C4B Chairman's Update               April 2015
Paul Barrett
Dear [salutation],     Welcome to our April newsletter, in which we report on the appointment of new directors for the permanent BID (Business Improvement District) board, as well as two BID initiatives that will be helping to improve the environment of the city centre's streets this summer. New funding is in the pipeline for local rural businesses via the Regional Growth Fund (RGF), and the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University have both been awarded increases in research funding – all great news for the future of our district.
New board for BID
Canterbury Connected BID (Business Improvement District), established six months ago, now has a full complement of permanent board directors to guide it through the next couple of years. The thirteen directors were appointed following an extensive process overseen by Canterbury City Council Electoral Services Department. A ballot was not necessary, since the exact number of nominations were received for the places available. The new board will hold its first meeting on 22 April, when a new Chair will be selected. For details, contact enquiries@canterburybid.co.uk.

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City ambassadors
The BID board is currently recruiting a team of ambassadors to patrol the city centre streets, report issues to the appropriate authorities and agencies, liaise with businesses, and meet and greet visitors. After extensive training to ensure they are familiar with every aspect of the city, the ambassadors will be kitted out in distinctive uniforms - smart suits, bright blue ties and bowler hats - ready to be on patrol by mid-May.

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Floral displays for city centre
Canterbury's streets will be glowing with colour and greenery from mid-June, when £25,000 of floral displays will be installed in 200 locations around the city centre. As well as brightening up the city environment for businesses, residents and visitors, the displays will boost Canterbury's chances of winning a gold award in this year's 'South & South East in Bloom' competition.

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Free workshops
The StartMyBiz and GrowMyBiz projects continue to provide assistance to businesses with a programme of new support workshops covering subjects such as business expenses and social media - return on investment, customer experience, and the pitfalls for new businesses when setting up web domains, emails etc. All the workshops are free to attend: further details can be found on the events pages of www.startmybiz-canterbury.com/events and www.growmybiz-canterbury.com/events.

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Contribution to Nemo consultation
C4B has written to Ofgem to express its concerns about the proposed overground route of the Project Nemo grid cabling from Richborough to Canterbury. The route would take power lines across the area earmarked by Southern Water for a new reservoir at Broad Oak. It is also likely to adversely affect the Local Plan detour to bypass the Sturry rail crossing. For details of the project, visit www.richboroughconnection.co.uk.

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News in brief

Rise in research funding

Following the recent exercise by The Research Excellence Framework (REF), which assesses the quality of research in UK Higher Education institutions, Canterbury Christ Church University and University of Kent achieved increases in research funding. The funding, provided from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, doesn't include income from research grants and other sponsored projects.

Canterbury Christ Church University was rated fourth in the country for the biggest percentage of research funding increase. The University's funding increased to just over £2m. University of Kent's total research funding increased from £11m to £14.2m. Both universities did very well in terms of improvement within the sector.

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Apprenticeship opportunities
All the major parties in the forthcoming election appear to be committed to apprenticeships, although funding is likely to become increasingly focused, with emphasis on apprenticeships for 16-18 year olds, and high quality apprenticeships at Level 3 (A-Level equivalent) and above - even the equivalent of higher education levels. Other changes include gradually replacing apprenticeship 'frameworks' with 'standards' (nas.apprenticeships.org.uk) and providing employers with vouchers to procure apprenticeships from approved local providers.

Canterbury College, which delivers services to over 550 apprentices per year across more than 40 different frameworks, will, like other Kent providers, remain a core delivery agent of the taught elements of apprenticeships. For more information about apprenticeships and current developments, visit www.apprenticeships.org.uk.

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Award-winning entrepreneur to study in Canterbury
Sixteen-year old Ben Towers, of Towers Design, winner of the 'Most promising young person in business' category in Kent Invicta Chamber's 2015 business awards, is hoping to study for an AAT (Association of Accountancy Technicians) qualification at Canterbury College. Ben, who hopes to join the College in September, founded his first business aged 11. www.bentowers.co.uk/about-ben.

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Gorrell Tank car park to stay open
Southern Water has confirmed that the Gorrell Tank car park in Whitstable will remain half open (at its current capacity) during April to June 2015, and will not be closed.

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