Ventnor Business Association (VBA) held their first ‘local business networking evening’ last week with great success.
Over 40 Ventnorians from a variety of businesses attended the evening, which was hosted at The Royal Hotel in Ventnor.
We were surprised to hear that the VBA has just a dozen members, so hope the networking evenings prove successful in increasing the membership. Business Associations can be really valuable in a variety of ways, for traders, homeworkers, hoteliers, restaurants and other businesses.
The meeting was introduced by Linda Chester, acting Chair of the VBA, who gave a potted background on the VBA, which superseded the Ventnor Trader’s Association which was set up in 1997.
Linda explained that the previous aims of the Trader’s Association don’t sit with the current business face and that she hoped these networking evenings would go some way to introducing the VBA to new businesses.
As this meeting was over-subscribed, more like it are planned for the coming months. Keep an eye on VB for news of dates once they have been set.
Next up, V-Bay committee member, John Allen, gave an overview of the 2010 festival. He told the meeting that Wightlink has been the major sponsor in 2010, enabling the production of 15,000 leaflets to be printed as well as a promo video shown on all cross-Solent sailings for several weeks.
Finishing his presentation, John explained that the stalwarts behind the previous two festivals had been Linda Chester, Jackie Milne and Jackie Tiller, but that more people were needed to join the organising committee to help make V-Bay 2011 even more of a success.
Ventnor Fringe Festival
Jack Whitewood from the Ventnor Fringe Festival (VFF) was up next. In his usual charming way, Jack explained what makes the VFF unique to other festivals taking place on the Island (and beyond).
The ‘open access policy’ means that there is no selection process for the festival programme. Any artist, musician, comedian, actor etc can enter to take part in the festival and they receive all ticket money for any paid events they perform.
The whole festival is run by students, mostly around the age of 20 years old. Jack himself attends the University in London and mentioned that this year, many of his cohorts are planning to descend upon Ventnor in August to soak up the VFF.
One of specific aims of the festival is to encourage a social and creative hub for artists, writers, comedians and musicians.
Jack explained that the festival is looking to local businesses to help promote the concept by donating empty shops and spaces etc.
He made it clear they were not asking for money, rather help in investing in the infrastructure of the festival.
Isle of Arts Festival
Following on a similar theme, Philip Oxley OBE presented the plans for this year’s Isle of Arts Festival with the audience.
The festival which takes place over 15-17 April in Ventnor will feature a wide variety of music, literary events, art, film, comedy and theatre.
As VB readers will already be aware, it will also feature workshops for young and old, such as kite or puppet making workshops.
Several venues will be used around the town including a large marquee on Salisbury Gardens (Dudley Road), several hotels, the Baptist church, the Wight Light Gallery, The Boathouse (Spyglass), as well as an arts trail through town at various locations.
Philip felt that sometimes Ventnor loses out to other towns, which was what has driven setting up the Community Interest Company and planning the festival.
He ran through some of the highlights of the festival, which includes a film festival, Barry Norman, local choirs with Lesley Garrett, Lloyd Lee on Dickins, Edward Fox playing Trollope, creative writing workshops, authors talks, Digby Fairweather, The Hamsters, Flanders and Swan, and even a string quartet playing Elgar.
He finished by saying that ticket sales were coming from all over the UK and thanked all the businesses involved, especially Seasons who were selling tickets on behalf of the festival.
NatWest Island Games
The final presentation was from Michelle Russell of the NatWest Island Games.
She explained that it has been 18 years since the games were held on the Isle of Wight and this year 25 islands will be taking part.
Behind the Commonwealth Games and Olympics, the NatWest Island games are the largest participation event in the world.
There will be 3,000 athletes, officials, media descending upon the Island for six days in June.
Venntor will play host to two events. The first being the Volleyball heats and possibly final at Rew Valley Leisure Centre.
On 26th June, roads in Ventnor will be closed as 70 cyclists race around an 800m course in the town.
Businesses are encouraged to help fund the event by purchasing squares on the ‘pixel map’.
Following the three presentations, the networking began (in the bar).
Join the Ventnor Business Association
If you’re interested in joining the VBA, get in touch with Ann Hutchins on 01983 852543 or email [email protected]
Look out on VB for details of future events.