Drink to that – The new German beer festival targets a £1m boost for the economy of Southampton

The organizers of a huge new German beer festival are optimistic that the Southampton economy will grow, owing to the £1m boost from the event.
The city will in the month of October hold the Oktoberfest-style event which has a similar model to the Munich event which sees more than six million fans annually.

The four day event will be held at the Guildhall square where a huge pavilion will be set. Thousands of fans will get to enjoy their beers from all over the continent which will all be served in the old-fashioned ‘Bavarian style’ Stein glasses. The pavilion will make sure that the Guildhall Square has been used properly and t the maximum.

The event planner, James Ward is hopeful that after this event, Southampton will be more recognized on the world map. He was quoted as saying that the benefits that the city will enjoy are huge.

“We will set the event such that the visitors get an actual carnival experience where the true Bavarian culture will be celebrated. We are very hopeful that this event will make Southampton the destination of choice for thousands of people for the four nights that the event will be running”, James said.

The cabinet member for communities’ culture and leisure at the city council, Cllr Satvir Kaur said that at Southampton, there is always something great happening, and Oktoberfest will be a great addition to the calendar events in the city.

“We believe that the Southampton event will be firmly recognized and that each year, we will experience new growth. I am confident that the locals as well as the fans and visitors during this event will take advantage of this amazing event that has been added to our growing and vibrant city”, Satvir said.

According to call Linda Symes, Portsmouth Tory culture boss, her city has experienced positive vibes from the event in the past. She continued to say that the economy in Portsmouth has really grown from events such as the Victorious and Mutiny festivals as well as the Oktoberfest, which has made thousands of people want to visit the city. Linda had nothing but best wishes for Southampton as she believes that they will also benefit greatly in terms of economy growth.

For performance and entertainment will be by a six-piece band, Oompah as well as a several Bavarian-style entertainment and a German fair as well.

The event is set to start on Thursday 26 October and will run through till Sunday 29 October.

Volunteers at the Southampton Pride get a special afternoon treat aboard the Queen Elizabeth, a luxury Cunard liner

The group that had volunteered from Southampton pride got a rare and special treat aboard the most glamorous ship in the world, where they got to tour The Queen Elizabeth. The treat was part of support for the August bank holiday by Cunard.

The volunteers got a gourmet three-course lunch in one of the eateries within the ship, after they had toured the indoor and outdoor sections of the ship, the cabins as well as the theatre.

In conjunction with several other organizations, Cunard, this year’s official sponsors of Southampton pride have vowed to offer their support for the event.

The event taking place on 26 August will have top performance by 90s boy band 911. Sinitta and Sonia pop musicians will also be performing at the event. The organizers have also allocated an extra platform within Guildhall for performance by local and acoustic performances.

According to the event planner, who is also the manager at Stage Doors, Julianne Watling McCarthy, the event is expected to host between 7-9,000 visitors this year.

Julianne said that they were amazed at the great services they received while they toured the vessel. The beautiful cabins, theatre as well as the indoor and outdoor areas made the volunteers wish to take a world cruise on this amazing ship.On August 26 starting from 2pm, the parade will start from West Marlands road heading to the Bargate and then back.

Visitors can stop at the food and market stalls that will be set up along West Marlands Road. Later on, several joints such as the Stage Door, the London Hotel, The Box as well as The Edge will be having after parties for the revellers.
The Southampton cultural chief councilor Satvir Kaur will officially open the event.

Vosper, a new burger bar is opened in Southampton by Saints legend, Francis Benali

A new restaurant has just opened thanks to a Saint legend.

The city’s freeman, Francis Benali has visited Itchen Bridge to sample the burgers and cocktails at Vospers, a new site that has been allocated for the city’s last shipyard.

The proprietor of Mettricks Coffee, Spencer Bowman did the set up for Vosper and it is one of the three recent establishments at Woolston Waterside Crest Nicholson development worth £700 million.

You can enjoy the burgers, cocktails and local beer served at the restaurant. Jay Geddes, a former chef-to-the-stars heads the meal preparation and the menu is set in reverence to the history of Woolston. The meals re named after ships and important dates in maritime era. The drinks are specially made by the Venezuelan mixologist, Roger Ossa.

Looking at Spencer Bowman’s restaurant portfolio, he has 5 Mettricks coffee shops. He contracted Matt Jones, a local carpenter so that he can create the furniture in the bar with a 1920 industrial maritime theme. The design included a ‘wall of fame’ which included previous employees at Vosper such as John Thorneycroft who was a shipbuilder. His ship building company preceded Vospers.

The entrepreneur, Spencer Bowman said that his team had a great passion for serving the best burgers in Southampton and at the same time keeping the memories, legacy and tradition of the community that used to build ships on the site.

We are really proud of the meals we are serving and the kind of family atmosphere we create. As much as possible, the ingredients in our meals are sourced locally. i.e. the bread comes from Netlev and the local butchers supply the meat.

Franny’s granny lived in Woolston and he wishes Jay and Spencer the very best in their new establishment. They serve incredibly delicious burgers.

Thanks to a GO! Southampton Initiative, the City Centre at Southampton will get a clean-up

A cleanup campaign has been launched for Southampton city centre by business owners.

Members of GO! Southampton Business Improvement District have been touring the streets in the city centre so that they can identify the areas that are in dire need of cleaning. They have started a routine which includes scrubbing, litter picking as well as power washing.

The BID consists of businesses from Westquay to Kingsway, London Road to Town Quay and they are 643 in total. They said that the initiative will last for a month and its intent is to give the council the momentum to keep the city clean. A total of £2,000 has been invested in acquiring cleaning equipment and machine.

The cleanup will see all car parks, bins as well as street furniture starting from the junction of Bargate and East street get a proper wash. This is in an attempt to make the city more appealing and enhance the experience that people will get when they visit the city centre.

Spencer Bowman, the chair of the action team, and is also the proprietor of Mettricks cafés said that one of the priorities in the short term for the GO! Southampton is to create a platform for the main issues that are affecting our city centre and look for solutions to this issues.

It is clear that the Southampton’s business community is concerned about enhancing the experience that the visitors and residents get from the city centre. This is seen through our financial support of giving the city centre a fresh clean look.

We hope that the outcome of our efforts will be experienced instantly and we are hopeful that the SCC will uphold the level of cleanliness from this point forward.

However, the city environment boss, councillor Jacqui Rayment stated that the initiative is just an enhancement of what the council is already doing.

Jacqui said that the council is cleaning the city centre and they have always been doing so. She also said that the BID has only invested more money into getting more cleaning done in the area.

The BID is a new organization that has been set up by businesses to improve the city centre that is cleaned all year round by the City Council.

The BID just pinpointed a certain area, since the city is not particularly a dirty place. This is something that would be done by the city council just the same.
According to Carl Davies, the manager at High Streets London Camera Exchange, the initiative has made a difference but the city council should pay for the work.

Carl said that the town looks great, just as it did about 10 or 15 years ago. He also said that he supports anything that promotes cleanliness and tidiness.
“There are some shops that have for a long time remained vacant, and it’s about time they got tenants”, Carl said.

“The rates we pay are enough to have the council do it for us, but we can be glad that it is being done anyway”

Hopes are high for the Bitterne Park Hotel in Southampton to reopen soon as they continue to look for new operator

A pub in Southampton that closed its doors all of a sudden is now set to reopen soon.

Reports from the Daily Echo indicate that Bitterne Park Hotel had shut down, after the landlady relocated to another facility.

The closure was surrounded by so much mystery and the patrons said that the closure happened without any prior warning.

The owners were not willing to confirm the allegations.

Ei Publican Partnerships , who are the owners reported that they intend to reopen soon after they begun looking for a new manager.

A spokesperson for the former Enterprise Inns, currently Ei Publican Partnerships reported that there are renovation works going on in the pub and they are hoping to bring in a new publican and will reopen soon.

The owners were not in a position to specifically state the reopening date or give details of what renovations were going on.

Tracy Bondsfield, the former landlady admitted that she had left the pub to take over another pub. This came after her future was put in the line after a patron was stabbed in the pub earlier in the year.

“I am no longer in Bitterne, I am now in another pub and I have nothing more to add”, Tracy said.

The patrons were left rather shocked by the closure, even though the previous landlady had shown some instability of the place for a few months. She cited her reasons for the threat to her future as the stabbing incident that had happened in the month of March at the pub.

The incident involved a 28 year old who was left bleeding on the entrance door after being hit on the face and neck with a glass, an attack that happened in the late night hours.

The victim had to be rushed to the hospital after bleeding for more than two hours following the “malicious” attack.

After the ordeal, Tracy was quoted saying that it was about time she considered being in another pub, but she needed to have a chat with the owners first.

There were rumours that she had moved to Gosport to be in charge of another pub. Tracy had taken over the pub in the last December, following the “eviction” of the previous owner.

Krista Campbell was the former landlady and had been at the pub since April 2016 when she took over and she claimed that she was told to leave the pub and the police were called into the pub in Bitterne Park after six months.

The pub had another save in 2014, when Kevin Guerrier from Southampton threw out a deal to keep the pub running.

A grueling event set for fell runners in Ventnor

During the weekend of 16 and 17 September, the twenty-third Isle of Wight fell running series and the SEAA (South of England Athletics Association) fell running championships will be held in Ventnor.

On 16 and 17 September, runners participating in the Twenty third Isle of Wight will cover 24 miles on off road running and they will experience 4,300 feet of ascent. The event comprises of three races and will be held on the two consecutive days. This is the 15th year of the event hosting the SEAA fell running championships.

The races satisfied the rules of Fell Running Association (FRA) even though there is no proper “fell” terrain on the Island. The rules include ascent and distance and Ventnor has some of the steepest hills in the South of England.

Brenda Lawson and Eddie Leal

The events have been named after a founder member of the Fell Running Association (Membership No.2) Eddie Leal and Brenda Lawson. They were the founder members of Ventnor Fell Running Championship Association in 1995 so that they can plan the events.

First day

The St. Boniface race is usually the first one normally held on Saturday from 11am. In this race, the runners make a straight dash from the seafront at Ventnor to the top of St. Boniface and get back down. A total of 3 miles and an ascent of 776 feet are covered in this race. More than half a mile stretch heading to a testing descent is half of the ascent distance for the race. The remaining distance is short, which is covered in the afternoon (3pm) race, The Ventnor Horseshoe. The runners then run from the seafront again and run up St. Boniface where they cover the whole ascend non-stop. This is unlike the first race whereby runners get a small break before doing the full ascent. In the second race, the runners run down to Wroxall all the way to Cooks Castle and head to the railway line before the long climb up to St. Martins Down, up the cliff, Luccombe Down before getting back to St. Boniface through a descent. Eight miles are covered by the runners, which include an ascent of 1,600 feet.

Second day

The races start at 10.30am on Sunday. A few stiff runners are still in the race and are set to participate in the Wroxall Round. This is the longest race, where the runners cover up to 13miles with an ascent of 2,000feet. The start of the race is quite flat through La Falaise park, before running up to Watcombe Bottom and Stenbury Down.

A steep descent then follows to Stenbury Manor Farm before running up to Gat Cliff and Freemantle gate. After this, the runners go through to the Donkey Sanctuary and the railway line once more. This is before they encounter another long uphill run to St. Martins Down, up the cliff and Luccombe Down before the run down for a finish at St. Boniface.

Well Known event

Strong teams from Serpentine Running Club, London Frontrunners, Ryde Harriers, Victoria Park Harriers are among the many teams that will be participating in the event together with the teams from the Island, with all teams eyeing the prizes set for the races.

Wightlink has been kind enough to give sponsorship for runners to travel.
St. Catherine’s School, Grove Road, Ventnor will be hosting the races. The start of the race is at Esplanade and is set to have the finish line in the school grounds.

Indian culture will be celebrated this weekend at the library

Children over four years old will have Indian stories as well as folk tales read to them. Visitors will also get an opportunity to make Indian crafts and get decorations on them with henna body art. There will also be a chance to taste the Indian delicacies.

Lord Louis Library in Newport will be hosting the cultural event on Saturday 1st July from 10am and will be on till 12 noon.

Most of the activities at the event will be free of charge. There are some that will be charged a small fee, of which the funds raised will be donated to the Friends of Lord Louis Library.

This is an event where everybody can participate.

Rachel Brown, the chair of the Friends Group, welcomes the participation of members in such events. All people who belong to the Friends Group can take part in the planning process of the event or be part of the event, which is a fund-raiser in its self. We are hopeful that this event will be of benefit for the library so that it can be a fun learning hub. The event also hopes to encourage more and more people to visit the library, where they will find out more information.

The funds that are raised at this event go into the kitty of improving the environment of the library.

The supervisor of the library, Jo Cooke says, “The library gets support from the Friends Group in various ways. This include preparing and arranging books on the shelves, reading the stories to young children and also being of assistance in events such as this one. The main objective is to have the Lord Louis Library as the main focus of the community.”

Come on 1st July and be part of this cultural event where you will not only learn about the Indian culture, but also get more information about the Friends Group. More information about the friends group is available on their Facebook page.

Some of the wide range of events that Friends Group has hosted include Isle of Wight Band “Guith”, bingo as well as a quiz night.

There are other events set to take place in the library in the future such as heritage walk and a talk by local historians.

Cantina is yet another seafront restaurant in Ventnor

Cantina, a restaurant with an Italian influence has opened in Ventnor seafront. The meals are freshly produced and are reasonably priced. You also get a free Prosecco glass n arrival. It is open daily for lunch and dinner.

For the frequent visitors to Ventnor and those who are keen on fine dining, they will know that this place is becoming a favourite for foodies on the Isle of Wight.

You will find high end restaurants as well as middle range and reasonably priced restaurants and cafes and Cantina has added on to the list.

Cantina is located on the Western end of the esplanade where the Marino (Chiaro) restaurant was previously located. The menu has an Italian influence, with Klause Kuhnke a successful chef being the man behind it all. He is also responsible for Artisan foods and the German Deliat Borough market. He got into business with Andre Hennig who is currently the manager at Cantina.

Klaus says that Cantina will be making Artisan breads from their kitchen and local produce will mostly feature in their menu as much as possible. An example of this is “tomato stalls” is the source of all tomatoes being eaten in the restaurant.

Because of his exposure and network especially in the Borough market, Klaus has access to various suppliers of specialty foods.

Lunch menu

There is a day menu which opens at 12 noon till 3pm. The meals served at this time if freshly produced and the prices are reasonable. Featured in the menu are sandwiches, pizza as well as main dishes like chorizo served with seafood stew.

You can also indulge in white asparagus served with roast tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and walnut pesto. The day menu also includes pasta served with porcini leeks and cream.

Evening meals

From 6pm till 10pm, the evening menu is served, though with a small serving. However, the items of the menu have more options, ranging from Italian sausages with caramelized onions and rosemary potatoes. There are also plenty of fresh pasta dishes, especially because the restaurant has an Italian influence.

You can also have pizza made with beef tomatoes , smoked ham and Tallegio, which is an Italian cheese.

Chocolate Nemesis are served in the evening menu. We highly recommend this dessert that is served with strawberries , raspberries and cream.

The Island Wine Co Ltd supply Cantina with fine wine. There are also cocktails like Negroni Spumante, Venice via Dubline mule, Aperol Spritz and Bicicletta.
The diners are greeted with a warm friendly smile and are welcomed with a free glass of Prosecco.

Modes of payment acceptable at the restaurant are cash as well as debit/credit cards.

Cantina is open seven days a week. The specific hours for dining are 12pm-3pm and 6pm-10pm daily.

Solent LEP board welcomes new business leaders

The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) board of directors has received two new members who are prominent business leaders from the Isle of Wight.

They were appointed by member businesses.

The new members are Kevin George and Rachael Randall.

The Solent LEP board is responsible for the economic strategy in the area. It is also expected to deliver a growth programme which is worth £ 1b which gets a £183m support from Local Growth Deal with the government so that it creates about 600 employment opportunities and make it possible for construction of 11,000 new homes.

The Solent LEP board was the first LEP in the country to have a fully elected board, which comprise of business, education and local authority directors.

Kevin George

He is the CEO of Red Funnel. Red Funnel is the ferry operator that has for more than 150 years connected Southampton and Cowes. Prior to Red Funnel in 2014, Kevin was in the aviation industry which included being a CEO at Monarch Airlines and had also held senior posts at the British Airways , where he was in Business development and customer service.

He brings on board a very wide experience from the travel and tourism sector. His major speciality is maritime and marine industry, which is the sector with a large coverage and income in Solent.

Rachel Randall

Rachel is the managing director as well as the CEO of HTP Apprenticeship college, a leading training provider in England which is situated in Isle of Wight. She has a wealth of knowledge in regional and national skills system which she brings to the board. She will spearhead the LEP’s employment and skills mission.

According to Kevin, the Solent is in a position to compete internationally in the marine and maritime markets, due to its geographical aspects as well as its heritage and skills in the region.

“The sector is seen to be very crucial to the region’s economic growth and I am eager to work with the other board members as we continue to be in the lead in the national and international markets so that the local businesses can benefit.”, Kevin said.

According to Rachel, the HTP Apprenticeship college was founded 17 years ago in Isle of Wight and since its inception, it has become a leading training institute in the region. Through her journey, Rachel said that she has experienced the challenges as well as the opportunities that comes with being in the business world. In this sense, she is eager to share her experiences with the LED board, in line with business start-ups and growth agenda in the island in the coming months.

The Solent LEP chairman, Gary Jeffries said; “ we are happy to have Kevin and Rachel join us on the board. The two top business people have a wide and top-notch experience and were selected by our members and the appointments are expected to enhance our expertise as well as bring in fresh ideas in experience so as to achieve our priority objectives which are investment in skills and the economy in marine and maritime.”

Gary also continued to state that he is happy with the appointment of a fourth female director on to the board. It is the vision of the board to have diversity and at the same time promote equality within Solent and even with all that needs to be done, we have a god representation by inspirational women taking lead roles in the private and public sectors.

Isle of Wight primary school is at the lead with ‘vitality and ambition’

The Ofsted Inspectors recently paid a visit to Isle of Wight Primary school and they had nothing but great comments for the institution such as “a school that stands out” and “always working towards not only improvement, but excellence”

The visit to the Lanesend Primary school was the first brief visit since 2011, when the school only scored a ‘good’ remark from the Ofsted inspectors.
The governors, staff and pupils will not be very surprised, but they will be pleased to learn that the school has for yet another time, received a good rating from the inspectors.

According to Ofsted, the school is rising from one level to another.
The officers remarked that the school has steadily risen from one level to another in the last few years and that the staff team has been led by the headteacher with energy and ambition and the vision for the school is very clear.

A recent BBC2 documentary addressing the issue of gender neutrality featured the school. If you did not watch the two-part documentary, you can still view it on BBC iPlayer .

Some parents also gave their remarks for the school. Some of these comments include;

“This is a school that not only works towards improving, but also exceling. You can clearly see that the employees love their job here and their objective is to make a difference”

Another one of the comment made by the parents was; “An inspiring school where children are delighted to be part of because of how it stands out”