February 2015

27 February 2015

Business Breakfast success

Fareham Borough Council held a Business Breakfast yesterday (26 February) at Ferneham Hall for business traders in Fareham Town Centre. They had the chance to hear about a number of new initiatives, as well as listen to talks from guest speakers.

At the meeting, business traders listened to a presentation which looked at what the council has done so far to improve the town centre, including new seating areas, a new website and new sign posts helping people to find their way around the Town Centre. They also heard about new initiatives including a new high-level banner to promote events in the Town Centre, new pop-up market stalls and a Business Mentoring and Support Scheme.

Andy Pringle from Enterprise First gave a talk on the new Business Mentoring and Support scheme which will help both new and existing businesses in Fareham. The free scheme includes a knowledge bank of business support packages, advice on reaching potential customers via social media and advice on things such as how to access finance and sourcing and managing properties. The first ‘support session’ will be held later in March and will allow new and existing businesses to come and talk to Enterprise First.

Guest speaker, Tim Clark, from Hughes Ellard Limited also attended to talk about the vibrancy of Fareham Town Centre from a commercial perspective including its strengths and weaknesses and future prospects.

There was then an opportunity for the attendees to ask questions and raise issues. Potential areas of improvement were identified by attendees and these will be looked into by the Council.

James Kendall from Manhattan’s Pizza went along to the event and said: “I wanted to come along today to see what’s going on in the town centre and how things might affect us as a business. It was interesting to hear what has been done to help improve the Town Centre.”

Executive Leader of Fareham Borough Council, Conservative Cllr Seán Woodward said: “It’s always great to get business traders along to these meetings to make sure that they know what is going on in the Town Centre and how things may affect them, and it’s really interesting to hear what they have to say. The council has done lots of things to help keep up the vibrancy of the Town Centre and it’s important that we communicate this to business traders and work together to help make Fareham Town Centre a popular destination to residents and visitors.”

For more information about Fareham Town Centre please visit www.farehamtowncentre.co.uk External Hyperlink.

For more information about the Business Mentoring and Support scheme please contact Andy Pringle on 01252 319 272 or email andy.pringle@enterprisefirst.co.uk.


16 February 2015

Business benefits from superfast broadband

Businesses in Fareham can benefit from free grants to install superfast broadband, as part of the Super Connected Cities scheme running in Fareham until 31 March 2015.

The scheme, led by Portsmouth City Council, is part of the UK’s Super Connected Cities programme delivering the £4.7m connection voucher programme. It enables businesses to apply for vouchers up to the value of £3,000 to help cover the installation costs of superfast broadband services.

Fareham business, Kern Ltd, is the first local business to secure a voucher to install superfast broadband in their organisation. The company provides mailing systems and handles projects across the mailing and packaging industry.

Andy Hobbs from Kern Ltd said: “Kern is based in 70 countries so we have to keep in contact with our customers all over the world and we need to deliver data immediately to them. The internet line provided by TecConnect is extremely important to us in providing services to our customers and they provide us with a flexible service that is suitable to our needs.

The connection voucher scheme was so simple to apply for, and we received the voucher within a matter of days. For any other businesses looking into the scheme, I would say that it would make ideal sense for you to upgrade your broadband now using the vouchers. It will not only allow you to improve your broadband speed but it will also increase your business advantages within the market.”

Executive Leader of Fareham Borough Council, Conservative Councillor Seán Woodward said, “The opportunities offered by faster, reliable broadband can transform the way you do business. It can help you to increase your competitiveness, improve customer service and can allow you to grow and access new markets, so I would encourage businesses in Fareham to apply for a voucher before the closing date at the end of March.”

To qualify, applicants need to be small to medium-sized businesses or social enterprises located in Fareham, Gosport, Portsmouth and Havant, with fewer than 250 employees and a turnover of less than £40m. Vouchers can’t be used for cabinets. Applicants can then choose from a variety of broadband suppliers that would best fit their needs.

For more information or to apply for a voucher please email superconnected@portsmouthcc.gov.uk or call 023 92841023 or visit www.connectionvouchers.co.uk External Hyperlink.


9 February 2015

Beware of Council Tax scammers

Fareham Borough Council is warning residents to be on their guard against another spate of bogus calls relating to their Council Tax account.

The fraudsters operate by ringing or texting residents and pretending to be from Fareham Borough Council or another company which deals with Council Tax banding.

The scams include:

  • saying that your property is in the wrong Council Tax Band and promising you a refund of Council Tax, sometimes asking for an administration fee up front;
  • saying that you owe more Council Tax and must pay it to avoid a fine;
  • asking you to sign up to an e-billing arrangement.

All lead to the resident being asked for personal and bank details to allow the fraudsters to process the refund or for you to make a payment.

Executive Member for Policy and Resources, Conservative Councillor Seán Woodward said, “We never cold call, text or email residents requesting bank details. If you receive one of these cold calls please do not give out any personal information and end the call as quickly as you can.”

If Council Tax refunds are due or there is any change to your bill then the Council will send a statement in the post to you to explain the situation.  Any genuine direct phone number given out by a Council Tax officer will be in the format “01329 824XXX”.

If you receive one of these phone calls report it to the national Action Fraud hotline by ringing 0300 123 2040.

If you are in any doubt as to the authenticity of a call about your Council Tax account, or wish to discuss your Council Tax Band, please contact the Local Taxation Team office on Tel: 01329 824651 or e-mail counciltax@fareham.gov.uk.