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Helping Local Business Grow Recent Updates

It's important for every business owner to be up-to-date with the latest help and guidance that is available for their enterprise.

This page will hold documents that contain important information; for more in-depth and regular news updates sign up to the 'Helping Local Business Grow' Newsletter and follow @NFDCBizUpdates on Twitter.

Council's festive treat for shoppers who stay local

In a boost for local business, New Forest District Council's car parks will be free of charge on four days in the run up to Christmas this year. The move by the council's portfolio holder for planning and infrastructure, Councillor Edward Heron, is designed to encourage Christmas shoppers to stay local and support the New Forest's many independent businesses, producers and artisans.

One of the free parking days will be timed to support Small Business Saturday, on Saturday 1 December. The annual government-backed campaign aims to raise the profile of small businesses across the UK and encourage people to do business with them.

Parking charges will also be waived in NFDC's car parks on 23 and 24 December, a bonus for last-minute Christmas shoppers or those who just want to soak up the festive atmosphere in the New Forest's towns and villages.

The date of the final free parking day will be at the discretion of town and parish councils, which can use it to support local activities such as Christmas lights switch-on events.

Launch of SPUDworks Project, Sway

Down in Sway an exciting project is taking place. SPUD - a collaborative and educational arts and architecture charity - along with ArtSway, have begun SPUDworks, a beautiful building that offers high-quality workspaces for creative industries. There's desk space, studio space, exhibition space, event space, workshop space ... visit


(Left to right: Mark Drury - Co-Director of SPUD, Phil Smith - Co-Director of SPUD

Launch of New Forest Economic Development Strategy 2018-2023

At the New Forest Show 2018 the New Forest District Council Economic Development Strategy was successfully launched. Cllr Michael Harris, Portfolio Holder for Local Economic Development, Property and Innovation, gave a stirring speech documenting how the strategy will set the vision and key economic targets for the district over the next five years, with the aim of delivering a vibrant and growing local economy. To read the strategy visit New Forest Economic Development Strategy 2018-2023.

                                ED Strategy Launch

(Left to right: Andy Pringle - Enterprise First, Rebekah Donowa - Brockenhurst College, Matt Callaghan - NFDC, Cllr Michael Harris - Portfolio Holder, Mary Howard - Totton College, Matthew Lawson - NFBP) 

New Milton shopkeepers celebrate Customer Service Excellence

The inaugural New Milton Trader Awards 2018 event, celebrated at the Town Hall on 12th July, brought together over 30 people, including shop traders and town councillors.

The research project, co-ordinated by specialist customer research company Insight6, showed impressive levels of customer service in the town with 95% of participating businesses rated as 'outstanding' or 'very good' for customer experience.

The programme was designed to support the town's retailers by allowing them to see themselves as customers do, and give them helpful feedback and advice. The project and event was jointly funded by New Forest District Council and New Milton Town Council.

Twenty independent retailers had been visited by a researcher who then rated them on a number of factors including window display, interior layout and customer service. Town Mayor, David Rice-Mundy, proudly handed the Awards to each business rated as giving 'outstanding' service to customers. The standards were impressive with 19 out 20 scoring over 80% in the ratings.

There were two overall winners: New MilTan and Carpetwise. 

Annette Hunter from New MilTan was delighted to receive her award and said "This is brilliant! I'm pleased we did so well - it gives us confidence - and it is excellent for the town."

Town Development Manager, Suna King said: "Our lovely town centre has wide, tree-lined pavements, fabulous flowers, pavement cafés, recreation ground and play park... but it's our fantastic independent traders who are so passionate about what they do that make the town so vibrant!"

Jim Smith of Insight6, who carried out the Customer Experience Reviews, said "the results show that New Milton has a high number of shops and businesses that give customers a great experience, a vital factor if visitors are to return.  Repeatable footfall is what all High Streets crave, so this is all great news for retailers who suffer intense competition from bigger neighbours and the internet.

All 20 participants will receive a comprehensive report on the researcher's experience, and the opportunity to discuss actions to maintain and improve their service.

For further enquiries, please contact Suna King, Town Development Manager, New Milton Town Council on 01425 619120,

National Grid's VIP project in the New Forest National Park

Members of the Visual Impact Provision (VIP) project team will be on hand to talk about the latest plans to remove a section of National Grid's overhead transmission line running across Hale Purlieu.
Your thoughts on this project are very important - please visit one of the events and let us know your views.

New Forest Show (Tuesday 24 - Thursday 26 July)

National Grid have a stand within the Local Business Village at the New Forest Show.

Friday 27 July 2018 2.00pm - 8.00pm

Hale Village Hall
Hatchet Green

Tuesday 31 July 2018 2.00pm - 8.00pm

Woodgreen Village Hall
7 Hale Road

If you would like further information on National Grid's VIP project please email, call FREEPHONE 0300 134 0051 or visit our website

Totton College Free Skills Audit

Businesses of the New Forest can take advantage of the offering of a FREE skills audit from Totton College. An expert from the college will visit any businesses and assess where the skills gaps exist within your workforce and from there can suggest possible routes to solve this, ultimately likely improving the productivity and growth of your business.

One great and affordable route to solving skills gaps in a business is taking on apprentices. The benefits are abundant including matching the skills developed to future business needs, better productive efficiency by freeing up the time of more experienced staff, and bringing a fresh approach and a positive attitude into the workplace.

According to data from the National Apprenticeship Service, 92% of companies that have taken on apprentices believe this leads to a more motivated and satisfied workforce and 80% have seen a significant increase in employee retention. Plus, National Apprenticeship Service data has shown that 81% of consumers favour using a company that takes on apprentices.

Contact Sapphire Loveday, Apprenticeship Recruitment Officer

Tel: 023 8087 4874 /// Mobile: 07483 030179

Business South Regenerate South Conference 2018

On 6th June the New Forest had a strong presence at the Business South Regenerate South 2018 Conference with a stand displaying the numerous reasons to do business in the area and the multitude of exciting development opportunities on the horizon.

The purpose of the event is for potential investors, developers, agents and consultants to meet and debate the ambitions for the future of the Central South region. Certainly the big cities of Southampton, Portsmouth and Bournemouth are the keys drivers of this regional economy, but the Council's Economic Development team is keen for the New Forest to have a seat at the table and display the significant contribution it makes.

Currently the New Forest economy is worth £4.4 billion, ranking it within top 30% of UK Local Authorities, and has 9,075 businesses, more than any of the three big cities mentioned. Moving forward the desire of the Economic Development team is that the New Forest becomes recognised as a key player in the economic future of the Central South region and the district's economic features are given more precedence in its reputation alongside its natural beauty.

Maritime Advertising Opportunity

On 4-7 September 2018 the leading maritime trade fair is taking place in Hamburg. New Forest maritime businesses have the opportunity showcase their business at the UK stand.

Businesses can get their logo and web address on the lightwall at the back of the stand, and have the ability to 'walk the show' networking with potential customers or suppliers.

Fees apply and number of spaces are limited, but DIT Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) grants are available.

For more information on the event - adobe icon SMM Hamburg Event [727kb]. For more information on TAP Grants -


On 25th May 2018 what's being described as the biggest change in data protection laws for 20 years will come into effect. GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation and the ramifications of not abiding by the new laws are significant. Fines will be 4% of annual global turnover or up to €20 M (£17.6 M), whichever is greater.

Yet panic not, there is a host of helpful web pages out there to help ensure businesses meet the new regulations and have the correct processes in place when handling data.

Cyber Security for Small Businesses

The latest figures from imrg show that £133bn was spent online with UK retailers in 2016. The internet and use of it has become crucial to most UK enterprises, but with it comes several problems, namely online security threats to both you and your customers.

Below is helpful advice and guidance, produced by the National Cyber Security Centre and Hampshire Constabulary, on cyber security and how to protect yourself against ransomware.

adobe icon Cyber security - Small Business Guide [511kb]

adobe icon How to protect yourself against ransomware [261kb]

adobe icon HC protect ransomware advice [388kb]

Small Business Offer

A recent initiative that is a part of the government's aim of reducing the Disability Employment gap.

The scheme supports smaller employers to create more job opportunities for disabled people and people with health conditions.

adobe icon Official SEO Flyer [73kb]

Contact Hannah Burrows (Small Employer Advisor for Hampshire & Dorset) via email or 02380 538310 for more info


Updated: 15 Nov 2018
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