Friday, 29 May 2015

Adur Festival 2015 starts this weekend

Hello and welcome to my blog. The Adur Festival starts tomorrow, 30th May, so hot off Robert Heath's keyboard, is the latest press release from the team behind "Food for Love.

The festival begins this weekend

The 2015 Adur Festival begins this weekend on Saturday 30th May, and this year promises to be bigger and better than ever before. There are events taking place every day until the festival concludes on Sunday 14th June, including a trio of street parties in Shoreham, Lancing, and Southwick.
     There is something for everyone during the festival this year, including art exhibitions, live music, family activities, creative workshops, stand-up comedy, theatre, guided walks, pop-up tea rooms, fetes, fayres, and even a beer festival!
     Festival co-ordinator Mella Faye Punchard said:
     “We’re absolutely delighted to have so many wonderful events taking place and to have such a diverse range of local residents and community groups taking part. The theme this year is ‘Food Of Love’, which people have engaged with in some really creative ways.  The street parties on June 13th are going to be a real feast of entertainment!
     The programme is available in local businesses such as Ropetackle in Shoreham, and on the festival website.

Feedback and evaluation

“Adur Festival is a community event, and so the success of the festival depends upon listening to audiences and to local businesses.  It is important to know how wide an audience has been reached, what people have enjoyed and what they feel could be improved, and how much benefit the festival has brought local businesses, so that in future years the festival can be even more inclusive and engaging.” – Mella Faye Punchard, festival co-ordinator.
     For example, evaluation reports from previous years have shown that some residents have been unaware that the festival is taking place or where to find information about events. This year, in order to increase awareness of the festival, the marketing campaign has been expanded to include bus stop posters and lamppost banners; and festival programmes have been delivered to local businesses.
     As part of this year’s festival there will be several ways for people and businesses in the Adur District to give feedback:

  • Online and paper surveys for festival-goers to register their views and be entered into a competition for a bottle of champagne and four free comedy event tickets.
  • A survey for businesses, to be entered into a competition for a free print and digital PR package. 
  • Social media competitions: festival-goers are encouraged to share their photos and event reviews on Facebook and Twitter to be entered into prize draws.
For interviews and more information, please contact Mella on 01903 741469 and

In the lead up to the Wildlife Weekend, I'll be posting a series of mini-blogs on what to expect on 6 -7th June, starting with the increased police presence in the town and surrounding areas. 
     Thanks for dropping by and see you again in a couple of days.  

Friday, 15 May 2015

Jonathan Candelon, MD of Brighton City Airport, comments on the airport and Wildlife Festival 2015

           Shoreham Airport is the oldest licensed airport in the UK and one of the towns’ most loved land marks. Last year, it was also the 16th busiest, (in terms of take offs and landings), in the country. Its official title is Brighton City Airport (Shoreham) and Brighton & Hove City Council and Worthing Borough Council are the freeholders.
Albermarle Shoreham Airport Limited, own the head lease and in August 2013, a 30-year lease was granted to Brighton City Airport Ltd, (BCAL) to run all the aviation related activities. Therefore, in addition to flights, BCAL is responsible for the car parks, terminal buildings, municipal hangars, runways, apron, taxiways and Fire Station.
 I recently met BCAL’s Managing Director, Jonathan Candelon, to discuss why BCAL took on the lease and the forthcoming Wildlife Festival.

Jonathan Candelon

Jonathan Candelon’s relationship with the airport began as a 16-year-old, when he took his first flight as a pilot from Shoreham. He now holds a commercial pilots licence but rather than flying, works full-time as the Managing Director of both BCAL and FTA.

FTA's Diamond training aircraft on the apron at Shoreham Airport

FTA is a commercial pilot training academy based at Shoreham Airport. It accepts students from across the globe and, almost uniquely, undertakes all their training in the UK. Last year, its' students flew over one million miles and FTA accounted for 50% of Shoreham’s resident aircraft movements. In fact, as Jonathan explained, BCAL took on the airport lease primarily in response to FTA’s requirements. 
“Taking the lease was, potentially, a huge risk for us, but the alternative was to move FTA to another airport. After analysing the numbers and studying all the different scenarios, we concluded that remaining at Shoreham was a risk worth taking. We subsequently created a business plan that revolved around ensuring that the airport could be sustained purely by its airport activities, while retaining all the existing employees.
It was a big gamble, but it has paid off and in the first year the airport achieved a profit. OK, it was a very small profit, but nevertheless it meant that the airport was self-sustainable and there aren’t many similar airports that are.”
 BCAL has also begun an investment programme to improve the airport’s facilities, extend the operating hours and up-grade the instrument approaches.
“We have had to do that,” Jonathan said, “because at the moment, we are heavily dependent on the weather. On a nice sunny day, for instance, we can’t be any busier than we already are, but we need to spread this out a little bit more. Therefore, it’s important for us to up-grade our aircraft guidance systems to attract larger traffic that isn’t weather dependent. 
We’re also looking at long-term projects to further benefit the airport and make it more profitable still.

Recently renovated terminal building

We know, however, that there are some myths about our intentions, so I’d like to quash some of these straight away. Firstly, we do not want to sell the airport for a housing estate and secondly, the airport is self-sustaining so it doesn’t depend on non-aviation events to either keep it going or finance big projects. That said, the airport is a commercial operation and we are constantly being asked if it can be used for non-flying purposes.  If it’s the right thing for the airport and the request comes from a professional organization, we may say yes, and the money is ploughed back to the airport.
We know that such decisions will never please everyone, and there was opposition when we allowed scenes from Woman in Gold to be filmed here. 

Woman in Gold 

There has also been a mixed reaction to the decision to allow SJM to hold the Wildlife Concert within the perimeter fence.
The Council received 69 letters of objection to Wildlife, but we were bombarded with requests for information like;  “Can we rent out our rooms to people?” “Can we help with the catering?” “Where can we get tickets?” People were so anxious that the tickets would sell out that SJM put them on sale to the local community before they went on general release. At times, the queue for them was five hours long. Now, if we had had people queuing for five hours to complain about the decision at the public consultation, we would have thought, “Heck! This isn’t what the community wants. We have really messed up.” But only 40-50 people came and some of those wanted to know about a jet that had done a fly past that day.
We have invested heavily in the airport and would not have allowed permission to hold Wildlife here if it was not good for the airport or the local community. Furthermore, we have an agreement with SJM which says that if it doesn’t go well in the first year, we won’t let them use the airport again. That means that everything has to run as planned. Also, I’ll be driving around on one of the nights to see what is happening locally and I’ll ask my staff to keep an eye-out too. After the event, we’ll be asking if and how local businesses have been affected.
We understand people’s concerns about Wildlife but we think that there are lots of misconceptions about it.  We obviously support it because it’ll put Shoreham Airport on the map and will draw people’s attention to what we have here.”
Many thanks to Jonathan Candelon for agreeing to be interviewed and to BCAL for the photographs. I look forward to bringing you another post on the airport later this year.
Thanks for dropping by and see you in a fortnight when I'll be posting on how to lessen the potential impact of Wildlife 2015 in the district.  

Friday, 8 May 2015

Adur Festival 2015 programme unveiled.

Hello and welcome to my blog. The Shoreham Airport post is just being finalised so in the meantime, here's the latest news from the Adur Festival 2015 Team. 

        PRESS RELEASE        MAY 2015

Full 2015 Programme Unveiled

The full programme for the 2015 Adur Festival has been unveiled. With more events registered than ever before there is something for everyone; and the programme reflects the community-focused character of the festival, as events have been organised by local groups and societies, individuals, and local government bodies.
     Festival co-ordinator Mella Faye-Punchard said: “
The festival has grown again, and the programme is bursting with such a wide variety of events and activities, it's really exciting. The launch night had a real buzz, and we're now looking forward to the opening of the festival itself on May 30th.”
     There are events such as concerts, children’s activities, fetes and festivals, films screenings, guided walks, talks, workshops, and more, with plenty to choose from all across the district, such as a pair of pop-up tea rooms in Lancing, craft workshops in Sompting, and historical walks and folk concerts in Shoreham.
     Community groups such as Southwick Christian Community Church, Adur East Lions, and the Southwick Society are putting on events, and one in particular to look forward to is the return of the Adur East Lions Donkey Derby. Other outdoor events include the Glastonwick Beer Festival at Church Farm and the Herons DalePrimary School Summer Fayre.
     Local authorities are also contributing to the programme. West Sussex Library Service are organising events at Shoreham, Southwick, and Lancing libraries; and Adur & Worthing Councils are hosting a family fun day at the recreation ground in Shoreham, featuring a wide range of entertainment and activities.
     Ropetackle Arts Centre is again hosting a fantastic programme of famous names encompassing live music, comedy, theatre, and family events. Highlights at Ropetackle include veteran folk singer Peggy Seeger, political cartoonist and satirist Steve Bell, R&B singer Ruby Turner, and cult British blues band Nine Below Zero.
     The festival concludes with a trio of street parties on June 13 in Shoreham, Lancing, and Southwick, featuring spectacular street performers, food and drink, and workshops.

     Some events are ticketed, such as those at Ropetackle, and are now on sale. For details of where to buy tickets visit the festival website.

For interviews and more information, please contact Mella on 01903 741469 and

WOW! Loads to get your teeth into.
Thanks for dropping by and I'll see you next week.