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Transfer StationMore than 100 businesses from the construction, waste and maintenance industries attended a ‘Meet the Buyer’ event in Chatham hosted by Medway Council.

Councillor Alan Jarrett, Deputy Leader of Medway Council, said “It was great to see such a big turnout to the second Meet the Buyer event with local Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) well represented. I had lots of positive conversations with suppliers pleased at the open and innovative approach we are taking. I believe Medway Council is starting to position itself at the forefront of public sector procurement. ”

Workshops on how to fill out tender documents, details about the online tendering process and advice from experts gave businesses an insight into improving opportunities to win council work.

Neville Gaunt, North Kent Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses for Kent & Medway said: “It is great to see Medway Council changing the environment for SME procurement. I hope the local business community responds well to the opportunity it gives them. The FSB fully supports simple and creative thinking to get best value to all. I was particularly impressed that Medway has set itself a target for contracting with SMEs which is double the Prime Minister’s target for Government Departments.”

A number of the organisations who currently contract with the council, and who are looking for suppliers, attended including waste contractors Veolia, highways company Volker and building maintenance business Medway Norse.

Andrew Cottrell a Manager with the Leadbitter Group who have been contracted to build the new £11million Abbey Court Special Educational Need school said: “This was a brilliant event where we received lots of contacts with local suppliers. We applaud Medway Council in seeking to provide opportunities for Medway businesses and are impressed at their target to spend 50 per cent of their contracts with SMEs.”

Medway Council is also committed to the development of apprenticeship opportunities with local firms with a range of schemes and offers a £2,000 subsidy to qualified employers.

Kerry Linley, Account Manager with apprentice specialists TrAC, said: “This is easily the best meet the buyer event we have attended. Medway Council clearly mean business when it comes to apprentices and we were very impressed by the target in their procurement strategy that for every £1 million contract suppliers must provide at least one apprentice. We look forward to working with Medway to provide young people opportunities across the Borough and Kent.”

Two Hoo Peninsula firms are among the first in Kent to successfully apply for a Tiger loan in Kent – receiving a combined total of nearly £250,000 to help grow their business.

TIGER – Thames Gateway Innovation, Growth and Enterprise – is a regional growth fund offering low-cost loans allowing businesses to invest in new products and services. Read More

Press release from the TUC

TAXNearly one in four council housing tenants affected by the bedroom tax in areas across the South East have fallen behind on their rent since its introduction earlier this year, according to new figures released today (Thursday) by False Economy.

Figures provided by 19 local authorities across the South East in response to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests by False Economy show that since the bedroom tax was introduced this April, more than 2,000 council housing tenants – 23 per cent of all tenants affected by the tax in these areas – have been pushed into arrears. Read More

Over the last year Hoo Peninsula residents have been meeting with local farmers, environmentalists, businesses and planners to discuss what the Hoo Peninsula could be like as a place to live and work.

Key to this is thinking more about how we can use “greening” projects to improve your quality of life as well as that for wildlife and business. A greening project could be the planting of more trees in villages to reduce temperatures in the summer. Such work could also improve local pride and provide a home for wildlife. The following link to a short video shows other examples of greening projects and their wider benefits http://vimeo.com/38736492.

These local meetings (called Community Conversations) have been organised as part of a larger EU funded project called GIFT-T! (Green Infrastructure for Tomorrow – Together!). The end goal of this work is to see if we can demonstrate what a strong social, economic and environmental future for people, wildlife and business could be.

GIFT-T! is at an early stage but we are really keen to hear the views of lots of local people – of all ages and interests about the Peninsula’s environment and future. To make this as easy as possible an on-line questionnaire has been set up where you can tell us your thoughts. The link is http://139.165.29.43/Gift/Hoopeninsula/

What next?

1. Your information will be saved and will form a key part of the information directing our work.
2. It might be possible to show the results in a future addition of the Peninsula Times.
3. You could attend a future Community Conversation meeting – email Martin.hall@gtgkm.org.uk or call 01634 337593 with your contact details.

Residents and businesses are being reminded that they have until September 20th to comment on the plans for the future of Rochester Airport. The draft proposals could create 1,000 new jobs and improve facilities that would increase the airport’s heritage tourism potential. More

recent 093 Medway Council is appealing to the area’s major businesses to take part in one of the county’s biggest industrial shows.

Partnering with the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce who are delivering the event, The Manufacturing and Engineering Expo 2013 will be held at Chatham’s Historic Dockyard on Wednesday 10 July, and has spaces available for firms who want to take part. There are opportunities for more than 60 major firms to exhibit at the show, which will be open to everyone. More

A new project has been launched on the Medway City Estate aimed at helping small businesses improve their ability to manage workplace health, safety and fire risks.
Estates Excellence brings together the Health and Safety Executive, Medway Council, Kent Fire Brigade and local businesses on the estate, including Veolia and Veetee Rice.
The partners will provide support, guidance and training to help businesses manage risk effectively, not only improving safety for employees but also enabling employers to benefit from reduced insurance costs and lost working time. More

An adult education course designed to help people set up in business starts this month (April). Medway Community Learning’s Setting up in Business will focus on finding out about different aspects of running a small business from evaluating ideas through to writing a business plan. The course will help budding entrepreneurs increase their skills and knowledge to be able to effectively move forward with their business. The course starts on Tuesday, 16 April at Hundred of Hoo School, from 7pm to 9pm for eight weeks. It costs £65, concessions available.

Businesses in the Thames Gateway are set to receive a £20 million finding boost to support new investment and new jobs across North Kent and Thurrock. Ministers announced on Friday, 19 October 2012, that TIGER – Thames Gateway Innovation, Growth and Enterprise – is one of 130 schemes nationally to benefit from the Government’s £2.4 billion Regional Growth Fund. TIGER will offer low-interest loans to businesses investing in new products and services, which will create long-term job opportunities with the aim of unlocking additional private sector finance. The new scheme has been secured following a bid to the Regional Growth Fund by the Thames Gateway Kent Partnership, with the support of local businesses. More

Businesses in Medway will benefit from three new professional development courses thanks to Medway Adult and Community Learning Service. More

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