Member News & Events

Christmas 2020 plans in Bournemouth

The successful Winter Wonderland the town has welcomed for the last two years has been put on hold amid the Coronavirus pandemic, and instead a Covid-conscious seven-week long event (13 November to 3 January) is planned to celebrate the festivities.

The event will see the return of the Bethlehem tree, the much-loved reindeer and other lighting installations. In order to maintain a steady flow of visitors for safety reasons, there will be fewer market stalls in The Square and the alpine bar will be a single-storey open-air attraction. Due to constraints around social distancing, the ice rink will not form part of the town’s offering for 2020 but is set to reappear in 2021.

Cllr Vikki Slade, (former) Leader of BCP Council, said: “We are so excited to be able to host these forthcoming celebrations in Bournemouth; all of which have been made with the wellbeing of our residents and visitors being our highest priority. We will be announcing plans for Christchurch and Poole in the coming weeks, as plans are finalised.”

For more information, click here.

« Back to My BCTC

Bournemouth Arts By The Sea Festival: 25 Sept to 4 Oct

We are thrilled to announce that the 10th Arts by the Sea festival will go ahead, in a revised COVID-friendly format this September! 

With safety firmly in mind, there will be a limited number of ticketed outdoor events which will allow for social-distancing, as well as a digital programme of engaging workshops and live-streams.

For details and how to apply for tickets to some installations, click here.

« Back to My BCTC

AFC Business, the club’s free to join business club, have launched a new support initiative for local businesses

After a difficult economic period for many, the Back to Business campaign aims to give local businesses a helping hand by providing them with an opportunity to promote their brand across AFC Business’ social media platforms and the club website.

The initiative means that every current and new AFC Business member will be put into a draw each month for the chance to co-produce a promotional video with the club.

Simple technical specifications and suggested content will be provided by the commercial team before handing over the reins to the business to produce a short video which will be used to promote their work.

AFC Bournemouth partnerships manager Amy Marks said: “It’s great to be able to offer such a valuable opportunity to our members.

“It has been a difficult time for everyone in the local business community over the past few months but hopefully this initiative will create some positivity for all those who are involved.”

To be in with a chance of winning, simply sign up to AFC Business by clicking here and filling in your details.

The first winner will be announced on Friday 11th September.

To keep up to date with all the latest business club and commercial news, follow AFC Business on LinkedIn by clicking here.

More information can be found by clicking here.

« Back to My BCTC

Dorset SME Recovery Grant: Applications Now Open

Dorset Growth Hub have opened up applications today for the Dorset SME Recovery Grant. 

This grant is a result of the Government announcement that a share of £30 million would be distributed to each Local Enterprise Partnership, including a £10 million Kick-starting Tourism Package for small businesses in tourism sector and a further £20 million funding to help smaller businesses recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

As a result, Dorset Growth Hub has been awarded a total of just under £550,000 of grant funding to distribute to eligible, Dorset based SME businesses that are trading in the tourism sector as well as the wider economy.

You can now apply for the amount of £1,000 – £3,000 or £5,000 in exceptional circumstances via the Dorset Growth Hub website ( These non-repayable grants are funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Grants will be spent on projects to aid job safeguarding and business survival, such as improving websites, implementing new technology, improving use of outdoor space, with awnings and heating and also consulting, accessing expert advice on management, legal and HR. 

The guidelines on the Dorset Growth Hub web page ( also point out what the grant can’t be spent on such as PPE and business as usual items. 

Nick Gregory, Operations director at Dorset Growth Hub says “with over 1100 businesses registering their interest in these grants, we are expecting a huge number of applications to flood in over the next few weeks. We have employed 3 new members of staff, 2 part time consultants and 1 full time administrator to deal with the influx of applications and enquiries. They will be doing their best to reply to you as soon as they can, process your applications efficiently and give you a decision on whether you have been successful. We are hoping to do this in a two week turn around, but this is dependent on the number of applications we receive in the first instance. So please bear with us, we really want to get this money to the businesses in need!”

If you are considering applying, make sure to read the full guidance to determine your businesses eligibility along with the project you have in mind. Your business must have been impacted by Covid-19 and you will be asked how the grant will help the business recover.

If you have any questions on the grant please contact

« Back to My BCTC

HMRC Kickstart Scheme Application Assistance

The Government has introduced the Kickstart Scheme to encourage employers to offer 6-month work placements for 16 to 24-year-olds who are on Universal Credit.

The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to employers to cover 25 hours per week at the relevant National Minimum Wage plus Employers National Insurance and Employers Minimum Automatic Enrolment Contributions.

Not advised in previous HMRC announcements about the scheme is the detail that employers must offer a minimum of 30 work placements or partner with other organisations to reach this level. The Kickstart Scheme can help you find organisations with whom to partner.

Kickstart is being run by the Department for Work and Pensions and is open to all employers in all industries to take part, but there are a number of qualifying criteria:

The work placements must be new opportunities and not:

  • Replace existing or planned vacancies;
  • Cause existing employees or contractors to lose or reduce their employment.

The work placements must be:

  • For a minimum of 25 hours per week;
  • Paid at the relevant National Minimum Wage;
  • Not require extensive training before they can start;
  • Develop the skills of the participants to support them looking for long term work.

Given our experience helping clients with previous HMRC initiatives, we know the process is not straight forward and can be time-consuming. Therefore, if you would like assistance applying for the Kickstart Scheme please contact our HR team at or call us on 0330 088 7111.

« Back to My BCTC

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

« Back to My BCTC

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

« Back to My BCTC

Council to seek further views on cycling and walking scheme in Boscombe and Southbourne Overcliff Drives, and at Cleveland Road

A BCP Council scheme to provide safer space for cycling and walking on Boscombe and Southbourne Overcliff Drives, which was intended to relieve pressure on the promenade, and where concerns about speeding traffic have been a barrier to switching local journeys in that area, will be delayed to allow more time for dialogue with local residents. 

The scheme was not planned to close the area to cars or prevent clifftop parking, but only to remove the through traffic. The idea was first identified at the time when our seafront was inundated with holidaymakers, and the summertime ban on promenade cycling was about to commence. It also intended to provide a route that can be used more easily by pedestrians and cyclists year round, where storms can render the promenade impassable.  There have been a number of collisions involving injuries to people on bikes at junctions along the Overcliff in recent years and making roads safer as well as encouraging sustainable journeys remain a priority for the council. 

Councillor Andy Hadley, Portfolio Holder for Transport, BCP Council commented;

“As part of the response to COVID-19, it’s clear to see that the way we travel is changing, and as we head towards the new normal – going back to school and returning to workplaces – we want to support people to choose to travel more sustainably for shorter journeys. This also supports our vision is to create vibrant communities with outstanding quality of life where everyone plays an active part, and the new National Walking and Cycling Strategy.

“The Overcliff scheme has generated huge interest and concern in the local area.  Whilst these travel measures are designed to be temporary and to allow time for people to give their feedback based on their experiences, it is clear we need to pause our plan for the Boscombe / Southbourne experimental traffic scheme and to seek further views from local people. 

“We are keen to work with the local community on the extent and location of low-cost experimental measures in this area, and we need the views of those living, working  in, and passing through the shopping areas of Southbourne Grove, Beechwood and Wentworth Avenue, Parkwood, Seabourne and Southbourne Road in order to shape a future scheme.  

“We must recognise that doing nothing will not solve congestion, or deliver on our climate emergency response, and that some of the respondents were keen to see the scheme implemented.  We are still keen to implement a scheme in this area.   

The scheme at Boscombe and Southbourne Overcliff Drives is in direct response to the government’s call to get more people cycling and walking as the country recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.   

Councillor Hadley, added; “The tight timescales and limited upfront consultation was mandated directly by government requirements to implement these schemes urgently to combat gridlock, and to consult over the following months.

“There are other schemes being implemented across the conurbation to support commuting, school and leisure journeys, and we are keen to ensure that the value of these is better understood. 

“We will therefore also pause and consult with local people before implementing the planned measure on the railway bridge on Cleveland Road. This will mean that is not in place for the return to school this September. 

“We intend to pursue the remaining schemes already in progress as part of phase one, and we had already planned that if we are successful with funding for phase two work, this would be done in a different way with early consultation given available time. A scheme for Boscombe and Southbourne will become part of that phase two work”   

More information can be found by clicking here.

« Back to My BCTC

Willingness to visit a Restaurant – DEFRA survey

The Defra Behavioural Insights Team ran an experiment (N = 5,274) to understand the impact perceived safety measures might have on peoples’ willingness to visit a restaurant.

Participants were randomly assigned to see a restaurant scenario with varying safety measures, and with or without a financial incentive.

Only 28% of UK adults are willing to visit a restaurant with no COVID-19 safety precautions, but 63% would if the restaurant had visible safety cues.

They found that visible safety measures make customers feel more safe, which could nudge them to visit restaurants more. People were ~20pp more willing to visit a restaurant if staff wore masks or safety guidance was displayed, but only ~6pp more likely if they were offered a £10 voucher.

Click here to read the survey.

« Back to My BCTC