Lift off for the South Coast Events Forum

From every challenge comes opportunity.

Set against a backdrop of the most challenging year in the event industry’s history, the South Coast events community has pulled together to create the South Coast Events Forum (SCEF).

From award-winning event organisers to industry-leading event suppliers, the forum brings together the very best event professionals from across the South Coast with a combined aim to re-emerge from the coronavirus pandemic with a more unified, collaborative and sustainable offer.

The not-for-profit forum will be led by a newly-formed steering group consisting of 9 hugely-experienced professionals from across the events industry including chair, Craig Mathie, Managing Director of Bournemouth 7s Festival.

The entirely voluntary board of the South Coast Events Forum also includes Nicole Richman, a highly experienced events professional and owner of NR Event Services; the owner of V-Dub at the Pub Festival and event delivery expert, Alan Dove and Simon Stewart who owns and operates a host of fantastic food festivals across Southern England.

Representing suppliers, Garry Wakefield, Director of the recently formed Capital Barriers and Temporary Fencing and Gavin Barnard founder of industry consultants, Event Advice Agency, bring immense expertise, great industry networks and more than 50 years’ industry experience to the organisation.

Suzy Wheeler runs her own events and marketing company, Strawberry Fields RePresents alongside her role at Absolute Music whilst Paul Ashurst, Events Director at Bournemouth 7s Festival, is widely recognised for his expertise in event delivery, content and promotion. Adam ‘Ski’ Hart prides himself on representing the ‘little guys’ of the events industry and also liaises with musicians, performers and venue owners.

Full of excitement about the new group, Craig Mathie commented:   “It is an absolute privilege to have been joined in this concept by so many excellent industry professionals. In these most challenging times, I have been blown away by the spirit of collaboration and positive approach of our members and the fantastic steering group who will represent them.

We are full of admiration for everything that has been achieved by the national organisations who represent our industry to government and help to drive standards across the industry. Groups such as the South Coast Events Forum will help us to engage with local decision makers, to influence regional strategy and share best practice with those we work with most regularly.”

The group’s membership consists of a variety of organisations of all sizes and includes event and exhibition venues, festival promoters, contractors, agencies and freelancers. Members will benefit from monthly networking meetings, regular communication and a conference scheduled for Autumn 2021.

Membership of the South Coast Events Forum is free for both organisers and suppliers. To join or for more information please: visit

Furloughed? Volunteer to end COVID-19 in Dorset

This is an exciting opportunity to join The Community Action Network (CAN) and play your part in history by protecting the community and saving lives.

Community Action Network, is a local infrastructure charity with a mission to
empower the voluntary sector, enable volunteering and involve communities across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. Working in partnership with Volunteer Centre Dorset, they inspire and support people to  volunteer in the Dorset Council area.

The NHS in Dorset have asked CAN to help them make sure people coming for their vaccinations feel welcomed, comfortable and safe.  CAN is recruiting, training, deploying and supporting Volunteer Marshals to help make this happen.

Interested in becoming a Marshal?  Read for more and register here.

⚠️ Rapidly rising cases of COVID-19 in BCP

The threat from COVID-19 has never been greater locally. COVID-19 infection rates are currently doubling every five days in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

In the latest published seven-day data, 786 people in every 100,000 people have COVID-19 in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole – more than double the number the week before.*

Since New Year’s Day, someone has been admitted to hospital with COVID-19 every hour in the local area, and someone has died every six hours.

It is vital that we all stay at home. 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 don’t have any symptoms. Please don’t risk passing it onto others.

*Data for 7-day period ending 5 January 2021



Online education platform heads up Dorset Business Angels pitch event

The 1st Dorset Business Angels Virtual pitch event of 2021 takes place on 1st February. Online pitch events in 2020 attracted a record number of attendees, with some 40 at the previous event in October.

A provider of online education will be one of the first up in a bid to seize the moment and grab investor attention. This currently ‘hot topic’ business states that it focuses on life skills that promote social and emotional wellbeing and dynamic thinking with an aim is to help young people to thrive in life, both at home and in their future work-places. By complementing the traditional academic education with live, interactive online and offline courses for 5-13 year-olds, they help develop young people’s skills in leadership, confidence, resilience and creative problem solving.

Other pitches include:

  • A pre-launch Fintech Investor Analysis SaaS company has developed a platform that tracks the data performance of private, early-stage companies and gathers operational metrics. The platform is now capable of profiling the investment readiness and business potential of start-ups and early revenue companies extremely well. In the present pre-launch phase, the Company has 12 customers paying monthly recurring revenues and has generated 1300 worldwide data profiles that help with the investment analysis and business decision making of its current users, namely, angel investors, accelerators, funds, support organisations and consultants.
  • A company with a range of healthy drinks, containing all the nutrients necessary to produce many tasty options, without the sugar and artificial ingredients usually found in traditional soft drinks. Their ‘health pod’ modules offer users the facility to use their home coffee machines to provide a quick and easy way to get these nutrients into a cold press juice or smoothy for around 70p per unit. UK distribution is now ramping up with the product available in 5 supermarket chains and the Company is distributing their range door-to-door in over 50 countries. The product launches in the US in January.
  • A Customer Data Processing software business which offers its clients a platform that immediately creates a seamless customer experience easily and at scale. Formed 5 years ago with the founders own money, the Company is now employing AI techniques to further enhance the efficiency of their model, to the satisfaction of their growing client base.
  • A business in the Advanced composite materials sector with aims to increase the capabilities of the World’s most demanding products through the application of advanced materials and manufacturing techniques. In revenue and with an expanding customer base, the Company is currently focussing on the delivery of key contracts in the automotive, electrification, electric machines, defence, and aerospace sectors.

Dorset Business Angels Chairman, Don McQueen advised, “We encourage would-be investors to get in touch with us and be involved. We are enjoying growing levels of interest at all our events and it’s a great opportunity to come along to learn more about the Angel Investor network and how we operate.”

DBA was formed in 2013 with the aim to bring investors and entrepreneurs together to accelerate the growth of early stage businesses. DBA provides quality, private equity investment opportunities to local high net worth (HNW) and sophisticated investors (SI).

Four times a year companies are invited to attend an event at which they pitch their business to the savvy Angels in a Dragon’s Den type scenario. Angel investment might come from a single investor or it could be 2 or 3 Angels pooling funds together to support a company. Any investments are in the form of an equity investment and not a debtor’s loan. Investments are made across all sectors.

DBA is sponsored by Saffery Champness Accountants, Ellis Jones Solicitors and Investec Wealth and Investment. To find out more about Dorset Business Angels or to book on to the pitch event visit

Wet-led pubs – have you applied for Christmas support?

If you are the owner of a predominantly wet-led pub (you derive less than 50% of your income from food) you may be entitled to a one-off payment of £1,000 to cover you for all or part of the period of local restrictions that were in place between 2 and 29 December 2020.
In order to qualify for the additional grant, you must also:

  • have otherwise been trading on 30 November 2020 if the national lockdown was not in place
  • must show as the ratepayer in our records, for the property as at 1 December 2020.

You must submit an application before 31 January 2021 to receive this support.

Click here for more information. 

Patron: AFCB releases Activity Packs for home learning

The AFCB Community Sports Trust have designed a selection of Activity Packs which will encourage children to use their thinking, creativity, and problem solving skills. The activities all carry an AFC Bournemouth theme to make them an engaging and fun tool to help learning from home.

Every Monday, there will be a new educational pack, which will be added, while every Friday will see a fun activity booklet released for the weekend. To access these resources, please click here.  

The Community Sports Trust are also continuing to deliver practical sessions in schools to children of key workers. For more information on the Community Sports Trust and Activity Packs, click here.

Work to begin on Transforming Travel’s first sustainable travel route

Lockdown permitting, work is about to begin on the Leigh Road / Wimborne Road West walking and cycling improvements project. Construction of the first sustainable travel route, funded through BCP Council and Dorset Council’s multi-million pound Transforming Travel – Transforming Cities Fund programme, will be getting underway on 18 January. The work will begin on two 400m sections on Wimborne Road West in Colehill.

For more information on road improvements, click here.

£4.6 billion in new lockdown grants to support businesses and protect jobs

Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors are to receive a one-off grant worth up to £9,000, the Chancellor has announced.

  • Chancellor announces one-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the Spring
  • £594 million discretionary fund also made available to support other impacted businesses
  • Comes in addition to £1.1 billion further discretionary grant funding for Local Authorities, Local Restriction Support Grants worth up to £3,000 a month and extension of furlough scheme

For more information, click here.