canterbury 4 business

Clearing the path for business

May 2010

Dear associates and business owners

Welcome to the May issue of the C4B newsletter, which includes details of the C4B Board's response to the City Council's draft Local Development Framework (LDF), launched for consultation earlier this year. We also report on how the Business First graduate internship scheme can help small businesses, and look at how C4B is working to keep the discussions on Whitstable traffic management on the move.

Paul Barrett Chairman C4B

In this update:

  • Briefing on district's future
  • C4B's response to the LDF
  • Local Economy Team scoops award
  • Graduate boost for small businesses
  • Keeping Whitstable talks on the move
  • March Business Month success
  • ABC of apprenticeships
paul barrett

Paul Barrett's business comment

The C4B breakfast briefing gave local business owners an ideal opportunity to have their say about the City Council's draft Local Development Framework proposals.

The C4B Board has now responded, on behalf of the business community, with a document outlining the points it feels are relevant to this stage of the consultation, covering issues such as housing and funding for infrastructure; transport and accessibility; Little Barton Farm and employment land; and retail, amongst others.

If you're not familiar with the LDF, click here to view a copy of the document.

Local Development Framework

Canterbury businesses briefed on district's future

Keynote speaker at C4B's recent Breakfast Briefing on the Local Development Framework was Colin Carmichael, Chief Executive of Canterbury City Council. He explained the key points of the Framework, which outlines the council's plans and vision for the development of the district until 2026.

"It was a very useful and informative event, providing insight into how the city is developing and going forward," said Mike Lilford, from Price Lilford Ltd of Canterbury.

Mr Carmichael's talk covered issues such as traffic congestion, development of land for employment, education and skills provision and strategies for attracting knowledge-based businesses to the area. Following the presentation, delegates took part in a question and answer session.

Local business owners appreciated the opportunity to hear about the Framework and 'have their say'.

"It was another event designed to keep local businesses up to date with burning issues of traffic management, parking and development," said Clive Tucker, of the Oyster Press in Whitstable. "Well-informed people are more accepting of change, whether they agree with it or not."

"I feel we are privileged in Canterbury district to have such strong support from Canterbury City Council and C4B, promoting partnerships between businesses and the council, and providing these events and forums," said Steve Weaver, of Chives the Caterers in Canterbury.

Chris West

Award for Local Economy Team

Canterbury City Council has been presented with an award by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) to recognise excellence and innovation in its support of small businesses.

The Canterbury district has a high number of small to medium enterprises and these make up a large part of the local economy. The award acknowledges the council's commitment to engaging with these businesses, offering support and advice to help them thrive.

There was particular praise from the FSB for the positive impact of the Bay and Whit Card schemes on businesses in the coastal towns during the recession. The scheme introduced by Chris West, Coastal Town Centres Manager, allows businesses to offer discounts and incentives to residents, encouraging them to shop locally and support the economy.

The Small Business Friendly Local Authority Award was presented by Tony Pringle, FSB Chairman for East Kent Branch, to the council's Local Economy team at Canterbury4Business' breakfast meeting on Tuesday (24 February).

City council support for small businesses includes March Business Month, Business Link, Canterbury4Business, Whitstable Enterprise Centre and Lakesview Office Village. Through these ventures, the council is often the first point of call for new and small businesses in the district.

In March last year, the council became the first local authority in the county to sign the FSB's small business engagement accord. This sees them commit to 14 'principles' that promote the importance of listening to the views of small businesses.

And last August, the council further demonstrated that support by signing up to the national small business-friendly concordat. It now provides online details of forthcoming bidding opportunities and contact details for each contract, in addition to the wide range of information about doing business with the council that already exists.

Graduate boost for small businesses

In November last year, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) asked universities to help unemployed graduates and employers during the recession. And as part of the Government's 'Backing Young Britain' campaign, HEFCE invited higher education institutions to take part in the scheme to support 8,500 graduate internships.

A total of £13.6m has been allocated in the form of grants to support graduate internships nationwide.

Canterbury's three universities - the University of Kent, the University for the Creative Arts, and Canterbury Christ Church University - have all applied to take part in the scheme, and between them have been awarded £336,000.

These grants will mean that small, local businesses across different industries can employ graduate interns.

Canterbury Christ Church University, which leads the original Business First project on behalf of the Kent and Medway universities and secured funding for 35 new internships, outlined the impressive level of interest from businesses to date.

Audrey Songhurst, Director for its Centre for Enterprise & Business Development (CEBD), said: "There has been enormous interest in, and demand for, graduate placements through Business First and we are delighted to have secured some additional funding to bring together graduates and businesses through this new internship scheme".

At the University of Kent, 100 graduates will be given internships, and these will be organised and supervised by Kent Innovation & Enterprise (KIE) at the university.

The Director of Innovation & Enterprise, Carole Barron, said: "'The funding has been made available to enable the university to place significantly more graduates with suitable organisations and to provide a meaningful experience for both the graduate and the employer.

"By undertaking a short term internship, graduates increase their chance of being recruited on a permanent basis, or of finding subsequent graduate-level work with another employer."

The grant will also enable University for the Creative Arts (UCA) to create internships for 75 recent graduates at small businesses, particularly in digital and low carbon industries, in 2010.

Denise Harmer, Project Manager UCA Business First said: "The new programme enables us to expand the current Business First project by offering additional internships in Kent and in particular the growing digital industry sector as well as other businesses needing creative input.


C4B keeps Whitstable traffic management discussion on the move

C4B's drive to resolve traffic congestion in Whitstable is gathering speed. Last year, the C4B board identified traffic management in the town as one of its key priorities for the district. Working closely with the Whitstable Chamber of Commerce, C4B persuaded Canterbury City Council to found a special committee to discuss the various issues and consider improvement schemes.

"C4B took the initiative and acted as a catalyst to get all the main decision-makers together into one room for a meeting," explained Paul Barrett, chairman of C4B.

"We succeeded in establishing a dialogue between the city council, district council and KCC, with the aim of identifying the key issues and sources of funding that are available to take the project forward."

The current committee, made up Whitstable councillors, representatives of Whitstable Chamber of Commerce, Whitstable Town Centre Partnership, Canterbury City Council and Kent County Council councillors and officers, meets regularly to identify areas of concern and move the project on.

At its meeting on 1 March, the committee agreed to gather further evidence about proposals and costs to improve the traffic layout with the objective of putting a scheme forward for public consultation in April.

March Business Month success

March Business Month success

The March Business Month events, organised by the City Council's Local Economy Team, proved as popular as ever. The networking events in Whitstable and Herne Bay attracted the biggest turnouts: the latter session proving extremely successful for one business owner who secured a new £40,000 contract. As a result, the team is hoping to arrange a series of bi-monthly networking events across the district during the remainder of 2010. More information coming soon.

ABC of apprenticeships

ABC of apprenticeships

C4B's Education and Skills project group is planning a major seminar on the business benefits of apprenticeships and internships. The event, hosted by the City Council, will take place in the autumn. Watch this space for the date and details.

Canterbury4Business C/O Local Economy Team, Canterbury City Council, Military Road CT1 1YW

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