Member News & Events

Finalists announced for Saffery Champness sponsored ‘Entrepreneur of the Year Award’ in the Dorset Magazine Food, Drink & Farming Award

Saffery Champness is sponsoring the category ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ Award in the 2020 Dorset Magazine Food, Drink & Farming Awards. The finalists have been announced and listed as;

·      Alex & Emma Young, Ginger Viking, Blandford Forum

·      Keri Astill-Frew, V. Dorset Delivery, Poole

·      Nigel Cox, Weymouth Fresh Fish

Saffery Partner Roger Wareham advised, “It is a pleasure to once again support and sponsor the Dorset Magazine Food & Drink awards, which recognise an important local business sector. Dorset has developed and established some of the UK’s most desirable brands. The Entrepreneur of the Year Award is of particular interest to us as we support a wide range of fast-growing entrepreneurial clients in the food & drink and hospitality & leisure sectorswith clients including hotels, restaurants, bars, food producers, manufacturers and wholesalers.

“Leading a small business is a notoriously difficult task that involves many hats to secure a thriving operation. This category recognises the achievements of those who have mastered this balancing act. We are looking for individuals at the helm of a Dorset based food or drink related business who have achieved growth, understand their customers and are continually innovating to support future expansion.”

Details of all the award categories and finalists can be seen online at

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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.

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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.

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Saffery Champness partners with LSE Elite

Saffery Champness has become a partner of ELITE, The London Stock Exchange’s (LSE’s) international business support and capital raising programme for the UK’s most ambitious private companies.

The ELITE programme is a vibrant community of entrepreneurs, advisers, investors and key stakeholders that help ambitious private companies scale-up, structure for the next stages of growth and access capital.

ELITE members can participate in a calendar of interactive events that are designed to help them review, plan and enhance their business, blending inspirational, academic and clinic style sessions delivered by expert advisers, industry leaders, academics and guest entrepreneurs.

Experts from Saffery Champness’ Entrepreneurs Group will be leading ELITE events in September and October, focusing on preparations for fundraising (23 September) and designing incentive frameworks (15 October).

Julian Hedley, Head of Saffery Champness’ Entrepreneurs group, commented:

“I am very pleased we’ve been able to partner with ELITE. Our network of regional offices means we are well-placed to be able to support ELITE programme members wherever in the UK they are located.

“We really relish the opportunity to be able to offer some of the UK’s fastest growing businesses support with their challenges, whether that is relating to growth, profitability, incentivising staff, raising the capital required to take their business to the next level, or one of the myriad of other issues they are grappling with. I look forward to virtually meeting as many of the ELITE members as possible at our first event in September.”

In the Bournemouth office of Saffery Champness, Roger Wareham and Jamie Lane will be leading on this exciting development, ensuring that businesses in Dorset and Hampshire are aware of the programme and the benefits it can bring.  They commented:

“We have been building our relationship with ELITE for some time, both at a local level and national firm-wide level, recognising that it offers a proven programme taking ambitious private companies on a journey to realise their potential.  With so many high-growth, scaling businesses in the local area we see it of the greatest importance that we can sign post to the programme as well as take our skills locally and nationally to help unlock growth potential.  We have a great reputation for working with entrepreneurial businesses and this partnership further demonstrates our commitment to them in these challenging economic times.

“Should any businesses be interested in the program please do contact us as we would be happy to explore this with them. Tel. 01202 204744

More information about the ELITE programme can be found at:

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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

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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.

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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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Remaining grant schemes closing

The Government recently announced that they will be bringing an end to the grant support schemes that were made available during lockdown to help businesses with their cashflow. Specifically, these are the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund.

The application process for these grant schemes remains open and we are keen to ensure that all eligible businesses in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole apply by 27 August in order to receive this support. We have sent letters to the remaining 15% of businesses we think might be eligible (our third prompt) to encourage them to apply for the available funds.

If these funds are not claimed they will be reclaimed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

For more information, eligibility, and to apply, click here.

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Eat Out to Help Out figures from HMRC


HMRC has published figures today for the first week of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. 

HMRC Information Note – 11 August 2020

Eat Out to Help Out – Up to midnight on 9 August:

  • Total number of registered individual restaurant premises 83,000
  • Total number of claims made by businesses 14,000
  • Total number of individual restaurant premises claimed for 22,000
  • Total amount claimed £53.7m
  • Number of covers claimed for 10.5m

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said:

“Britons are eating out to help out in big numbers. And they aren’t just getting a great deal – they’re supporting the almost 2 million people employed in this sector.

“These amazing figures show that our plan for jobs is delivering.”

Latest HMRC Tweet:

According to HMRC Press Office, only UK-wide figures are available. We will publish regional and local figures as soon as we get them.

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