Canterbury Business Awards 2019 are open for entries

The Canterbury Business Awards are open and looking for entries from businesses registered in Canterbury, Whitstable, Herne Bay, Margate, Ramsgate or Broadstairs areas.

The awards are supported by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the Kent Branch of the Institute of Directors (IoD) and delivered by Best Business Events. Platinum sponsors for the third year running are Agilis Mobile, with gold headline sponsors Girlings and Canterbury based community focused accountants, Dynamix Accountancy and media partner, Index.

A number of awards categories are available and include:

  • Best Construction Business NEW for 2019 – Open to all construction and building companies
  • Best Family Business – How the family values and the family members have guided the development of the business
  • Business Woman of the Year – Celebrates, encourages and inspires successful and aspiring business women
  • Creative/Digital – Can you show evidence of expertise in digital, creative or media technologies?
  • Customer Service – Can your business show that you offer high quality customer service?
  • Hospitality/ Food & Drink Producer – Are you a business in this sector that can demonstrate outstanding performance and success?
  • Innovation – have you brought new ideas to life, whether that idea is big or small?
  • Small Business – Are you a standout small business that has achieved constant growth?
  • Start-Up – recognising a new start-up that has shown a clear path to success

Businesses may enter up to three awards which are free, quick and simple, and can be done via the website www.businessawardskent.co.uk. The closing date for completion is 8 February and then the entries will be considered by a team of judges who will shortlist them by 22 February.

Those shortlisted will be announced and visited by the judges form 22 February – 1 March so they can make a decision on who the winners for each category are. The winners will then be announced at a dinner which will be held at Broome Park Hotel, Canterbury on Thursday 14 March 2019, where they will be able to collect their awards.

If you require any further information call 01732 758530, email info@bestbusinessevents.co.uk or visit www.businessawardskent.co.uk

Kent Enterprise Trust receives funding from The Screwfix Foundation

The Kent based charity aims to change people’s lives by getting them into or back into employment or training. For more than 35 years it has created opportunities for people to overcome their individual challenges so they can build confidence, learn, develop and improve their chances of employment at their office in Herne Bay and gardens across the district.

The building is heavily used by the charity to support people into or back into employment, local SMEs and the community as an office, training centre and meeting venue.  The building is 10 years old now and increased funds for essential repairs and maintenance.

Kent Enterprise Trust CEO, Mirelle Frost said, “We are very excited to have a budget to spend on paint, carpet cleaners, carpet tiles, light bulbs and many other items on our wish list.  Researching best prices, ordering and installing the new materials and equipment will be a great work experience activity for our beneficiaries who are looking for employment as caretakers.”

New Whitstable Shop Local Campaign

We are in the process of setting up a website in support of the Shop Local campaign for Whitstable, hoping to launch later this year. We would like as many listings as possible to launch the site and make a real impact with the new website.

Listings for local Whitstable businesses are free, if you would like your business to feature then all you need to do is submit the following information.

  • Name of business
  • Full contact details – name of contact, address of business, telephone, website address, FB/Twitter/Instagram
  • Business opening times
  • 3 good quality photos, vibrant – preferably with people in, if your photo is taken from the outside then the business is open and not obscured

We are looking forward to supporting the town with this website and want it to be a great site for people to visit and get the information they require about what the town has to offer, so please make sure all information submitted is up to date and correct.

Please email your Whitstable businesses information to angela.furlong@canterbury.gov.uk

The South East Pass

Visit Kent is delighted to introduce you to the South East Pass – a promotional pass that will enable visitors and residents to save money across many different family attractions, shops, restaurants (including hotel restaurants) and cinemas across the South East. The pass is designed to encourage people to explore neighbouring counties and towns, drive visitor spend and domestic overnight stays.


The team currently run a pass for East Anglia called the East Anglia Pass, promoting over 250 family attractions. They work in partnership with all the county Destination Management Organisations, District and Town Councils and also Greater Anglia. They have over 12k members and will be actively encouraging this membership to explore Kent as part of the South East Pass.


Unlike other discount schemes such as Groupon, there is no cost for a business to take part and feature an offer via the pass and there is also total flexibility around the type of deal offered. Additionally, the team at the South East Pass is extremely passionate about making days out accessible to all families throughout the region, as well as encouraging children to get outside and away from their computers and mobile devices! The pass is also designed to promote and support local, independent businesses throughout the South East.


The pass will be sold both online and offline. Passholders will be able to use both a physical plastic card and a digital pass (generated via the app) and all deals will be listed on the app and website. This is a great opportunity for Kent businesses as there is no cost and you have total control over the offer you make; to get involved please complete the form below.

Submit Form

In-tents business opportunity at Reculver

A high quality camp site could be on its way to Reculver Country Park, as the city council kicks off the search for potential operators.

Proposals are welcomed from experienced individuals or companies for a seasonal tent or glamping site that is suitable to the surroundings of the country park and Reculver Towers, which is a scheduled monument.

Consideration will be given to proposals that include yurts, safari tents and camping pods and dens, or combinations of these. The site, which is almost five hectares, equivalent to around nine football fields, would operate between March and October every year.

The council is offering a lease of up to 25 years. An initial rent-free period will be considered depending on the level of investment being put in. The successful operator would need to gain planning permission.

Chairman of the council’s Regeneration and Property Committee, Cllr Ben Fitter-Harding, said: “There has been lots of investment in Reculver in recent years, including a fantastic play area, a top-notch catering outlet in the visitor centre and more car parking to accommodate the many people who visit this beautiful corner of the district.

“The new camp site is the next step in this work and we want it to be a really high-end operation that complements its surroundings, in the shadow of the historic towers. It’s a great opportunity for someone with vision and the right skills and we hope to have lots of people coming forward to express an interest.”

Find out more information or see the bid criteria and tender form. Bids must be submitted by midday on Thursday 26 July.


Local volunteer aims to increase support & awareness of dementia in Herne Bay

A campaign to tackle the stigma and lack of understanding around dementia has got the support of a Herne Bay volunteer whose aim is to make Herne Bay a Dementia Friendly community.

Alzheimer’s Society trained Dementia Friend Champion, Charlotte Parsons, a Paralegal at Girlings Solicitors, is running a free “Dementia Friends” Information Session on 24 May 2018 at 12.45pm. The session will take between 45 – 60 minutes and will take place at Beach Creative, Beach House, Beach Street, Herne Bay, Kent, CT6 5PT.

Charlotte is encouraging local people to come along and find out how they can become part of the Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme, the biggest ever initiative aimed at  transforming the way the nation thinks, talks and acts about the condition.

Dementia Friends is about learning more about dementia and the small ways you can help. From telling friends about the Dementia Friends programme to visiting someone you know living with dementia, every action counts.

Having volunteered to be a Dementia Friends Champion, Charlotte has delivered training sessions at Girlings Solicitors which is now recognised as an organisation working to become Dementia Friendly and  is now delivering Dementia Friends Sessions to people in Herne Bay. She said:

“I signed up to be a Dementia Friends Champion because it is a subject close to my heart having had relatives living with dementia. I am also a Paralegal in the Private Client team at Herne Bay and regularly meet clients whose lives have been affected by Dementia. I attended a Dementia Friend Champion training course run by the Alzheimer’s Society, receive ongoing support and I’m now proud to be part of a growing network of people creating dementia friendly communities together.

There are currently 850,000 people living with the condition in England. In an Alzheimer’s Society Report: Dementia 2012, 61% of people with dementia said that they felt lonely, 44% said that they lose friends after diagnosis and 67% do not feel part of their communities. I would like to create a dementia friendly community within Herne Bay to enable people to live well with Dementia.”

Christine Sherringham, Dementia Friends Officer for South East at Alzheimer’s Society said:

“Dementia touches the lives of millions of people across the country. Dementia Friends was launched to tackle the stigma and lack of understanding that means many people with the condition experience loneliness and social exclusion. It’s all about learning more about dementia and the small ways you can help. From getting in touch with someone you know living with dementia to wearing your badge with pride, every action counts.”

If you are interested in attending the Dementia Friends Session please contact Charlotte Parsons on 01227 367355 or by email at charlotteparsons@girlings.com.

Dementia Friends

A chat with Sweet Sol, the sweet-shop with a difference

A Kent business is celebrating sweet success after picking up the Creative and Digital award at the Kent Business Awards.

Sweet Sol, a confectionary shop in Herne Bay, has found success after joining two businesses together to combine a sweet-shop with an audio experience.

KMTV were joined by co-owners Kris Searle and Chris Welsh to discuss how they came up with the unique idea.

Watch the video here

Hive – Co-Working at The Umbrella Centre

A new co-working space, located on the lower ground floor of The Umbrella Centre on Oxford Street, will offer the community of Whitstable the opportunity to work in a shared space and a number of benefits:

  • A flexible and affordable workspace outside of home.
  • The opportunity to work as part of a collective if you wish. Co-working spaces are fantastic for easy networking and collaborating.
  • Uniquely with Hive, the chance to work in an established community, as part of the Centre. The Centre is a thriving place to be during the week when you step out of the workspace, with a community café on site and groups using the rooms for hire.

When you join Hive, you will join as a member and get access to multiple benefits. The space is inclusive and fully accessible, as well as doggy friendly, as is the rest of the Centre. There are tiered options to choose from, so members can decide the number of days and hours they dedicate to working and pay accordingly. Members will be able to book slots efficiently and in their own time via access to an app system, although the managers Jo, Steve or Caroline will be on site to discuss any queries as well.

The space itself allows room for 12 members to work alongside one another at a time, with a kitchen area offering free tea and coffee and a small meeting room that also allows space to eat lunch. In sunnier months take your lunch out into the community gardens and relax in the sunshine, or purchase your drinks and food onsite at the not for profit café, enjoying member benefits.

There is also access available to two larger meeting rooms via the Centre, with discount available to Hive members. If you’re planning on holding larger events the Centre can accommodate that too and there will be regular networking drinks held at the café, free for members to attend.

Hive will be ready to open to members on April 16th, although you are welcome to view the space in progress, chat to one of us, and sign up provisionally now.

For more information on pricing and how to sign up, contact us on hive@coworking.co.uk or visit our website (which is almost live!) https://www.hivecoworking.co.uk/.

Please note, we have one reserved desk space office left, which accommodates two people. If you are interested in that space please do get in contact with us soon.

We look forward to meeting you soon.

Jo, Caroline & Steve.

Hive. Co-working at The Umbrella Centre


“Find your place in our co-working community”

East1° – A new Co-working space on Whitstable High Street

What is Co-working all about then?

“The whole idea of co-working is to bring bright, creative people together and let the ideas collide”

Members become part of a community allowing them to work, share, collaborate and grow together. Being in a space with likeminded people who the share the same goal of ‘success’ ensures that small businesses and freelancers can feel part of something bigger.

For many lone or freelance workers, the act of actually ‘going to work’ (rather than the commute to a dining table) can be very empowering.

Co-working isn’t just about increasing productivity (though this is a definite up side) it enables structure and discipline that can be incredibly motivating. Whilst giving you the freedom and independence to work without the distractions of the home office, it’s about flexibility as well as providing defined separation. Ultimately Co-working can potentially offer you the best work:life control.

East1° opened at the Whitstable Castle Gatehouse back in 2015. The new larger prime location on the high street will enable us to grow the community of small businesses, entrepreneurs and freelancers. We are a vibrant, engaging and flexible space with all the trappings of the town, beach and harbour being right on our doorstep.

We already have several exciting businesses in residence, including Singularity Labs, Realising Designs, Josh Willmot, Sketch, Noetika and Promise In People. Their wide range of expertise includes software design, business intelligence, ecommerce, illustration and start-up support working with clients in the UK and international markets.

Working in a space alongside other self-employed, professional and highly motivated members from a diverse mix of sectors facilitates you tapping into a readymade network and knowledge bank (many with genuine high growth start-up experience). We know that working collaboratively can generate ideas and produce truly great work. This can have a positive effect on your own business.

Indeed, at one point in 2017 all our members were working on the same technology project.

This delivered wonderfully against our ethos… Together.is.better.

East1° have flexible membership options to suit any co-working need. Visit our website for more details east1.spaces.nexudus.com or find us on Facebook @east1degree, or just give us a call 01227271014.

Whitstable Yoga Festival 2018

The Whitstable Yoga Festival 2018 (WYF) is an annual event celebrating the
practice and knowledge of Yoga. It is the brainchild of Yoga teacher, Monica
 Marini who inspired by the growing number of festivals in the world decided to
create a platform for local Yoga teachers and students to come together. Joining 
forces with friend and fellow yoga teacher Bernadette Fisher, Monica brought the
festival to life in June 2017.

With no sponsors or grants, working on a shoe-string and using only local
resources, they managed to cover the costs of the festival and raised a £1000 for
charity! The teachers gave their time for free and with a staggering 270 tickets
sold over two days, the first festival succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations.

People from all over East Kent came to practice a wide range of Yoga classes, try 
treatments, sample ethical products in the specialist traders area, and enjoy
delicious locally produced vegan food in a great community atmosphere.

Last year 200 participants took part in the festival. This year we intend to double
the size of the event with three venues across town: The Horsebridge Centre, St 
John’s Methodist Church and Whitstable Community Umbrella Centre.

Plans for Whitstable Yoga Festival 2018 on June16th and 17th 2018 are well
underway. Our aims are to:

● Increase the number and range of classes on offer including a masterclass,
yoga for older people and disabled children;

● Pay each teacher a nominal fee, so that more teachers can take part;

● Have a ‘mini’ festival within the festival with dedicated yoga classes for children
and teenagers.

● Give our marketplace a more prominent and accessible position in the garden of
the Umbrella centre;

● Draw from the creative pool of local traders, artists and musicians to widen and
enhance people’s experience of the festival and of yoga’s values and lifestyle;

● Be a vegan and vegetarian event and a single-use Plastics Free Zone
participating in the Council’s efforts to curb the ‘scourge’ of plastic pollution.

We believe that yoga (including asana (poses), breathing, and meditation) is a
powerful and practical tool for physical and mental wellbeing and wish to make it
more accessible through the festival and other year-round events.

Our vision is to foster health and wellness in our community and beyond by
making WYF an annual event that will put Whitstable on the map of the growing
 global Yoga movement, attracting a new wave of visitors to the coastal town of 
Whitstable and surrounding areas. With an exciting programme of classes,
 seminars, and meditation classes we want to make yoga, health, and wellness accessible to all and help build a stronger sense of community. With your support, 
we can make it happen.
 We need the help of the business community.

If you would be interested in being a sponsor, please contact:
 Monica Marini: momoiah@yahoo.com