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Levelling Up, the Island after the pandemic and an end to “cheap and cheerful”? Bob Seely MP talks business Where next for Visit Isle of Wight? WightFibre’s Big Copper Switch Off IW Chamber Expo 2021 – save the date! Arc Consulting International Trade


Island Business Magazine Published by the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce Editor Tom Stroud Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce Mill Court, Furrlongs, Newport Isle of Wight, PO30 2AA Tel. 01983 520777 Designed & Printed by

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While every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of Island Business magazine the publishers do not accept any liability or provide any guarantee that the information is accurate, complete or up to date. The publisher and its employees and contractors have used their best efforts in preparing these pages and this publication but make no warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, with regard to the information supplied. The views of contributors do not necessarily represent those of the IW Chamber of Commerce. The IW Chamber of Commerce and its employees and contractors shall not be liable in the event of incidental or consequential damages in connection with, or arising out of, the providing of the information offered here. Contains material sourced from responsibly managed forests, certified in accordance with the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).


FOREWORD WELCOME TO THE AUGUST EDITION OF ISLAND BUSINESS! As I write this, the Island is sweltering under a heatwave, with busy beaches and restaurants. After “freedom day”, it’s a return to some form of normality for the tourism and hospitality sectors, in many ways hit hardest by the pandemic. In October tourism businesses will again be asked to back a D-BID. They’ll be polled on whether they want to contribute to the funding of Visit Isle of Wight and in this issue we talk to CEO Will Myles about his vision for the future of destination marketing for the Island. We also talk to the Island’s MP Bob Seely

about how his engagement with local businesses has changed and been informed by the pandemic. We celebrate twenty years of success for Platform One, the Island’s music college and we look to a “copper-free” future for WightFibre. We’re also getting ready for the Chamber’s Expo, returning to the Lakeside Park Hotel in Wootton on Wednesday September 22nd. Save the date and we’ll see you there! Enjoy your magazine!





Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce

Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce

Please recycle this magazine







Island Towns Set For Multi-Million Pound Investment


Shaping a better world | ARC


Interview | Bob Seely MP


Expo 2021


Interview | Will Myles of Visit Isle of Wight


Platform One College of Music


The Big Copper Switch-off | Wightfibre


Mental Health in the Workplace


BCC International Trade


Events & Training


New Members


IW Chamber President | John Allen



IW Chamber Business Awards return in 2022 The Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce Business Awards will take place in May 2022 with entries opening at the end of this year. The Island’s most prestigious and long-established awards will be presented on Friday 6th May in a ceremony at Cowes Yacht Haven.

Culture Secretary visits Island businesses

Front row, from left: IW Chamber Chief Executive Steven Holbrook with UKSA’s Ben Willows and the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, with Bob Seely MP (right)

Tourism, 5G and the America’s Cup were all on the agenda for Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, in a recent visit to the Island. His tour took in visits to Cowes, Tapnell Farm and a trip up the Medina to see blade production at Vestas.

The visit was organised by the Island’s MP Bob Seely, who briefed the Secretary of State on the work of Venture South, the Island’s cultural investment company. Oliver Dowden also heard about the Isle of Wight’s desire to bring the 37th America’s Cup to the Solent, as well as the importance of arts, culture and tourism to the

Island’s economy. “We wanted not only to highlight the importance of the Island to the UK visitor economy but also to explain the impact Covid has had on tourism-dependent businesses here,” Bob Seely said. “We were able to share with

the Secretary of State how money from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport is being spent on the Island with the rollout of rural broadband, the development of a 5G hotspot in Cowes and we fed back how important Culture Recovery Funds had been to Island arts businesses.”

“We’re excited to be able to a name a date for the future,” says IW Chamber CEO Steven Holbrook. “My team has been working hard on this event ever since we presented the 2019 awards, consequently many of our sponsors have been in place since the start of last year and I know from talking to businesses that there is a huge desire for the return of this event. The Chamber’s Business Awards are a highly significant event and a big part of our year. I know that businesses will welcome the opportunity to celebrate success once again.” Categories will be announced in the coming months with entries opening in December and set to close at the end of January 2022. A shortlist will be published in March, ahead of the event on May 6th 2022.

Teemill growth creates 50 new Island jobs

Teemill recently won the Queens Award for Enterprise and Innovation for their real-time manufacturing systems and the free-to-use software platform that helps startup brands build websites then design and sell circular, wasteless products. Teemill’s Island born management team is led by Tobias Penner, from Ventnor. “We have continued to grow and the original vision for the company is unchanged, to build a digital company that does something positive about sustainability here on the Isle of Wight, our home. Continuing to invest on the Island is what we want to do. This recent round of jobs is linked to our growth as Teemill users are becoming larger and increasingly international”. Teemill’s manufacturing platform is now used by brands like BBC Earth, WWF, Google, Sea Shepherd, Cancer Research UK and YouTube stars Joe Wicks and Yoga With Adriene.

Island artisans showcased on-line by Wight Originals

The Wight Originals vendor community was founded by Karen Webster-Dunn, inspired by her work with the IW Chamber’s Start Me Up 50 Plus programme. “We were keen that Wight Originals could include vendors with 2


A bid to develop a new British Dinosaur Museum could see Sandown and its Cretaceous Coast becoming “the dinosaur capital of Britain”. Plans are underway for a new attraction that will bring together a museum, a dinosaur park and a scientific research facility. The development will be aimed at families, tourists, schools and universities. A new consortium hopes to receive the green light from the Isle of Wight Council in the coming months, launching a project that would regenerate the existing Dinosaur Isle museum as well as contribution to investment in the Bay area, bringing much needed employment and visitors to the town, and the Island as a whole. Dr Jeremy Lockwood (pictured), chair of the Dinosaur Isle Group, an association of island residents, commented: “It’s a tremendous opportunity for the Isle of Wight to put itself on the global stage. Our detailed plans include building a new larger museum, Dinosaur Park, education and research facility, whilst remaining sensitive to the ecology of the surrounding land and enhancing existing heritage, such as the PLUTO building. This is something that will have a hugely positive impact on the regeneration of the Sandown Bay area, and help to boost local businesses, especially the hospitality industry.”

Sustainable technology business Teemill is looking to fill 50 new roles across their sites in Freshwater and East Cowes. More than 100,000 brands now use the Teemill online platform which was founded in 2016 by the Rapanui management team. With factories at the Albany Building in East Cowes and on Freshwater’s Hooke Hill, the company is looking for manufacturing team members as well as roles in Business Development, Marketing, Operations and Software Engineering trainees.

Wight Originals is a newly launched on-line marketplace, promoting more than 450 local products, including Isle of Wight art, gifts, food and drink. With 45 local producers already onboard, the platform intends to grow and provide an outlet for further businesses, using simple-to-follow instructions to help artisans to sell on-line.

New era for Dinosaur heritage in Sandown

all levels of IT expertise,” Karen says, “from those who have not sold online before, to those who are used to selling through global online marketplaces. We have some wonderful products available and look to grow the selection, ensuring we continue to provide great support for our vendors and a fantastic experience for our global customers. We already have a superb community of vendors of all ages, many of whom didn’t know each other before. We all work together to deliver great products to our customers, learn and support each other, and have fun in the process!” THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE FOR THE ISLE OF WIGHT

Diverse Marine to deliver Royal Navy transfer boats Diverse Marine has won the contract for the production of three SEA Class Passenger Transfer Boats, for use by the Royal Navy’s (RN) latest Aircraft Carrier, HMS Prince of Wales. Atlas Elektronik UK has commissioned the Cowes based shipyard to deliver the new craft, which will carry 34 passengers with up to three crew.

project and to be awarded the contract through a competitive process. I am immensely proud of not only our own core team, but also the stakeholder team and wider British Marine Industry for having the capability to deliver a solution which meets the requirements of AEUK, the Royal Navy and HMS Prince of Wales”.

Ben Colman, Director at Diverse Marine said: “It is testament to the capability and quality of the work our team can produce that afforded Diverse Marine the ability to tender for this

AEUK took the strategic decision to sub-contract the PTBs to Diverse Marine because of their proven track record with aluminium construction and ability to customise the design.




Island businesses celebrate Green Impact awards Environmental good practice from the Island’s business community has been recognised with the latest set of Green Impact awards, a United Nations award-winning environmental programme delivered locally and backed by the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce.

Stephen Ambrose, Business Manager and Nick Bhatnagar, Business Administration Assistant at Island Roads

Island Roads, Vikoma and Nature Therapy CIC have all received gold awards as part of the programme, with silver accreditations going to IW Council, Moore South, Cowes Chiropractic Clinic and L&M Plus Consulting. PC Consultants picked up a bronze award.

more points it scores leading to a Green Impact bronze, silver or gold award.

A further 21 businesses took part in the programme, with more than 300 employees taking part and more than 900 actions put in place. The scheme also provided 16 local students with training and development opportunities in their role as environmental auditors, visiting participating businesses to assess their progress.

Gold award case study: Island Roads

The scheme set up by the National Union of Students and now run by Students Organising for Sustainability helps businesses to identify ways it can reduce its environmental impact by taking simple actions – such as energy saving, transport, recycling and education. The more actions completed by an organisation, the

Since its launch on the Isle of Wight, the Green Impact Programme has resulted in an estimated 7,642kg of CO2 being saved.

Island Roads, the highways company contracted to upgrade and maintain the Island’s highways network has achieved a gold standard of environmental practice by taking positive steps to reduce its carbon footprint and make its workplace more sustainable. Steps taken by Island Roads to date include the introduction of grey water systems to reduce water usage, use of renewable energy and green tariffs, electric vehicles and charging points, office recycling points and greener stationary choices, motion sensor lighting

in its buildings. It has also worked with staff to encourage greener travel to work and actively engages employees in green initiatives via its Sustainability Forum. As well as activities to reduce its carbon footprint, Island Roads also undertakes work to encourage biodiversity, for example installing bee tubes in retaining walls for solitary bees, artificial ‘caves’ for Ventnor’s wall lizards and it has also made changes to its weed and verge cutting regime to support the growth of wildflowers to encourage pollinators. Stephen Ambrose, business manager at Island Roads, said: “We are very proud of what we have achieved in terms of our environmental impact and are delighted that our work has been recognised with a gold award. The Green Impact scheme has really helped us to focus on areas in which we can improve and look at different was we can achieve our green ambitions.”

Rika joins Roach Pittis Roach Pittis are welcoming a new face to their Probate team. Rika McMonnies is an experienced Private Client solicitor and joins the full-service professional law firm, based in Lugley Street, Newport. Rika qualified as an Attorney at Law in South Africa in 1998. She moved with her family to England in 2000 and requalified as a Solicitor in January 2003. Since then she has specialised in Wills, Trusts, Estate administration, tax planning, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection work. Rika is also a qualified duty solicitor and will assist the criminal team. “Having already taken on a large caseload, Rika has shown she has a great rapport with our clients and produces exceptional standards of work. We look forward to working with Rika and welcome her to the Roach Pittis team.” 4






Northwood Business Incubator hub launches A long discussed plan to launch a Business Incubator Hub on the Island is now a reality. A building in Northwood will be restored and fitted out, to make a place where start-up firms can find a somewhere to work at a reasonable price, as well as support, networking, and resources aimed particularly at those just setting up in business. The new project is part of a £2.8M investment backed by the European Regional Development Fund and partner organisations. The funding has been secured by the Isle of Wight Council, in partnership with New Forest District Council, to bring a new business support network together. The project

will run until 2023, and will employ professional advisors to help Island people set up and develop their businesses, and provide practical help to do so. There will also be a network of small office facilities in other towns on the Isle of Wight and in the New Forest, to allow the services being provided by the Northwood hub to be accessed remotely and reduce the need to commute to work. A programme of business support will be available to give firms access to information, expertise and connections from across the region and beyond. The project will not be giving grant funding directly, but will help Island entrepreneurs understand how they can access all types of business funding if they need it. Cllr Julie Jones-Evans said: “We have been working towards setting up a business incubator project for some time, and so I am delighted that, with this new funding award, it is finally becoming a reality. “Co-working spaces are a model which are proven to help businesses grow and thrive, in an atmosphere of mutual support and inspiration. There are 32 business incubators across the south-east of the country, but none so far on the Island. “This Island hub will have business support spokes going across the Island and New Forest creating a network of support for businesses. We know from our own research that a large majority of those local business leaders who commented to us believe that the lack of an incubator facility is holding back the Island’s economy. So for budding Island entrepreneurs currently working off the kitchen table or in the garden shed – good news!”


A £10 million-pound project to improve Ryde Transport Interchange aims to improve facilities and connectivity for cyclists, pedestrians, bus and rail users as well as Wightlink FastCat passengers. The transport hub is set to be reorganised to provide a more pedestrian prioritised area with additional areas of public use. It is hoped work on the project can start in early 2022 and be completed in Spring 2023.

emerge from the bus terminal and head straight up George Street, as opposed to the current arrangement where they have to use the roundabout at the end of the Esplanade.

The scheme is supported by a government grant from the Transforming Cities Fund following a successful bid by the Isle of Wight Council, Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire County Council.

The Isle of Wight Council has submitted a multi-million pound bid to the government’s Levelling Up Fund, aiming to secure investment in East Cowes.

Complementary improvements are also being made by Southern Vectis, Wightlink and South Western Railway who are all partners in the project. The Ryde scheme is part of a wider, co-ordinated initiative to enhance sustainable transport infrastructure and connectivity in and around Portsmouth (Portsmouth City Region). The project will transform the old tramway along Ryde Pier into a new pedestrian and cycle boardwalk. There will also be improvements to Ryde Esplanade railway station including the refurbishment of the terminal building to create new fully accessible toilets and remodelled, expanded concessions as well as access to the boardwalk. The bus terminal will also be re-modelled to provide a safer environment for bus users/pedestrians with more public amenity space. A new road layout will also allow buses to

Michael Spoors Solicitors expands into Southampton Newport based legal firm Michael Spoors Solicitors is expanding into Hampshire with the opening of a new office in Southampton. The move will give the family law experts the ability to act on behalf of many more clients, meeting successful outcomes in highly emotional circumstances including divorce, child settlement and cohabitation. The law firm first opened its doors on 6


the Island back in 2016. Based at Bugle House on Newport High Street, the team now has a sister office in White Building Studios, on Cumberland Place in Southampton. The opening of a new Southampton office was an obvious choice for the start of further expansion plans, supported by recently updated brand and web materials to reflect the businesses growth.


As well as providing better connectivity and promoting active travel, the project also aims to make the interchange a more pleasant public space for both those arriving at the gateway to Ryde and those wanting to enjoy the area as a destination in itself. Councillor Phil Jordan, Cabinet member for transport and infrastructure, said: “It is fantastic news that SEHRT has secured this significant investment on a scheme that will improve the interchange and the wider Esplanade area both as a transport hub and as a public amenity area to enjoy.”

£7 million funding bid to support East Cowes marine jobs The bid, which is supported by East Cowes Town Council and the Island’s MP, comprises a £7 million package of projects seeking to reinstate the town as the focus for the marine industry on the Island. The proposals include: • renovation of the iconic Columbine building to bring more workspace online, creating new jobs; • improved marine-side infrastructure enabling a wider range of refit work; • renovation of the historic Albany barracks building; • significant public realm improvements on the Esplanade, including a dramatic new harbour viewing platform to attract more visitors. Island MP Bob Seely highlighted the Island’s bid to ministers during a parliamentary debate. “The East Cowes Levelling Up bid is an important first step in the longer term prosperity agenda. The purpose is to grow the number of high-paid jobs in marine, but also in the tidal, wind and offshore renewable sectors. Our bid will enable us to develop that cluster of excellence further and ensure that East Cowes continues to grow as a shipbuilding composite and green tech hub for the UK as a whole.” Councillor Julie Jones-Evans, Cabinet member for regeneration and business development, said: “East Cowes is a major gateway and when visitors arrive we need to impress them with the quality of our built heritage as well as natural beauty. I think this application is well crafted and will be looked on favourably by government to bring jobs and improved public amenity space to East Cowes.”

“The decision to expand further into Hampshire and open a second office in Southampton was a logical step in our business growth strategy,” said Michael Spoors, owner and solicitor at the firm. “We aim to establish closer ties with our Hampshire based clients which will further strengthen our service capabilities in the South of the UK and it’s critical that we meet clients where they live to service them most effectively.”







“The rise of Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) factors as a driver of business performance and a focus for new ‘impact’ investment, has been phenomenal. The combination of ESG criteria is now directing huge flows of capital around the world in response to a new awareness, perhaps a little late, of the need to act if we are to deliver the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The problem is that many businesses just don’t know how to make a start; that’s where we can help,“ says Arc Research Director Nigel George. This unique combination of research collaboration and business development has enabled Arc to push to the front of a crowded field as influencers in the emerging field of ecological design, finding ways to improve the places that we build to live and work both for biodiversity and human health.  This unique combination of research collaboration and business development has enabled Arc to push to the front of a crowded field as influencers in the emerging field of ecological design, finding ways to improve the places that we build to live and work both for biodiversity and human health.  Claire Hector, who leads on Arc’s corporate communication takes this further:

From planning, design to engineering, Island-based consultancy Arc is helping big businesses to work responsibly As the world faces global challenges such as climate change and biodiversity loss, leading to stricter regulations and greater scrutiny, corporations have responded by re-evaluating business practices to mitigate their social and environmental impact. Corporate thinking and investment strategy is increasingly being informed by Environmental, Social Governance (ESG) factors which is why leading real estate investment company LaSalle is working with Arc, the environmental change-makers based in Sandown Bay.

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Arc’s unique approach is called Shaping Better Places, a simple idea, but a challenging and ambitious new benchmark for sustainable development that attracted the attention of real estate titans LaSalle Investment Management, who control over £12Billion in assets in the UK alone. Ian Boyd, leading on regeneration for Arc, says: “We’ve been working with LaSalle for 4 years now, helping with sites in London, Portsmouth, Bristol, Cardiff and Birmingham as well as supporting their sustainability team with corporate policy development. Shaping Better Places has proven very effective in boosting the performance of a variety of large built assets, from shopping centres to business parks, against ESG performance standards and in fact goes beyond, anticipating the next move in ethical investment which will undoubtedly be recombining functioning ecosystems with the places where we live and work, proper habitats for humans! We’re now working with LaSalle to bring Shaping Better Places to the asset management industry as a new certified standard and we hope to see this launched this year.”


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“We work very closely with industry bodies such as CIRIA (the Construction Industry Research and Information Association) particularly when it comes to new innovations in the built environment. In planning consultation we consider ways to boost human wellbeing alongside ecological health. Our work under the Artecology brand, developing new designs and materials for marine infrastructure and coastal defence is a great example, combining university partnerships and commercial applications to bring Vertipools to the market, now used all around the UK, in northern France and Gibraltar as practical mitigation for the effects of sea level rise on the marine wildlife of the urban coast.”

“Our Bourne Business Park development won CIRIA’s Big Biodiversity Challenge Award for delivering biodiversity within the construction and the built environment. It was an inspirational project and demonstrates LaSalle’s desire to be working responsibly. We are currently working with ARC on other assets” Andrew Derry, Development Director, LaSalle

The Wild Glades project has turned a major shopping centre, The Glades in Bromley which attracts 20 million visitors a year, into a place where wildlife has begun to flourish on the outside, and ecological engagement and learning is celebrated on the inside, becoming a beacon for sustainability in action. Top Photo: Ciria Awards: Claire Hector ARC, Andrew Derry LaSalle, Ian Boyd ARC. Photography by Philippa Gedge Bottom Photo: Arc team - a hands-on approach to biodiversity







“We are potentially vulnerable. We have to adapt to the new landscape and we have to chase quality. We need to move away from ‘cheap and cheerful’, which is frankly how we’ve done almost everything on the Island in the past 50 years.”


Since Covid 19 hit last year, Bob Seely MP has been engaging with Island businesses in a very different way. He’s been responding to questions about lockdown, support measures and access to funding. He’s been receiving direct feedback from the business community via his monthly forums with IW Chamber members. The Island’s MP talks pandemics, prosperity and the future with Tom Stroud. The world definitely changed in March last year. What have you learned since then? I think our governments are not very good at preparing for black swans. We have these very significant moments, whether it’s 9-11, an economic crash or Covid 19, and they’re coming around much more regularly than they used to. We live in a much faster moving world and national government needs to be faster at adapting. We need to be better at adapting on the Island too, which means more education.

fighting individual corners but also making common cause with other members of parliament, to see if we can change the government’s position on significant things that were affecting thousands of people across Britain. The best example of that has been the cut in tourism VAT and we’re now trying to keep lower VAT levels for tourism in the future.

The monthly forums have been a good yardstick for how Island businesses have been navigating the situation, as well as their experiences and sometimes frustrations with lockdowns and accessing the support measures on offer. How do you view the government’s response to the pandemic? The furlough scheme was good and I just hope we can afford it. The VAT reduction was good too. The vaccination process has been a world leader; the Test-and-Trace process hasn’t been a world leader, let’s put it like that. I’m not entirely sceptical of lockdowns but I do think now that we probably should have gone into the first lockdown much more quickly. There’s an argument for shutting down fast and early and then working out what to do. It frustrates me that we’ve always been very slow to shut down air travel from places that have high infection rates. Why didn’t we shut down to India much quicker? When the Delta variant arrived we missed a trick. The good work that has been done has sometimes been damaged by the fact that we haven’t quite reacted quickly enough elsewhere.

We also need to have a conversation about Artificial Intelligence and Big Data. We can’t uninvent this stuff. There are people in this country saying ‘I don’t want the state to track my movement, so I don’t want AI and Big Data to be used to help deal with Covid.’ Well, fair enough, but instead we’ve all been under house arrest for the best part of a year. Is that really the most sensible way to be dealing with things? If we had a very efficient system like Taiwan or Singapore, actually many more of us would have had much more freedom. It would have come at the price of our devices being able to relate to other devices, anonymously, to track our movements for the purposes of health care. We haven’t debated the ethical implications of all of this properly. Locally, the IW Council has coped with this pandemic pretty well. They’ve done a very good job and we should not take for granted the work that they’ve done. The council officers were excellent and some of the senior councillor leadership was strong, which has been really impressive.

There’s been a lot of talk about Levelling Up, following the measures announced in the March budget. The government talks about “building back better from the pandemic”. What does that look like for the Isle of Wight? Levelling up is effectively a casual term for an aggressive regional development strategy. It’s where you take prosperity and economic growth out of the southeast of England and try to push it around the country, using incentives of various

On a practical level, I used to visit businesses and now clearly I don’t and I’ve discovered the worth of virtual meetings. On one hand you can be more productive but on the other hand you still need to have human contact and I think that’s a lesson we’re all learning. The best pattern is basically three days at home, two days in an office. People do creative work better when they’re physically in a team, with people in the same room, or around the corner. They complete work that’s tasked to them better at home because there’s less distraction. So it’s about getting that balance right and for me that has been a learning curve as well.

Each month you’ve been meeting with IW Chamber members in a virtual forum. They’ve been able to talk to you collectively, but also quite candidly. What have you taken away from these sessions and to what extent have you been able to make a difference? I’m delighted and very grateful for the opportunity to engage with members. It’s been a very useful forum and much easier than arranging appointments. I took away collective feedback, to put it bluntly. Some businesses have done very well in the pandemic, especially ones that have been virtual, or have quickly transitioned to virtual. Others clearly would have gone to the wall if it hadn’t been for the massive furlough scheme. Some of the feedback I’ve received has been “I fall between the cracks, what can you do?”, which is basically resolved by me writing to the Treasury or various other ministries. Some of the issues have been around people who pay themselves in dividends and we’ve had very limited success there, even acting with others. On self-employment and VAT we got some quite big wins. Often my role is to try to get some flexibility within the system. I’ve been 10






different kinds. That Levelling Up agenda very much includes the Isle of Wight because basically we need we need that on the Island.

We need to get ‘value added’ on the Island, for everything that we do, whether that’s agriculture, tourism, defence, high-end composites or green clusters of energy. Anything in that sphere, I’m working on. I’m trying to get more orders for Wight Shipyard and more tidal wave technology down to the Island. We’ve put in a Levelling Up bid to pull in funding to do up the Columbine Building and the Albany barracks buildings in East Cowes which have been bought by the council.

For me a prosperity agenda is not just about bricks and mortar. It certainly isn’t just about building houses - which are never built for islanders, certainly not on greenfield at low density - but it’s about business development. It’s about getting a wider range of expertise in technology on the Island. We can look at green clusters, potentially using tidal wave energy. We need to get much more Higher Education on the Island. We need development in towns, like Newport, Sandown and Ryde to a lesser extent. We should be driving regeneration of the towns as a way of getting young people off the housing list and reviving our nightlife in Newport and other town centres. We must also be protecting the landscape both for ourselves and for future generations to enjoy. Our landscape has an absolute value in our tourism economy. We need to get ‘value added’ on the Island, for everything that we do, whether that’s agriculture, tourism, defence, high-end composites or green clusters of energy. Anything in that sphere, I’m working on. I’m trying to get more orders for Wight Shipyard and more tidal wave technology down to the Island. We’ve put in a Levelling Up bid to pull in funding to do up the Columbine Building and the Albany barracks buildings in East Cowes which have been bought by the council. There are lots of things that we’re doing to try to deepen and broaden our economy. Levelling up is also about more than that. It’s also about education and frankly healthcare. We’ve got poor quality health outcomes on the Island. Why? We should be some of the fittest people in the UK. We’ve got great walking, lots of great cycling, a lot of swimming on our doorstep in the sea. We’re the world’s capital of sailing. Why aren’t we healthier as a community? For me it’s about a package of well-being.

How do you see the future for the Island and its economy? How different does the post-Covid landscape look for businesses, the high street and tourism? I hope we’re going to come out of it okay. We are potentially vulnerable. The Institute for Fiscal Studies singled the Island out as one of the places that will be most hard hit. But that’s not necessarily the case. We have to adapt to the new landscape. We need to move away from ‘cheap and cheerful’, which is frankly how we’ve done almost everything on the Island in the past 50 years. We need better quality tourism. We have to think about what sort of tourism we actually want. Don’t get me wrong - I love pensioners coming here and spending 50 quid in a week on a coach tour. That’s lovely for them. But if we can have 500 cyclists coming here who will drop a thousand pounds over a weekend, staying in a five star hotel, a super swanky Airbnb or in a fancy yurt, that’s the market that that we need to grow in future. We have to chase quality. We’re becoming a really good foodie destination, with high-end restaurants and high quality island food and produce for visitors to spend good money on. A chunk of our farming is always going to be about producing staples like grain but the more that we can produce high-end food and market it ourselves, the better. Andrew Hodgson is producing some of the best beef in Britain and Briddlesford Farm are doing great things at scale with Isle of Wight milk. These are the kind of quality examples that we should be inspired by.







Businesses confirmed to exhibit include: WightFibre Alex Tana Coaching All Things Printed Amey Betapak Brightbulb Design ltd DataSwift IT & Networks Diametric Technical Ltd Education Destination EV Express Fortis Energy Good Skills Training Isle of Wight Hillbans Pest Control Hovertravel HTP Apprenticeship College Island Roasted Isle of Wight County Press L&M Plus Consulting Limited Lawdit Solicitors Mattinson Associates

The Island’s business community can once again come together for a day of business engagement and face-to-face networking. The IW Chamber’s annual business Expo will see exhibitors from across a wide range of sectors showcasing their businesses at the Lakeside Park Hotel in Wootton on Wednesday 22nd September. Doors open at 10am with free entry to everyone and the event runs until 4pm. The event is once again supported by headline sponsor WightFibre.

MedTec Design Services Meridian 3 Mermaid Gin Nosy Marketing PC Consultants Red Funnel Roach Pittis Solicitors Spyder The Island Tea & Coffee Co The Observer The Tomato Stall Top Mops Vectis Business Link Vehicle Consulting Wheeler and Lai Chartered Surveyors Wight Computers Wight Crystal Wightlink WP Recruitment & HR Ltd WRS Systems

“We’re really looking forward to Expo,” says IW Chamber Chief Executive Steven Holbrook. “Not being able to hold our annual event in 2020 was one of the low points of a difficult year. However, times are changing, and as we move towards unlocking and the economy is rebuilding, I’m looking forward to seeing businesses meeting up and engaging with each other once again. “Expo has always been a hugely popular and essential event for the business community. This year, more than ever, it will help businesses to engage with each other and to reconnect after more than a year of virtual networking. If you’re in business on the Island, you should be at Expo. Entry is free and we have some brilliant exhibitors and a great atmosphere for networking. Join us for a great day.”


EXPO 2021



EXPO 2021



The D-BID, the pandemic and £500,000 of funding to support a £330 million visitor economy for the Isle of Wight. Where next for Visit Isle of Wight? Tom Stroud asks WILL MYLES,

Managing Director of Visit Isle of Wight

“It doesn’t go unnoticed by myself and my team that Visit Isle of Wight’s marketing activity is often used in a slightly different format by other destinations nationally. I take that as a bit of a backhanded compliment, as my team and I are highly professional and are very good at what we do. Our focus is always on what can we develop and create in order to market this Island in such a way that people want to visit for a day or two, or three, or a week or more. Some find it so amazing that they make life decisions to stay here.”

Visit Isle of Wight’s work of lobbying local and national government alongside national tourism bodies became a key part of what was required to ensure that government grants and assistance went to the correct places, and when there were loopholes, these were addressed. We created the “one-island” messaging to ensure that tourism, travel and local authorities all spoke as one. That messaging continues, with the latest version of “Travel the Wight Way” in-line with the “Step-4 Roadmap” changes.

Why does Visit Isle of Wight matter? In a normal year 2.4 million people visit the Island. That’s a mixture of staying and day visitors, along with people ‘Visiting Friends & Relatives’. They spend £330 million each year whilst here, with an overall economic impact being £470.4 million. That supports over 8,000 jobs both directly and indirectly in the tourism, travel and hospitality sector. Whilst the Isle of Wight may be small in size in comparison to some of the perceived tourism “big-hitters” such as Cornwall, The Lake District, Yorkshire, Kent, and Manchester to name but a few, the Isle of Wight certainly packs a punch. The value of tourism to the Island and the numerous activities that Visit Isle of Wight deliver to sustain and build that visitor profile is massive.

Visit Isle of Wight is funded by levy payers as part of the D-BID (Business Improvement District), voted for by tourism businesses five years ago. That arrangement expires at the end of August. What happens next? The question as I see it really is: ‘what happens for the Island’s tourism marketing presence in arguably the most highly competitive marketplace, where all of the UK’s holiday and city break destinations are fighting for their share of the finite visitor spend?’ Do we just sit back as Island businesses and say, ‘We are the Isle of Wight – they will come’? My answer is ‘absolutely not’. The Island and its businesses must fight for our “share of voice” in this highly competitive marketplace. The D-BID equated to around £500,000 each year and funding is the key issue that is staring us in the face. Right now the potential answer is to renew the current BID period for another period, whilst longer term options and solutions are considered, both locally, regionally, and nationally. BID is the route to potentially securing £2.7 million in funding over 5 years to market and promote this amazing and beautiful Island in line with the wishes of the potential BID levy payers.

How can you make sure that Visit Isle of Wight continues to reflect the needs of tourism businesses? We’re listening to businesses and reflecting on what has been achieved so far. Visit Isle of Wight has instigated a business survey asking some key questions about what has gone well and not so well in the past five years, alongside asking what potential BID levy payers would like to see as the focus of what the BID monies would be spent on. There will also be consultation sessions to debate what the focus should be. This will form the basis of an overall business plan that the potential BID levy payers will be asked to vote on in October 2021.

How has Visit Isle of Wight changed as an organisation since the pandemic hit last year? The past 18 months have been an extremely difficult and challenging period of time for all businesses in the tourism, travel and hospitality industry. Large, medium, or small, we’ve all been impacted and that includes Visit Isle of Wight.

Are you confident that the industry will once again vote for a D-BID and continue to fund Visit Isle of Wight?

Our job, as the Island’s Destination Marketing Organisation, is to promote the Island as a destination to an off-Island audience. With lockdowns a-plenty in this past 16 months it has meant that the way we go about our business had to change, virtually overnight. The major marketing campaigns were gone. We looked inwardly to guide and assist the businesses that needed help, providing assistance, and guidance during uncertain times. We became the signposting organisation that the tourism sector needed at the time. 16



The renewal of the D-BID is critical to the promotion of this island. The tourism businesses of all shapes and sizes that operate here deserve the higher-level marketing activity to be carried out. The work continues and I want Visit Isle of Wight to do their best for all businesses. That is exactly what we will do and this is a team effort. AUGUST 2021




What happens when you mix education with the Island’s music scene? Twenty years ago David Pontin did exactly that, in partnership with his brother Peter, to found Platform One. Today it’s an award-winning and respected centre for education, helping creative Island performers and musicians to learn the skills that they need to get a career in music.

“The world has changed in the last 20 years, including the way that we consume music, especially for young people. We’re really engaged with the industry so we can see that shift and follow the innovation and the enterprise. All of our staff are really incredible practitioners with teaching qualifications and current industry experience. It makes a really unique learning environment.” David Pontin


PLATFORM ONE COLLEGE OF MUSIC “We are a not-for-profit, independent, boutique music college,” David explains. “We’re not a big institution or a university or a school. We work in education but without any of the nonsense or the politics. We’re very different.”

PLATFORM ONE: THE NUMBERS Consistently validated Grade One The only education provider to ever run a full-time degree and masters on the Isle of Wight Over 1000 young bands & artist performing on Platform One stage at isle of Wight Festival

David Pontin grew up on the Isle of Wight. He studied on the mainland and earned a degree in teaching, returning to the Island to set up a recording studio here, something of a rarity at the time. “I had grown up doing music but I always loved education. I was using downtime at my studio to support young bands and musicians, people who wanted to get into running their own studios or the production side of things. It was really evident that a lot of young musicians were coming through that weren’t particularly being catered for at school. The music curriculum wasn’t contemporary and there was no focus on the music industry at all.” When David’s brother Peter returned from managing a project in Kenya, they discussed the idea of working together, pooling their skills and moving into education. “We started a makeshift version of Platform One in 1998 and went into business a year later, running the programmes at various locations. We didn’t have a lot of money and there wasn’t any education funding at that point. We took the real leap of faith in 2000 when we moved into part of the building that became our permanent 18


Hundreds of music industry guests over the last 20 years Over 97% of students achieving first choice University places ever year

Platform One founders Peter Pontin (left) and David Pontin

base on Newport’s Dodnor Industrial Estate. We didn’t take a wage for quite a long time. After about ten years we had a bit of a revelation when we felt that we could probably afford a cleaner, because up until then we’d been doing it all.” Platform One initially provided courses for post-16 students, as an alternative to sixth form. In 2006 they branched out into a degree course, in partnership with University of Chichester. “A lot of young people on the Island were leaving for university and having very inconsistent experiences,” David says. “They were leaving after three years with big debts and without a route into work.” Platform One’s degree courses focuses on employability, enterprise and innovation within the music industry.

It’s an approach which has given a generation of Island students a head start in the creative sector, although not without raising some eyebrows within the education sector along the way. “I had a discussion – you might call it an argument - with an Island headteacher who could not see the point of a music college. I explained that Platform One is all about education and that music is the vehicle for that. We teach life skills. We’re focused on employability, giving our students the skills they need to set up a business, get a development deal or move into publishing. “Within the creative sector these days you have to manage your own career. Every single module of our degree course was written with employability in mind. It’s all very well being a great guitarist but that’s not necessarily


going to get you work. The business and enterprise side of what we do is massively important. We’re teaching our students how to manage their creativity and to focus on how to become commercially viable.” In the last twenty years Platform One has evolved significantly, with music business patrons and visits from key industry professionals. Platform One’s evolution has been mirrored by the resurgence in live music on the Island, with the Isle of Wight Festival returning in 2002. Organiser John Giddings is a patron and his event offers students a great opportunity to experience the industry up close. “Our students all play the Isle of Wight Festival,” David explains. “I can remember standing up in chambers to tell the IW Council why the festival AUGUST 2021

would be great for the Island! We definitely benefit from having an internationally acclaimed event on our doorstep, where our students can perform. They also work in artist liason and on the technical side with live sound, lighting and stage management. Our students all write original music, so they’re members of PRS, which means they’re able to collect royalties too.” This September Platform One will launch a new Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Music Production, which is equivalent to three full A Levels. In July Platform One was awarded with a silver BTEC Award, for BTEC College of the Year 2021, from the international exam board Pearson. Perhaps the biggest compliment for Platform One is that mainland students are now choosing to study here, in

preference to city based colleges. It’s a reversal of the long-established trend for Island youngsters to study on the mainland, where opportunities and new experiences beckoned. “I think that’s a sign of the times,” David says. “We have students who have moved to us from London, studying for a commercial music degree. Our results have been consistently above national benchmarks ever since we began and even this year, despite Covid, we’ve got an incredible set of results. 97% of our post 16 students are going to first choice universities. It’s been a privilege really, to watch Platform One evolve in the last two decades.” So that means there are fortysomethings out there who started at Platform One? “I know. It makes me feel very old!” FEATURE



How will this affect businesses?

Ultra-fast, future proof connections for everyone: WightFibre gets ready for The Big Copper Switch-off

Emergency phones in lifts

Personal panic alarms

Security alarms

Door-entry systems

Dial-up EPoS payment terminals

Any other device or service that relies on a traditional phone line

John Irvine, WightFibre’s CEO explains how full-fibre will replace old copper connections for all WightFibre customers by the end of the year.

WightFibre’s Big Copper Switch-Off is a great opportunity to take advantage of the many benefits that IP telephony brings, and in a lot of cases the IP-based solution is cheaper. A call can ring at your desk and your mobile at the same time now, simplifying life, especially for those with a mix of office and homeworking. The challenges of the last year have led to a significant increase in the use of platforms such as Microsoft Teams, and an IP-based phone system can integrate computer based Teams users as well as telephone callers into the same conference.

On 31 December 2021, WightFibre’s Big Copper Switch-off will see every customer upgraded to a full fibre connection, moving away from the old network of copper telephone lines. WightFibre’s big switch is years ahead of the national target, and will deliver customers a new, IP-based network that is easier to maintain, more efficient, greener and more reliable. A good thing for everyone’s future. What do you mean by ‘the big copper switch-off’? In short, the old telephone network is being switched off to be replaced with a new full-fibre network. All services including broadband and telephone services will run over this full-fibre network and old network cables made of copper will be replaced. Back in 2019 WightFibre switched off all our phone lines. As a customer, you probably didn’t even notice. Behind the scenes, this IP-based phone system continued to work over your original copper phone line. By the end of 2021, WightFibre will take this a step further, switching off these copper phone lines – hence the big copper switch-off.

As well as carrying the broadband internet connection and telephones, a multitude of other devices and services will be impacted with this copper switch-off, including:

WightFibre already moved all business customers to VoIP in 2019 but this was just the lines, not the systems. Many companies, especially small businesses, had phone systems installed a decade or two ago and have barely touched it since.

So I don’t need a copper connection any more? No. For many decades the traditional telephone network used a copper pair of cables running from the home to an exchange. The different lines would be directly connected by a very large switch, whenever a call came through. If you needed to talk to someone outside of your exchange area, a similar process would happen for the lines between each exchange until you reached the area that you were calling. This whole series of exchanges and lines was open to anyone who paid to use the service, known as the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).

What about home users? WightFibre’s residential customers moved to VOIP in 2019 and most have already been moved to the new full-fibre network. Most modern alarm and security systems already work over a broadband or mobile connections and will not need upgrading.

The main downside of the copper switch-off is that phone lines will now no longer continue to work in the event of a power failure. If you don’t own a mobile phone or you live in an area with poor mobile reception then you will need to consider what happens when you have a power cut to the home. WightFibre can provide a battery back-up for your broadband router so that you can remain connected to the internet and still make calls to emergency services. This works like a traditional phone socket for power corded phones. Anything requiring its own power will need its own back-up solution. Another worry that residential customers may have is whether their existing telephone will work with the new system, as some providers need special new IP handsets. The good news is that WightFibre present a port on the broadband router that lets you plug in your existing telephone with no fuss; you can continue to make calls as usual and also take advantage of advanced features such as WightFibre’s Call Blocker.

Do I need to do anything? WightFibre’s big copper switch-off is scheduled for 31 Dec 2021. Most WightFibre customers have already had their copper ‘switched off’ and all others will be contacted by WightFibre in the next few months in time for the end of the year switch-off. Any new customers moving to WightFibre will automatically use the new IP phone system, and for home users this will be a seamless process with little to no impact.

I’m not with WightFibre, what about me? For people connected via Openreach, there is a lot of uncertainty about when the large operator will achieve switch off. PSTN Switch-off (the move to Voice over IP) is scheduled for 2025 and the Big Copper Switch-off is scheduled for 2032. Fortunately, you will be able to choose to move to WightFibre’s next generation full-fibre, ultrafast, future-proof network, Fullfibre is already available to 27,000 premises on the island and to 60,000 premises by the end of 2022. Check if full-fibre is already available at your premise at

“WightFibre’s Big Copper Switch-off is a great opportunity to take advantage of the many benefits that IP telephony brings, and in a lot of cases the IP-based solution is cheaper.”

As time progressed and with the advent of the internet, these copper telephone lines allowed customers to connect computers and servers to each other via broadband, as well as making telephone calls. The PSTN was originally operated by the government as part of the Post Office, and later British Telecom (BT). When rules and regulations changed, it was possible for other companies to build and sell services over BT’s telephone network. There was also scope for other companies to create their own networks, allowing WightFibre to build a competing network on the Island in the early 2000s. Only WightFibre has its own independent network and all other broadband providers on the Island, including the big ones such as BT, Sky, Plusnet, Talk Talk and Vodafone, are using Openreach, BT’s network maintenance division. WightFibre’s original network was a hybrid fibre coaxial network, meaning a fibre connection to the street cabinet and then coaxial cable from the cabinet into the home. This has now been upgraded to a resilient and reliable full-fibre network, providing ultrafast, future-proof services, delivering great value and customer service. As part of a £100M investment this network will be extended across the Island by the end of 2022. Removing the coaxial ‘copper’ cables is what we mean by the big copper switch off.







MENTAL HEALTH IN THE WORKPLACE “Mental health needs to be on everybody’s radar. Businesses have a responsibility to play their part. I started with me.” James Attrill, High Sheriff

As part of his campaign for mental health awareness, the Island’s High Sheriff James Attrill has qualified in the The QNUK Level 2 Award in Mental Health at Work (RQF). He has been presented with his certificate by Larry Martin of Good Skills Training, who delivers the course in partnership with IW Chamber. “I decided that the theme for my year as Island High Sheriff would be mental health,” James explains. “We can all learn in this area and with the backdrop of the pandemic, I think all of us have been through testing times. There’s still a ‘stiff upper lip’ attitude in some aspects of our lives and this particularly affects the workplace, where we spend a huge amount of time. “I’m working with the IW Chamber to try and encourage employers and businesses to pay more attention to the mental health needs of their staff. Companies do have an obligation – it’s not just the physical needs of their employees that need to be considered with risk assessments and Health & Safety. They have to look after their employees mental health too.” James booked himself on The QNUK Level 2 Award in Mental Health at Work (RQF) one day course. It’s an ideal introduction to understanding mental health in the workplace. The qualification covers the most common mental health conditions, how to identify potential mental health concerns in colleagues and then how to discuss their needs and assist them to access suitable services and support. “It’s the best thing I’ve done in a long time,” James says. “The course really showed me how important it is to get this right. We’ve got to take it seriously. It’s a realisation that everybody in the office has got a responsibility to look after everybody else. I came away with a lot of pointers and the tools to open up a proper conversation. 22


“I’m one of the owners of BCM so I have a primary responsibility to look after my team. If people are becoming ill through your business activities then what sort of reflection is that on you as a business and a person? Mental health issues impact on people in every walk of life and healthy people work well. The employment market is pretty tight. Employers have to go a long way to encourage good people to come and work for you these days. If a potential employee asks you the question ‘how does the company deal with well-being?’ and you’re struggling to answer the question then that’s a serious gap.” Good Skills Training’s Larry Martin says that although the climate is changing when it comes to talking about mental health, there’s still a reticence for staff and their employers to open up. “Starting the conversation can feel like the hardest things you’ll ever do but it’s the first step to helping someone and making a change. Once you learn to get past the pleasantries and say to someone, ‘no, really, how are you?’ you can start to help. The easiest thing is to do nothing but that doesn’t help anybody. This course is a real primer in the kind of situations you might face as an employer and how you can take action and signpost your employee to get help.” The Mental Health at Work course is delivered by Good Skills Training Ltd and is run regularly as a one-day session. The QNUK Level 2 Award in Mental Health at Work qualification costs £99 +VAT per person (this includes the certificate and manual). For further information visit THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE FOR THE ISLE OF WIGHT





INTERNATIONAL TRADE BCC assesses impact of Brexit and looks at next steps on the way forward More than six months after the end of the transition period and with the focus on economic recovery from the pandemic, it might seem to some that the issue of Brexit has faded into the background.

adequacy decision this week is a positive development: greater certainty in facilitating the two-way flow of data across borders is vital for trade to function effectively. However, the implementation of the TCA still needs to be smarter to minimise costs and checks for businesses so that we can start to rebuild the UK-EU trade gap back better.

But many businesses, and their customers, are still dealing with the reality of the significant changes ushered in on January 1.  Tens of thousands of small and medium sized exporters have spent months grappling with the blizzard of new red tape and costs of getting goods to firms and people in the EU.

The British Chambers of Commerce is engaging with the Government on the ideas that can achieve this.

The introduction of the Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA) with Europe has created a whole new range of operational procedures - whether that’s dealing with  import VAT, customs declarations, or safety and security certificates. Although the situation for outbound goods at GB ports has been better than the Government’s own reasonable worst-case scenarios, there is still inconsistency in the way customs rules are applied on arrival. Some of that has been mitigated by welcome, although temporary, easements such as on proof of origin of goods. However, in October and January inbound GB border and customs controls will begin to apply to goods being imported from the EU, involving billions of pounds in new customs and regulatory business compliance costs downstream in sourcing and supply chains. Some of these costs are short-term, others involve deep structural changes to business operations. Between the first quarters of 2018 and 2021, trade with the EU fell by around a fifth. The BCC’s Trade Confidence Outlook for the first quarter of this year found that 41% of almost 3,000 responding companies said export sales had fallen. The ongoing pandemic and the new UK-EU trading terms were the key drivers of this. It is essential that a more positive and constructive approach is taken by both sides to tackle the unresolved challenges the TCA is causing firms, both in the UK and Europe. For example, businesses sending e-commerce goods from GB to NI also face considerable new burdens on customs declarations and processes in the autumn without long-term solutions in place. But there are also signs of progress. Confirmation of the EU’s 24


First, grants for SMEs from the Business Brexit Support Fund need to cover the real costs of changes to business operations brought about by the TCA. If necessary, they should be increased. Second, on goods, renewed efforts to secure a mutual recognition agreement on conformity assessment are key to keeping costs down on product standards, marking and labelling regimes for manufacturers and suppliers. Third, a summit on e-commerce needs to be held to bring industry and government together to find solutions to logjams, such as import VAT, which are stifling trade. Finally, on hiring, we are already seeing shortages of drivers and workers in key sectors such as hospitality. Many workers from the EU went back to their home countries during the pandemic and may not return. Issues on skills shortages and labour mobility red tape need to be addressed. As the economy reopens, firms will discover the reduced ability to offer services in the EU, and the effects of permit requirements and visas rules on stays in individual EU member states. The Government needs to grasp these issues by working hand in hand with UK businesses to champion a mutual recognition agenda on professional qualifications with the EU. The BCC remains optimistic on the future prospects for UK businesses trading with Europe and the rest of the world. But it will require both the UK and the EU to work together on an ambitious agenda to fully embed, and build upon, the TCA.

QNUK Level 2 Mental Health at Work Course Delivered by Good Skills Training

Emergency First Aid at Work Course Delivered by Good Skills Training

Wednesday 11 August, 9am–5pm

Wednesday 8th September, 9am–5pm

£99 + VAT per person

£65 + VAT per person

The QNUK Level 2 Award in Mental Health at Work (RQF) is the ideal introduction to understanding mental health in the workplace. The qualification covers the most common mental health conditions, how to identify potential mental health concerns in colleagues and then how to discuss their needs and assist them to access suitable services and support.

This one-day course is designed to give delegates the knowledge, skills and confidence to help those that have become unconscious, and those with minor injuries. The Emergency First Aid at Work Course also looks at the responsibilities of the Emergency First Aider. On successfully completing this course, attendees will be confident, safe, prompt and effective emergency first aider.

Evening Networking at Caffe Isola, Newport

IW Chamber Business Expo 2021

Thursday 19th August, 6.30pm-9pm

Wednesday 22nd September, 10am-4pm, Lakeside Park Hotel, Wootton

£15 per person for IW Chamber Members and their guests

FREE ENTRY to everyone

Join us for a fabulous evening of networking (and coffee) at Caffe Isola on Node Hill in Newport. Welcome drink (alcoholic and non-alcoholic available) and a flavoursome Italian stuzzichini buffet enriched with fresh and seasonal Isle of Wight ingredients included.  Caffe Isola is the home of Island Roasted – true artisan coffee, hand roasted here on the Island. Hear all about their journey in coffee and business, as both a local producer and successful cafe & retail business, located in the former Beavis store and Congregational Church lecture hall.

Tea & Toast Networking at Caffe Isola, Newport Tuesday 7th September 7.30am-9am FREE for IW Chamber Members. Meet members for informal networking in a great location. It’s free for IW Chamber Members to attend, with hot drinks and toast for everyone.

The Island’s biggest business-to-business networking event is back! Join us for a day of high value networking opportunities with exhibiting businesses and hundreds of attendees. Make new contacts, catch up with potential clients and engage with the wider business community. It’s free to attend – save the date!

Book your place now! Go to or Email

There must also be a renewed focus on export promotion in UK trade policy. If this can be done, then the coming years will offer a positive direction for business and a lasting recovery from the economic effects of the pandemic. THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE FOR THE ISLE OF WIGHT




Join the


Being a member of the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce is a great business decision! Membership starts at less than £3 a week and entitles you to a huge range of business support, exclusive events and member discounts.

IW Chamber members have access to these four essential services:

ChamberHealth & Safety ChamberHR ChamberTax ChamberLegal

These services give you unlimited access to no less than five business advice lines and a website which features over 750 free downloadable template documents. Not only that but you are protected by £1,000,000 of legal expenses insurance which includes employment cover and tax enquiry cover.

All these services are included in your membership fee.

Don’t delay…join today!

NEW IW CHAMBER MEMBERS Alice Darbyshire Ltd Alice Darbyshire 07789 555 626

Equilibrium Project 0800 007 6511

Four Winds Dairy

Paul Bentley enquiriesfourwindsdairyiow Facebook: Four Winds Dairy IOW 07472 747 484

Isle of Wight Distribution Ltd

Antony Flood antony.flood@ 01983 209 600

Isorropia Foundation 01983 217 791


Clementine Schouteden 07984 167 691

M Squared Business Solutions

Martyn Thorp 07873 189 841

Shoreside IOW

Anne Whelton

Utility Advice Company Helen Aspinall 07967 543 586

W H Brading and Son Ltd Teena Hibberd 01983 292 557

We Go Local Solutions Ltd

Kevin Barton 01983 864 000

Wight Community Energy Colin Palmer 07891 079 974

Want to join the Chamber? Call the team on 01983 520777 or online 26






Tourism and the visitor economy: backing the BID


As I write this, the decision has been made to lift pandemic restrictions, allowing all businesses to open again and trade in near to normal conditions. What is not so clear as I write is the public appetite to use those businesses again, free of social distancing and face covering regulations, and that will determine the business’s viability, and the progress of the pandemic.

The Creative Lab for Brands A multi-award winning, design and digital studio, adding just the right creative ingredients for a brands success.

The omens look good for the Island with the vast majority of the adult population vaccinated, and one of the highest rates in the UK. However we have to be mindful that children won’t be vaccinated, the population of the Island doubles this month with holidaymakers, and there will be more visitors than ever this year with the restrictions on international travel. For all the inconvenience to our daily routine, holidaymakers do bring the Island to life and their spending is a major contribution to the local economy, making many businesses viable year round. Before the pandemic we had about 2.4 million visitors a year directly contributing over £300 million to our economy plus an additional estimated £150 million indirectly. One in six Island jobs are in tourism, that is about 8,000 people, twice the average for the South East of England. Given the importance of visitors to our economy we have had a variety of mechanisms for telling the rest of the UK that the Isle of Wight is a great place for their holiday or short break. In the 14 years I have been involved in providing visitor accommodation there have fundamentally been three models for this marketing, and I’m aware that there were a number of models before that. In 2007, when I entered the industry, the Council commissioned and paid for the marketing, with the Chamber’s Tourism Advisory Board representing the industry. In 2012 Visit Isle of Wight Ltd was formed, funded by a number of partners, including the Chamber, with significant financing from the Council which was promised for nine years. In order to continue to receive public money the company had to demonstrate that it could leverage significant private sector money, so increasing the marketing. While the company met its milestones for funding, this arrangement ground to a halt in 2016 when austerity meant that the Council could no longer continue with its contribution. The solution was for Visit Isle of Wight to reach out to the tourism industry and ask them to contribute to the off-island marketing according to their business rateable value. The industry voted in favour and the Island became a Business Improvement District (BID). The five year term for this is now up and, as you can read elsewhere in this issue, Visit Isle of Wight are asking those of us in the tourism sector to renew their commitment for another five years.

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I would urge all in the sector to engage with this process, read the information sent out, and vote for the continuation of the BID. • John is a non-executive director of Visit Isle of Wight. 01983 506505





East Quay, Kite Hill, Wootton Bridge, IOW, PO33 4LA IW CHAMBER


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Profile for Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce

Island Business August 2021  

Twenty years of Platform One, Bob Seely MP, Visit Isle of Wight, WightFibre and Arc Consulting

Island Business August 2021  

Twenty years of Platform One, Bob Seely MP, Visit Isle of Wight, WightFibre and Arc Consulting

Profile for iwchamber

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