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Coronavirus: Bournemouth’s hotels have been preparing to welcome back guests

By Jason Lewis, The Bournemouth Echo

HOTELIERS across the conurbation are ready are raring to welcome back guests when the time is right this summer.

That is the message from the chair of BH Area Hospitality Association (BAHA), the group that represents many of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole’s hotels.

While the hospitality industry has taken a big hit as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and government-introduced lockdown, BAHA chair Tim Seward said hotel owners are remaining upbeat.

“Staff are furloughed still and there are businesses that are very positive about the summer when we can open in July,” he said.

“We are waiting for an announcement on when and where and how.

“It comes back to as and when hotels can open, they can get the rest of the summer and we can be okay.

“Some hotels are looking to close temporarily to be ready for next spring, but they are not closing forever. They are looking at how to keep their business going.

“With the people I speak to, not just in big hotels but in little B&Bs and guest houses, there has been some positive work.”

Lockdown put a stop to the traditional income from visitors but several Bournemouth hotels took the chance to use this time to make improvements.

This includes the Hampton by Hilton creating a new breakfast area, Hotel Piccadilly painting the front of their hotel, Marsham Court creating a new seating area and the Queens Hotel & Spa continuing with a full refurbishment to a four-star standard.

Operations, such as those at Cliff House Hotel, Southbourne, and Oceana Hotel Group, diversified by offering collection or delivery takeaway which have been well received

On Rightmove there are around 18 hotels, guest houses and B&Bs across Bournemouth on the market.

However, Mr Seward said there had not been an increase in sites on the market since the start of the pandemic.

“Those hotels were all on the market pre-Covid-19,” said Mr Seward. “I keep a very close eye on those hotel listings at the moment and those hotels and guest houses were all on the market.”

He added: “When you look at the beach being full, we want everyone to come back safely, but actually as a seaside resort compared to others, we are doing very well.

“There is another resort that has eight hotels for sale on their seafront. We don’t have that. We are in a good place at the moment and I think hoteliers have been careful.”

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Neuromarketing user- testing suite, hardware remote monitoring, corrugated cardboard and marine systems in bid to grab Dorset Business Angels attention

The 2nd Dorset Business Angels Virtual pitch event takings place on 6th July.  The event takes place on the heels of the successful inaugural virtual pitch event in April 2020 which attracted investor interest and immediate investment to businesses pitching.

The 6th July event includes 5 businesses pitching but is boosted by a pitch from a Bournemouth based business that will be pitching their innovative Neuromarketing user-testing suite that maps facial expressions and monitors the emotional responses of a typical viewer to a particular advertising stimulus.  The results are compared to a database of responses in order to determine how successful the ‘creative’ is likely to be.

Other pitches include:

  • A business in Marine Systems/equipment. The Company’s products are designed to give boat owners real-time load data that will allow them to sail their boats faster. Their system provides wireless load-sensing technology for rigging and soft line/ropes.  The rig loading on the vessel has a strong influence on the shape of the sails and hence the speed of the boat. This type of information capture lags behind other technologies in the sailing market and this platform is designed to fill a significant gap that currently exists. 
  • A Corrugated cardboard manufacture which aims to disrupt the corrugated cardboard market that has seen little innovation over the past 50 years or so. Current manufacturing methods use large scale ‘corrugators’ that are expensive to purchase and run, and require large amounts of gas, electricity and water to operate.  The business has developed a ‘steam-free’ corrugator that requires no process water, uses 78% less energy than the traditional manufacturing process and occupies 88% less space than current equipment of a similar capacity. This will allow individual packaging companies to increase their margins by bringing board manufacture in-house, thus allowing them to produce just enough product to meet their short-term requirements.
  • A spin-out company from Cambridge University has developed a successful ’fit and forget’ solution for the ever-increasing need for the ‘remote condition monitoring’ of hardware devices. The befits include early warning of equipment failure, increased operational efficiency, energy reduction and regulatory compliance.
  • A business in the home cooking space started selling a range of Indian and Italian dishes in late 2019 and had included Japanese and Spanish menus by the start of this year. They now offer a total of 77 recipes across 30 menus to UK customers, with more recipes in the pipeline. 

Dorset Business Angels Chairman, Don McQueen advised, “We encourage would-be investors to get in touch with us and would urge them to get involved. There is no obligation to invest in any of the pitches.  Why not register and come along to see how our pitch events run.”

DBA was formed in 2013 with the aim to bring investors and entrepreneurs together to accelerate the growth of early stage businesses. DBA provides quality, private equity investment opportunities to local high net worth (HNW) and sophisticated investors (SI). 

Four times a year companies are invited to attend an event at which they pitch their business to the savvy Angels in a Dragon’s Den type scenario. Angel investment might come from a single investor or it could be 2 or 3 Angels pooling funds together to support a company. Any investments are in the form of an equity investment and not a debtor’s loan. Investments are made across all sectors. 

DBA is sponsored by Saffery Champness Accountants, Ellis Jones Solicitors and Investec Wealth and Investment. To find out more about Dorset Business Angels or to book on to the pitch event visit www.dorsetbusinessangels.co.uk 

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Bournemouth Plan for 2018 – Future of our historic areas

What next?    Newsletter Feb 2018 FINAL VERSION

This is the plan for 2018:

Dec/Jan/Feb Survey and research

Mar/Apr Stakeholder consultation

May Prep draft documents

Jun/Jul Public consultation

Aug Response, amendments and final documents

A further stage will include adoption of the documents by Bournemouth Council.

What can you do?

We will be holding a stakeholder event in April (details to follow) and it would be great to see you there and to hear your views.

Prior to the stakeholder event, we will send out a questionnaire in March which will inform the structure

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National Citizen Service raise the roof with community project

ncs-volunteer-creating-signage

A local group of young teenagers led by BCHA have helped begin the process of transforming the top floor of a local multi-storey car park into a community space called the Secret Roof Garden.

The youngsters were all taking part in National Citizen Service (NCS), a youth empowerment programme open to all 15-17 year olds across England, where teens volunteer for a local social action project they are passionate about. The Secret Roof Garden was one of 12 NCS Social Action projects that BCHA led during that week across Bournemouth Poole and East Dorset, and ten members from the NCST Management and Leadership team, including CEO, Michael Lynas, Marketing and Communications Director, Natasha Kizzie and Will Gallagher, Operations Director, came down from its headquarters in London for the day to visit the projects including the Secret Roof Garden.

Bournemouth-based charity organisation BCHA, which helps homeless and vulnerable people access the right housing, health, learning and work opportunities, is the largest provider of NCS in the Poole and Bournemouth area. Last year 193 NCS graduates volunteered 5,730 hours and raised over £3,500 for local community projects.

The Secret Roof Garden project, which is on the top floor of the Sovereign Centre’s multi-storey car park in Boscombe, is the brainchild of Mike French and Grounded Enterprises, which began as a non-profit Business earlier this year. Mike explains the background to the project, “I got involved in The Secret Garden in February 2015, the garden was two years old then and developed on derelict church land in Boscombe. Alan Kenny, an inspiring horticulturalist, headed it up with a vision to enable people to ‘feed my family, friends and community’. Regular volunteers come and help and learn skills, with the hope to grow their own at some point.”

The enterprise aspect of the project is to support local people in the Boscombe area to become self-sustaining, creating activity, community and employment. It has plans for mini enterprises as well as the central focus. It currently supplies food from three productive, natural growing sites and the car park will be the fourth. The project has also benefited from a batch of recycled rubber crumb turf from Littledown. This was donated by BH Live, one of the UK’s leading social enterprises which manages Littledown in partnership with Bournemouth Borough Council. This has been used by the NCS group to help create the roof top garden. Paul Tucker, Communications Manager at BCHA, said, “BCHA is incredibly grateful for the generous rubber crumb turf donation, which has been used not only at the car park, but also at a number of other Social Action projects locally, including the Springbourne Family Centre.”

Talking about how Grounded Enterprises became involved with the car park project, Mike continues, “The link was made when I was asked to attend a meeting with Sovereign Centre Managers, as I was an active environmental campaigner locally. We connected and realised the mutual benefit of a community growing space on the roof. Since then the Sustainable Food City Partnership has come on board and our collective vision is for a food centre and cafe up there. With the aim of teaching people to grow, cook and enjoy eating healthy food at home or together.”

The people involved in the project come from a variety of backgrounds, including people in recovery, those suffering mental health issues, as well as many professionals. Members of the vegan community, young mothers and children from local schools have also participated, with the NCS teenagers coming on board recently.

Mike got involved with NCS having known NCS Community Engagement Worker, Dominic Weir, from the local Hip Hop Music scene and having also taught a dance class for NCS which linked up with the garden project. Dominic, comments, “It’s always amazing to see the passion and enthusiasm amongst young people grow as they go through the various stages of the programme – from outward bound activities through to skills based workshops right through to the social action project.”

Mike said, “NCS have been a great asset to getting this roof project going. There is a huge amount to do on a very low budget, so it all helps. They raised £200 which we used for paint and building materials. They initiated a Pallet wall for herb growing and a pallet fence. The painstaking hours they spent pulling apart pallets and taking nails out was much appreciated.”

With the first stage of the Secret Roof Garden project now underway, Mike is already looking to the future. “Next we plant up some smaller veggies”, he reveals, “and then finish the walls for safety and aesthetic and make a stunning tranquil space. Next season we aim to raise a large sum of money to begin work on the food centre in the Spring.”

“However, Mike is relying on the goodwill of the community to help turn his vision into a reality. “We need all kinds of help”, he explains, “from practical skills to sponsorship or donations of materials. We can always use extra hands. Growing food can be simple but it takes commitment and hard work, so we need some core team players and others who can just dip in and out.”

NCS plan to bring another group of teenagers back to the project in the autumn, when more local Social Action projects will take place. Dominic Weir from BCHA, adds, “This story is an example of the positive impact young people can have on their communities; we just need to give them the tools, support and opportunities to realise their potential which is where programmes like NCS are so valuable. We’d encourage teens across the region to sign up this autumn.”

BCHA is looking for more on sign-ups for its Autumn Courses and is also seeking more Social Action Projects to support, so please get in touch on 01202 410550 or email NCS@bcha.org.uk

For more information or to sign up to the summer programme visit www.ncsyes.co.uk

Grounded Enterprises can be contacted via its Facebook page or you can call Mike on 07530987349.

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