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Published: June 23, 2020 | Updated: June 28, 2020

Biz News round-up with Marsham Court Hotel, South West Energy Hub, Dorset LEP and STARS

The Marsham Court Hotel in Bournemouth.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

MD announces five month closure of Marsham Court Hotel

One of Bournemouth’s best-known hoteliers says her heart is “somewhat broken” after announcing the closure of her hotel for accommodation and banqueting from September 28 to February 28 2021.

Rosie Radwell, Managing Director of the Marsham Court Hotel, pictured left, said she recognised the decision came at a huge sacrifice and would mean redundancies for 45 members of staff who she described as her extended family.

But in a personal and heartfelt message on LinkedIn. Rosie, who is Vice Chair of BH Area Hospitality Association (BAHA), said the closure was necessary to safeguard the business for the future.

She hoped to re-employ as many staff as possible when the hotel reopened in March 2021.

Rosie said: “Over the last few weeks, the knock-on effect of Covid-19 has meant my family and I have had to make the biggest decisions of our entire careers.

“I am the MD, so I am the one making the decisions and we all know that the future of the business is the top priority otherwise none of us would have a future.

“I can’t explain the emotion I feel right now; however, I am glad that my Mother is not here to see the effects that this virus has had on the hotel.

“She would have struggled with these decisions more than she battled five years with cancer. To say my heart is somewhat broken would be a start.

“Our family have been hoteliers in Bournemouth for over 70 years, it’s not just a business it’s in our blood.

“I am positive about our future and all being well, we will reopen in March 2021 and hope to put our extended family back together at this time.

“Our family is stronger together.”

Commenting on the announcement, Tim Seward, BAHA Chair, said: “It is sad that the Marsham Court will be closing from September 28 to February 28, 2021, but I have no doubt that it will bounce back in March 2021.”

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Green energy boost for Dorset

A scheme to increase the supply of renewable energy to people in Bridport has taken a big step forward with the award of a £20,000 feasibility grant to Dorset Community Energy.

The funding was awarded by the South West Energy Hub in partnership with Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

It will be used to investigate the development of solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays.

The solar panel project builds on the success of an initiative launched in January by Dorset Community Energy which aims to supply up to 60 Bridport homes with locally generated renewable energy from a wind turbine.

Offering green energy at 9.5p/kWh, the Energy Local Bridport scheme has been heavily oversubscribed and still has 40 householders on the waiting list.

To meet local demand, Dorset Community Energy is now looking at building two ground-mounted solar PV arrays to supply sustainable electricity at the same unit cost as the wind turbine.

The installation will be funded by a community share offer, meaning that if the project goes ahead, local people will be able to benefit as investors as well as consumers.

Pete West, a Director of Dorset Community Energy said: “We have been working very hard in partnership with Energy Local CIC and Octopus Energy to develop this opportunity for local people to directly benefit from lower cost renewable electricity.

“There are several examples in Wales, but Bridport will be the first town in England to develop a local renewable energy supply to householders through the existing electricity grid.

“It’s great news that we have been awarded this feasibility grant which will enable us to develop the next phase of the project and allow more householders to participate.”

Lorna Carver, Director at Dorset LEP, pictured left, said: “Delivering clean growth within a low carbon economy is a key priority for Dorset.

“This is a fantastic example of how green technology can be delivered at community level – not only helping to protect the environment but also providing an economic benefit to local people.

“One of the great things about this scheme is its potential to be replicated in other parts of the county.

“We look forward to seeing the outcomes of the feasibility study.”

The feasibility grant was provided by the Rural Community Energy Fund, a government scheme administered by the South West Energy Hub in partnership with Dorset LEP.

Jon Rattenbury, Programme Manager for the South West Energy Hub, said: “We are really pleased to be able to support Dorset Community Energy through this grant award and look forward to working together as the scheme progresses.

“It’s fantastic to see what can be achieved by getting the community on board and I hope it will inspire other local groups to come forward with their own projects.”

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Dorset sexual trauma charity looking for trustees

Trustees are needed to join the Board of Sexual Trauma and Recovery Services (STARS).

STARS Dorset offers a counselling service, an independent sexual violence advisor service, a supportline and a dedicated children and young people service.

All its services are free and available to anyone who lives, works or studies in Dorset and has been affected by sexual violence at anytime in their life.

The charity is now seeking people with a commitment to its purpose and can help with strategic development, organisational development and data analysis.

Ideally they should have specific experience and skills in the area of HR, accountancy and legal.

The trustees play a huge role in the running of any charity.

The successful applicants will be responsible for making sure the charity pursues its stated purpose as defined in its governing document.

They would also be part of decisions that will impact on people’s lives who have been affected by sexual violence, making a difference to the local community and to society as a whole.

The time commitment of the role is approximately ten hours a month for meetings and assignments.

Last year STARS supported more than 1,800 people across Dorset.

The youngest was four years old, the eldest in their 80’s.

Victoria Heeley, Chair of Trustees, pictured left, said “We are looking for dedicated members to join the Board, ideally with experience and skills in HR, accountancy and legal.

“Having been a trustee for the charity for three years I have found it incredibly rewarding.

“It is an exciting time to join as the charity continues to grow and develop its services throughout Dorset.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about the role, or applying, can email Victoria at chair@starsdorset.org.