The Insider - Business Bulletins
Your Business Bulletin from Thanet & East Kent Chamber
Thanet & East Kent Insider
15th January 2011 Issue No.: 139
1. Flu Vaccination
As noted in previous editions of the Thanet & East Kent Insider, Chamber member The Spencer Wing in Margate and Ashford has been offering on-site flu vaccinations to local companies. We promoted this service extensively as a Predict and Prevent measure for which many Chamber members have been grateful. Such has been the success of the scheme that last Thursday Annie Churchyard advised us that supplies at The Spencer Wing have now been exhausted. With next year in mind, we congratulate those Chamber members who took full advantage and remind all our readers of a new proverb for the twenty-first century: “It’s the early bird that gets the vaccine”.
2. Thanet District Council Consultation
We are grateful to Louise Askew, Economic Development Officer at Thanet District Council for drawing our attention to the consultation questionnaire available at www.thanet.gov.uk/budget until Friday, 21st January 2011. Here you have the opportunity to state your preferences as to where you think Thanet District Council should spend its income. Please bear in mind that if you are a Council Tax payer in Thanet, just 14% of your payment is allocated to Thanet District Council. The rest is earmarked as follows: Kent County Council 71%, Kent Police Authority 9%, Kent Fire and Rescue 5% and Town & Parish Councils 1%. Some readers will deduce from this that you are nearly twice as likely to have your business robbed than burned down; but, of course, it is not as simple as that. After all, your headquarters could be robbed just before it catches fire. If you would prefer to make your comments direct to the recipients of the biggest proportion of your Council Tax payments, then you may wish to state your views in person to your local Kent County Councillors, see item 4 below. SWIFT Codes for all Banks in Australia
3. Connecting Carers
Connexions Kent supports teenagers in making choices about their careers, training opportunities and lifestyles. Liaising with employers, parents and carers is essential if the organisation is to continue the success of its programmes in Thanet and East Kent. With this objective firmly in mind, the Thanet branch is holding an open evening in Cliftonville from 4.00 pm to 7.00 pm on Wednesday, 16 th February 2011. If you are interested in attending, please call Lauren, tel: 01843 593395 or text 07501 228500 with your name and contact details. More information on the services offered by this Chamber member can be found at www.connexionskentandmedway.co.uk.
4. Kent County Councillors
5. Census News
6. More About Petrol
The Thanet & East Kent Insider article last week under the headline “Petrol Prices Bring More Shock Horror” seems to have set a trend. In a paragraph detailing the annual rise in the price of a litre of unleaded petrol from 82.9p to 124.8p, we stated that: “the cheapest gallon of petrol now costs £5.67.” Three days later, the Daily Telegraph followed a similar line with a few additions: “Petrol could soon hit £6 a gallon for the first time”. We are delighted to focus attention on this issue. A rise of over 50% in the retail price of petrol adds to the costs of every business in East Kent. The possibility of Brent Crude soon crossing the alarming threshold of 100 USD a barrel hits at the heart of business confidence and could lead to the outbreak of fuel protests on a scale not seen since 2000; that is the conclusion also of David Wallop, the Consumer Affairs Editor of the Daily Telegraph, see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/news/8250860/Petrol-prices-to-hit-6-a-gallon.html. Local businesses are particularly peeved at the Thanet Surcharge which currently stands at a minimum of 3p a litre compared to outlets in Canterbury.
7. Bye Bye Retirement Age
8. Guinness, Poetry and Rosebuds
The imminent scrapping of a compulsory retirement age has caused one Chamber member to reflect on mortality or as he put it: “Henrick has a point, I may as well gather some rosebuds while I can. Cheers.”. What a talented and interesting membership we have at the Chamber. Robert Henrick, the 17 th century poet, wrote: “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old time is still a-flying; And this same flower that smiles today, Tomorrow will be dying”. Henrick’s father, a rich goldsmith, died falling out of a window. We don’t know if this made his son want to squeeze every enjoyable moment out of the day, but our Chamber member may think so for he continues: “I like a drink or three from time to time. My great Aunt Margaret used to have a full pint of Guinness every day and she lived to be 98 years old.” When the Chamber replied to his email congratulating him on the longevity of his family genes, he wrote back. “Thanks. That’s fine, but Aunty Margaret’s doctor said that she would have made a hundred at least if she hadn’t drunk so much”. Makes you think, doesn’t it?
9. Our Sponsors
Girlings Solicitors has been managing the managing the legal affairs of commercial and private clients for over a century. Twenty-six partners and one hundred and twenty members of staff ensure a comprehensive range of services from the local offices in Ashford, Canterbury, Folkestone, Herne Bay and Margate. Offices in France and Spain complement specialist departments for charities, individuals and companies. For details, telephone 01843 220274 . Express By Holiday Inn took on the daunting task of restoring the former Prospect Inn at Minster. The result is a spectacular hotel that combines the best of Oliver Hill’s 1930s design with ultra modern facilities and technological support. Conveniently located for business guests and holiday makers in East Kent, the meeting rooms and 105 bedrooms are available at competitive prices throughout the year. For details, telephone 01843 820250 . Adecco is the world’ s largest HR solutions company offering a comprehensive service of temporary and contract staffing, permanent recruitment, outsourcing, outplacement, career services, training and consulting. Officially designated as a 2009 British Superbrand, Adecco is represented in Thanet and Dover by its Broadstairs office, tel: 01843 609292 . CARISS design, install and support education and business computing systems as East Kent’s leading specialist company in Open Source Software. To lower your carbon footprint, reduce your power consumption and adopt a thin client system, call CARISS, tel: 01843 823724. Mach Associates are the high-fliers in providing Internet technologies and specialist software solutions with a particular expertise in servicing the travel industry. A Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and with ISO9001 accreditation, Mach Associates also offers reduces telecom operating cost through VOIP/PBX phone systems. tel: 0870 321 9986 . Sota Connect offers a comprehensive IT service covering best-value voice, data and Internet services for companies of all sizes as well as public sector organisations. The company operates two state-of-the-art data centres of over 10,000sq ft. Sota Connect owns and operates a unique 200km fibre network from London to Ramsgate with high bandwidth Internet access giving superfast Internet connections, tel: 0800 072 2420
© David Foley January 2011
Thanet & East Kent Insider
8th January 2011 Issue No.: 138
1. Manston Parkway Station
Local companies will be happy to learn that moves are afoot to bring forward the plans to build a railway station at ManstonAirport to provide a faster link to London. As reported in the Thanet & East Kent Insider of 6th November and 13th November 2010 and in KoS Media’s Your Thanet article of 11th November 2010, this chamber was kindly invited to meet Rt Hon Philip Hammond, Secretary of State for Transport. At the time, it was not envisaged that a dedicated railway station at Manston could be constructed for “at least 4 years”. With signs of a recovering economy, the Thanet & East Kent Chamber has joined our associates at the Dover District Chamber of Commerce in pressing for an early start to this initiative. With the promise of 1,000 jobs for every 1 million passenger movements, the development of Manston offers one of the best opportunities to reduce Thanet’s huge benefits bill which currently stands at £180 million per year. We share the concerns of our elected representatives in all parties and at every level of government that environmental considerations should not be ignored, but we also remember that that the American aircraft at the airport in the 1950s were not noted for their quiet engines. The US 406th Fighter-Bomber Wing stationed at Manston loved its F-84 Thunderjets; local librarians less so. TheBombadier Q400 aircraft that now provide the daily flights to Edinburgh and Manchester are described by their manufacturer as “the quietest turboprops flying today”; Q stands for Quiet. SWIFT Codes for all Banks in Australia The American airmen who helped to safeguard our shores in the cold war were not particularly concerned with low noise operations. They were more focused on reaching any one of the 20,000 locations in the Soviet Union that President Eisenhower’s administration had identified as potential targets. East Kent residents must feel much safer now living conveniently close to an airport hub, so useful for your holidays and business trips, rather than living next to a launch pad for Moscow bombing missions. Makes you think, doesn’t it?
2. Home Workers Beware
We are grateful to Marion Ward, Advice and Education Manager atTrading Standards Kent for advising us on the perils of getting involved with some home working schemes that are fronts for illegal money lending or ‘loan sharking’. The victims are charged a registration fee or invited to take out a loan instead of paid work. We have learned that in September 2010, a pregnant woman was prosecuted for carrying out a spate of burglaries. Her defence was that she was obliged to pay a loan shark. She had answered an advert offering the chance to earn extra money but had been offered a loan instead. She was not able to maintain the repayments. Trading Standards welcome information from anyone who has been approached about any similar schemes or has seen any advertising for the same. You are invited to telephone Consumer Direct, tel: 08454 04 05 06 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
3. Tourism & Transport
Images from the Tourism & Transport Business Networking Breakfast of last month are available for viewing and purchase from our official photographer, see http://www.photoboxgallery.com/DDCC. Please note that the web address is case sensitive. Photographs can be ordered from as little as 5p per copy. There are also opportunities to have your favourite images printed in a variety of formats for corporate gifts including greetings cards, mugs and t-shirts. Members who attended the Chamber Golf Day at the Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club also feature on the website together with a selection of images from other events.
4. Transport & Tourism Follow Up
5. Energy Costs Shock Horror
We are grateful to Martyn Young of Atlantic Business Resources, tel: 0781 353 7456 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting, for bringing our attention to the E.ON Market Report of January 2011 which gives a detailed breakdown of the gas, oil, coal and carbon markets for the period December 2009 to December 2010. Some of the monthly figures quoted are alarming, such as the 6% increase in oil prices during last month alone. Monthly fluctuations may normally be of interest to speculators more than the rest of us who have longer term trends in mind, but when the pace of rises is increasing so sharply, it suggests that anyone who does not review their energy costs now might have serious cause to regret it in the near future. As Martyn put it in an email to the Thanet & East Kent Chamber: “This must be hurting a lot of businesses who are on spot rates”. Indeed, the annual and monthly figures give rise to serious concerns for any UK business with a high dependency on power.
6. Enough Comment, Give Us The Facts
Here are the figures E.ON gives for the annual change from December 2009 to December 2010 together with the monthly change from the beginning to the end of last month.
Year Dec 2009 – Dec 2010
Month Dec 2010
Average front month power contract price
Average front month gas contract price
Average front month oil contract price
Average Apr’11 Annualised power price
Average Apr’11 Annualised power price
7. Help! What Can I Do?
If you have not reviewed your energy costs in the last year, it might be wise to do this without delay. Professional cost management experts are usually able to find you the biggest discounts at no cost to your business. The following Chamber members are recommended: Martyn Young of Atlantic Business Resources tel: 0781 353 7456 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting; David Batten of Auditel (UK) ltd tel: 0797 3469411 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting; Jeremy Bailey of Auditel tel: 01843 588 776 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
8. Why Have Energy Costs Risen So Much?
Record gas prices were a result of increased demand due to the freezing weather in December 2010. Coupled with low gas storage levels, the greater demand for generation led to higher coal and gas prices. Thus, annual electricity contracts became much more expensive. Oil prices in December suffered from sharply increased demand in the US and Europe leading to a peak of 90 USD/bbl for the first time since October 2008. Demand from Asia for Australian coal had declined at the end of November but supply problems pushed up these prices as well.
9. What’s All This About Carbon Then?
E.On informs us that Carbon Permits have become an increasingly important driver for the UK power prices “as more than 70% of UK power stations use coal or gas.” Since burning gas and coal produces harmful emissions, higher generation means higher carbon costs or as E.ON puts it: “The cost of ‘clean power’ also takes into account the cost of carbon permits traded under the EU scheme”. When you get your next utility bill, you might like to bear this in mind as your hair goes vertical and your face a bright purple.
10. Petrol Prices Bring More Shock Horror
Established Chamber members will recall the Broadstairs Petrol Index that the Thanet & East Kent Insider instituted in 2008 following a series of sharp rises in prices at the fuel pump. The Chamber BPI received coverage in local newspapers which shared our alarm at the Thanet Surcharge; the difference in price between a litre of unleaded in Thanet as opposed to Canterbury. We now look again at the BPI and the increase in motoring costs in the past twelve months. On 5th January 2010, the cheapest litre of unleaded petrol available within 5 miles of the Thanet & East Kent Chamber office in Broadstairs cost 82.9p. One year later on 5th January 2011, the cheapest available costs 124.8p; a rise of just over 50%. To put it another way, the cheapest gallon of petrol now costs £5.67. Has your revenue increased by over half?
11. News From Dover
Dieter Jaenicke, the Chairman and founder of Viking Recruitment, has been awarded the prestigious Merchant Navy Medal for services to merchant shipping and his work with British officer cadets. Following an investiture ceremony at Trinity House, Dieter now joins the ranks of hero seafarers such as Captain Peter Stapleton, who fought off Somali pirates in MV Boularibank in 2008, and Commodore Ronald Warwick, the former Master of Queen Mary 2. We offer our sincere congratulations to Dieter in the knowledge the East Kent coastal business community takes pride in his success. A new hotel is due to open on Dover Sea Front next month. To be known as the BestWesternMarinaHotel and Spa, it will operate in the refurbished premises of the former Churchill Hotel. A new fitness centre and sauna are expected to be popular with residents and guests. As part of the same group that operates the Dover Ramada Hotel at Whitfield, the management will be looking to attract more holiday makers and cross-channel travellers of all descriptions. A recent economic impact study by the Dover District Chamber of Commerce showed that Channel Swimming contributes over £3 million pounds to the local economy with most of it centred on the port. Angie Wiggins, Manager of Dover Counselling Centre, thanks members of the Thanet & East Kent Chamber for the £276 raised at our annual Thanet v Dover Golf Day at the Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club. DCC was established following the sinking of the Herald Free Enterprise ferry which claimed 193 lives on 6th March 1987. It is a registered charity that offers professional and confidential counselling to East Kent residents and workers and is still ministering to some of the families who lost loved ones on that fateful day.
12. Dedicated Followers Of Cricket
If you are one of those people who agree with George Bernard Shaw that “The English are not very spiritual people, so they invented cricket to give them some idea of eternity” then you may be less enthused than most by England’s recent Ashes victory in Australia; our first away series triumph down under for 24 years. Radio listeners to cricket have long been thoroughly entertained by the BBC’s Test Match Special team, although the schoolboy humour has often been inadvertent. This was probably the case with the incomparable Brian Johnston’s famous remark during England’s game against the West Indies: “The bowler's Holding; the batsmen's Willey”. Somehow, Michael Holding and Peter Willey were never quite the same players again. But to understand the full measure of dedication and pathos that cricket inspires, we turn to one Chamber member who relates the following account from his days as a club cricketer in the East Kent league. We have our doubts about this story, but we leave it to readers to judge for themselves. “It took place in the third over of a Saturday match when we were playing the village side at Lyminge. I was halfway through my run up when their opening batsmen suddenly moved away from the wicket, took off his cap and stood with his head bowed. We then noticed a funeral cortege moving slowly along the road alongside the boundary at the end of the ground. We all removed our caps and stood still in respectful silence until it had passed. Echoing the thoughts of our entire fielding side, I couldn’t help saying to the batsman: ‘That was a kind gesture. Thank you for bringing it to our attention’. He replied: ‘Think nothing of it. It was the least I could do. After all, we were married for thirty-one years’”.
© David Foley January 2011
Thanet & East Kent Insider
Issue No.: 135
1. Tourism & Transport
2. Growth Without Gridlock
In last week’s edition of the Thanet & East Kent Insider, we promised readers a report on the Growth Without Gridlock presentation in Maidstone last Wednesday. This welcome initiative from Kent County Council seeks to produce a co-ordinated transport strategy for the next twenty years. In welcoming delegates to the inner sanctum of KCC at County Hall, KCC’s leader, Paul Carter, thanked those attending for braving the severe weather conditions. It was with a self-conscious irony that he noted the absence of 40% of the delegates due to the ice and snow on the roads. The Thanet & East Kent Chamber is of course made of stern stuff and was fully represented as were our good friends at the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and the Dover District Chamber of Commerce. So that was the East Kent private sector’s most serious supporters eager and willing to hear the news and we were not disappointed. Each resident, worker and tourist has an opinion on what should be done to address the traffic jams on our roads. Delays in delivering goods to our shops are as frustrating as hold ups on the school run. KCC’s transport delivery plan is not called Growth Without Gridlock without good reason. It sets out a series of proposals that are designed to promote trade, boost jobs and minimise delays. What distinguishes this plan from many others is that it not only lists the cost of the improvements, but outlines a funding stream to pay for them.
3. Who Pays?
One of the proposals to help pay for the programme is a Port Landing Charge on international passengers in Dover and Ramsgate. This would put our local ports on a par with common practice at airports. Another proposal is for the revival of the Britdisc. First mooted by Paul Carter’s predecessor, Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, foreign lorries entering the UK would pay a surcharge. UK hauliers currently operate at a distinct disadvantage to many of their continental counterparts. Why should foreign lorries be allowed to fill their tanks with 1,000 litres of cheap diesel bought in Luxembourg and then undercut our domestic hauliers whose taxes pay for the roads they use? This is not what the European Union was designed to do and not what British membership should allow. If it means renaming the Britdisc with the fancy French title KCC proposes of ‘vignette’, we accept that in polite silence. We do not want our East Kent lorries to go the way of Grimsby trawlers. Over a 20-year period, the income generated from a vignette and the associated additional spending on fuel duty would amount to a staggering £9.5 billion which would meet over half the costs of the road infrastructure improvements envisioned.
4. What Would We Get For the Money?
A key element in KCC’s plan is a third Thames crossing between Gravesend and Chadwell. Delays at the Dartford crossing are estimated to cost the UK economy £40 million per year. A third Thames crossing is projected to contribute 6,000 jobs and £334 million a year to the UK Gross Value Added with significant reductions in journey times. The new crossing is scheduled to connect the A2 with the M11. Dover’s port traffic of around 5 million vehicles a year would be split between the Eastern Docks route via the A2 and the Western Docks via the A20/M20. This measure involves the rather quaintly named “bifurcation”. The mention of this word can bring a swift change of subject in discussions with the average Joe who may not want to admit that he or she has no idea want the word means. This is a handy technique that officialdom has used for centuries to baffle unwelcome enquiries. If you do not believe us, go to the pub this evening and say to the bar staff, “What do you think of bifurcation?” With luck you may just get directions to the nearest opticians. It may be that now at last, bifurcation may lose some its mystery. In a fluent presentation, the leader of Dover District Council, Paul Watkins, outlined the main benefits of the planned improvements to the Channel Corridor and the ending of the horrendous Operation Stack which costs our benighted UK haulage industry £1 million a day. The priorities for Growth Without Gridlock also include a Parkway Station at Manston which would bring journey times from London to Thanet much closer to the golden 60 minutes. Following discussions with Chamber members, later editions of the Thanet & East Kent Insider will bring more comment on Tax Increment Funding, a Variable Tariff on the Thames Gateway, Integrating the Bus Network and improvements to the A21 West Kent corridor.
5. Will East Kent Companies Have a Voice in Growth Without Gridlock?
The answer to this question is with Kent County Council and the new Local Enterprise Partnership. If these two public bodies wish the two largest business support organisations in the East Kent coastal business community to be represented then the Thanet & East Kent Chamber and the Dover District Chamber of Commerce are more than willing to participate.
The Thanet YMCA is a local organisation that is part of a national charity. The branch in Margate benefits from an Employment Engagement team which specialises in liaising with local companies to satisfy their recruitment needs. This is a free service for employers. For further details, Chamber members are invited to telephone 01843 221555 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting or 07900 137750 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
7. More Success In Thanet
8. Thanet and KCC
On the evening of Monday, 6th December 2010, Kent County Council was due to hold a meeting of the Thanet Local Board at St Saviour's Church of England Junior School, Elm Grove, Westgate-on-Sea. The meeting has been postponed due to the inclement weather. These gatherings provide an opportunity for KCC Councillors to get feedback from local people on the impact of regional policies in Thanet. We will keep readers informed of the new date. You may be assured that the Thanet & East Kent Chamber will be in attendance to represent the interests of the private sector.
9. Fare Increases
Roger Gale MP for North Thanet has described the recently announced 12.8% increase in fares on East Kent services by SoutheasternTrains as “an absolute disgrace”. What irks him most is that the promised upgrading of signalling is considerably behind schedule and that the line between Thanet and Ashford remains distinctly unimproved. As he puts it: “Why should people have to pay to subsidise a service that does not serve their needs?”. This is one MP who will not be voting in favour of a franchise renewal for Southeastern Trains. Readers might be interested to know that Japan has been operating a high speed railway network since 1964. In the past 46 years there has been not been a single fatality due to a train accident or collision. The current average delay on the 186 mph bullet train between Tokyo and Osaka under all conditions is under 30 seconds. It does snow in Japan.
10. VAT and Aunty’s Sweater
We are grateful to Mark Hurdman of Levicks Chartered Accountants, tel: 01843 for providing some welcome advice on the implications of the imminent rise in VAT scheduled for 4th January 2010. In an exclusive communication to the Thanet & East Kent Insider, he writes: With the standard rate of VAT set to increase to 20% from the current 17.5%, it is a good idea to be aware of the rules on the correct rate of VAT you should be charged on purchases around the busy New Year period. When buying goods or services on or after 4 January 2011 from a retail business such as a shop, restaurant or hairdressing salon, all purchases should be subject to 20% VAT. Businesses that are passing the VAT increase on to customers will increase their current prices by just over 2%. The exact calculation is 120/117.5. It is up to each individual business to decide whether it wants to pass the VAT increase onto its customers in this way. If however you pay for something you have taken away (or the supplier has delivered) before 4 January 2011 then the sale took place before 4 January 2011 and you should be charged VAT at 17.5%. It is common for retailers to give refunds, particularly in the period after Christmas. If you are given a refund on or after 4 January 2011 for a sale made before 4 January 2011 this will be made at the old VAT rate. If you want to exchange goods, for example a jumper for another size or colour, you may find the gross cost has increased and you have to pay more. The replacement item will have been sold at the new VAT rate.” So now you know. If you really want to exchange that yellow, purple and orange sweater that your aunty bought you for Christmas, take it back to the shop before 4th January 2011. For anything more complicated, you might like to give Mark a call at Levicks, tel: 01843 862716 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
11. Fake or Genuine
With Christmas shopping beginning to dominate retail trade, Crimestoppers is reminding us all that buying counterfeit goods can be dangerous and can lead to unintended support for organised crime. We are also notified that buying counterfeit goods by credit card can produce a serious risk of identity theft. Some fakes are obvious and require little more than a cursory glance to determine that the luxury goods may not be quite as luxurious as the seller would wish them to be. If someone is deceiving you, Crimestoppers would be grateful for a telephone call to 0800 555 111 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Sometimes discrimination is more difficult than simply spotting that Roleks may not be the correct spelling of the brand name. The Thanet & East Kent Insider offers an insight into buying a Rolex watch. Make your purchase from a recognised Rolex agency and you should not have a problem. Rolex dealers in Kent do not sell on-line. If you are offered a new Rolex with a stainless steel case inset with 18ct yellow gold, a champagne diamond dial with a date display and an 18ct gold fluted bezel for just £1,000, perhaps someone wants to marry you or, more likely, the watch is stolen or a fake. The recommended retail price is £7,040. If the second hand of the watch in question has two movements per second, it is a fake. The genuine Rolex moves five times a second. If the watch feels light, it is a fake. A good Rolex is heavy. Finally, if the person selling the watch looks fake the chances are that the watch is the same. Finally, of course, if the seller is a member of the Thanet & East Kent Chamber can produce a member of the Chamber logo, then you should have every confidence in the transaction.
12. Finding Staff
News has reached the Chamber of a local educational establishment wishing employ a handyman to assist with the security and maintenance of their premises. We have our doubts about this story, but readers must judge for themselves. Of course, what is undoubtedly true is that the organisation could have saved itself time, money and headaches by using one of the following Chamber members; 247 Recruitment of Cliftonville tel: 01843 Adecco of Broadstairs tel: 01843 609292 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlightingConnexions Partnership Kent & Medway of Maidstone tel: 01622 607578 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting Direction Recruitment of Ramsgate tel: 01843 HRGO of Ramsgate tel: 01843 591798 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting Maximus Employment & Training of Ramsgate tel: 01843 808410 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting, TNG (Avanta Enterprises) of Ramsgate tel: 01843 570250 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting and tel: YMCA of Margate tel: 01843 221555 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting. To get back to our story, t he enterprising head was reluctant to rely solely on references, a CV and the advice of his caretaker. He wrote the advertisement himself. Turning his back on the pre-interviews and personality profiling offered by the employment agencies in the Chamber membership, he wanted to interview all the candidates personally. He opted to absent himself from managing his area of expertise to deal directly with recruiting a handyman. Setting aside a whole day for the process, he asked the first candidate into his office. “Mr Jones”, he began, “We are planning no major works here for the next year, but it is important that the successful candidate can undertake some simple maintenance tasks. Now in the corner of the room is a sink. I would like you to remove the tap and replace the washer with this one here. Can you do that?” Mr Jones looked at the new washer offered and said adamantly. “I don’t do plumbing”. Taken aback momentarily, the Head moved on to his next task. “Oh I see. Well then, here is a short plank of wood and a saw. I would like you to cut this down the middle in a straight line”. “Ah well”, said the candidate, “I’m not much good at carpentry I’m afraid.” Striving hard to contain his frustration, the Head continued, “In that case perhaps you could do the last job and that is to paint the bottom left quarter of this door with the gloss paint here”. As the Head was about to hand over the paint and brush, Mr Jones said, “I don’t do painting”. Containing himself no longer, the Head blurted out, “You don’t do plumbing, you are no good at carpentry and you cannot paint. Tell me Mr Jones, what makes you think you are so blessed handy?”. “Well, headmaster”, said the candidate, “You see I live just around the corner”.
© David Foley December 2010
Thanet & East Kent Insider
Issue No.: 134
1. Growth Without Gridlock
Next week, Kent County Council will launch its plan to ease congestion on our roads. It is entitled, Growth Without Gridlock and consists of a “transport delivery plan to keep Kent moving”. Among the issues to be addressed are: Third Thames Crossing, Duelling of the A2, Operation Stack, High Speed Rail, Parkway Station at Manston and Local Control of Highways Spending. The new strategy will also consider linking new infrastructure to local planning through the District Local Development Framework and improving the transport network to boost business in our Kent villages. As Kent County Council looks to make savings of £340 million over the next 4 years, identifying the priorities for public spending on our roads will be a key issue. SWIFT Codes for all Banks in Australia The Thanet & East Kent Insider expects to report on the launch in next week’s edition which Thanet & East Kent Chamber members will receive promptly on publication.
2. Business Networking Breakfast
3. News From Europe
The Your Europe Newsletter for November 2010 published by the Enterprise and Industry department of the European Union focuses on innovation in small businesses and research & development. We learn the EU has set a target of 3% of EU GDP to be spent on R&D by the year 2020. The current rate has remained at around 1.84% since 2005 which contrasts rather sharply with that of 2.5% in the United States and 3% in Japan. Apparently, the US obliges its federal agencies to devote 2.5% of their external budgets to “funding innovative projects by SMEs”. This is surely a measure that would be welcomed by SMEs in East Kent. European directives have created considerable obstacles to bringing new ideas to market. A European Patent valid in 13 European countries costs about 20,000 Euros. A US patent can be obtained for 1,850 Euros. You do not need a Ph.D. in economics to know which of the two systems is the more favourable to innovation and commercial success. The EU Commission is proposing a patent for 27 EU member states, but at a cost of 6,200 Euros this would still be over three times more expensive than the US equivalent.
4. Jobs Fair
Chamber member CanterburyChristChurchUniversity is organising a Job Fair for Friday 21st January 2011. We are grateful to Fontemaria Totaro and James Corbin for bringing this event to our attention. The day promises a variety of exhibitor stands, presentations and workshops that will “provide a forum for future and current graduates to network with potential employers.” Asda, Reeves and IBM have confirmed their participation and CCCU is expecting a wide range of employers to use the occasion to attract the best candidates. Employment agencies will also be interested in surveying the market place. Further details can be found at http://www.canterbury.ac.uk/support/careers-and-student-development/events/jobfair.asp. News of the recent Evans EasySpace exhibition at Lakeside Business Park will follow in the next edition of the Thanet & East Kent insider.
5. Thanet College & Chaucer School
ThanetCollege held its Star Awards last Thursday evening. Unlike awards ceremonies in many educational circles, the Star Awards are the subject of a democratic vote from other members of staff. Thus the winners enjoy the prestige of knowing that their performance has been judged as outstanding by their colleagues and peers. This system should have much appeal to readers working at institutions with a forward-looking leadership anxious to recognise the achievements of their best workers. Fortunately for the leadership of this Chamber of Commerce, such arrangements have not yet been adopted here. Also celebrating success last week was the ChaucerTechnologySchool in Canterbury which has enjoyed five years of successive improvements in its GCSE results at A - C grades under its inspiring head, Simon Murphy. Hosting the evening at the King’s HallHerneBay last Wednesday, Simon paid tribute to his invited speaker for the presentations, Paul Carter, the Leader of Kent County Council. Afterwards, he said that the trip to the United States in 2005 by over 90 head teachers to visit Microsoft which had been organised by Paul Carter had inspired him to put new technology at the forefront of his policies and had been a significant factor in the progress of his school. The Thanet & East Kent Insider has often reported on best practice. We congratulate ThanetCollege and ChaucerTechnologySchool for putting innovation at the heart of their agendas.
6. Parcel Delivery Service
Many readers and one public authority have contacted the Thanet & East Kent Insider asking us to publicise an alleged scam involving a company called PDS, Parcel Delivery Service, which invites readers to telephone a premium rate number in Belize at great cost to the owner of the line. It is also alleged that the scam is on a hot list provided by Royal Mail, Trading Standards and various other bodies. Readers might like to know that there was a scam of this type which was closed in 2005. Kind-hearted citizens might be tempted to warn their friends and associates, but the official advice from PhonePayPlus, Sophos and many other reputable organisations is very much to the contrary. In a statement dated 17th November 2010, PhonePayPlus states:”PhonepayPlus, the phone-paid services regulator, is aware that a chain e-mail about an alleged postal scam is being circulated on the internet. The email refers to the Royal Mail, Trading Standards and ICSTIS (PhonepayPlus' former name). PhonepayPlus appreciates that recipients of the email may want to find out more information about the alleged scam and has therefore issued the following statement: The chain email refers to a service (operating on 0906 6611911) that was shut down by PhonepayPlus (then ICSTIS) in December 2005. PhonepayPlus subsequently fined the company that was operating the service, Studio Telecom (based in Belize), £10,000. The service is NO LONGER running and has NOT been running since December 2005. You do NOT need to contact PhonepayPlus, or the Royal Mail, about this service as it was stopped almost five years ago. If you receive a copy of the email warning you about the alleged scam, please do NOT forward it to others. Instead, please forward this statement from PhonepayPlus.” Of course, like capital letters, crooks appear all the time. The vast majority of them do not live in Thanet or East Kent. It is entirely possible that some bright spark might attempt to pervert the Christmas spirit and try to revive the scam. Our advice is to keep your boss happy. Do not succumb to any requests from any unknown sources to call unfamiliar telephone numbers in exotic locations.
7. Grants From Europe
Information on the grants available from the European Union is available in a beginner’s guide on the website at http://ec.europa.eu/budget/library/publications/financial_pub/pack_rules_funds_en.pdf. More detailed information on grants can be accessed at http://ec.europa.eu/contracts_grants/index_en.htm. Careful navigation through the latter website reveals a page entitled “Financial Transparency System”. A quick search on European Commission beneficiaries shows that the UK received two grants totalling over 2.75 million Euros (£2.33 million) for “PROVIDING ACCOMODATION SECURITY, LIFE SUPPORT & OTHER SERVICES TO EC OFFICIALS IN IRAQ”. Perhaps some of the funds could have been spent on spelling classes. Of course, we all make mistakes, but, unlike the EU, we do not all have a budget of £107 billion to make mistakes with.
8. Mayor Takes Great Strides
Unfortunately, in this case the ‘strides’ in question did not belong to the mayor but refer to the Australian slang term for underwear. Anyone focused on next year’s council elections may be relieved to know that whatever your criticisms of the behaviour and policies of local councillors, it is unlikely to rival the opprobrium heaped on Ian Stafford, gardener, handyman and erstwhile mayor of Preesall and Knott End. We are grateful to one of our readers who took time away from the imposing intellectual demands of his day job to give us the sordid details of this public servant who fell from grace. In fact, Grace might be one of those who lost her nether garments as a result. Twice elected mayor of a quiet town near Fleetwood in Lancashire, Ian Stafford carried the hopes of his electorate to make the area a better place; unfortunately, he also carried to his home the underwear of some its female citizens. Following a spate of thefts, an undercover operation recorded the Mayor on camera stealing the items from the bedroom of a female victim. Police took little time in getting to the bottom of the matter and on visiting his house they found nearly £900 worth of women’s underwear. Candidates for the main political parties at the next election can breathe a little more easily from knowing that this particular Mayor was an Independent; perhaps a little too independent for most people.
9. Our Sponsors
Girlings Solicitors has been managing the managing the legal affairs of commercial and private clients for over a century. Twenty-six partners and one hundred and twenty members of staff ensure a comprehensive range of services from the local offices in Ashford, Canterbury, Folkestone, HerneBay and Margate. Offices in France and Spain complement specialist departments for charities, individuals and companies. For details, telephone 01843 220274 . Express By Holiday Inn took on the daunting task of restoring the former Prospect Inn at Minster. The result is a spectacular hotel that combines the best of Oliver Hill’s 1930s design with ultra modern facilities and technological support. Conveniently located for business guests and holiday makers in East Kent, the meeting rooms and 105 bedrooms are available at competitive prices throughout the year. For details, telephone 01843 820250 . Adecco is the world’ s largest HR solutions company offering a comprehensive service of temporary and contract staffing, permanent recruitment, outsourcing, outplacement, career services, training and consulting. Officially designated as a 2009 British Superbrand, Adecco is represented in Thanet and Dover by its Broadstairs office, tel: 01843 609292 . CARISS design, install and support education and business computing systems as East Kent’s leading specialist company in Open Source Software. To lower your carbon footprint, reduce your power consumption and adopt a thin client system, call CARISS, tel: 01843 . Mach Associates are the high-fliers in providing Internet technologies and specialist software solutions with a particular expertise in servicing the travel industry. A Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and with ISO9001 accreditation, Mach Associates also offers reduces telecom operating cost through VOIP/PBX phone systems. tel: 0870 321 9986 . Sota Connect offers a comprehensive IT service covering best-value voice, data and Internet services for companies of all sizes as well as public sector organisations. The company operates two state-of-the-art data centres of over 10,000sq ft. Sota Connect owns and operates a unique 200km fibre network from London to Ramsgate with high bandwidth Internet access giving superfast Internet connections, tel: 0800 072 2420 .
© David Foley November 2010
Thanet & East Kent Insider
13th November 2010 Issue No.: 132
1. Comfortable In Your Nest
You might not be comfortable if your nest stands for National Employer Savings Trust (NEST). We are grateful to Mick Rendell, an Independent Financial Advisor at Chamber member Acorn Bowman FIM Limited tel: 01843 609365 , who has written to the Thanet & East Kent Insider with details of the compulsory employer contributions which will be phased in under NEST arrangements from 2012. It’s a shame that Mick isn’t called Robin as it would allow for an interesting juxtaposition of names, but we cannot blame him for that. However, we can blame employers who do not take notice of their statutory obligations if they have employees aged 22 years or above earning more than £7,475 in the year 2011/2012. An estimated 13 million employees currently have no pension arrangements. The government expects another 8 million workers to take out a pension as a result of the new legislation. Any employer who induces a worker to opt out could be subject to severe penalties and there are swingeing fines for a variety of offences for which ignorance is not a defence. If you are one of those people who get tremendous pleasure out of reading all the technical details, you will find them on the government’s website at www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/cp-oct10-full-document.pdf. For the rest of us who have fresh-faced complexions and get out in the open air from time to time, we can rely on the services of the professionals. Chamber members with a particular expertise in these matters sadly do not include a single nesting bird, but to avoid swallowing your pride in a court of law after a failure to follow the NEST regulations, feel free to contact any of the following: Acorn Bowman FIM Limited of Broadstairs tel: 01843 609365 County Financial Services of Birchington tel: 01843 265070 Financial Milestones of Staplehurst tel: 01580 892874 IGF Invoice Finance Ltd of Maidstone tel: 01732 849872 J Cleverdon of Broadstairs tel: 01843 866599 Levicks Chartered Accountants of Broadstairs tel: 01843 862716 Michael Martin Partnership Ltd of Whitstable tel: 01227 770500 and Neville Weston of Ramsgate tel: 01843 594571 . If you have clicked on the Department for Work Pensions website link mentioned above and managed not to faint at the cost of £35.50 for the published hard copy of Making Automatic Enrolment Work, then you might have noticed the words at the bottom of the title page which read “Presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Work and Pension by Command of Her Majesty October 2010.” It’s good to know that a proper sense of respect for our sovereign is at the heart of government.
2. Transport & Tourism
In response to requests from members, the Thanet & East Kent Chamber will be hosting a business networking breakfast on the theme “Transport & Tourism”. Provisionally scheduled for a 7.30 am start on Friday 10th December 2010, the session will include contributions from professional operators on land, sea and air. Further details will appear in next week’s edition of the Thanet & East Kent Insider, together with information on how to reserve your place.
The publication of this edition of the Thanet & East Kent Insider will be followed by Remembrance Sunday. The Chamber is grateful to the BBC for supplying details of members of our armed services who have died in defence of the United Kingdom since the outbreak of hostilities on 4th August 2014. World War 1 led to the deaths to 886,342 in the period to the armistice on 11 th November 1918. World War II is still fresh in the minds of many of our senior Chamber members who recall the raids on Manston, Canterbury and Dover. An estimated 383,667 servicemen and women were killed between 1939 and 1945. We date the Palestine conflict as beginning in 1922 and ending in the British withdrawal in 1948. It produced 233 fatalities. The Malayan emergency which ended in 1960 provided a magnificent example to the United States on how to combat Communist insurgents and restore democracy, but it cost 340 British lives. Sadly, the lessons were not followed in Vietnam. The Yangtze Incident of 1949 was immortalized in the film of the same name which featured real-life hero and D-Day survivor Richard Todd; 46 of the UK servicemen involved were less fortunate. The Canal Zone emergency in Egypt, 1951 – 52, saw the deaths of 54 service personnel, but this was dwarfed by the Korean War 1950 – 53 with its 765 fatalities. Further conflicts in current or former Commonwealth countries continued as follows: country dates/fatalities Kenya 1952-60/12; Cyprus 1955-59/105; Suez 1956/22; Borneo 1962-67/68; Oman & Dafur 1962-75/24 and Aden 1963-67/68. The troubles in Northern Ireland caused 763 deaths in the military and thousands more among civilians there and in mainland Britain. The exemplary bravery of our forces sent to liberate the Falkland Islands in 1982 led to the loss of 255 servicemen. The first Gulf War of 1990–1991 and the Balkans conflict 1992–2001 saw 95 casualties in total. The rescue mission in Sierra Leone in 2000, Operation Barras, led to just one fatality; a brilliant exercise but a sad loss to 22 SAS D Squadron and to the family and friends of Trooper Bradley Tinnion. The war in Iraq has cost 179 British lives. Afghanistan remains our most costly current conflict with 343 fatalities to date in the period from 2001 to 11 th November 2010. In the ninety-six years since the beginning of World War I, the BBC informs us that the British armed forces have suffered 1,273,440 fatalities. It makes you think that the rebellious colleague who sometimes pinches your favourite parking space and the imminent rise in VAT may not be quite such a disaster after all.
4. An Unusual Christmas Present From Mencap
The Thanet & East Kent Insider often features items relating to mental health issues. This is not because everyone at the Chamber is going bonkers, but because we believe that healthy profits require an enlightened attitude by all employers to mental health and to our responsibilities to our local community. It is therefore with especial pleasure that we report on the successes of East Kent Mencap. Jane Brooke has contacted the Chamber with news of an exhibition of photography at Cliftonville Library featuring images of Thanet’s landscapes and heritage. The images have all been taken by members of the East Kent Mencap photography group. Jane tells us in her email: “This is a great opportunity to see some fantastic shots and perhaps find an unusual Christmas present at a very competitive price. The exhibition runs from Tuesday 15 November to Thursday 9 December at Cliftonville library which is on Queen Elizabeth Avenue, Margate, Kent CT9 3JX and is open Monday- Friday 9.00am – 6.00pm Saturday 10.00am –2.00pm, closed Weds and Sun.”
5. News From Dover
The bid by Dover People’s Port Trust Limited to take over the governance of the Port of Dover moved a step closer when Sir Patrick Sheehy and Algy Cluff joined the party that presented a formal offer to the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street recently. Sir Patrick, former Chairman of BAT Industries plc, is a much respected figure in the City of London. Algy Cluff certainly knows the value of a golden opportunity as any shareholder who has invested in his many companies will testify. With Richard Philips, former Group Financial Controller of a £1.4bn enterprise, among the Directors, there is mounting evidence to support Dover MP Charlie Elphicke’s assertion that “This is a serious bid backed by serious people. They wouldn't waste their time if it was unrealistic." The current management of the port is of entirely contrary opinion. In a strongly worded statement released on 8 th November 2010, Dover Harbour Board states: ”The People’s Port Proposal cannot be considered a serious proposal and the letter, full of inaccuracies, falsehoods and unsubstantiated statements cannot be considered a serious bid.” Readers can make up their own minds by reading the full offer letter at www.peoplesport.org.uk/our-bid/the-offer.
6. A Competition And Your Grandmother
Louise Askew of Thanet District Council would like to remind readers of the opportunity to win £500 of vouchers in the ‘This is Margate’ photography competition. As part of the build-up to the opening of the Turner Contemporary next year, the competition puts a clear focus on the many attractions of Margate. There are three entry categories for 16 years and under, students and adults. Full details are available on the website at www.thisismargate.co.uk/images-and-links/this-is-margate-photo-comp.aspx. The closing date for entries is Friday 26 November 2010. In an interesting variation on the usual criteria, we learn that: “We are also interested in receiving any historical photo entries submitted that fit into the themes of the competition.” So, if you have any black and white images of your granny with an ice cream on Margate beach or stepping out of a charabanc on a works outing to Dreamland, this could be your big moment. For an extra insight into your granny’s chances, give Thanet District Council’s Lucy Tuson a call, tel: 01843 577169
7. Transport Minister & Thanet
We are grateful to Kos Media for its coverage of the visit of Transport Minister, Philip Hammond, see http://www.yourthanet.co.uk/kent-news/Isle-MPs-meet-transport-minister-in-Margate--newsinkent41966.aspx?news=local . As reported in last week’s edition of the Thanet & East Kent Insider, the details of the discussions remain confidential, but he returned to Westminster aware of many of the main barriers to growth that inhibit companies in the East Kent coastal business community from reaching their full potential.
8. The Future Of Mobile
The Thanet & East Kent Chamber was represented at a presentation in London by Lee Epting, Director of Content Services at Vodafone. She is responsible for Vodafone's global content services portfolio which includes portal, applications shop, music, games and tv/video. She has a particular interest in the uses of the mobile telephone for everyday financial transactions and is a keen supporter of M-PESA which is operated by Vodafone’s partner in Africa, Safaricom. The average purchase by a mobile using the M-PESA system is just £8. More details of the talk will appear in next week’s edition of the Thanet & East Kent Insider, together with the comments of fellow presenters, Christian Lindholm and Ralph Simon.
9. Kinder, Küche, Kirche
Please don’t blame us for Kaiser Wilhelm II’s words in German. Not all our Chamber members are entirely in tune with the social progress of the past hundred years. SWIFT Codes for all Banks in Australia Some feel particularly uncomfortable with issues of political correctness, both in the workplace and at home. The Thanet & East Kent Insider cannot support such outdated and backward looking attitudes in any shape or form. It is only with the greatest reluctance and in the hope that it may serve as a warning to others who may be similarly tempted that we relate the following anecdote from one of our members. You may have your doubts about this story, but we leave it to our readers to judge for themselves. In a telephone call to the Chamber last week, we heard the following lament. “It was outrageous. I bought her a new hat for her niece’s wedding only a few years ago and now my wife wants another present. I just don’t understand it. Why does she want a watch of her own? There is a perfectly good clock on the cooker in the kitchen.”
12. Our Sponsors
Girlings Solicitors has been managing the managing the legal affairs of commercial and private clients for over a century. Twenty-six partners and one hundred and twenty members of staff ensure a comprehensive range of services from the local offices in Ashford, Canterbury, Folkestone, Herne Bay and Margate. Offices in France and Spain complement specialist departments for charities, individuals and companies. For details, telephone 01843 220274 . Express By Holiday Inn took on the daunting task of restoring the former Prospect Inn at Minster. The result is a spectacular hotel that combines the best of Oliver Hill’s 1930s design with ultra modern facilities and technological support. Conveniently located for business guests and holiday makers in East Kent, the meeting rooms and 105 bedrooms are available at competitive prices throughout the year. For details, telephone 01843 820250 . Adecco is the world’ s largest HR solutions company offering a comprehensive service of temporary and contract staffing, permanent recruitment, outsourcing, outplacement, career services, training and consulting. Officially designated as a 2009 British Superbrand, Adecco is represented in Thanet and Dover by its Broadstairs office, tel: 01843 609292 . CARISS design, install and support education and business computing systems as East Kent’s leading specialist company in Open Source Software. To lower your carbon footprint, reduce your power consumption and adopt a thin client system, call CARISS, tel: 01843 . Mach Associates are the high-fliers in providing Internet technologies and specialist software solutions with a particular expertise in servicing the travel industry. A Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and with ISO9001 accreditation, Mach Associates also offers reduces telecom operating cost through VOIP/PBX phone systems. tel: 0870 321 9986 . Sota Connect offers a comprehensive IT service covering best-value voice, data and Internet services for companies of all sizes as well as public sector organisations. The company operates two state-of-the-art data centres of over 10,000sq ft. Sota Connect owns and operates a unique 200km fibre network from London to Ramsgate with high bandwidth Internet access giving superfast Internet connections, tel: 0800 072 2420 .
© David Foley November 2010
Thanet & East Kent Insider
6th November 2010 Issue No.: 131
1. Turner Contemporary: Ahead Of The Game
The Turner Contemporary is on course to dazzle visitors when it opens next spring. Chamber members will recall the presentation given at our business breakfast earlier this year when the inspirational Head of Operations, Paul Gray, gave an account of the building schedule, funding arrangements and exhibition timetable. Since then the Arts Council announced on 25th October 2010 a cut in funding to the Turner Contemporary of £34,328. How prescient it was therefore for the Turner Contemporary to go to Phillips de Pury & Company auction house on 13th October 2010 and offer for sale Tracey Emin’s Neon Sign above Droit House and achieve a sale price of £48,000. Even after associated charges, this shows that the Turner Contemporary Art Trust is ahead of the game. Local businesses of all sizes and sectors will be watching eagerly on 15th November 2010 for the official announcement of the launch date and the first year’s programme. Traditionalists who consider that Britain’s most popular artist would have preferred to lend his name to a neo-classical building rather than the futuristic design by David Chipperfield Architects might like to consider that Turner himself was roundly criticized for not conforming to tradition. An article on his lectures which appeared in The New Monthly Magazine and Universal Register of 1816, the year following the defeat at Waterloo of that dangerous upstart Napoleon, scorns Turner for his approach: “there is an embarrassment in his manner approaching almost to unintelligibility, and a vulgarity of pronunciation astonishing in an artist of his rank and respectability.” Tuner died in 1851, twenty-three years before the ground-breaking Impressionists Exhibition of 1874. He was ahead of the game alright, but Joseph Mallord William Turner was not a conformist which perhaps explains why he had so few friends and never married. The Turner Contemporary Gallery will have many friends and none keener than those local businesses looking forward with eager enthusiasm to the opening date and hordes of visitors to Margate.
2. Tourism and Retail
Following last week’s article about retail and the advice received from a visitor to the Thanet & East Kent Chamber from the organisation with “the highest density retail sales in the world”, we have been asked by Chamber members to supply some more detail. Here goes. We learned that the most successful factory outlets in Europe work in close harmony with the surrounding tourist attractions so that visitors and shoppers are presented with a series of opportunities to appeal to the interests of the whole family: the erudite, the curious, the day-trippers and the shopaholics. In brief, packaging a product in liaison with the neighbouring attractions maximises the retail spend and stimulates repeat visits. The East Kent coastal business community is blessed with stunning tourism potential by virtue of its inherited historical assets, strategic location and seaside benefits. The lesson we need to learn is how to work together to support our retailers, hotels, restaurants and golf courses so that our local economy benefits to the maximum. This will undoubtedly be one of the challenges faced by the recently announced Local Economic Partnership for Kent, Essex and East Sussex. The Thanet & East Chamber will be looking to play a full part in representing the local business community to the decision-makers who will be in a position to dispense their share of a £1.4bn Regional Growth Fund.
3. Quex At Christmas
The Hannah Dining Suite at QuexPark has written to the Thanet & East Kent Insider with details of “An African Experience at QuexPark this Christmas”. On 3rd, 10th, 11th and 17th December 2010, the on-site restaurant at Quex will be offering “the vibrant spirit of Africa” to diners who will be offered African delicacies together with music and dance. Ticket prices from £24.95 per person suggest a lively response from anyone looking for a new experience for a pre-Christmas evening. If you are willing to “re-live the footsteps of Major Powell-Cotton and dine amongst the lions at Quex”, give the venue at call; tel: 01843 482 004 or freephone 0900 142 2736
4. Science, Jobs And More Than Just Tomatoes
Thanet continues to attract inward investment. As we celebrate the new daily flights from Manston to Edinburgh and Manchester which began earlier this year and look forward to the opening of the Turner Contemporary next spring, we must not forget the continuing success of the world-class hydroponics facility near Birchington, Thanet Earth the child of its parent parent company, the Fresca Group. On any one day, there may be 450 people working on site. Fresca Group has attracted investment from Holland from the Rainbow Growers group, Kaaij Greenhouses and A&A which each own one of the three completed greenhouses. The Rainbow Group building is the largest single pepper greenhouse in the UK, measuring 8.5 hectares. Kaaij Greenhouses own and operate the UK's largest single unit greenhouse specialising in growing a range of 10 vine tomatoes which are increasingly popular in supermarkets and greengrocers. The A&A Partnership was formed by Addy Breugem and Arjen de Gier in 1999. Their innovative approach to growing cucumbers is paying dividends for consumers throughout the country. All three Thanet Earth growers were recently thoroughly tested in a demanding audit by Tesco Nurture. The result was a resounding success as each gained the prestigious Tesco Nurture Gold Award. At a time when schools, universities and governments are worried about the numbers of young people studying sciences, it is comforting to know that Thanet has within its borders such a leading facility. It is worth recalling that the Fresca Group Ltd is still privately owned and employs over 1,000 people. With a headquarters at Paddock Wood, it remains a valuable member of the Kent and Thanet business community.
5. Do You Speak Dutch?
Thanet Earth, see item 4 above, is looking to appoint a Dutch-speaking non-executive to a salaried post. Recommendations from readers of the Thanet & East Kent Chamber will be warmly welcomed at Thanet Earth.
6. Directors Wanted
Louise Askew, Economic Development Officer for Regeneration Services at Thanet District Council has contacted the Chamber with news of an Arms Length Management Organisation, ALMO, which has been formed to manage 18,000 council homes in East Kent hitherto under the management of Thanet District Council, Dover District Council, Shepway District Council and Canterbury City Council. The board of management is expected to consist of four tenants, four councillors and four independent members. Applications are invited from interested parties for the independent posts. Board posts will not be remunerated although reasonable expenses will be paid. Board meetings are expected to take place initially once a month at 6.00 pm on Monday or Tuesday evenings, but this will decrease to once every two months when the ALMO is fully established. The proposals have received widespread support from tenants in all four districts. More details are available at www.eastkenthomes.org.uk. Applications for board membership should be sent direct to East Kent HR Partnership, Dover District Council, WhiteCliffsBusinessPark, Whitfield, Dover, KentCT16 3PJ.
7. KCC & Home-Working
Kent County Council is anxious to receive advice on home-working. KCC has produced a Kent Survey and is asking “all home-working professionals and those who run a business from home” to answer the questions at www.workhubs.com/surveys so that informed policies can be developed. KCC is looking to understand how its reduced resources can best be used to support enterprise. Anyone reading this who works at home and fails to take part in the survey... well you only have yourself to blame if a home-working business support centre is built at the other end of the county and not near you.
8. The Corner Shop
Sycamore Stores is a small family business on the corner of Northwood Road, Broadstairs. The owners, Martin and Shelly, have steadily improved the premises and adapted their stock to meet the needs of their passing trade. With two superstores within a short walk of the shop, excellent service has been an important element in encouraging custom as there is limited opportunity to expand. The main market is firmly local. A cheery word and a friendly smile always greet customers. Any lost pedestrians or enquiring passing motorists are directed on their way with exquisite politeness and an enhanced view of what small shops can contribute to their local community. How shocking it is then when the unrestricted parking outside their shop is threatening their business and imperiling their livelihood. When Napoleon said that Britain is a nation of shopkeepers he did not have in mind motorists who selfishly park all day in front of Sycamore Stores. The solution? It’s very simple and one that has been used successfully by councils throughout the UK: a 15-minute parking restriction on the road outside the shop would solve the problem at once. The Chamber will be contacting Thanet District Council on the issue and will report to our 2,500 readers on the results.
9. Philip Hammond In Thanet
At the invitation of Roger Gale MP and Laura Sandys MP, the Thanet & East Kent Chamber was represented last Friday at a lunch at Salmestone Grange, Margate to welcome the visit of the Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, the Secretary of State for Transport. Having just announced that morning the sale of a 30 year lease of the hi-speed rail link to Borealis Infrastructure and the Ontario Teachers' Pension fund, Philip Hammond could have been excused yet more media coverage. But, as viewers of ITV Meridian news that evening will recall, he spoke at length to camera outside the splendid 14th century venue, stressing the importance of key infrastructure in support of the private sector. The agreed protocol for such meetings with senior politicians of all persuasions is that the discussions remain confidential to the parties present. Members of the Thanet & East Kent Chamber may be assured nonetheless that their voice was heard and that one of the key decision-makers in the cabinet is fully aware of many of the main concerns of the East Kent coastal business community.
10. More On Websites
Business Link has contacted the Thanet & East Kent Insider with news of 11 free ways to promote your website. Details are available at http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/detail?itemId=5001695874&type=ONEOFFPAGE&site=210
For quality help from experienced specialist IT professionals, look no further than the following experts: The Ardent Group of Whitstable tel: 01227 774850 - Cariss of Margate tel: 01843 823724 - Coastal Data Systems of Birchington tel: 01843 846935 - IP Computer Consultants of Westgate-On-Sea tel: 07971316738 - Mach Associates of Broadstairs tel: 0870 321 9986 - Oast House Media of Great Mongeham tel: 01304 369440 - Simtech Computer Services of Margate tel: 01843 230566 and Sota Solutions of Sittingbourne tel: 01795 413500
11. The French Say Non To Channel Swimming
Why are the French against Channel Swimming? See http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00vsty4/Inside_Out_South_East_01_11_2010/ . Perhaps it is because it was an Englishman, Matthew Webb, who first swam across the Channel that our French cousins have never been great enthusiasts for taking up the physical challenge of swimming between Dover and Calais. Starting from the French side has been banned for the last 11 years. Perhaps it is more a case of Gallic logic at its best. Why spend all day freezing to death in saltwater at a cost of around £4,000 when you can cross in comfort by ferry for around 1% of the price? They may have a point there. We have received a variety of suggestions from Chamber members as to how the French might be encouraged to join us in the Channel with the same harmony of purpose that they promise to bring to our aircraft carriers. One idea received is for Dover restaurants to include more garlic and snails in their dishes to make them more appetising to successful French swimmers. But, our favourite proposal is that Channel Swimming should be renamed Chanel Swimming. After all, we all know the power of a good brand name and perhaps it would encourage better fashion sense in the swimmers; the grease and goggles look just doesn’t do it for the inventors of haute couture.
12. Our Sponsors
Girlings Solicitors has been managing the managing the legal affairs of commercial and private clients for over a century. Twenty-six partners and one hundred and twenty members of staff ensure a comprehensive range of services from the local offices in Ashford, Canterbury, Folkestone, HerneBay and Margate. Offices in France and Spain complement specialist departments for charities, individuals and companies. For details, telephone 01843 220274 . Express By Holiday Inn took on the daunting task of restoring the former Prospect Inn at Minster. The result is a spectacular hotel that combines the best of Oliver Hill’s 1930s design with ultra modern facilities and technological support. Conveniently located for business guests and holiday makers in East Kent, the meeting rooms and 105 bedrooms are available at competitive prices throughout the year. For details, telephone 01843 820250 . Adecco is the world’ s largest HR solutions company offering a comprehensive service of temporary and contract staffing, permanent recruitment, outsourcing, outplacement, career services, training and consulting. Officially designated as a 2009 British Superbrand, Adecco is represented in Thanet and Dover by its Broadstairs office, tel: 01843 609292 . CARISS design, install and support education and business computing systems as East Kent’s leading specialist company in Open Source Software. To lower your carbon footprint, reduce your power consumption and adopt a thin client system, call CARISS, tel: 01843 823724 . Mach Associates are the high-fliers in providing Internet technologies and specialist software solutions with a particular expertise in servicing the travel industry. A Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and with ISO9001 accreditation, Mach Associates also offers reduces telecom operating cost through VOIP/PBX phone systems. tel: 0870 321 9986 . Sota Connect offers a comprehensive IT service covering best-value voice, data and Internet SWIFT Codes for all Banks in Australia services for companies of all sizes as well as public sector organisations. The company operates two state-of-the-art data centres of over 10,000sq ft. Sota Connect owns and operates a unique 200km fibre network from London to Ramsgate with high bandwidth Internet access giving superfast Internet connections, tel: 0800 072 2420
© David Foley November 2010