Member News & Events

New grants to help fund recovery for SMEs

The Government has announced £20m in funding to help SMEs in England recover from the effects of the COVID crisis.

SMEs can access grants for new technology and other equipment. The grants can also be used for professional, legal, financial and other advice to assist in their recovery.

Typically, the grants will be awarded up to a maximum of £3,000 per business, but, under certain circumstances, £5,000 may be available.

Access to the grants is now open and must be awarded by 28th February 2021. The activity the grant supports must be completed by 31st March 2021.

Growth Hubs run by Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) manage the grants, and there is a strict qualifying criterion determined by each LEP. Therefore, businesses should contact their local Growth Hub to understand the requirements for their application.

Given our experience helping clients with grant applications from LEPs, we know that the process is not straight forward and can be time-consuming. Therefore, if you require assistance with your application, please contact your local TC advisor on 0330 088 7111.

For more information contact

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A Brief Guide on Dealing with Redundancies

Since March 2020 when our world at work completely changed courtesy of Covid-19, the topic that seems to be top of the list of many businesses’ agenda at the moment is, sadly, Redundancy.

As we approach the end of the timescale for the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (ending October 2020), many organisations are reviewing the needs of their business, the number of staff, and the location in which they will work into the future.   

So, what does Redundancy really mean?

It is one of the potentially fair reasons to dismiss an employee but in order to ensure that it is ‘fair’, any business considering redundancy should ensure they understand the process that they must go through so that the outcome is legal.  Businesses suffer significant reputational damage if they handle redundancy situations badly, let alone the exposure they place themselves in should an Employment Tribunal make a finding of ‘unfair dismissal’ because of a failure to follow a fair and legal process. 

Although, not covered in this article, it should be noted that with regards to Employment Tribunal ‘findings’, where a redundancy has been deemed as ‘unfair’, there are often other claims to be considered.  It therefore becomes even more important to know what you need to do in any situation that is likely to result in the termination of employment for a member of staff, even though this article is purely focusing on redundancy. 

An employee may be dismissed as redundant when a business closes down, or if the need for employees to carry out work of a particular kind has ceased, diminished, or is expected to cease or diminish.  If a redundancy situation arises, all employers have a number of statutory duties towards employees, including the duty to consult, and to pay a minimum of statutory redundancy pay to those who are eligible for it.  

How to go about dealing with redundancies?

If your business is considering redundancy to future proof your here is a checklist of things to take into account:

  1. Remember, it is the job that is made redundant not an individual.  It is the requirement for the job to be done, in the same place or by the same number of people that is key.   
  2. Construct a ‘business case’ to support your findings that changes need to be made.  This does not have to be complex, but it does have to demonstrate that the change is justifiable.  In some circumstances, this is much easier e.g. our business no longer sells ‘blue widgets’ so the people that make the ‘blue widgets’ are no longer needed.   
  3. In ‘2’ above, consider if it is possible to reorganise the business to allow those that made the ‘blue widgets’ to work in other areas of the business.  Are there alternative options for them?  This will help you to demonstrate that you considered alternatives to try to avoid redundancy.
  4. Consider how many people you may need to make redundant.  If it is under 20 in one establishment the rules are simpler.  If it is over 20, seek advice before doing anything. 
  5. Look at the jobs that are impacted.  If you have more than one person doing the job and you need less people doing that job in the future, you will have what is known as a ‘pool’ so you need a ‘fair’ process to select from the ‘pool’.  You will need a ‘selection criteria’ that is fair and objective.  Your proposed criteria must not focus on anything that could be a ‘protected characteristic’ either directly or indirectly e.g. age, gender/gender reassignment, disability, ethnicity/race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation, marriage/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity.
  6. Make sure you write to those affected informing them that you are considering the need for redundancies and letting them know if and how they might be affected.  You should explain the process that you will use and the timetable that you will be following during the process.
  7. Consider if you are able to ask for volunteers for redundancy.  This is not always possible or realistic.  Seek advice if you think a change could be achieved via a voluntary redundancy programme rather than a compulsory redundancy programme. 
  8. Hold consultation meetings with affected individuals.  Depending on the numbers and the process, assuming less than 20 people are affected, this could be anything from 1 to 3 meetings.  The important thing to remember is that consultation meetings should be ‘meaningful’, not just a ‘tick box’ exercise.  You must listen to suggestions or considerations raised by the individual.  
  9. Take notes at all meetings and provide letters and copies of notes to individuals so that you have documented evidence of the process that you followed.
  10. When the process has been concluded, you can then issue the formal notice of redundancy letter which includes a summary of what you have gone through, details of payments due to the employee and provides them with a right to appeal against your decision.  

What next?

First of all, take your time to consider all options that may be available to you.  If you are unsure of any aspect of the process, seek advice from an HR Professional, or Employment Law Adviser.  Employees with less than two year’s continuous service do not have enough qualifying service to bring a claim for Unfair Dismissal via an Employment Tribunal but they are protected from discrimination.  Always check the contract of employment that you issued to ensure you are not breaching any of the terms contained in it.  It is important that you treat your employees with respect and dignity.  Redundancy is horrible for everyone including those issuing it.   

Useful Links:

Definition of The Employment Rights Act 1996 

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) gives employees and employers free, impartial advice on workplace rights, rules and best practice.

Calculate your Redundancy Pay

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Storm clouds gather over Bournemouth — the City by the seaside. Article from The Sunday Times

Article from The Sunday Times, Sunday, 16th August 2020

“A slow return to the office for the south coast resort’s financial services giants spells trouble for the local and national economies.

On a normal lunchtime, an army of office workers would descend on Jo and Guy Verney’s sandwich bar. Financial services professionals and creative types queue outside Sands2 in Bournemouth, waiting to get their hands on favourites such as chicken, bacon and avocado baguettes and chicken and chorizo wraps with melted cheddar cheese.

Unfortunately for the couple, both 49, there has been nothing resembling an ordinary lunchtime for months. With offices largely empty in the seaside town, weekly sales are down by more than 25%, and the Verneys, who have run the shop for 20 years, have had to make three of their seven staff redundant. In half an hour last Wednesday at lunchtime, just a handful of people came into Sands2. “I’m trying to remain optimistic,” said Jo. “But deep down, there is a real concern for the whole country.”

The pain the couple are experiencing is being felt across the rest of the town — and the UK. Office workers are staying at home, despite Boris Johnson’s entreaties. The delicate ecosystem of urban centres, in particular those such as the City of London and Canary Wharf in Docklands, is in danger of collapse as white-collar workers stay at home.

In recent years, Bournemouth has made its name as an unlikely financial services hotspot, especially for insurance and tech. Big employers include the American banking giant JP Morgan and Nationwide Building Society, plus insurers LV, Vitality and Health-on-Line, owned by Axa. Guarantor lender Amigo Loans was founded there. Barclays has a wealth management division in nearby Poole. The sector employs 8,000 in Bournemouth, about as many as tourism.

The arrival in 1986 of JP Morgan, lured away from a proposed hub in Swindon after council leaders wooed the Wall Street bank’s bosses with the promise of incentives for developing a big site, heralded a professional revolution in the town. It helped Bournemouth shrug off its reputation as a place for the elderly — and stag parties. According to census data analysed by the Centre for Towns, there were 45.7 pensioners for every 100 people of working age in Bournemouth in 1981, but that fell to 26.2 over the following three decades. Today, 18.1% of the population is aged over 65, according to the Office for National Statistics.

That influx of youth — including more than 22,000 at Bournemouth’s two universities, many of whom stay in the town after graduating — has also helped to create a tech and digital scene nicknamed Silicon Beach. The economy in Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch is worth £12bn a year, with average weekly earnings of £498.79 putting it in the top half of urban centres.

Bournemouth provides a snapshot of post-lockdown Britain. While pictures of its crammed beach in June sparked outrage, the potential damage to the Dorset town from the slow return to office working is far more serious.

The Centre for Cities estimates that every office worker sustains an average of 1.7 jobs in other sectors — such as in bars and cafés — but pandemic-induced changes in behaviour mean that is shrivelling. “We are seeing the opposite now,” said Paul Swinney, the think tank’s research director. “Because these jobs are being done at home, people aren’t going out to spend money in those areas. That creates a big short-term challenge.”

As elsewhere, empty shops pock-mark Bournemouth’s retail quarter. Beales, the department store, closed its doors in March, and more than a dozen other shops on the high street are abandoned. Several, including a barber’s and a vaping store, have closed since lockdown, locals said.

Things look set to worsen the longer office workers stay away. Just 15% of staff at the big finance employers are in the office. JP Morgan is Bournemouth’s largest private-sector employer, with more than 4,000 at its operations and technology centre; only 20% of them were back in the office last week. Its two-metre social distancing rule — the most cautious interpretation of the guidance — has halved available desks, so the bank cannot get more than 50% of workers back on site for the foreseeable future.

Nationwide and Vitality have offices facing each other in the town centre. Of a combined Bournemouth workforce of 1,450, just 220 are regularly in the office. The car parks were virtually empty last week. Nationwide, which has a specialist lending operation in the town, said it would not change its arrangements before the end of the year.

The consequences are quickly becoming visible. Down the road from Vitality and Nationwide, two popular cafés have closed for good. Michael Delahaye, a barber at Bond’s hairdressers in the town centre, said his working day now consists of “a lot of sitting around”. Delahaye, 24, has worked at the shop for four years. He said that office workers were “our bread and butter”, but without them he is idle: “Either the missus is cutting their hair, or they are growing it out.” Near the railway station, dry-cleaner Ricky Kirwan, 28, said footfall was down by half as professionals did not bring in work clothes.

The absence of office workers could also have a severe impact on owners of commercial property such as Canada Life, which owns LV’s Bournemouth office. Should remote working take root, many employers will look to shed costly office space. Steve Carr, operational resilience director at LV, said it was “inevitable” that companies would look at their “estate strategy”. Just 34 of the insurer’s 864 Bournemouth staff are at its office.

The trend is not confined to big businesses. Andy Headington, founder of website developer Adido, gave up his lease at a town-centre office and struck a deal to share with the company on the floor above, as he does not expect his 15 staff to return full-time. If offices are emptied across the country, it could have a devastating effect on pension pots — fund managers are among the biggest owners of commercial property. Here in Dorset, it could impact the Meyrick family, which has assembled a £132m fortune by developing commercial, residential and leisure properties in Bournemouth.

Some say the commercial space could be repurposed into housing, as John Lewis is planning at some of the stores it is closing. “They will become residential communities,” said Paul Kinvig, chief operating officer of Bournemouth’s business improvement district. “But that throws up a load of planning issues for local authorities.” A scheme by Beales’s landlord to convert the store’s top four floors into 76 flats four years ago was quashed due to a lack of car parking.

Despite the gloom, there are reasons to be cheerful in Bournemouth. Maximillian De Kment, boss of local estate agencies Saxe Coburg and Lovett International, said house prices had ticked up by at least 10% thanks to a surge of Londoners wanting to move to the area. “We are not salesmen at the moment — we are just receptionists taking calls and doing viewings,” said De Kment, 54.

Kris Gumbrell, co-founder of pub chain Brewhouse & Kitchen, with 23 sites across the country and three in Bournemouth, said the hot weather meant that he was beating last year’s sales — although one shopkeeper complained that the beach was thronged with day-trippers bringing their own food and drink, starving local retailers of sales.

Hoteliers have capitalised on the heatwave and a staycation boom. Tim Seward, operations manager at the Holiday Inn and chairman of the local hospitality association, said the price of some rooms had doubled to £400 a night.

However, as autumn approaches and the beaches empty, Bournemouth could turn into a ghost town if office workers do not return to their desks. Seward, 42, said that, for the first time, some hotels plan to close for winter and make staff redundant before trying to reopen next spring.

Entrepreneurs such as the Verneys will hope for more bosses like Nathan Revill. The co-founder of software developer Dorset Creative has been encouraging his 12 staff back into its office across the road from Sands2, because they are able to do “so much more [in person] than we can on [Microsoft] Teams”. His team regularly buys sandwiches from Sands2 as Revill, 40, tries to help the local economy. “But we need to get more people back to their work environments,” he said.”

Find the entire article here:

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Are you always looking for proactive opportunities to enhance your business?

Have you ever considered Bournemouth Chamber of Trade & Commerce (BCTC) being a spokesperson for your business? Did you know that our aim is to help local businesses to grow and thrive?

Being a longstanding organisation with over 100 years of experience, BCTC have the ear of BCP Council and many other key stakeholder organisations in the conurbation like BH Area Hospitality Association (BAHA), the Town Centre and Coastal Business Improvement District (BID’s) as well as Yellow Buses to name but a few.

Additionally, as a membership organisation voluntarily run by a group of local business owners, we pride ourselves in providing networking and presentation platforms for you, as well as the very latest business information, training & development. We are also your voice / one voice, ensuring that together we are stronger.

From just £75 for an annual membership, an invitation to join us and the opportunity of connecting with other local business owners to enhance the visibility of your company/business brand through all our programs is a website away. To do so, please go to or to learn more about the benefits we offer, please email us at

We look forward to hearing from you.

Membership Team
Bournemouth Chamber of Trade & Commerce

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New ticketing system from AFC Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth has introduced a new ticketing platform.

The new ticketing website will use the existing AFC Bournemouth ticketing URL ( and has been built with supporter feedback in mind.

In order to assist supporters with the new website, the Ticketing Team have put together some tutorial videos and included key information below.

Friends and Family Links

Supporters told us that they would like to be able to renew season tickets and book cup tickets for friends and family members. To enable this process, the Club has reset all friends and family links, with new links added on the new site enabled with greater functionality. Please re-add friends and family that you would like to book tickets for in the future.

For assistance on adding Friends and Family to your community, a tutorial video can be found here.

Order History and Cherries Points

Your order history, for match tickets and season tickets, has been retained by the Club however, to reduce confusion, only live Cherries Points will be shown on the new website-old orders will not be shown.

For assistance on locating your Cherries Points on the new website, a tutorial video can be found here.

How to use the new site:

1) Firstly, navigate to

2) Once you are on the ticketing site, please click on the Person icon in the top right hand corner of the page to navigate to the log-in page

3) Once you are on the login page, please follow the link available for returning supporters

4) This will then take you to a page where you can enter your e-mail address, and a new password will be sent to you

Please note:
you do not have to remember a username anymore, as the club will be using your e-mail as your username on the new ticketing site

5) Follow the instructions in the re-set password e-mail, in order to return to the login page, where you will be able to enter your new password and access your account

6) Once you have logged in to your account, we advise that you navigate to the Change Password section of My Account, to reset your password as soon as possible

For further assistance on logging into your account for the first time, a tutorial video can be found here.

What’s New

  • Enhanced Friends and Family functionality
  • The ability to book Family Area tickets online
  • Improved accessibility of the ticket buying process

Everyone at the Club is looking forward to welcoming you back to Vitality Stadium when it is safe to do so.

Up the Cherries,

Your Ticketing Team

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BH Meet Up Zoom Meetings Postponed

Due to the extremely high number of virtual events taking place during the Covid-19 pandemic, BCTC have taken the decision to postpone our BH MeetUp events until they can take place physically rather than virtually and therefore be of more benefit to our members.

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Local Discretionary Grant Scheme: extended eligibility

Local businesses are invited to apply for the second phase of BCP Council’s Local Discretionary Grant scheme. Eligibility criteria has been extended to cover businesses who trade from a residential premises and businesses that can demonstrate a significant fall in income because of Covid-19 (the restriction of 50% or more has been removed).
The first phase attracted more than 800 applications and awarded over £2 million to local businesses from the available £4.3 million Local Discretionary Grant fund. The secondary application window opened today and closes on Sunday 2 August. 

For more information and how to apply, click here.

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COVID-19 Information for Hospitality & Tourism Businesses from BCP Council

We’re looking forward to helping you prepare to re-open your business and operate from 4th July

The new government guidance to help you plan to re-open hospitality and tourism businesses has now been released and comes in to effect from 4 July 2020.

Working safely during COVID-19 sector guidance:

List of businesses able and not able to open from 4th July: from-4-july-2020

Guidance for people who work in or run restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes or takeaways: ping-workers-and-customers-safe-during-covid-19-restaurants-pubs-bars- takeaways-230620.pdf

Guidance for people who work in hotels and guest accommodation, indoor and outdoor attractions, and business events and consumer shows: visitor-economy

Guidance for people who work in or run hotels and other guest accommodation: and-other-guest-accommodation

Guidance for people who provide close contact services, including hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, tattooists, sports and massage therapists, dress fitters, tailors and fashion designers: contact-services

UK Hospitality is preparing guidance to help prepare COVID-19 Risk Assessments:

Free webinar to help businesses keep a safe record of customers visiting their premises as part of the NHS ‘Track and Trace’ system, in accordance with the new guidelines: recording-customer-contact-data-tickets-110988401296

Over the coming week BCP Council will be issuing further support and guidance from our local agencies including Licencing, Police and Fire services to help your business to re-open and recover. Please continue to check back for updates.

Good luck with your re-opening plans.

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Small Business Accelerator initiative for SME’s

Enterprise Nation is delighted to announce a partnership with Amazon to deliver the Amazon Small Business Accelerator, a major support package for 200,000 small businesses across the UK. Being a valued community member of Enterprise Nation, you are first to hear that from today, you’re able to join this new programme! Sign-up for free to take a quick diagnostic plan and find the e-learning path that best fits your business!

Why Sign Up?

> Diagnostic

Take a quick and easy business diagnostic to find the support best tailored to your needs. 

> Online learning

Access e-learning from experts, with modules on social media marketing, selling on Amazon, accounting, hiring and more. 

> Week-long bootcamps

Apply to take part in a week-long intensive training bootcamp and access ongoing support to help your existing business start trading online quickly.

  These will be run across different business sectors including: 

  • Beauty & Wellbeing
  • Food & Drink
  • Service based businesses
  • Home, leisure, gadgets & gifts
  • Fashion

> Other exclusive benefits 

By joining the programme you can access a bundle of business offers worth over £2,000.


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