fun on the Railway

Channel Chamber member and host of our Summer Breakfast meeting at New Romney, the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, have made changes to their normal tourist and educational transport operations this winter.

Santa Specials are now a tradition for many families and these run again on December weekends before Christmas and on the Tuesday to Friday (21st to 24th December). Trains leave from Hythe station on a regular timetable and need to be pre-booked using the Santa Hotline 01797-363256. The trip includes steam-hauled transport Hythe to New Romney, seasonal refreshments, a quality gift for all the children and a visit to the Model Railway exhibition all seasonally decorated. There is even an option that includes lunch and on Friday 10th December an evening option that includes a 4 course meal. To find out more the railway’s website is

Less well known is the Christmas gift with a difference that the railway specialises in.

Ever wanted to drive a steam engine (under supervision of course) ? If you are over 18 and averagely fit, this is the ideal present for you or a loved one. The day long course including all tuition and meals plus a souvenir book and certificate costs £260.00 and is available to book now for the early part of 2011 (when there are no public trains running). Vouchers are available to give as presents. More details on the website and bookings are taken daily 9 to 5 on 01797-362353.

Win Flights with Flybe

Visit Kent , in partnership with Manston , Kent 's International Airport , is conducting a survey into the most popular accommodation booking sites and travel agents' preferred wholesale suppliers or consolidators.

Their aim is to identify the best bookable and commissionable product in the marketplace in Kent that is available to a travel agent or tour operator. As a thank you, two tickets for two to Manchester will be offered in a prize draw from all completed survey forms. Please follow the link below to enter the competition.

Small business health adviceline is taking off

A report by NHS Plus shows that increasing numbers of small business employers are turning to its free Health for Work Adviceline, introduced to help tackle the impact of sickness absence in the workplace. More than a thousand businesses have called the Adviceline and the numbers are increasing every month.

Overall, sickness absence costs the UK around £100 billion each year. For small businesses, the effect of just one employee being absent can be huge in terms of productivity, recruitment costs and staff morale, but they often lack the resources that larger organisations have at their disposal to tackle employee ill health.

The Adviceline (Tel: 0800 0 77 88 44) puts businesses in direct contact with occupational health professionals for advice on how to help an employee with a physical or mental health problem either stay at work or return to work sooner.

The Open 2011

Preparations are well underway for the return of The Open at Sandwich next year. More than 180,000 spectators staying between one and seven nights attended the Open when it was last staged in Sandwich in 2003 – contributing an estimated £17.6 million to the local economy. Even more visitors are expected for the 2011 tournament, which runs from10th to 17th July.

The new website - - launched with the aim of being a ‘one-stop shop’ for visitors and residents is already receiving approx 8,000 hits a month. There is a free listing for all accredited accommodation and research indicates that many now prefer to book accommodation online. By updating and offering bookability, the website can offer this essential option by displaying these properties first.

To find out more about updating availability, offering bookability or becoming a temporary accommodation provider for The Open please contact

Kent Fire & Rescue Service

Draft plans for the future of our county-wide fire service have now been published and major changes are envisaged for Thanet in particular. Chamber members and other local business across East Kent are invited to take a look at these ideas and respond accordingly.

Please visit the website: and follow the link from the home page.

Chamber Christmas Luncheon with Damian Collins

Channel Chamber is delighted to be holding our annual festive luncheon celebrations at The Grand in Folkestone on Friday 10th December and we are really looking forward to meeting our members across East Kent. This very popular event has attracted 100 members and we have two tables left so you will have to book quickly to secure your place.

This is an ideal opportunity to entertain your staff, partners, customers and friends. Join us for a glass of mulled wine alongside a roaring open fire and listen to a pianist playing all your favourite Christmas Carols.

This will be followed by a fabulous three-course luncheon, wine, coffee & mince pies, followed by a host of entertainment, including our ever popular charity raffle, the proceeds of which are going to a local member charity – Joining Hands.

Tables of eight cost £230 or individual places are £30 – Members & £35 Non-Members. Please call Tracy Reynolds on 01303 270022 to secure your place.

As part of this event we always hold a Charity Raffle and businesses are invited to donate a suitable gift towards this. If you are able to assist please call Tracy Reynolds or simply reply to this email.

All proceeds of this year's Charity Raffle will be donated to:

Joining Hands

‘Joining Hands’ is a group of teachers, practitioners and professionals who are passionate about people, their social conditions, and future aspirations. They aim to provide an interface between the knowledge and skills required to set up cooperatives, social enterprises and businesses. Joining Hands is particularly supportive of youth social enterprise and entrepreneurship and would like to advocate for young people in and around Kent to set up and run their own social enterprises. Any donations will be kindly appreciated.

Monday, 15 November 2010

The Insider

What happens to your waste packaging?

Kent Community Recycling in Hawkinge have asked us to send out this urgent question to ALL Chamber members and other local businesses. You may already have this packaging collected by a waste management company at a fixed charge per visit, or you may even deliver this directly to the KCC facility at Hawkinge.

Alternatively, you can now deliver all your waste packaging on a regular basis to Kent Community Recycling and receive publicity for supporting charities and worthy causes of your choice or have KCR collect for recycling at just 10p per kilo. Kent Community Recycling have been dedicated to reducing waste for more than 21 years and were the first not-for-profit recycling organisation in Kent

It’s easy – Just call 01303 893772 with your trading name and postcode and leave the rest to them. For further details please visit

Win £500 in Margate Photo Competition

In readiness for the opening of the Turner Contemporary in Spring next year a photo competition has been organised to celebrate everything that’s special about the town of Margate . A panel of judges, including top international photographer, Martin Parr will decide the shortlist and the winners will be voted for by the public. The overall winner will receive £500 of Shop Local First Vouchers.

For further details and the competition terms and conditions please call 01843 577169 or visit

Report from Beijing

David Frost (British Chambers of Commerce) travelled over to China this week with the Prime Minister and 20+ leading businesses. This is his brief report of the first 48hrs.

“PM has focused on Trade and has clearly got a good relationship with the Chinese Prime Minister. This was evident at a meeting that we attended at the Great Hall of the People.

The focus of the visit is clear - " Britain is open for business". A strong emphasis on trying to get inward investment into the UK . This was evident at a reception held at the Embassy last night to which a large number of potential Chinese investors had been invited to. This is the biggest UK Political/ Trade delegation. I have also met with Huhne and had some discussions with Vince Cable.

The push is on to get SME's to get into China - a clear theme at a series of workshops today. I have made a strong play for the Chamber network, but we also need to think about how we use the Internet effectively. Cable spoke at a Dinner organised by the China British Business Council and again made the case for investment into the UK .

The British-China relationship is in good order. There are some issues, which I will come back to, but overall joined by a desire for free and open trade. I would have to say that the PM and his Ministerial Team are doing a very good job of promoting the UK and fighting for British business interests."

FREE Events for Global Entrepreneurship Week (15 – 21 November)

The University Centre Folkestone is holding a range of FREE business events but since place are limited advance booking is required. Please contact:

Mon 15 November - 5.30-7.30pm - UCF hosts Kent Association of Young Entrepreneurs Networking event "How to Time Manage" with speaker Julia Russell.

Tues 16 November – 10am – 4pm - Jake Rayson runs a workshop for visual artists/designers/creatives called Putting your Portfolio Online. Topics include:

Weds 17 November – TWO workshops on entrepreneurial awareness and skills 10am-12.30pm - Shane Record, artist/gallery owner based in the Creative Quarter Folkestone ,

2pm-4.30pm - Catriona Campbell, Creative Tourism Consultant and Director of Escape to Create

Thursday 18th November at 6pm - Charlotte Baynes,

professional, multi-disciplined artist, lecturer and explorer of Flamenco presents a A Flamenco Journey, a Public Lecture with exhibition (followed by Private View at 7.15pm)

Thursday, 4 November 2010

The Insider

New plans for local growth

A new Government White Paper was published last week setting out exciting plans to kick start local growth. As part of these plans twenty-four new local enterprise partnerships have been given the green light, including in one that encompasses Kent, Medway, East Susses and Essex..

The Government’s new approach is an attempt to rebalance the economy, helping drive sustainable growth by focusing on three key themes:

* Shifting power to local communities and businesses, by creating dynamic local enterprise partnerships.
* Increasing confidence to invest.
* Focused investment, by tackling barriers to growth that the market will not address itself.

All three BCC Accredited Chambers in Kent , including Channel Chamber are looking forward to playing a key role in the new LEP to ensure that the needs of local businesses are fully acknowledged.

For details of the press release which includes a link to the White Paper itself.

Calling all Home-based businesses

How important are home-based businesses to the Kent economy ? What help and support is needed to grow these businesses ?

All self-employed professionals, freelancers and those with their own companies are requested to spend just a few minutes in taking part in the following online survey . Anonymity and data protection is guaranteed.

To take part please visit: and click on KENT SURVEY

If you would like to discuss the survey with the specialists brought in to organise this research, please email or ring the
Work hubs Network direct on 01736 331872 (direct line for director Tim Dwelly)

Major Business Boost for Lydd Airport

Lydd Airport ’s development plans have taken a major leap forward after the airport was upgraded by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to handle a much wider range and size of commercial airliners including trans-Atlantic corporate jets such as the Gulfstream G500..

The airport had to satisfy a series of rigorous CAA requirements to achieve its new category, culminating in its annual emergency exercise. For more information about Lydd Airport , visit

Where are you going to enjoy Christmas?

Folkestone Racecourse?

They are offering non race day Christmas party packages which start from £24.75 + VAT pp*. This comes with ample free parking, exclusive use of the venue ,dancing/disco, bar facilities and an adjacent Railway Station for those who don’t want to drive!
For further details please contact email or call 0870 220 0023

Or a more natural Christmas Lunch

If you’re fed up with tinsel and singing Santas why not try the award winning sustainable venue, The Pines Calyx. They are taking Christmas Lunch bookings for parties of 10 to 70 people from 22 November through to 17 December,Monday – Friday.

Sit back and enjoy a home cooked festive buffet in an elegantly decorated and naturally
inspiring venue.For further details contact 01304 851 737

Spoil Yourself at the Marquis

And don’t forget to mark a date in your diaries to bring family, friends & colleagues to the Marquis at Alkham this festive season. They have recently been included in the Good food guide, and awarded 2 rosettes by the AA guide. Christmas lunches are available throughout December, through to their New Years Eve tasting dinner evening, there really will be something for every celebration in 2010 (and into 2011)

For further details and reservations please telephone 01304 873410 or visit

Lunch with Damian Collins

This year our Annual General Meeting will be taking place on Friday 12th November and Chamber members and non-members are most welcome to join us for a buffet lunch, where our new Chamber President Damian Collins will be giving us a short review of his first three months as an MP and there will be an opportunity to meet and talk to members of our Chamber Board.

There will be a small cost of £12 Plus Vat for lunch. To avoid disappointment you are urged to book your place soonest with Tracy Reynolds on 01303 270022.

The Insider

Message from David Frost, Director General British Chambers of Commerce

Overall, last week's Spending Review wasn’t as bad as we expected. After months of warnings that the Review would provide a harsh blow to us all, the Chancellor’s announcements felt rather calm and measured by comparison. Business has always said that this Spending Review would be hard – and we also said it would be necessary.

So as individual departments begin to reveal the real projects and real jobs that face the axe, the local impact of the Spending Review will become clearer. Sitting in Westminster , however, I would make three big comments on how business interests have fared overall.

First, we have won the overall war to preserve a decent level of capital spending on critical infrastructure. The BCC has campaigned loudly for protection of investment in infrastructure, which helps business productivity, and for this we can claim a measure of success.

Crossrail, the second Mersey crossing, New Street Station, improvements to the East Coast Mainline and a better M62 and A11 will all go ahead, for example.

Second, the battle is still to be won when it comes to providing UK exporters with the support they need to crack new markets – and in many cases, to export for the very first time. Serious cuts to the core budget of UKTI, and possible cuts to export support in the devolved nations, along with a continuing failure to address problems relating to trade finance and trade credit insurance, will continue to be a rallying cry for our lobbying work in the coming months.

Third, the Government must now turn its attention to developing a real strategy for growth. It has spent months speaking the language of austerity and cuts; if the private sector is now to generate jobs to follow in the wake of those cuts, businesses need to feel that central Government has a confident and positive plan for the UK ’s economic resurgence. That’s why the BCC will be calling on ministers to make 2011 a Year for Growth.

For further background please visit the BCC website at:

Recruiting Channel Chamber members

We are looking for someone to recruit new Chamber members across the Shepway area. This role will be on a commission basis only, with flexible hours and full training will be provided.

An ideal position for someone who has 2/3 days per week to spare who can follow up on leads provided by our marketing campaigns. The successful candidate will also be expected to build relationships with new and existing members ensuring the professional, friendly image of the Chamber is maintained.

For further information please telephone Sezen Zeki on 01303 270022

Have your say with Damien Collins, MP

Chamber members and local businesses are invited to air their views with local MP Damian Collins at his
third ‘Business’ Surgery being held on Friday 5th November at Channel Chamber, Shearway Business Park, Folkestone.

This is your chance to say what you think of the proposed local regeneration plans, or maybe you have a particular issue you want to highlight with him!

To book an appointment with Damian on
the 5th November, please email

Business Volunteers needed!

"Young Enterprise is a charity that was founded in Chatham , Kent 47 years ago and has gone on to become a National organisation. Its aim is to promote and encourage entrepreneurship attitudes and business awareness amongst students.

Company Programme enables students to set up and manage their own real businesses. Its aim is to help students understand the world of business and give them an insight into what is involved in running their own company. This is normally run with year 16/17-year-old students and lasts from September/October time until May. As part of the scheme they have the help of a volunteer adviser, usually drawn from the local business community, to give them advice and guidance. Currently we are in need of more advisors and would be pleased to hear from any Chamber members who are interested in finding out more of what is involved."

If you are interested in becoming a business volunteer please email

Chamber Breakfast 3rd November, Ramada Hotel, Dover

Our popular networking breakfast does "exactly what it says on the tin", giving members and non-members an opportunity to network, to meet other businesses in a relaxed, fun yet business environment.

We meet from 7.30am, onwards for open networking, with breakfast being served at 8.00am. Followed by a quick round the room introduction, there is never any pressure to give referrals or to speak in public if you don’t want to.

Good humored and inclusive, and you are bound to feel at ease, and able to sell yourself and your business. Don’t forget to bring your business cards!!

For further details or to book your space, contact Tracy Reynolds on 01303 270022 or email

The Insider

Folkestone Triennial 2011

Channel Chamber members and local businesses in the tourism sector
(hoteliers, taxi drivers, retailers, restaurateurs etc.) from Folkestone and the surrounding area are invited to the Quarterhouse next Wednesday 20th October to find out more about The Folkestone Triennial 2011 and the opportunities it presents for local businesses to benefit from the visiting audiences.

Wednesday 20 October 2010, 6-7.30pm, Quarterhouse, 45 Tontine Street , Folkestone , Kent CT20 1JT

This event is free but advanced booking would be helpful for catering purposes.Please call 01303 858500 to book your place.

Get Online Week: 18 – 25 October

It’s just a few days away and Channel Chamber plus other local UK Online Centres are gearing up to take part in the national ‘Get Online Week’ to help convert more and more residents across East Kent to understand and enjoy the benefits of the Internet.

Here on Shearway Business Park , Chamber member - Oriac House Learner Centre is holding events on 18th and 20th Oct (tel: 01303 278418)

SES Tutors Ltd and the B48s Early Years Resource Project are holding events in Folkestone on 19th Oct and 20th Oct respectively..

In New Romney, at Romney Resource 2000 Limited in Mountfield Road an event is being held on Friday 22nd October.

For more information about all these events and regular ‘Get Online’ sessions please contact Abbishek at Channel Chamber on 01303 270022.

Microsoft Exchange Hosting

Channel Chamber of Commerce has entered into partnership with Intermedia, the world's largest Microsoft Exchange hosting provider, to offer Intermedia’s hosted Exchange solutions to businesses across East Kent . Channel Chamber now offers Intermedia’s hosted Exchange 2010 as well as a range of other business communications services designed to support small and medium-sized companies.

Intermedia’s hosted Exchange 2010 service provides customers with:

* Expert Support: Intermedia offer friendly and professional support available 24/7, from a highly-trained support team, with an average hold time of less than one minute.
* Free Migration: Intermedia assists in the migration from a customer’s current email system at no cost, with its exclusive Exchange Concierge™ service. Customers’ Active Directories – including distribution lists – are imported typically in under an hour.
* Premium Infrastructure: Intermedia boasts a multi-million pound infrastructure, providing a market-leading, financially-backed 99.999 percent uptime service level agreement. All datacentres feature the highest-quality hardware from Dell, EMC and Cisco.

Intermedia is the recognized global leader in hosted Exchange with over 250,000 premium mailboxes under management worldwide, more than any other provider. The company offers and integrates the full ecosystem of business communications services, including Exchange 2010 with Outlook 2010, Microsoft Office Communications Server, SharePoint, and mobile email support for devices including BlackBerry, Android and iPhone. The company also provides a range of proprietary technologies, including its HostPilot® Control Panel, which gives users full control over their Exchange experience. For more information, visit

Hythe Imperial Steams Ahead

Work on the refurbishment of the Hythe Imperial, one of the largest hotels in the county and major landmark in the town, has got underway, as part of the owner’s commitment to its future success.

To officially mark this exciting next step in the history of the imposing Victorian hotel, Councillor Keren Belcourt, Mayor of Hythe Town Council, will be planting a commemorative tree this coming Friday afternoon.

Young Apprentices at Pent Valley Technology College

Pent Valley Technology College in Folkestone is looking for local businesses that are able to offer a placement to their students as part of their Young Apprenticeship programme. Students participate in the programme for 2 days a week – one day completing a Business Studies qualification at school, and the other in a work placement to gain basic admin skills.

The work experience could include photocopying, faxing, answering the telephone, filing and any other office duties. Students will then use this experience to support assignments that they will write in school. In order to achieve the Young Apprenticeship qualification, students need to complete 50 days in a work placement throughout years 10 and 11. Employer you are not committed to having these students for this full period.

If you are interested and want further information please contact. Clare Dinsdale, Work Experience Co-ordinator on 01303 277161 ext.4004 or email:

The Insider

Equality Act 2010 Now in Force

Last week saw a range of employment regulation announcements, leading the Chambers to question whether or not the Government’s promises to deregulate were nothing more than talk.

The Equality Act 2010 came into force on Friday and there were many changes to the National Minimum Wage. The Government also announced that Additional Paternity Leave is going ahead in April 2011, as is an extension to the right to request flexible working. Both of these are described as interim measures before more wholesale reforms.

Ask Cllr Robert Bliss – Leader of Shepway District Council

As part of National Customer Service Week, businesses and residents across Shepway are invited to ‘Ask the Leader' any questions about the council by filling in an ‘ask the leader' form and dropping it into the Civic Centre. Cllr Robert Bliss, Leader of the Council will then post his responses on the website. Please telephone Tracy Reynolds at the Chamber (01303 270022) for a copy of this form.
Shepway District Council will also be holding a number of raodshows locally to make everyone more aware of the services they provide. See their website for further details :

Train Services in Kent Online Survey

Win a night out for two at the Quarterhouse, Folkestone's leading venue for comedy, film, music and theatre. The prize includes two tickets to see a film of your choice* and a meal in the restaurant for two people.

To share your experiences and opinions of train services in Kent please complete the online survey to be entered into the free prize draw

Your A-Board Need a License

According to the KCC any business wishing to place an A- Board on the public highway, must now seek permission from Kent Highway Services. Once agreed, a permit will be issued and will need to be displayed in the premises shop window.

This replaces their existing Tables and Chairs Policy and KCC are claiming to be improving highway safety for pedestrians, reducing the appearance of clutter and obstructions in streets. Taking into account the current financial climate; their new policy has also been designed to be both ‘straight forward’ and ‘inexpensive'. Visits are also planned to all 12 districts over the coming months, to let businesses in each town centre know about this.

Let Us Entertain You

If you’re not already on the circulation list may we recommend that you sign on to a new monthly email providing details of a wide variety of cultural events across Kent .

The idea is to link events and potential audiences in as simple a way as possible without overwhelming people with information as many “what’s on” listings do.

You can choose a single highlights email and/or an email about one of eight specific art forms, delivered to your inbox each month. There are art form-specific emails which cover: festivals, theatre, film, comedy, live music, classical music, visual arts and children's events.

Sign up NOW at

Get Online Week: 18 – 25 October

It’s just a fortnight away and Channel Chamber is gearing up to take part in the national ‘Get Online Week’ to help convert more and more residents across East Kent to understand and enjoy the benefits of the Internet.