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  • Writer's pictureJane Brook

May Newsletter 2024

Updated: Jun 5

2 Bank holidays & a General Election announcement!

New member welcome:

General Election  

With the news that we are all heading to the polls on the 4th July, we have extended an invitation to each of the Hastings and Rye Parliamentary Candidates to meet with us to discuss the business priorities for Rye and how they intend to address them should they be elected:

Sally Ann Hart, Conservative

Helena Dollimore, Labour

Guy Harris, Liberal Democrats

Lucian Fernando, Reform Party

Becca Horn, Green Party

Nicholas Davies, Communist Party of Britain

We will be circulating a short online survey for you to complete so that we can compile a list of the questions you’d like us to ask.


Levelling Up

Revenue Funding (£60K): We are pleased to report that we have now commissioned The Mosaic Partnership to carry out our feasibility study. The starting point for this is for the agency to request the necessary data from Rother District Council so that work can commence in earnest. A full timeline of what you can expect will follow in due course.

Capital Funding (£25K): We have endeavoured to be as exhaustive in our research for options on spending this fund as possible. The process has been somewhat slowed by awaiting answers from Rother District Council over a) land ownership b) planning permissions c) leases d) supplementary funding opportunities. We are still awaiting some information (see next item on public loos), but as soon as we have final costings we will be presenting full spending options for our members for voting. Please understand that this process is incredibly time consuming and fraught with contradictions and stumbling blocks but we are making progress.  To recap we are sourcing costings and permissions for the following options:

  • Sustainable planting around town

  • A town mural

  • Replacement tourism signage at station approach

  • Corrected and refurbed heritage signage around town 

  • The refurbishment of one of the, currently closed, public conveniences


In our ongoing work to identify funding opportunities open to us and for businesses and groups to access in the area we have made contact with Nuclear Restoration Services who will consider socio economic funding applications.

Rother District Council 

We met with Melanie Powell, at Rother District Council as part of our regular schedule of meetings to keep in the loop with local government.  This month we were negotiating funding opportunities for a number of different projects that will benefit Rye’s businesses, including CRAB 🦀 as mentioned further down.


Rye Town Council

Rye Chamber meets, at our request,  with the town council clerks every month and has been discussing the toilets for months to detail our ongoing (voluntary) work to come up with solutions. It is always our intention to encourage a joined-up approach to issues in the town that have a direct bearing on business. Here’s the update: 

On Monday 20th May we attended the emergency council meeting to discuss the issue.  


From the Chamber’s perspective there are two separate loo projects at stake here:


1. A long term strategy – for Rye Chamber to take on several if not all of the public conveniences in Rye over time. It is our hope that by this time next year we will have secured BID status for Rye and that BID funding will enable us to make this possible.  We are actively researching additional sponsorship opportunities, and paid entry systems for loos so that our provision of services could become self-sustaining in the long term. Rye Chamber will be undertaking site visits with contractors to cost out work on the loos in the next couple of weeks.


2. An immediate strategy for Rye Chamber to take on the refurbishment of one of the two currently closed loos in Rye very soon and potentially use our capital pot of levelling up funding to fully refurbish it. However - in order to do this we will need to secure additional revenue funding for the ongoing maintenance of the loo. We had hoped that the £15K that RDC is offering as a one-off payment to whomever takes on a public convenience might be able to be used as revenue towards maintenance, but we now understand that this money is ‘Invest to Save’ money and can only be used as capital spend. This means we are back to the drawing board to find a means of paying for the maintenance of a loo in the short term - we envisage we'd need one year's funding assistance for the maintenance and cleaning before our BID fund is available to take on the costs thereafter.  We are in discussions with RDC to see if they can consider any further funding assistance, or if they can signpost us towards any other community funding that we might be eligible for. 

Please be assured that we are working closely with Rye Town Council on this so they are aware of our potential to take the loos on going forward, and we in turn are assisting on their plan to temporarily reopen the Strand Quay loos for the summer period.  It is a matter of priority to us that we work in concert with them and with RDC to come up with sustainable solutions. 


Community Initiatives

Loyalty Card? Your views please!  

We were asked by our member business Tillingham to circulate their survey asking whether there is an appetite for a locals’ membership card which would give access to exclusive offers and events. If don't need to be a member to complete the survey - all welcome - here’s the link :

The Bell, Iden - Rye Chamber has written an open letter of support for The Bell Inn Iden Community Ltd, a community group looking to take on the historic village pub and transform it into a community hub and we wish them every success in the venture. Click here to invest and become a member of this newly formed Community Benefit Society.

Charlotte Kneer

Rye Memorial Hospital / The Hub

We undertook a town walkabout with Charlotte Kneer, Rye Memorial Hospital & Hub CEO, to introduce her to members of the business community and further develop ideas for collaborations. Charlotte is new to our town but is very keen to immerse herself in all things Rye, and understand what the town’s social support needs are and how The Hub might address them going forward.


Rye Taxis Association

Rye Chamber met with the newly formed Rye Taxis Association on 30th May to listen to issues the face from changes to licensing and tariffs imposed without consultation by RDC.  To recap - Rye Chamber was approached by a number of the taxi drivers recently who are struggling to make their voices heard in local government, we suggested they form an association in order to join the Chamber and we will now be lobbying on their behalf with Rother District Council.

Shop Local

We were asked by Cllr Christine Baylis to circulate a survey on RDC’s ‘Shop Local’ campaign.  Thankyou for the feedback you supplied, this was duly forwarded to Cllr Bayliss. The consensus appears to be that RDC feels the campaign has now ‘run its course’, a sentiment that was echoed by many of you.



Business Sustainability Event 🦀

The chamber was asked to participate in a Business Sustainability Event organised by Sustainable Tenterden and hosted by Chapel Down. The event was well attended by businesses owners across the border in Kent and Sarah gave a short presentation on Carbon Reduction Action Box and its benefits. As a result Rye Chamber has been asked to deliver some CRAB workshops for several Tenterden based businesses going forward- these sessions fall outside of our funding agreement with Rother District Council and so will be paid for session. Currently, Rye Chamber, has the only qualified facilitators for the CRAB workshop in the region, our closest colleagues are in Brighton. 


At our spring event in March we announced that four officers at Rye Chamber were training to facilitate Carbon Reduction Action Box workshops for our members. In the interim we have been seeking funding opportunities to enable our membership to access this training at a subsidised cost. We are hugely pleased to announce that Rother District Council has agreed to fund CRAB training for all members of Rye Chamber who wish to access it, we will also have capacity to fund CRAB training for other businesses within Rother and we very much hope they will take us up on this offer. To recap - CRAB is a workshop that can be delivered to small groups in a lunchour or over a pint after work and enables businesses to calculate their carbon footprint and build a credible carbon reduction plan. Ordinarily it would cost each business £50 to access this training we are thrilled to be able to offer it to you free of charge

Our first workshop will be held at Space Coworking at 6pm on Tuesday June 18th - there will be 12 places available (don’t worry - more workshops will follow). You can sign up for your place here 

We held another People Planet Pint event on May 2nd at our usual venue - The Queen’s Head. We were asked by Small 99 to interview some of our attendees to find out how useful they found the event and you can see what they had to say on instagram here .

Do join us for the next event which will be on July 15th at the Queen’s Head at 6pm - it will be a double event as PPP will be followed at 8pm by Green Drinks - hosted by Transition Rye - a good opportunity to network even more widely to share ideas and best practice on sustainability. 


If you’ve not booked a ticket TOO LATE 😢



Apprenticeship Roadshows

The Sussex Council of Training Providers (SCTP) is working in partnership with East Sussex County Council and the East Sussex Careers Hub to run two Apprenticeship Roadshow events this year which will be taking place on:

  • Tuesday 25th June, 4:30pm-6:30pm, White Rock Theatre – Hastings

  • Thursday 11th July, 4:30pm-6:30pm, the Welcome Building – Eastbourne

The events will bring together employers, training providers, adult job seekers, young people and their parents/carers to provide up-to-date information on apprenticeships from pre-employment to higher and degree apprenticeships.

The apprenticeship roadshows will:

  • Give employers and providers a platform to showcase their current and future apprenticeship opportunities

  • Promote live apprenticeship vacancies

  • Share real life apprenticeship case studies and inspirational stories

  • Give apprenticeship training providers a platform to promote their services

  • Give potential candidates the opportunity to meet employers and training providers and find out about live and future vacancies

  • Give parents and carers clear and accurate information about apprenticeships to ensure that they can better support their young people

They are inviting employers and providers to book a FREE EXHIBITION STAND - a great opportunity to promote your live and upcoming apprenticeship vacancies to local residents. There will also be a panel discussion at both events, giving the experiences of apprentices, apprenticeship employers and training providers. 

For more information or to register your organisation to be part of the roadshows, please email the Sussex Council of Training Providers at


Runway Training is a specialist provider of online functional skills and leadership and management training. They are offering the following FREE local training opportunities.

Level 3 Leadership & Management

This course runs over 3 days and is ideal for aspiring or existing managers, looking to gain a formal qualification and develop their skills. The course covers key aspects of Leadership and Management and provides the opportunity to obtain a Level 3 Award in Leadership & Management, certified by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), which would usually retail at £500 + VAT.

Equality & Diversity

Our 2-day/3-day Equality & Diversity course is designed to equip participants with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to promote equality, diversity and inclusion in our everyday lives. We believe that this course is crucial and applicable in today’s contemporary landscape.


Mental Health First Aid

Our 2-day Mental Health First Aid course, which will provide participants with the knowledge and skills to recognize signs of mental health issues. The course focuses heavily on the awareness of mental health within the workplace and aims to target its advocacy within that area.


1-day CSCS course

This course is ideal for employees looking to reacquire their CSCS Green cards, which is a necessity when working in construction. The course covers essential health & safety knowledge required to pass the exams to gain your Green card.

You can read more and sign up here



This month’s spotlight is on Rye News - we spoke to new editor James Stewart (creator or Ryecast) about his vision for the newspaper going forward.  You can read all about it here.

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


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