The Thanet and East Kent Insider 26th November 2011

Thanet & East Kent Insider

 

26th November 2011      Issue No.: 175

 

1. Media & Business with BBC, ITV and KRN

The December Chamber Business Networking Breakfast for December will take place on Friday 16th December 2011 and will feature speakers from the BBC, ITV, Kent Regional Newspapers and a private network. The speakers will outline their own experiences in the media and will advise on how businesses can best interact with television, radio and the press. The event will take place at the Pegwell Bay Hotel, Ramsgate from 0730 hrs to 0900 hrs. Booking is essential. Tickets cost £12 for Chamber members and £20 for non-members. To reserve your place, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone 01843 609289.

 

2. Darren Clarke & Co in Kent

The Chamber was the guest of Dover District Council at a meeting last Wednesday with Peter Dawson, the Chief Executive of the R&A, and his team to review the impact of the Open Golf Championship at Sandwich last July. During a concentrated analysis, traffic management, ticketing, accommodation, merchandising and other aspects were examined in detail. There was heartfelt relief that there had been no ‘incidents’ to test the emergency services and general agreement that Darren Clarke had proved to be a popular winner. Some concern was expressed by traders in Sandwich regarding access and footfall, but the overwhelming success of the tournament was acknowledged by all. Indeed, the economic impact on the East Kent economy in Thanet, Dover, Canterbury and Shepway was the main focus of the afternoon. During the whole session, not one person committed the heinous crime of referring to the “British Open”. As all patriotic golfers will know, the Open Championship was the first in the world and we leave it to others to add a few adjectives in an attempt to catch up.

 

3. Don’t You Just Invent Some Fancy Numbers?

Not at all. The economic impact figures were compiled by Sheffield Hallam University according to strict criteria following over 2,000 surveys with spectators. Further desk analysis drew on the data relationships established during the 2010 Open at St Andrews in Fife. The revenue listed refers uniquely to new money that is event-specific, which means that it originated from outside the host economy. In other words, spending from locals who would have spent their money one way or another during the week of the event was specifically excluded from the calculations.

 

4. How Many People Attended?

Most of the press reports list 180,000, but we can be more precise than that. On the practice days from 10th July to 13th July 2011, there were 31,222 spectators. During the four days of the competition proper, the crowds were as follows: on Thursday 14th July 31,545; on Friday 15th July 42,846; on Saturday 16th July 36,471 and on Sunday 17th July 38,007. Anyone with a calculator, spreadsheet or a just a good head for arithmetic will know that the total visitor number is 180,091. It is interesting to note that the most popular day was the Friday. The practice days amount more or less to an effective fifth day in terms of attendance.  

 

5. Where Did They All Come From?

There were some slight differences in the survey results, but the overall picture is as follows: East Kent 12.4%; Rest of Kent 12.3%; Rest of UK 65.5%; International 9.8%. The data reveals that the event attracted just under a quarter of its spectators from Kent, showing just how popular golf is in the county.

 

6. What Did They Spend Their Money On?

We can trace the direct spending from spectators on services and products in East Kent and Kent. The following figures show the total amount spent by spectators during the period of the 2012 Open. The figure for Kent as a whole includes East Kent.

 

 

 

East Kent

 

Kent

Admissions

 

180,091

 

180,091

Commercial Bed Nights

 

83,256

 

93,671

Cost per bed-night

 

£49.85

 

£52.96

Accommodation

 

£4,150,491

 

£4,960,820

Other daily spend

 

£52.49

 

£63.13

Other items

 

£8,190,904

 

£8,462,880

Total spend

 

£12,341,395

 

£13,423,702

 

7. Is That All?

No it isn’t. We can add all the other spending and add a mysterious “multiplier” which experience has suggested contributes to producing an accurate assessment.

 

Economic Impact

 

East Kent

 

£m              Kent

Spectators

 

12.34

 

13.42

Players

 

1.19

 

1.19

Media

 

0.89

 

0.96

Event Staff

 

2.34

 

2.44

Patrons

 

0.71

 

1.06

Organisational

 

0.18

 

0.72

Direct Economic Impact

 

17.85

 

19.78

Multiplier

 

1.20

 

1.22

Total Economic Impact

 

21.18

 

24.14

 

8. Is That All Now?

Nearly. There is something to add which is called the Media Equivalency Value. In brief, all the television exposure over the course of the week would cost a huge amount on national television networks. The Open Championship was broadcast in 196 territories reaching 458 million households over 3,676 broadcast hours. For the sponsors at Nikon, HSBC, Doosan, Rolex and Mercedes-Benz as well as for East Kent tourism, this has an estimated value of £52.6 million. In summary, we can calculate that the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St George’s Golf Club in Sandwich had an economic impact of around £77 million of which £24.14 million came directly to Kent and £21.18 million to East Kent. Thank you very much, Mr Dawson, sir. Please come back soon.

 

9. Business Directory

The 2012 Chamber diary has now been published. If any Chamber member has not received a copy by Friday, 2nd December 2011, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to arrange for delivery. The publication serves as the official business directory for the East Kent coastal business community from Whitstable around to Dover and will be used by a wide variety of private and public bodies to inform their purchasing decisions. The companies listed include almost every sector of the economy and we urge all Chamber members to consult their diary before they buy.

 

10. Exports to France

We are pleased to note strong interest from East Kent companies looking to find new export markets in France. So Now, the English-speaking French agency near Lyon that specialises in promoting East Kent companies in the Eurozone, reports enthusiastic interest from local suppliers and service providers who are looking to increase their sales into Europe. With a currency advantage of over 20% since 2007, an increasing number of suppliers are finding that their products and services are competitively-priced in France and neighbouring countries. Offering marketing studies, business plans, mailshots, designs, website translations and a host of ideas to assist your exports, So Now welcomes enquiries from Chamber members keen to boost their sales in the Eurozone or to enter European markets for the first time. For details without obligation, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and expect a prompt reply.

 

11. Thanet College Update

Last Tuesday, Chamber member Thanet College hosted its second annual Star Awards to recognise exceptional contributions during the year by staff members. Chairman of the governors, Professor Michael Wright CBE DL, joined Principal, Graham Razey, to congratulate the winners. Although not at last week’s awards evening, some of the biggest winners in the past year have been those Chamber members who have benefited from the College’s “Buy Local” policy. We are delighted to report that in the year to 31st July 2011, a total of £1,362,608 was spent with local suppliers. This represents a record amount and provides an example to other Further Education colleges in the UK who are seeking closer ties with their local business community. Capital spending with local companies rose from 21% of budget in the year ending 31st July 2010 to 93% of budget for the quarter to 31st July 2011. There is nothing a company should like more than a customer and Thanet College has given the local business community every reason to like its own products and services. In a letter to the Chamber, Graham Razey writes: “There may be further developments in the future and so I would like to reassure you and the Chamber’s members that the College is continuing its commitment to ‘Buy Local’”.  Graham and his team are well supplied with the Chamber 2012 diary.

 

12. Surely Not More About Golf?

Just a little. The Thanet & East Kent Chamber in liaison with our sister Chamber in Dover is in the pleasant position of considering the many offers it has received to host our Golf Days. We will be reporting to members on the results of these negotiations. The Chamber Autumn Golf Day is the biggest corporate golf event in the East Kent business community and we look forward to even more teams entering in 2012. Readers are reminded that images of the 2011 Golf Days at the Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club and Prince’s Golf Club can be found on the official image website at http://www.photoboxgallery.com/DDCC

 

13. Unemployment

As always in presenting employment data, we look at the year-on-year trends rather than examine any monthly changes which can fluctuate widely and give a misleading impression of the state of our local economy. We are grateful to Kent County Council’s Research & Evaluation department for sending us their ever useful digest of the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics. Sadly, all 12 districts in the KCC area show an annual rise in unemployment. In just 3 districts is there less than double digit growth: Dartford +8.3%, Sevenoaks +9.8% and Tunbridge Wells +4.8%. For the purposes of this report, we write a “+” sign before all increases. There is no relief for job-seekers within the county boundary in Medway which shows +17.6% more registered unemployed in October 2011 than one year previously. The highest annual increase is in Gravesham at +21.9%, but Dover at +20.1% and Canterbury at +20.0% are not far behind. The recent announcement by government of measures to stimulate employment among the 18-24 year olds cannot come soon enough for KCC’s school leavers and resident graduates. This group has experienced a year-on-year increase in unemployment of +27.1%. Also not to be ignored are the 60-64 year olds where the data shows a +42.0% increase over the year in unemployment benefit claimants. The message to the county’s workforce might be: “Don’t fall out with your boss”. The data for East Kent is listed below.

 

14. How Are We Doing?

 

 

October 2011

Change since Oct 2010

 

Unemployed

% of workforce

Number

%

Ashford

1,857

2.6%

+176

+10.5%

Canterbury

2,426

2.4%

+404

+20.0%

Dover District

2,405

5.7%

+402

+20.1%

Maidstone

2,458

2.6%

+336

+15.8%

Shepway

2,652

4.3%

+323

+13.9%

Swale

3,316

3.9%

+436

+15.1%

Thanet

4,570

5.8%

+624

+15.8%

 

 

 

 

 

Kent

35,402

3.3%

+4,826

+15.8%

South East

139,670

2.6%

+12,246

+9.6%

Great Britain

1,502,528

3.8%

+143,246

+10.5%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15. Regional Growth Fund

We are grateful to our Chamber Co-President, Laura Sandys MP, for supplying members with the official summary of the current state of the Regional Growth Fund. Details are in the attached RGF Fact Sheet and RGF Intervention Rates. We will advise members as soon as the application procedure has been finalised. We are assured by Laura that UK Trade & Investment, UKTI, will be promoting East Kent at every opportunity. In her words: “We will never be better promoted internationally”. UKTI will focus on attracting “Big Players” so that local suppliers can play a full part in the supply chain. In particular, Laura identifies engineering companies, life science innovators and service companies with the ambition and drive to meet the needs of international firms.

 

16. Business Advice Clinics

The Chamber Business Advice Clinics were well-supported this month. Regular readers will be aware that we hold sessions on the first Friday of the month in Broadstairs and on the first Wednesday of the month in Dover. Attendance is free of charge and open to companies and start-ups of all sizes which trade or seek to trade in the districts of Thanet or Dover. The Chamber has been successful in securing the backing of benign investors who are willing to consider applications for development projects. There is £1 million of funding available, subject to reasonable prospects of a good return over 5 years. Currently, four projects are being considered for investment sums ranging from £25,000 to £135,000.

 

17. Waste Not, Want Not
TW Services has launched a new website which has raised the bar for all UK waste processing and recycling centres. Featuring full social media links and on-line trading services, the website offers full access to the company’s domestic and commercial product range including skip hire, hazardous waste disposal and house clearances. Such are the advances that TW Services has made in recent years that even the keenest ecologically-minded critic will be impressed by its “Zero to Landfill” policy, embraced with enthusiasm by all the 80 or more staff members. Still in family ownership, the company can rightly claim to be the leading independently owned waste management company in Kent and has the resources, equipment and experience to process 750,000 tonnes of domestic and commercial waste every year. For more details, see the website at
www.tw-services.co.uk or telephone head office in Ramsgate Road, Sandwich, tel: 01304 626364.

 

18. Boys & Maughan Expands

Confidence in the future of Ramsgate is very much in evidence at Boys & Maughan Solicitors which is welcoming three new members to its Ramsgate legal team. Lorraine Smith, Wills & Probate, Tom Moulsdale, Litigation, and Dawn Sahathevan, Residential Conveyancing, are joining Managing Partner Andrew Baker in strengthening the company’s presence in Thanet. Tom represents the third generation of the Moulsdale family to work at Boys & Maughan. Andrew Baker said: “With the high speed train link to London, the upgrading of the A256 and not forgetting the country’s only Royal Harbour, Ramsgate continues to be one of the shining jewels in Thanet’s crown.” For more details, contact Robin Evans by telephone to 01843 234000 or by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

19. Ramsgate Tunnels

Predict and prevent must have been words very much in the mind of Ramsgate’s ‘Mad Mayor’ ABC Kempe and Borough Engineer, R D “Dick” Brimmell when they first drew up plans for tunnels under Ramsgate. The Home Office repeatedly rejected requests for such an extensive network of bomb shelters but finally relented in the spring of 1939 after Hitler’s troops had marched into Czechoslovakia on 16th March 1939. The letter conveying the decision of the Lord Privy Seal Sir John Anderson arrived in Ramsgate on 20th March 1939.  Working around the clock, Francois Cementation Co Ltd completed the project in time for the Duke of Kent to be guest of honour at the opening ceremony on 1st June 1939. Capable of sheltering 60,000 people, the tunnels were an engineering marvel that were soon to prove their worth in saving the lives of Ramsgate citizens in the air raids of 24th August 1940 which saw the Luftwaffe drop over 500 bombs on Ramsgate damaging 800 houses. Last Thursday evening, the Old Customs House in Ramsgate was the venue for a celebration of Kempe and Brimmell’s foresight and an update on the plans on how to spend the £53,000 recently awarded by the Jubilee People’s Millions Fund to help restore the tunnels. Introduced with consummate professionalism by the actor Clive Holland, an invited audience heard from Ramsgate Mayor Cllr David Green, Project Manager Peter Borrough and other committee members about some of potential uses for the tunnels and their undoubted impact in attracting visitors to Thanet. For more information, see the website at http://ramsgatetunnels.org   

 

20. Customer Service

Canterbury Christ Church University is offering a networking breakfast at Hall Place Enterprise Centre, Harbledown near Canterbury on Tuesday 6th December 2011 entitled “Customer Service, how can it set you apart from your competitors?”  Delegates will be invited to explore their own experiences of good customer care and service and will learn the different techniques required to meet the demands of businesses as well as the general public. Tickets cost an eminently reasonable £12 for the 0745 hrs to 1015 hrs session and include breakfast and coffee. For more details, contact Jenny Overy direct by telephone to 01227 782672 or by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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21. Manstonians Vote “Yes”

We learn from our good friends at the Isle of Thanet Gazette that the villagers of Manston have voted to support the airport and its plans for development. Manston Parish Council vice-chairman Bill Bell is quoted as saying: “I suppose people feel as if they are part of the airport, it is part of their history”. The villagers of Manston could teach the failing economies of the Eurozone a thing or two. Well done, Bill Bell & Co. If we are to maintain our schools, emergency services, social services, defence commitments and all the heavy demands we place on government at all levels, Chamber policy dictates that it is essential that we support the businesses that fund the public sector. The airport at Manston represents our best bet to create sustainable, worthwhile jobs in Thanet in the medium and long term. Successful airports breed development and industry, creating opportunities for school leavers and mature workers alike. We should cherish the airport owners, Infratil, and remind the doubters that Manston Airport has been in operation since 1915. See http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/Villagers-airport-s-plan-flying-night/story-13884772-detail/story.html

 

22. A Rounded Judgment

With all the serious local firms of solicitors in the Chamber membership, it is perhaps not surprising that we hear so many stories relating to justice and its various manifestations.  We have our doubts about the following account, but we leave it to readers to judge for themselves. “There are many reasons a divorce might be granted: adultery, a two-year separation by consent, a five-year separation without consent and, of course unreasonable behavior; but, we all have different ideas as to what is unreasonable. One recent case concerned a wife who still rather liked her husband but found his breakfast habits to be insurmountably distasteful. The main cause of her extreme distress was his habit of making coffee and then failing to clean the coffee machine properly. It appears that he ground the beans himself and always left a residual amount of coffee grounds in the electric grinder which infuriated his spouse who felt obliged to clean up after him. The accumulated stress of over 1,500 mornings of such anxiety had reduced her to a state of frenzy which eventually prompted her to seek a divorce. When the case came before the judge, he enquired of the wife’s lawyer just exactly how much coffee was habitually left to be cleaned. After much consideration and detailed discussions with the petitioner, the reply was given: “Around a level teaspoonful, my Lord”. The judge duly considered the new fact in the light of all that had been presented to him. In giving his final judgement, he first expressed his sympathy with the wife. He continued that had the excess coffee amounted to a dessertspoonful or more, his decision may have been different, but on the balance of the evidence before him, he had no option but to conclude that there were insufficient grounds for divorce.”  

 

© David Foley, November 2011

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