Member News & Events

What’s on the agenda – BCTC May 2019

We always get asked the question “what does the Chamber do?” so we thought we would share some of the items that have been on our agenda over the last month to give our members an idea of the discussions that the BCTC are currently involved in as most of the work our volunteer Directors do is not reported.

So far this year we have been:

  • Discussing the increase of PCSO powers at our monthly Local Government Affairs meeting held at the Town Hall.  Increased powers will mean that PCSO’s will have increased ability to assist businesses experiencing recurring issues with homeless and aggressive beggars operating on or near their premises. Local traders have reported several issues relating to the persistent use of doorways to sleep in and beg from which has a negative effect on customers shopping with them. We are hopeful that increased powers will assist businesses across the town in a positive manner.
  • Reviewing the formation of the new BCP authority and how this will affect our local economy.
  • Learning about the provision of support for rough sleepers and the homeless community and how these services can assist local businesses if problems arise.

Our Local Government Affairs meeting is a key meeting of the conurbations Business Trade Group Chairs, Councillors, Council Executives and local business leaders. Attendance is by invitation only however the Chamber encourages members to email the Executive Officer via with business issues which they would like bought in front of the Council for discussion.

As a Chamber of Commerce, we are unable to liaise with the Council on individual business issues however if a common thread or problem is reported from several businesses in one area, we are able to raise this with the local Council or appropriate support service via the meeting agenda.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like us to raise a business issue or query that you are experiencing.

« Back to My BCTC

Region’s economic powerhouse growing

Region’s economic powerhouse growing

The Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area is an economic powerhouse which is only going to get stronger, the latest AFC Business event was told.

More than 80 directors, business leaders, decision-makers and business people were at AFC Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium for the May networking breakfast.

They heard newly-elect BCP Council member Nigel Hedges talk about the importance of businesses to the region’s prosperity.

Cllr Hedges, the Conservative councillor for Wallisdown and Winton West, said: “This is a brilliant area in which to do business – a financial powerhouse in a rural county. We must be on our toes ready to do business and benefit from each other.

“I will continue to bang the drum for business and BCP Council will do all it can to facilitate economic development – in a sense the council is a self-sufficient business itself, representing 400,000 people and with a £750 million budget.”

Cllr Hedges, who hosted the breakfast event, added: “AFC Business offers a fabulous opportunity to meet so many different businesses and see how brilliant you all are at what you do.”

AFC Business, the free to join business club with almost 1,800 members, is the engine for all the Premier League club’s commercial activities. It was launched in 2009 and gives members exclusive offers at AFC Bournemouth, access to events and is a great chance to meet local businesses.

Amy Brunton, AFC Bournemouth’s partnerships manager, said the next business event would be the popular Play on the Pitch five-a-side football tournament at Vitality Stadium on May 15.

This is followed on June 13 by the AFC Business Gin Evening in Bubbles Champagne Lounge at the stadium, featuring Rupert Holloway, who will discuss the success behind creating Dorset’s locally distilled, award-winning Conker spirits.

AFC Business’ five main partners are Bournemouth Chamber of Trade and Commerce, Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dorset Mental Health Forum, Hill Osborne and Strategic Solutions.

For further information about the business club, email your details to Aysia Smith at or see to book event tickets.

« Back to My BCTC

The Curry Queen Rules

The Curry Queen Rules

In less than two weeks the third edition of The Small Awards will recognise the UK’s best small businesses. Included in the evening’s categories is the award for ‘New Kid on the Block’, for the best small business start-up under 18-months-old.

Sarah Ali Choudhury – who won the award in 2017 for her gourmet Indian catering business – is no longer the new kid on the block, but one of the UK curry industry’s most disruptive influences.

The sector has been in a state of turmoil for a number of years. Since April 2016 restaurants have faced restrictions on Tier-2 visas for skilled labourers, in addition to high salary thresholds that mean even the most junior kitchen staff from overseas are paid a minimum of £35,000.

These issues can only mean one thing according to those supposedly in the know – the UK is in the midst of a curry crisis.

Sarah is one of the few people to say differently: “It’s less a staff shortage and more a woman shortage. Women are held back by men in the industry who would rather declare a ‘curry crisis’ than give a voice and a platform to talented female chefs.

“Is it really ok to blame immigration laws when you are not doing your own bit to help the industry?”

The lack of women in UK-Asian culinary is a systemic issue. The Bangladeshi Caterers Association, founded in 1960, represents 12,000 south Asian-run restaurants and their 100,000 employees. In almost 60 years of existence, no women have reached the organisation’s highest level.

According to Sarah, the industry isn’t ready for women. “Each year the Asian Curry Awards crowns a ‘Curry King’, but no ‘Curry Queen’! I was asked to apply for an award but as someone who is not a restaurant chef or owner, the only one I would have applied for was ‘Curry Queen’, yet it doesn’t exist.”

Rather than wait for the catering industry to be ready, Sarah is taking matters into her own hands in her role as the FSB’s national lead for women in catering.

She is launching a campaign to encourage women in the curry industry to step forward and make a difference: “There are tonnes of women already working in the Asian food trade, but you don’t hear about them because they don’t get recognition. So, if existing trade bodies won’t cater for women, then I will create my own.”

She adds that the few women already recognised in the industry, like herself, are generally valued as tokens. “It looks good to have me involved because it seems as though the industry is beginning to evolve, when really there is no systemic change being made to how women are treated.

“A woman won the top prize at the International Indian Chef of the Year awards one year, but she was flown over from India specifically for it. It did nothing to empower female Indian chefs here.”

While, as Sarah says, there are many women working in Asian culinary here, they do not seem to be empowered by the men who have dominated the industry for decades: “It is a fact that there are very few women working in Indian restaurants; you will always be greeted my male staff, whereas if you visit Chinese, Thai or other Asian establishments you could be greeted by either a man or a woman.

“I remember at the age of 20 when my mother and I were working in our family’s restaurant in Bridport, customers would comment how rare it was to see women working in Indian restaurants. We felt like we were rocking the boat at the time; unfortunately, little has changed in the 25 years since.”

She asks, “Why do men go home and eat dinner cooked by their wives, but don’t let them cook in their restaurants? Surely, if their wives’ food is good enough for them, it’s good enough for their customers.”

What’s clear from talking to Sarah, and looking around at the high-profile chefs on television, is that the south Asian food sector is part of a wider UK trend. India is streets ahead of us in this area, seeming to be far more open to women working in catering.

This isn’t an Asian food industry problem, but a British food industry problem.

There are almost 27,000 independent restaurants in the UK, yet the ONS estimates that just 17% of chef positions in the country are held by women. This percentage exactly reflects the Women in Business Council’s research on small business owners in the country. A lack of women entrepreneurs is a disappointing trend, which can only be tackled if we celebrate the minority there is for the role models they are.

Sarah was one of this year’s f:Entrepreneur #ialso Top 100, a campaign that celebrates and showcases female business leaders all over the UK. f:Entrepreneur told their stories and put them on a platform that show men and women the powerful minds behind some of the UK’s best small businesses.

It’s time that the restaurant industry was called to task for its own failures in empowering the brilliant women within it. Sarah is one inspiring entrepreneur that can deliver the much-needed change that south Asian culinary, catering at large, and the whole small business sector badly needs.

Original article written by Michelle Ovens in

« Back to My BCTC

Overnight closures on A338 to run throughout May

As part of the final phase of the A338 / Blackwater Junction Improvements scheme, a series of overnight lane closures will be in place until the end of May 2019. The closures will run between Ashley Heath roundabout to the Cooper Dean roundabout from 8pm to 6am.

To ensure that residents and visitors can get the most out of the long weekends, there will be no overnight closures over the Bank Holiday weekends in May. By carrying out the closures at night, people will have plenty of opportunities to enjoy a wide range of local tourism and retail attractions. Other scheduled works will however continue during the day.

The overnight closures will enable a new road surface to be laid across the entire works area. It will also allow the protection barriers to be safely taken off, moved and reinstalled in different sections of the works area. This will require the northbound carriageway to be closed overnight from Tuesday 7 to Saturday 11 May, from Monday 13 to Friday 17 May and again on Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 May 2019.

In addition, the southbound carriageway will be closed overnight on Wednesday 8 and Saturday 11 May. The southbound carriageway will also be closed at night from Monday 13 to Saturday 17 May and from Monday 20 to Friday 24 May.

There will be further night closures at the end of the month. The current schedule is also subject to change and road users and encouraged to check for updates, use alternative routes and allow extra time for their journeys.

Gary Powell, the senior responsible officer for the A338 improvements, said:

“We are pleased to see the works progressing on time and on schedule. Throughout May we will be working at night and at weekends to complete the surfacing works as we approach the end of the scheme. We advise you to be mindful of the closures before you travel. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.’’

These improvements form part of the £45.2 million investment in Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership’s Bournemouth International Growth (BIG) Programme, aimed at facilitating better access into and around Bournemouth Airport, unlocking employment land and stimulating economic growth.

For regular updates, please visit:

« Back to My BCTC

Business Start Up Fair

Everything you need to set your business up for success!

This event will give you the opportunity to talk to Outset’s own team of Enterprise Advisors as well as specialists in accountancy, banking, law, commercial property, Licensing, GDPR, insurance, design, and websites to answer any and all questions you may have on launching your new business!

Taking place on Tuesday 30th April 2019 from 10am to 4pm at the Enterprise Hub, 63 Darracott Road, Southbourne BH5 2AY.


« Back to My BCTC

BCTC Forum – Bringing Businesses and Charities Together

Local businesses are invited to this Bournemouth Chamber of Trade and Commerce Forum in conjunction with Bournemouth and Poole CVS on June 27th.

Taking place at St Francis of Assisi Church, this is a chance for Businesses and Charities to meet to discuss how they can work together.

By you answering the registration questions on the Eventbrite booking form we will endeavour to ‘match’ your Business with a not for profit group in attendance so you can have a meaningful and productive conversation at the event.

Please complete the questions in as much detail as possible to help us organise this event.

To book your place please visit:

« Back to My BCTC

Yellow Buses has marked the 50th anniversary of the last trolley bus in Bournemouth.

Yellow Buses has marked the 50th anniversary of the last trolley bus in Bournemouth.

Still regarded with affection by many, the electric trolleybuses replaced Bournemouth’s former tramway system in 1933 and ran for 36 years.

They followed a network of electrically-charged overhead lines suspended above the road. The silent and emission-free trolleybuses were popular with holidaymakers and residents alike. At their height, the trolleybus network extended to 29 miles and was served by 127 vehicles. In the year ending March 1937, the trolleybuses carried 26.3 million passengers. Ten years later the figure had risen to 42.7 million.

The trolleybus era came to an end in 1969 with a closure procession and civic ceremony marking the last day of scheduled services on Saturday April 19. In their place came diesel buses. Yellow Buses has now updated its ‘history bus’ as a tribute to the trolleybuses. The ADL E200 single decker contains display panels with archive pictures tracking the proud 117-year history of Bournemouth Transport. But now external vinyls have been added with old time film spools showing electric trolleybuses in action from 1933 to 1969.

Yellow Buses also welcomed former driver Keith Burbidge to its Yeomans Way depot in Bournemouth. Keith and his wife, Carol, have built their own mini-trolleybus, based on a reconditioned mobile scooter, as a tribute to what many still regard as Bournemouth’s favourite mode of transport. The replica is accurate down to the last detail, including a scaled-down driver’s tea flask on the dashboard.

David Squire, Yellow Buses’ Managing Director, said: “We’ve proudly served the people of Bournemouth, and beyond, for 117 years but, without doubt, the trolleybus era was one of our finest periods. “It’s amazing how even 50 years on so many people remember the trolleybuses with genuine affection. The ‘history bus’ is our tribute to what has gone down as one of the finest chapters in our long and proud history.”

During his visit to Yeomans Way, former driver Keith also brought along original tickets from the last day of trolleybus services. He said: “We’ll be using our trolleybus to promote, and raise funds, for the Bournemouth Vintage Bus Rally in June. Both Carol and I travelled on the last trolleybus and this is our tribute to that time.”

« Back to My BCTC

Penny Slade

It is with such sadness that we have learnt of the sudden death of Penny Slade who peacefully passed away during the night of April 3rd.

Penny’s Funeral will take place at Bournemouth Crematorium on Friday 3rd May at 2.00 p.m. when her life will be celebrated, especially as a member of the Bournemouth in Bloom and Westbourne in Bloom Committees, Bournemouth in Bloom Schools Coordinator as well as the many organisations she was supportive of.

Penny’s life touched the lives of so many people. Our thoughts and prayers surround the family and friends at this time.

« Back to My BCTC

BCTC President Dinner – celebrating the life of Bill Riddle

Come and join Bournemouth Chamber of Trade & Commerce at our President’s Dinner and celebrate with us the life of Bill Riddle.

Taking place at the Cumberland Hotel on Thursday 25th April from 6.30pm the dinner encompasses a three-course set menu dinner and entertainment provided by the local comedian and Piano Man, Matt Black.

Presidents Dinner Menu

Starter – Potato and Watercress Soup with Sourdough Croutons and Wild Garlic Scented Oil

Main – Lemon Roast Chicken with Sweet Pepper Relish and Wild Rocket

Vegetarian – Roasted Red Onion, Haloumi Cheese and Black Olive Tart, with Red Veined Sorrel and Spinach Leaves

Sweet – Vanilla Crème Brulee, served with Lemon Shortbread & Strawberry Compote

Tickets cost £30 per person and can be purchased via Paul Thompson by emailing

Please also let us know of any dietary requirements/allergies.  Closing date for purchasing of tickets is the 16th April.

The Dinner is open to all and you do not have to be a member of the Bournemouth Chamber to attend.

Dress Code – Gentleman – Black tie, Ladies – Cocktail Dress with a splash of colour e.g. bowties, waistcoats and handkerchiefs

Come and join us for an evening of great food, great company and great entertainment to help us celebrate the life of Bill Riddle.

« Back to My BCTC