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  • Writer's pictureJane Brook

April Newsletter 2024

🔥 Record number of new members for April!


New member welcome:



LEVELLING UP FUNDING UPDATE

As you might imagine this process is slow! We have had further meetings with the Rother Levelling Up Partnership. Before we can sign our legal agreement with the Department of Levelling Up Housing & Communities (DLUHC) we need to finalise the detail of our projects providing not only a detailed budget and quotes but our aims and objectives, our impact statement. We can update you as follows:


Revenue Funding: BID Campaign

To recap this £60K has been ring-fenced by DLUHC for spending specifically on a BID campaign for Rye. We have selected an agency to work with who have excellent experience and success in this field and have the added benefit of an employee local to Rye and we will be commencing our feasibility study within the next month.


Capital Funding: Public Realm

To recap, this £25K pot of funding has been ring-fenced by DLUHC for us to spend specifically on improvements to the public realm, but not on any items that should be the statutory responsibility of Rother District Council or ESCC. Nor can we use the money for any project that would require ongoing funding in order to be sustainable. This limits our options quite substantially. We are very conscious that in future, should we secure BID status for Rye, it will create a larger and more flexible pot of funding to use on projects around the town but for now, this relatively small sum of money won’t go far. We are sourcing quotes relating to:


  • Sustainable planting around town

  • A town mural

  • Replacement tourism signage at station approach

  • Corrected and refurbed heritage signage around town 


We will be calling a meeting of Chamber members to vote on all options very soon. 


OUR PACKED MONTH OF MEETINGS


Hastings Chamber / Locate East Sussex Meeting

We met with representatives from Hastings Chamber and Locate East Sussex to discuss opportunities for a joint fundraising event in the future. 


Rye Town Council

Our monthly meeting with the town clerks took place on 9th April. We asked for further information on the heritage signage around town, and information on the town boundary signs so we could carry out our own research into costs of refurbishment and replacement. The town clerks revealed an impasse with regards to talking to Rother District Council around the future of our public loos. 


standing outside the town hall
Jessica Neame, Richard Farhall, Jane Brook & Sarah Broadbent

Rye News  

We met with the new editor of Rye News, James Stewart to discuss his vision for the town ‘newspaper’ going forward. His plans and ambitions are very exciting and we are fully supportive. A profile of James and Rye News will follow in next month’s newsletter so he can share his plans in more detail.


Rye Conservation Society

The Chamber met with The Rye Conservation Society to further reinforce our goal of joining the dots in town and making sure we all keep each other informed to provide mutual support.  We discussed our plan for improvements to the public realm using the Chamber’s Levelling Up funding to ensure we have the support of the society, and we listened to their concerns when it comes to maintaining the character of the citadel.  The Conservation Society has its AGM at 11am, 17th May at the Town Hall for anyone who wishes to attend.


Rye Partnership AGM

The Chamber attended the AGM of The Rye Partnership to learn more about its activities over the past year, and its plans for the year ahead. Once again our goal is to make sure we are tapped into the work of the wider community so that we can ensure our businesses are kept informed and can contribute / provide support where possible. 


Charlotte Kneer

Rye Memorial Hospital / The Hub

The Chamber met with the newly appointed CEO of Rye Memorial Hospital - Charlotte Kneer. The meeting was very engaging and Charlotte is incredibly supportive of the projects that we are trying to initiate locally that aren’t purely focused on business, but take a more holistic view. We are committed to raising the bar across all aspects of our town knowing that everything ultimately impacts on the well-being of our community - both residents and visitors alike.


Stephen Barclay, Huw Merriman & Stephen Jempson

DEFRA - public meeting

Defra Secretary of State - Steve Barclay held a public meeting in Peasmarsh on 25th April to discuss the challenges faced by rural businesses. Joining him on the panel were Sally Ann-Hart, MP for Hastings and Rye, Huw Merriman, MP for Bexhill and Battle and local farmer, Hugh Broom. Mr Barclay spoke about striking the right balance between food production, food security and environmental protection, including rewilding.


Numerous issues were raised during the evening, which was well attended, including the need for better flood management, the lack of capacity of the Environment Agency, the lack of local abattoirs and the dire impact of climate change on farming. Stephen Jempson raised several concerns, including the scourge of shoplifting, largely unpunished due to the police and the judiciary being overwhelmed. He also made the point that Post Offices in his stores are simply not commercially viable. 


TOURISM UPDATE


Sussex Visitor Survey 

Please could we ask you to complete the latest Sussex Visitor Survey - it only takes two minutes! We are keen to find out if visitor numbers are being impacted by the cost of living, the weather etc and whether the staycation bubble has burst with more holiday makers choosing overseas destinations. It would be particularly useful if our hospitality and accommodation members could consider sharing the survey more widely with their own databases in their next newsletters too. 


1066 / Good Morning Norway 

Late last year our destination marketing organisation for the region - 1066 Country Marketing - set up a series of shoots around Rye & Camber at very short notice for a visit from Norway’s most watched television show - God morgen Norge a morning-based current affairs program. The programme has a market share of 50% and an average of 100,000 viewers per hour, with reruns and streaming giving them a combined 450,000 viewers per day. In a country with a population of 5.4m people that means the show has a really impressive reach across all demographics.

The film segments ran on their show over the last few weeks. The first was a piece on Chamber Member Camber Kitesurfing - and you can watch that here.

The second was a longer item covering our Town Crier, the tradition of afternoon tea courtesy of The George, the history and secrets of the Mermaid Inn, and winemaking at Oxney Estate. You can enjoy that piece here


Thanks to our members who contributed their time to the shoot, and to 1066 for putting together an itinerary that managed to showcase an incredible cross section of gems from our area in one trip.


For those Chamber members who aren’t already 1066 members - please note that dual membership is discounted, so please get in touch with us if you’d like to learn more about the benefits of being part of the 1066 portfolio too.


 

Could you sponsor a local child?

Are you looking for a meaningful way to invest in the well-being and development of children in our community? Introducing Coastal Club, brought to you by Chamber Member Wild ‭• Life, a local Community Interest Company dedicated to fostering connections with nature and promoting healthy living. Coastal Club sessions are held during school holidays as well as free Nature Connection events for adults offer a unique blend of outdoor activities including dance, foraging, pottery, yoga, and wellbeing walks along the beautiful Sussex Coast.


Last year, their Coastal Club sessions were in high demand, with many families requesting discounted places that Wild Life couldn't provide. This year, they've asked us to reach out to local businesses like yours for support. By sponsoring places for children, especially those on Free School Meals, you'll not only help us meet the needs of our community but also demonstrate your commitment to kindness, companionship, and the well-being of our future generations. Just £90 provides 3 free places so please join us in creating a brighter, healthier future for our community!



ROTHER UPDATE


Rother New Business Support Programme –

'Ready To Grow'

RDC is working on an East Sussex wide business support programme using Shared Prosperity Funding. The Ready to Grow programme is being delivered by Digital Islands. The Rother cohort is kicking off in June/July and is inviting businesses who have been trading for under 3 years to sign up and receive free business training and access to business advisors. You can sign up online here.

 

Changes afoot

We’re sorry to learn that Lucie Bolton, Climate Strategy Officer for Rother District Council, who spoke so passionately about sustainability at our spring event, has moved on to pastures new. We will shortly be meeting with Rother District Council to discuss this and other staff changes that have taken place to ensure we are still connected with those who can best support the plans, interests and concerns of Rye’s businesses.


SOCIAL EVENTS

PPP

The next event is on Thursday 2nd May at the Queen’s Head 6pm. Last month's People Planet Pint at the Queen’s Head on 4th April was an enjoyable evening sparking some interesting conversations around sustainability initiatives. To remind you - these events are held each month and your first drink is free🍺! They are a really good way to exchange ideas and best practices around making changes in your business and community on a journey to reduce your carbon footprint. They are open to everyone and you don’t have to know anything about sustainability to come along.


SUMMER BBQ / LITTLEGATE

If you’ve not booked a ticket yet to our summer BBQ at Littlegate Farm consider this your reminder. Tickets are limited because it is a joint event with our fellow Chambers across East Sussex. If you joined us last year you’ll know what an excellent evening it was - so there’s no excuse not to join in the fun again - live music, fabulous food and excellent networking.


SPOTLIGHT

This month’s business spotlight is on Community Compost Solutions. See the instagram reel here.

If you'd like us to feature your business on a spotlight feature, do get in touch!

 


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