Although the winter floods may seem a distant memory, our Business Support Officers (BSO's) are still assisting a number of businesses in dealing with the effects of the floods. Following the offer of Flood Support to a local business, the issue of technological infrastructure was raised. Due to a lack of broadband to their business, they couldn't expand and were having to consider relocating the business. On behalf of the business, our BSO liaised with the Broadband Delivery UK project team at County Hall to help coordinate a satisfactory outcome. We were then able to deliver the great news that works will begin in July to upgrade the services available to the business. We are pleased to have been able to help them to remain, and to expand, in their present location. This is a great outcome for the individual business and for the district.
Distribution of over £44,000 to local businesses
The Economic Development Service have distributed over £44,000 to local businesses via our Website Enabling Grant Scheme. Currently 52 businesses from a wide variety of industries across the district have now received an Enabling Grant. 85% of these businesses are expecting to create additional jobs due to their improved websites. The current estimate from businesses is that 108 additional jobs will be created, with an additional 129 jobs safeguarded, due to the enabling grant project. 40% of the businesses expect the project to enable them to engage one or more apprentices. We are very encouraged by these figures, and will be monitoring the longer term outcomes.
Two "Choose Workers" placed with in Economic Development through the Choose Work programme, have now successfully found full-time jobs in the district. Both had experienced long periods of unemployment. One is now a Food & Beverage Manager, and the other is an Administration Officer. This is in addition to our recent University Placement student who secured full-time employment in an IT company. We are thrilled with their success and wish all our candidates the very best in their new jobs.
Choose Work update from Steve Hill: I met some amazing people this month...
I met some amazing people this month... a drummer from Southbourne - a veteran of many local bands - who wants to be a painter and decorator; a budding administrator from Nutbourne, who's spent most of her adult life living abroad and recently returned to the UK from Holland - she's also a community organiser in her spare time, setting up a local network for local businesses in the 'bournes'; a writer from Emsworth who has completed a series of teenage novels and is publishing her work online while she looks for an agent; a talented organist from Sidelsham who is still recovering - many years on - from suffering a debilitating stroke at an early age, he does voluntary work and is looking to get back into the world of paid work; a science enthusiast with aspirations to become a science teacher, but has had to prioritise his life away from college and study due to caring responsibilities.
That's just a selection of the many people who enter the Choose Work system every couple of weeks. The thing that links them, apart from geography, is that they are unemployed. Everything else is different. These may be unemployed people, but they are still out there, doing things in their community, caring for sick relatives, trying to move on. Without schemes like Choose Work they're all simply statistics.
"Selsey Works" continues to be a popular satellite service offering specialist support to the Selsey community. George Smith, Economic Development's Business Support Officer, has been working regularly with local business people each week, helping them to access business support specific to their individual needs. Advice and information has been given on such diverse issues as planning, marketing, website development, importing and exporting opportunities, and business expansion. A great success has been a Selsey business taking vacant premises in Chichester city centre. Another triumph has been the facilitation of an unemployed labourer back into the work place. Potential start-up businesses have been provided with information on setting out business plans and the importance of completing marketing exercises such as a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). If you are a Selsey business person and would appreciate some face to face support, please email Business Support, or drop into the the "Selsey Works" office.
New Director for Rural West Sussex
Simon Matthews has commenced in his new role of Director for Rural west Sussex in April. He has formally worked in business in the private sector, and in Economic Development and Economic Consultancy in the public sector. We wish him every success in his new position.