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Influence of Chichester’s Food and Drink sector stretches far and wide

From supplying lobsters at Wimbledon to fresh salad across UK supermarkets, Chichester is a key player in the UK’s £120billion ‘farm to fork’ food chain.

The food and drink industry is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, contributing £29bn to the economy annually – outstripping all other manufacturing sectors, including automotive and aerospace. 

And Chichester’s local food and drink businesses, producing a wide range of high-quality products and are central to the success of the sector in the South East, which (excluding London) is responsible for more than 11% of the UK’s food and drink manufacturing businesses*.

Chichester benefits from a long growing season – a district situated in a gap the South Downs, it boasts an ideal eco-climate, which is maximised by growers. Businesses here make land work harder than in other places, using tech and creating a cluster with economies of scale.

Home to some of the UK’s most successful businesses. Its community-orientated and pioneering ethos creates the ideal commercial climate for encouraging sustainability and innovation.

Natures Way Foods is an industry-leading innovator, which began in 1994 when the Langmead brothers had the idea to combine the freshest lettuce with the latest food manufacturing technology. Investing in new technologies from factory design to automation, it is market leader in fresh convenient food, with its range of salad products stocked across most of the UK’s leading supermarket as well as being the producer of Hellmann’s Coleslaw and Leon Salads. Most of the UK season crop is farmed locally, and its manufacturing sites are located just south of Chichester’s beautiful cobbled streets.

The Summer Berry Company has sustainability and stewardship of the land at its heart and supplies almost the entire UK supermarket industry with quality, fresh raspberries, strawberries and blueberries, and the family-owned Selsea’s Fish and Lobster Company are responsible for sourcing and distributing products across the UK.

There has been a 90% increase in vineyard coverage in the South Downs National Park since 2016, according to a report commissioned by the South Downs National Park Authority and carried out by Vinescapes. The area’s 51 vineyards and 11 wineries employ 358 people, attracting approximately 33,000 visitors a year and contributing directly around £24.5m to the local economy and £54m to the wider economy.

They include award-winning Ashling Park Estate. Managing Director, Gail Gardner, said: “Sussex is the sunniest county in the United Kingdom, according to Met Office records and Chichester’s annual growing season temperatures are higher than the regional average. With relatively warm and frost-free conditions and the Isle of Wight and the Downs providing shelter from strong winds the gentle rising coastal plain attracts high light and UV levels, making it ideal for vineyards.

“This little micro climate has encouraged us to invest £6m becoming a wine tourism destination.  At our estate we now offer tours, tastings, restaurants, overnight stays, a gin school 50 bee hives, meeting facilities and a shop or as it called in the trade ‘cellar door’.

“Sussex has its own PDO (protected designation of origin) for wine and has become a wine region in itself with more Gold medal winners in wine competitions than any other county, Chichester is striving to be the capital of this wine region which adds value to our market positioning of excellence.”

Councillor Tony Dignum, Chichester District Council’s Cabinet Member for Growth, Place and Regeneration, said: “We are very proud to have such an array of high-quality producers and growers in our district.

“This region has some of the best light in the UK, which, together with the ground-breaking innovations that many of the businesses in the food and drink sector are pushing forward, we are excited about how bright the future is for this area.”

Simon Conway, MD of Vitacress Herbs, said: “As the market leader of fresh herbs in the UK, Vitacress Herbs has been a part of the Chichester community for 10 years. With over 12 hectares of glasshouses and a packing facility which delivers over 80 million herbs a year, it’s safe to say we’re heavily invested in the area. Aside from feeling lucky to be based in an area of outstanding beauty, Chichester provides us with access to transport links across the country. Known to be one the ‘sunniest places in Britain’, the climate contributes to growth of our herbs. With a progressive District Council and a City which welcomes over 16,000 students a year, there’s a wealth of opportunity and innovation in the local area.”


December 2021


For further information on any of the events or to view further events later on in the year, please go directly to the events page on the CCCI website

Members' Monthly Meeting- Chichester Festival Theatre, Caper and Berry Brasserie - 7th June

Join us for our June Members Meeting, hosted by Chichester Festival Theatres’ Caper and Berry Brasserie. Meet Chichester Festival Theatre’s Marketing Manager Jessica Blake Lobb and the Caper and Berry Team and enjoy a very special evening of networking at this beautiful venue.

Caper and Berry have provided excellent catering for Chichester Festival Theatre since 2014. They are dedicated to serving freshly produced food and drink wherever possible from local and regional suppliers, and their specialist team are experienced in providing swift and professional service.

Business Breakfast - 8th June

We are delighted to collaborate with the Chichester College for our Monthly Breakfast.

This monthly breakfast provides a friendly, relaxed and informative environment for local businesses to network and improve your business profile locally and there will be a guest speaker.

Includes full English breakfast with a vegetarian or vegan option too (please specify if you would like the vegetarian or vegan option in the dietary requirements field of the booking form – if left blank it will be assumed that you would like the full English).

As the breakfast is cooked in a training kitchen it will not be possible to accommodate specific dietary requirements unless specified at the time of booking.

Members Social: Call My Wine Bluff - Wine Tasting at CCDT - 23rd June

We’ve got together with our friends at Hennings Wine and the Chichester Community Development Trust to bring our members a superb “social” – a wine tasting evening with a difference.

Think you know your Noir from your Grigio, Rioja from Ribera?

Put your drinking skills to the test and book yourself in to join us for an evening of Call My Wine Bluff.

You’ll learn a little bit, be thrown a few red herrings and enjoy some great wines, just work out which of the Hennings Team is telling the truth about the wine you’re tasting. There’s a fab prize too for the winning team.

Venue: The Chapel, Chichester Community Development Trust

Ticket Price: £20

Booking essential.

The Business Hothouse offers free support to pre-start and established businesses in the Coast-to-Capital area. From workshops to grant funding, they can provide the expert guidance to get your business growing. For more information, please go to their website

How to Write an Effective Business Plan - 1st June

10.00 – 12.00
Designed for start-ups, this 2 hour session will guide you through the key component parts of a good business plan. Includes a Q&A session.

About this event

Delivered by our start-up expert, Paul Dallibar, this remote, interactive workshop will ensure that you have the ability to write a business plan that covers all the bases and enables you to apply for business funding or grant funding.

How to Start a Start-up for Pre-Start & Early-Stage Businesses - 21st June

Six, two hour expert-led sessions that build to give you all the knowledge you need to get that business idea going or start-up growing.

About this event

This is a free, online intensive programme that is live and interactive. There’s a Q&A opportunity at the end of each session and a chance to network with other attendees.

How to Lead & Manage Teams in 21st Century Organisations - 10th and 11th August


This is a free, intensive programme that is aimed at anyone who wants to understand how to develop an effective management style and how to make evidence-based choices about managing people.

For more information about what will be covered over this FREE two day course, please use the “Click here to book” button

Refreshments will be provided, please feel free to bring your own lunch

FSB Logo

Established over 45 years ago, FSB are a non-profit making and non-party political organisation that’s led by members, for members.

FSB is also the UK’s leading business campaigner, focused on delivering change which supports smaller business to grow and succeed

LinkedIn Video Workshop - 10th June

Event details

This interactive 1 ½ hour workshop is for business owners who want to succeed by using video on the LinkedIn platform.

LinkedIn data 2021 tell us that 96% of B2B marketers use video to create a 10-15% increase in sales, and according to Business Insider – “LinkedIn is “#1 most trusted social media platform”.

In this session you will:

  • Learn how to effectively use video on LinkedIn to meet your business goals.
  • Understand what works on LinkedIn, at the different points in your customer journey.
  • Get dialled in to what formats and running times are best on this platform.

Perfect your pitches and presentations - 14 June

Event details

This event is aimed at small business owners who are looking to perfect their business pitch, when delivering face-to-face or online.

Our guest presenter, Debbie Catt will share her insights into how to give unique, persuasive and personality-packed presentations.

Debbie is an experienced Journalist, TV Presenter and International Public Speaker and Trainer. Her diverse experience has been gained over three decades in senior roles across a wide range of sectors. She’s worked in global PLCs, major PR agencies, and is now a Freelance Consultant and Coach.

Make Your Business an Inclusive Workplace - 17th June

This is the second of our three webinars supporting FSB’s latest campaign, Business Without Barriers, which will explore how you can make your business an inclusive workplace for employees who are disabled people.

Our panel of experts will explain how small business employers can break down barriers to employment for disabled people.

We’ll cover:

  • Employment considerations and legal duties
  • Support available for employers
  • The benefits of being a Disability Confident employer

News Archive

Industrial sector delivering growth in Chichester

Chichester’s industrial sites are continuing to perform well and attract new business – with Chichester District Council keen to attract cleaner and greener companies within the sector to the district.

The demand for industrial and logistics space has continued to increase in recent months, partly due to the ongoing rise of online retail, with a focus on sites in close proximity to major trunk roads, airports and ports.

The Terminus Road industrial estate, largely owned by Chichester District Council, recently welcomed Babynov, a French organic baby food producer, while investment and development company Glenmore have lodged plans to build 17 industrial units on the north side of Terminus Road, on a site previously owned by West Sussex County Council.

Other key industrial areas include Glenmore Business Park and the Quarry Lane industrial estate, while Chichester Marina has units which host companies offering services from imports and sales of vessels to services and marine fabrication engineering.

And, as businesses respond to the climate emergency with renewed vigour following the COP26 Conference in Glasgow last month, Chichester District Council is progressing with the redevelopment of one key site – St James Industrial Estate on Westhampnett Road – to attract more environmentally-minded companies to the district. The £6.6million project will see the existing 40 units demolished and replaced with new, sustainable premises, with a BREEAM standard of ‘very good’ throughout. Thirty new units will be created, with a total of 4,448 sq m of lettable floor space – an increase on the current 3,753 sq m.

Chichester’s location, near the A27 which connects the district with the M3, Worthing, Brighton and ports in Portsmouth and Southampton (via the M27), as well as three international airports – Southampton, London Gatwick and London Heathrow all within 90 minutes of the district’s industrial hub, along with a highly-skilled workforce, are two attractive factors for industrial and logistics companies.

Cllr Tony Dignum, Cabinet Member for Growth, Place and Regeneration at Chichester District Council, said: “Chichester’s rich and varied commercial sector is delivering growth for the local area as well as further afield.

“At the council we’re working hard to ensure this sector continues to grow – in a cleaner and greener way than ever before with our plans to transform St James Industrial Estate into a more environmentally-friendly, economically-sound, attractive place for businesses to work.

“The district is an attractive location – our transport links are ideal for those needing to get goods out fast and efficiently and we have a number of services based across the commercial units – there’s no sector that wouldn’t be suitable in our commercial hub.”


December 2021

Images of what the redeveloped St James Industrial Esate in Chichester will look like once completed by Autumn 2022

Invest Chichester logo

Automotive sector identified as driver of growth in Chichester district

With opportunities for businesses in the automotive industry readily available, and the chance to hire local talent trained by the district’s education providers, Chichester’s long-running association with the automotive sector is only set to grow in the coming years.

Already home to established, world-renowned, companies including Rolls-Royce and the iconic Goodwood Estate, the district is also where a number of car dealerships – both national and independent – and specialist workshops for repair and customisation are located.

Employers are supported by the skills provision from the district’s educational institutions, with Chichester College’s Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle courses allowing students the opportunity to specialise before moving into the workplace. The University of Chichester also offers engineering courses.

Iconic Land Rovers and Range Rovers are being customised within the district, as they are carefully crafted and transformed into bespoke vehicles by luxury designers and engineers Kingsmen Editions and their sister company, Chichester Cars.

Across the UK more than 864,000 people are employed by the automotive sector, which generated more than £100billion in 2019, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Location is likely to be a key decider in where automotive businesses base themselves with an estimated 4,100 cars and 6,100 engines exported worldwide every day – and 1,000 cars distributed to UK dealers and 3,600 engines delivered to UK factories. Chichester, with its close proximity to two major port cities in Portsmouth and Southampton, stands out against other UK locations.

Councillor Tony Dignum, Chichester District Council’s Cabinet Member for Growth, Place and Regeneration, said: “Some of the UK’s most iconic cars have been – and continue to be – developed, tested and manufactured in Chichester, and we have a legendary race track right on our doorstep – and the opportunity is there for anyone in the sector to become a part of our district’s motoring story.

“Plans are underway to increase availability of space for the sector and our University and College are teaching the next generation of technicians, designers, specialists and experts – not to mention our location to two of the UK’s biggest ports putting you in front of the world.

“We’re open for business and ready to put you in the fast lane.”

Chichester College plays a key role in training tomorrow’s experts and on average trains hundreds of students every year across various automotive trades, including motor vehicle and motorcycle.

The college is also working in collaboration with a consortium of Sussex-based colleges to establish hybrid and Electric Vehicle technology training centres across the region. This project has taken a step forward thanks to the awarding of multi-million-pound funding from the Department for Education as part of the Strategic Development Fund.

Julie Kapsalis, Managing Director of the Chichester College Group, said: “We are extremely proud of our motor vehicle offer at Chichester College.

“Year on year we are training hundreds of students in important automotive trades, teaching them the skills they need to succeed in the industry.

“We build close links with employers, such as Rolls-Royce, to ensure our courses are meeting their requirements, including developing our apprenticeship programmes to improve the skills of their workforce across a diverse range of disciplines – something that Ofsted highlighted in our Outstanding Ofsted report last year.

“Looking forward, we are very proud to be working with colleagues at colleges across Sussex to be building new centres which will provide skills training to support the future of the industry, such as across electric vehicle and other emerging sustainable transport technologies.

“It is an exciting time for the industry and for those looking to work within it.”

The final jewel in Chichester’s crown is the Goodwood Motor Circuit, which coordinates a busy schedule of track days and driving experiences, attracting both business and customers all year round. The Estate hosts three annual headline motorsport events – the Members’ Meeting, Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard and Goodwood Revival – attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors to the area. The Festival of Speed is an essential part of the automotive event calendar and, at the 2021 event, Goodwood launched ‘Electric Avenue – The Road To 2030’ presented by Sky Zero, the home of electric mobility at the Festival of Speed. Proving to be one of the most popular exhibits over the weekend, the exhibition showcased an extensive collection of the latest Electric Vehicles, from the diminutive Citroën AMI to the elegant Pininfarina Battista hypercar, enabling visitors to explore the electric transition coming in 2030.

Adam Waterworth, Goodwood’s Events Managing Director, said: “This year the Festival of Speed returned to the Goodwood Estate for the first time since 2019 and played a big part in providing a platform for our automotive partners to get in front of customers, whether at the event or joining us online from around the world. We continue to attract the biggest global names from the automotive sector and Goodwood is proud to be playing a part in driving growth in the Chichester district.”

August 2021

The West Sussex Recover & Rise SME Digital Accelerator programme.

This Autumn & Winter 2021, West Sussex County Council launches a FREE online workshop series designed to maximise the impact and accessibility of digital technologies for West Sussex Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).

The SME Digital Accelerator programme is a 4 part series consisting of over 25 online workshops:

Series 1: Getting Online

Series 2: Customers & Marketing

Series 3: Systems & Productivity

Series 4: Growth Expansion & New Products.

These workshop sessions have been put together by local digital experts Freedom Works, Always Possible & Creative Bloom in partnership with the County Council & boroughs to help small and medium businesses utilise digital tools and gain expert knowledge and advice in how best to grow their online presence and attract and retain new customers.

Workshops will be run online and will take place at 12pm on Tuesdays & Thursdays starting on 9th September.

September 2021

Introducing Chichester at Real Estate Live UK


 A spotlight will be on Chichester this October, with the district being promoted to investors and developers as part of a week-long programme of events at Real Estate Live UK.

Introducing Chichester, in partnership with Invest Chichester, takes place at 10.30am on Wednesday 6 October and will give attendees insight into the district’s commercial market, its strong growth sectors, the support on offer and how the council can help those interested in the district to locate, grow, and thrive.

In what will be its fifth week of virtual events since launching in June 2020, Real Estate Live UK has fast become a crucial platform for regeneration professionals, property experts and local authorities alike – replacing the more traditional physical events taking place before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Completely free to attend, its third week of events takes place from 4-8 October, keeping the property sectors talking, tackling the issues facing the industry and promoting live opportunities for investment.

Chichester District Council is putting the district on the map thanks to its new inward investment brand, Invest Chichester – focusing on its strengths, which include location, cultural offer and a well-supported business network – to drive new growth to complement the array of varied employers and industries that call it home.

To register for the session, visit https://realestatelive.co.uk/events/introducing-chichester-in-partnership-with-invest-chichester/

To find out more about Real Estate Live UK’s October programme, visit https://realestatelive.co.uk/programme/

August 2021

Government award £7million funding to colleges across Sussex region for skills training

A consortium of Sussex colleges is to receive more than £7million funding, as part of the Department for Education’s Strategic Development Fund.
Comprised of eight college groups, further education colleges and sixth form colleges across East and West Sussex and Brighton & Hove, led by Chichester College Group (CCG), the consortium will be working collaboratively to boost skills training in sustainable industries.

Bexhill College, BHASVIC, College of Richard Collyer, East Sussex College Group, Greater Brighton Metropolitan Group (GB Met), Plumpton College and Varndean College are working with CCG to deliver five projects:

  • Alternative Energy & Hydrogen Technologies (led by CCG)
  • Land Management Strategies and Practices for Environmental Land Management Schemes (led by Plumpton College, with Brinsbury College)
  • Electric Vehicle Training Centres (led by GB Met)
  • Decarbonisation Academies in Sussex (led by East Sussex College Group)
  • Establishing Carbon Literacy and Sustainability Awareness (led by BHASVIC)

Shelagh Legrave CBE, Chief Executive of the Chichester College Group, said: “This is a fantastic boost for skills training and development across the whole Sussex region.

“Businesses have been struggling to recruit people with the right skills, and while colleges do a fantastic job in skills training, there are some industry gaps where the right equipment or expertise may not be available to deliver the best training.

“Working collaboratively with partners at other colleges across the whole of the Sussex region reflects the need to develop a region-wide approach to improving skills-training and will hugely benefit young people and employers in our local areas.”

Development, writing and submission of the bid was co-ordinated by Dr Tim Strickland, Consultant Chief Executive of FE Sussex, the consortia company of the post-16 colleges in Sussex. He added: “All our member colleges are proud to have been selected to be part of this large scale multi-faceted project, the development of which shows the advantages of working together for the benefit of students and employers.

“It will enable Sussex colleges to place the Green agenda at the heart of today’s teaching and learning and give students and employers the knowledge and skills of tomorrow.”

The funding has been awarded by Government for Local Skills Improvement Plans and development fund pilots. It is part of a £65million fund which is being distributed across the country and

The funding will support the curriculum offered by colleges with a focus on long-term skills priorities of local areas.

July 2021

Chichester District Council logo
Chichester City Waterstones and the Cross

Independent retailers in Chichester District invited to access free online training

 Independent retail businesses across Chichester District are being invited to take up free online training which will cover ten key subjects.

The training has been made available thanks to a joint project between all the district and borough councils in West Sussex, and is being led by Horsham District Council. The training has been developed by the company Digital Islands under the West Sussex Retail Hub banner, and has been paid for thanks to a joint bid to the West Sussex Business Rates Pool.

 In the past, Chichester District Council has organised face-to-face training for independent retailers, but as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, this has had to be changed and delivered remotely instead.

Independent retailers will be able to access the following pre-recorded modules, each presented by a specialist expert:

Measuring sales, tracking profitability

  • Key steps for creating a marketing plan
  • The importance of business planning
  • Employing staff: an introduction to HR for small businesses
  • Using social media for business outcomes
  • Card payments and electronic point of sale
  • Understanding today’s customer
  • Creating an exceptional customer experience
  • Developing a quality customer experience for the modern independent retailer; and
  • Developing new business models that work effectively and efficiently.

Businesses will be able to access the training from Monday 12 July at their own convenience by going to https://www.westsussexretailhub.co.uk/ and completing the required registration details. Businesses will be free to pick and choose the modules of most use to them. The modules will be available for the next two years and there will also be downloads and useful resources for businesses to keep.

An online launch event using Zoom will also be taking place on Monday 12 July at 6pm which businesses are welcome to attend. There will be the opportunity to hear from Mark Smith, Operations Director of sportswear company Sweaty Betty as well as an overview of the different training modules from each of the experts.  There will also be a question and answer session for businesses to take part in.

To attend the launch event businesses should go to

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84939047888?pwd=bmhHSG91ZHdxM3Z4aUlZR0ZlVGVVUT09 and use the following details: Meeting ID: 849 3904 7888 and Passcode: 138701

“This training is being provided as part of our council’s ongoing support for our district’s independent retailers and has been made available following extremely positive feedback from those who have completed similar face-to-face training that we have organised in the past,” explains Councillor Tony Dignum, Cabinet Member for Business, Growth and Regeneration at Chichester District Council.

“Collectively, independent businesses are a major employer and are vital to the economy and to our high streets. We are keen to keep supporting businesses following the pandemic, and we hope that businesses will find this high-quality training package extremely relevant and valuable. We hope it will give businesses lots of practical information which they can use to enhance and boost their business for the future.

“As well as providing access to training opportunities our council also offers a range of support for independent businesses in the district including information and advice about grants and networking opportunities.”

People can find out more about Chichester District Council’s business support by visiting http://www.chichester.gov.uk/businesssupportandadvice

6 July 2021

Quality of life message at heart of Invest Chichester launch

A new inward investment campaign has been launched by Chichester District Council targeting employers looking to put a work-life balance at the heart of their business.

The launch of Invest Chichester coincides with a return to the workplace for many employees who had been working remotely for the past 15 months and responded to the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic by putting increased importance on both mental and physical health as they prioritise quality of life.

Many employers have recognised the shift in emphasis, providing increased wellbeing opportunities to support, retain and recruit talented staff – moving social events online, delivering more regular catch ups and activities to improve mental health – from mindfulness and yoga to company-wide timeouts from the screen over lunch.

And Invest Chichester is looking to attract those who are placing a greater importance on wellbeing and leisure time – by showcasing the district’s rich culture and heritage which, alongside its open spaces across the South Downs and Chichester Harbour and coastal towns, offer an unrivalled quality of life.

Chichester can provide more space for those who have moved, or are consider moving, out of smaller accommodation in urban centres and heading for more affordable properties outside of major hubs.

It also boasts impressive connectivity – central London is around an hour and a half away and there are three international airports within 90 minutes away – Heathrow, Gatwick and Southampton. Looking to the coast, Portsmouth and Southampton, two of Britain’s largest port towns are 20 and 45 minutes away respectively. The district is also home to major, well-established, employers including Goodwood, Natures Way Foods and Rolls Royce.

The Council has identified opportunities for businesses across numerous sectors including industrial and logistics, creative and digital, as well as tourism and leisure. Across its new campaign, Chichester District Council will be showcasing the space and assets on offer, as well as supporting businesses in moving to the district.

And there’s benefits for employees too – the opportunity to be part of a growing economy with outstanding schools, providing an unrivalled work/life blend.

Cllr Tony Dignum, Cabinet Member for Growth, Place and Regeneration at Chichester District Council, said: “We want businesses that are new to the district to discover what it has to offer, and we want those already living and working in this wonderful part of the world to benefit from the investment that we hope to attract.

“Chichester District has so much to offer and our doors are open to businesses looking to make a change for the better and locate here, grow, and thrive.

“There’s no better time than now to get in touch and start a conversation and enjoy the benefits those of us lucky enough to be here already do.”

Stephanie Jones, Head of Communications at Natures Way Foods, said: “We’re lucky enough to have a long history of working in the district and have the best of town, country and seaside living on the doorstep of our four sites.”

Mark Minchell, Director, Fludes, said: “Chichester has a strong commercial offer across all subsectors and has been remarkably resilient throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The district’s appeal largely lies in the work-life balance it affords businesses and their employees and a core strength lies in its industrial and logistics hubs where requirements remain consistent in an ever-growing market.”

For more information on Invest Chichester and if you’d like an introduction to the district, email krollings@chichester.gov.uk

25th June 2021