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  • Writer's pictureJane Brook

October Newsletter 2023

Updated: Oct 31, 2023

Say Hello!

This month we welcome the following new members:

Woohoo! We have a real BUMPER edition for you this month. Read all about it...

Rye Chamber held its AGM on October 18th at The George. We were very pleased to welcome over fifty members to the event – it was a very enjoyable afternoon with plenty of networking over a delicious afternoon tea.

Rye Chamber of Commerce AGM 2023 in The Ballroom of The George in Rye
The Rye Chamber AGM. Image Credit: KT Bruce

The minutes of the meeting will be circulated to members, and for those who missed the event, further details on the various updates and speakers of the afternoon follow below:

  • Rye’s Late Night Shopping event will take place on Saturday 18th November. Organisers are THRILLED that a whopping 64 businesses in the town have committed to staying open until 8pm but the more the merrier so please do consider the benefits of participating in the event if you’ve not done so already. If you’d like to get in involved or like more info, please contact Vickie or Fran:

Rebekah Gilbert address the Rye Chamber AGM at The George in Rye
Cllr. Rebekah Gilbert. Image Credit KT Bruce
  • We were all are pleased to learn that Rye is steadily growing greater links with Montreuil Sur Mer. An exchange programme is already in development for students at Rye College in late spring 2024. This is no small undertaking and will require some fundraising to ensure its success. If any business in the town would like to offer sponsorship or assist the project in some way, please contact Rebekah:

John Bonas from Love Hastings addresses the Rye Chamber AGM
John Bonas. Image Credit KT Bruce
  • We welcomed John Bownas from Love Hastings to the AGM as guest speaker to introduce us to the concept of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) – how they work and how Hastings has benefited from BID status. It provided a lot of food for thought as to how Rye might seek BID status and what the benefits might be for the town in doing so. In the interests of full research Rye Chamber has also met with Eastbourne BID and has spoken with both Canterbury and Maidstone BIDs to compile more information on their experiences and will also be meeting with The Kent Coastal Towns BID soon. We will report back to members in due course.

  • We heard how Rye Chamber is hosting its first Netwalk at Rye Harbour on Wednesday 15th November - the first of it's kind in the South East organised by Small Business Britain in 14 locations across the UK, in partnership with B.T. Walking and talking is an excellent way to get to know your fellow business owners in town and the walk will end with coffee and cake at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve Visitor Centre. If you’d like to join, then click on this link to book your place.

Amanda Deacon
Amanda Deacon. Chamber Treasurer
  • David and Sarah Nixon annouced their retirement from Chamber duties and we thanked them both for their service to the Rye Business community. We appealed for a Treasurer and we are delighted to announce that the lovely Amanda Deacon from AD Hoc Bookkeeping has agreed to take on the role. Thank you Amanda!

Dominic Manning at The Rye Chamber AGM
Dominic Manning. Sustainability Officer Image Credit KT Bruce
  • Picking up the baton from Sarah Nixon with regard to the Chamber’s vital cardboard recycling scheme we are pleased to announce that Dominic Manning from Manning Wistow Architects will become our new Sustainability Officer and will be taking this on as part of his remit. Revised guidance for the scheme will be distributed via email to members shortly. As a reminder the scheme is FREE for members and some businesses save Thousands of pounds a year. Membership is just £50 per year!

  • We announced the Mermaid as the venue for our Chamber Christmas Party on 13th December. We recognise that many small businesses won't have the budget to host their own event, so here's a great excuse to get dressed up and get the team together over a few drinks! Don't leave it too late to get your tickets.

Rye Roundup: your at-a-glance digest of Chamber news for the last month

  • Hot off the press! The Chamber now has its own Linkedin page. Please Follow us and share amongst your professional local networks to help us get the word out.

  • In last month’s newsletter we announced our intention to write to Southern Water on behalf of members whose businesses had suffered because of the extended water outage. We appealed for anecdotal evidence and data from those affected so we could draft something impactful that left no doubt as to the hefty economic impact that the town had suffered. Sadly, only one member responded with their experience, so we haven’t pursued this further. We’re happy to resurrect the idea but clearly, we need further engagement to make a case as to the impact on the town.

  • Rye Chamber attended the black-tie event held by Little Gate Farm on October 14th to mark its tenth anniversary and to raise funds for the vital work that this excellent organisation does to help young adults with autism find work.

  • In the last month Rye Chamber has attended the Sussex Chamber’s AGM and also a networking event organised by the London Chamber of Commerce in the interests of learning about how other chambers operate and the services they provide for their members.

  • Rye Chamber met with UK Inspiring Girls – a charity dedicated to empowering young girls and raising their aspirations. If any members are interested in working with Rye College on an outreach programme please get in touch!

  • In November Rye Chamber will be meeting with the Levelling Up Partnerships Team (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities). More about this in next month's newsletter.

NEWS FROM THE HIGH STREET - The festive trading period is upon us!

Small and independent businesses have long eschewed the concept of ‘Black Friday’ (24th November) – a term that originated in the US for the Friday after thanksgiving when Christmas Shopping season officially begins. Its focus on deep discounts and mass consumerism sit completely at odds with small businesses and independent High Streets like ours that offer a much more personal, bespoke and altogether more conscious shopping experience. To that end we support all our businesses in town in the run up to the Christmas season with their seasonal strategies for welcoming customers and presenting the benefits of shopping local and independent.

Some businesses in town will be supporting Colour Friday on 24th November instead. This growing national campaign champions small UK businesses instead of promoting mindless mass consumerism. The point is that if we each bought just one Christmas gift from independent businesses instead of online from big brands, we’d reallocate around £2.6bn among businesses just like those on our high street that work so hard to compete in such a crowded shopping marketplace.

Member business L2K will be positively appropriating 24th November for a different purpose. They will be hosting an event called "Black Friday - Buy Black" a day to celebrate and support diversity on the high street. They invite you to meet black makers and creatives in store with the opportunity to chat and discuss the challenges faced, to educate and inform in a welcoming environment.

Christmas in Rye will take place on Saturday 2nd December which coinsides with Small Business Saturday. There will be four stages around the town with a programme of live music and entertainment throughout the day. Santa will arrive in the town on the 10:47 at Rye Station and will be transported to his grotto by horse drawn carriage. This year the grotto will be at the Baptist Church. Tickets for visiting Santa will be available on the Heritage Centre website from the 7th of November. The Christmas races will take place in the High Street at 3pm. The procession through the town will commence at 5.30pm and the day’s events will conclude with the traditional carol concert at St Mary’s at 6.15pm (doors open 6pm).

We again appeal to as many businesses in the town to do something extra festive on the day to draw in as many visitors as possible – if you’re able to have a stall outside offering an activity or festive treat then please do, and if something outside isn’t possible then something inside is just as good! From tombolas and lucky dips, mulled wine and mince pies, or something creative for kids to do – colouring, making decorations – nothing is too small to consider. The Christmas Festival happens to also fall on Small Business Saturday – which champions independent shopping so we’d love to support your festive trading as much as possible with social media mentions – please let the Christmas Festival committee know as soon as possible if you have something planned so they can include you in the guide to the event:



  • Cinque Ports Radio has announced that as of 10am on 1st November it will be broadcasting on 95.1FM to Rye, Tenterden and the surrounding areas.

  • Small Business Britain is hosting a free session on how to use email marketing to boost sales in the run-up to Christmas. It will take place on 7th November at 10am and you can register for the webinar here.

  • Small Business Britain is also offering a new sustainability programme Green Skills for Small Business in partnership with Oxford Brookes Business School. It is a free six-week programme of hour-long webinars on a variety of topics which starts on the 7th of November. You can sign up here.

  • Rye Chamber will be placing a wreath at the war memorial as part of the Rye Remembrance Service on Sunday 12th November at St. Mary's Church.

  • Weds 15th November join us on the our first Rye Harbour Netwalk.

  • Late Night Shopping 18th November.

  • Christmas In Rye Festival 2nd December.

  • Small Business Saturday 2 December.

  • On Tuesday 5 December, Tenterden Chamber will be running a networking event at The Vine Inn in Tenterden. Tenterden Chamber have generously extended an invite to Rye members to join them for this event, which will start at 5.30pm. A light buffet will be supplied and the bar will be open for purchasing drinks. Anyone who wants to carshare from Rye please get in touch and we'll organise this.

  • Wednesday 13th December is the Rye Chamber Christmas Party!


PARKING CONCESSIONS for Cinque Ports Street, The Strand, Bedford Place, Lucknow Place and Gibbet Marsh car parks:

From 4pm - Sat 18th Nov (late night shopping) All day - Sat 2nd Dec (Christmas Festival) Sat 9th Dec Sat 16th Dec


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