Driving Hastings forward 01424 205481

Nissan are currently running a Workplace Presentation Programme for the 100% electric Nissan LEAF.

Last week they visited the Innovation Centre to give staff the opportunity to learn about and experience electric driving.nissan 1

The Market for plug in vehicles has quadrupled in 12 months but many people have lots of questions about electric driving.

The Workplace Presentation Programme has proved successful as it allows staff to learn about the vehicle in a convenient, familiar and no pressure environment.

Any member of staff that wishes to look at the LEAF further would also qualify for preferential purchase terms from St Leonards Motors Nissan.

St Leonards Motors Nissan gave a short presentation and Q & A at the Innovation Centre in Hastings and received great feedback.

It gave staff the opportunity to understand how you can charge at home with a Government subsidised wall box charger.

They looked at whether the real world 100 mile range exceeded their daily usage requirements.  Explored the money saved by giving up petrol or diesel, the national public rapid charge network which charges LEAF in 30 minutes and the 5 year warranty on the battery, and they also heard feedback from existing drivers.

Employees also enjoyed test drives to experience how quiet, smooth, and responsive driving electric can be from the Innovation Centre car park.


A Virtual office  is an ideal way for any budding entrepreneur to get a prestigious office address and access to other office services whilst keeping business costs to a minimum and is also just as ideal for those who are moving to the area to have an immediate base whilst setting up. We asked Jenny Haley from the Innovation Centre in St. Leonards to give us a guide on what they are, how they work and what the benefits are.

Is a virtual office right for your business?

A virtual office provides you with a business address and telephone number, without the full time office premises to go with them.

For many people who run a business from home, this is an ideal way to cultivate a professional image and means you don’t have to give out your home address.

It can also be an ideal first step for entrepreneurs who plan to have their own premises later but want to get their business up and running first.

A virtual office or a PO Box?

A PO Box is a lower cost alternative to a virtual office. It provides an address for your post, which you collect from your local Royal Mail delivery office.

This typically costs as little as £8-£10 per month. But there are big limitations:  there is no associated phone number; it doesn’t give your customers the impression that you have a local office; the Royal Mail won’t accept mail from other carriers; and a PO Box is not acceptable under the Distance Selling Regulations if you want to sell online.

A virtual office service, on the other hand, will normally give you an address at an established business centre; will accept deliveries from other carriers; and you can choose either to collect your mail or have it posted onto you.

Many virtual office address providers also offer other invaluable benefits such as meeting room hire at your virtual address, networking events and ‘hot desk’ facilities.  So as well as having it as a professional postal address, you can use it as a base for meeting clients and business contacts.

Top tips when choosing a virtual office:

  • Decide what services you want first. You can then seek out the service that’s right for you instead of convincing yourself that what you happen to have found is what you want.
  • Are you looking just for a business address for mail and visitors, or are you looking for a telephone answering service as well?  Depending on where you are, you might find local providers who offer both these services, or you might have to source them separately.
  • Visit the premises to be certain they portray the right image. Are they presentable and reputable? Do they have the kind of feel that will appeal to your customers? Do they fit the style of your business—your business brand, if you like?
  • Speak to the staff working there. They will be the face of your business, so make sure they will make a good impression on your customers.  Even if you don’t expect regular visitors, remember that potential clients may investigate where you are based, either in person or by searching on the Internet.
  • Look at what associated services are available. Are there meeting facilities there for you to see clients or suppliers on-site? Are there hot desks available for you to work at on an ad-hoc basis if you’re in the vicinity or in between meeting clients on the premises?  Ask to see these and find out about the costs.
  • Find out if there are networking or training events held there.  Are there any useful bureau services on offer such as admin assistance, photocopying and an outgoing post service?
  • If you intend a virtual office to be your first step as you grow your business, see if you can find a business centre that also has a range of office units for rent that will suit your future needs.
  • Ask to speak to other virtual clients to see how happy they are with the services provided.
  • Make sure you understand the costs and contract. Clarify what is and isn’t included in the monthly fee and look at how this will affect your budget.
  • Read the terms and conditions in full. Check what notice you are being asked to give and how long the contract is for. A good contract should be written in plain English. Make sure you ask about anything you’re not certain about and, as ever, don’t sign anything you don’t understand.
  • Put the service to the test. When you find a virtual office service you think is right for you, ask for a free trial before you commit. Most providers will be happy to agree to a short test period.

Send yourself a letter and make some sample phone calls to check everything works as it should. Only use the address or phone number with your customers when you’re fully confident with the way things work. Even then, test the service a couple of times a year once it’s up and running.

After all, it’s not just a simple support service you’re buying. You are putting your business reputation on the line. What could be more important than that?

To find out more about virtual office services for companies in the Hastings & St Leonards  area, contact Jenny Haley on (01424) 858199 or visit the Innovation Centre website at www.innovationcentrehastings.com


Hi Tech Hastings company Alpine Components train engineers from GlaxoSmithKline site at the Innovation Centre

Alpine Components’ Chief Technician and trainer Micky Jackson recently carried out a training session at the Innovation Centre for six engineers that work at the blue-chip pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline in Worthing.

ultraprobe 9000

The high technology training was organised to help Glaxosmithkline fully utilize a piece of equipment they purchased back in 2013, which is called an Ultraprobe 9000. The product is a portable, hand-held ultrasonic detector, which can detect high frequency sounds and translate them in to an audible frequency.

This technology will enable the GSK engineers to find very small leaks that can seriously disrupt production or waste energy and money. The company also plans to use the equipment to monitor and trend the condition of mechanical components on-site, such as bearings, pumps and gearboxes. This will allow GSK to detect mechanical defects at an early stage and prevent unexpected failure and downtime of critical machinery.

The Hastings based company export thermal imaging and ultrasonic products such as the Ultraprobe 9000 all over the world and have shipped this equipment to more than 60 countries.

Alpine Components are grateful for the opportunity to host training days and events like this at the Innovation Centre, and would also like to thank the Sussex Exchange for the catering that was provided during the training days.

Hi Tech Hastings company Alpine Components train engineers from GlaxoSmithKline site at Innovation Centre

Alpine Components’ Chief Technician and trainer Micky Jackson recently carried out a training session at the Innovation Centre for 6 engineers that work at the blue-chip pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline in Worthing.

Hastings company Brolly Assosciates Ltd.’s independent publishing label, I LOVE MEL has just launched it’s first children’s story book.
Pearl Power is a book derived from Mel Elliott’s disappointment at the continued gender stereotyping aimed at very young children and it attempts to address this with a fun and delightful introduction to gender equality issues.pearl-power

Whilst Pearl Power is Mel Elliott’s first children’s book, previously, the I LOVE MEL label has published 18 titles, mostly consisting of contemporary colouring books aimed primarily at adults and teens. She has also produced four art and design titles for Pavilion, London and two titles for Penguin, New York.

Pearl Power will eventually be part of a series of five books and a short animation has already been created, with the intention of building the feisty young female character into a brand of books, animations, T-shirts and stationery.

Pearl Power is named after Elliott’s own five year old daughter who one morning announced that she knew that boys can become doctors and girls can become nurses… and being a writer and illustrator, Mel Elliott believed she had to do something to change the awful gender stereotypes placed upon young children by advertising, toys, cartoons and many films and books.

In her first adventure, Pearl Power starts a new school and eventually teaches one little boy a lesson in female achievement… and kindness.
Pearl Power is published by I LOVE MEL which is run by Mel Elliott and her husband Andrew Tyrrell, who both live in Hastings. It is printed in the UK on a paper that is made from 100% post-consumer waste. It is written and illustrated by Mel Elliott.

Signed copies are available from shop.ilovemel.me and it is priced at £7.99

The Innovation Centre has over 70 businesses and Business in Hastings will be doing a focus on the businesses that are in there and what they do. We start this new regular feature off with Hodgsons Ltd who are based in the centre.

Company: Hodgsons Ltd


Jo heads up Hodgsons Ltd

Company Bio: Jo Hodgson-Vuranel is an experienced family solicitor offering advice on all aspects of relationship breakdown including divorceseparationcivil partnershipchildren, co-habitee/property disputes and so on.

She is also able to offer advice regarding living together agreements or pre-nuptial agreements.

Jo offers a no obligation initial consultation for a fixed fee of £25 (no VAT). This meeting takes place within informal surroundings at her home office in Hastings. The initial consultation may last for up to an hour and is plenty sufficient to answer any questions that you may have.

If you are not local to Hastings then subject to ID requirements, Hodgsons Ltd will still be able to advise you and offer a consultation via Skype or Facetime.

About Jo: “I was born in Hastings in 1971 and have lived here all of my life apart from 6 years spent in London during my University days.

I became interested in the law at college and after obtaining an “A” grade at A-Level decided that maybe I was quite good at it! I then went on to take a degree in Law and Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics and passed with a 2.1

After this I went to the London College of Law where I obtained my Legal Practice Course and then returned to Hastings to complete my trainee solicitor training with a local firm.

I have worked at various firms, locally and in Eastbourne and Bromley.

Why did you set up your own business?

I decided to set up my own specialist family law firm In November 2012 as I felt that it was time to offer a service unlike other law firms in the area.

I wanted to offer a very personal one to one service for my clients, dealing with their case from the initial consultation all the way through to the conclusion.

With the cut backs to legal aid I also wanted to be able to offer as many fixed fee packages as I could to enable clients to still afford legal representation with a clear confirmation of costs at the start of the case.

I have helped clients to achieve their desired outcome in a number of cases since Hodgsons became established and I hope to continue doing so for the future.

I am a single mother to a very lively little boy and having been through the divorce process myself can empathise with clients on both a personal and professional level.”

Like what you’ve read? You can get in touch with Jo via the contact details below.

Contact: office@hodgsons-law.co.uk  01424 858347

Hastings has a wealth of high quality office, commercial and industrial units and Business In Hastings will be highlighting the best each week.

This weeks property is a managed office unit at the modern and popular Innovation Centre which also boasts ample free parking on site for staff and visitors so read on and see if this is the office you’ve been searching for:

The Innovation Centre St Leonards on sea has a 26 square metre office available now  for £589+Vat PCM. The price also includes:

  • Business rates
  • Light, heat, power
  • Reception facilities
  • Kitchen and shower facilities
  • Building security and alarms
  • Building insurance, repairs and maintenance
  • Parking & bicycle shelters
  • On-site management team
  • Cleaning

The Innovation centre St Leonards on sea offers a flexible licence agreement  meaning that the licence is a renewable, six-monthly

Innovation Centre, St Leonards on sea

Innovation Centre, St Leonards on sea

agreement for business space. It provides greater flexibility than a lease and tends to be more suited to innovative, growing businesses which need an adaptable, supportive structure to allow for their changing space requirements. At the Innovation Centre, we ask for only a month’s notice should your needs change. Far from the protracted and costly legal process involved in a lease agreement, a licence is much less time consuming and involves no legal fees.

Please call to enquire further about this unit on 01424 858100

Address: Innovation Centre Highfield Dr, St Leonards on sea, East Sussex TN38 9UH

You can view the whole portfolio of properties currently available in our dedicated property section here and if you have a property you would like to list please get in touch today by emailing us here

Hastings Business Centre has become one of the first business centres in the UK to install heart defibrillators on site.


HBC’s Jim Christy and Mish Standen check out the new life saving equipment installed at the Innovation Centre.

The company which has bases along the south coast, has purchased one automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) from DOC UK. The device is portable and automatically connects a user to a call centre where medically trained professionals will guide them through the de-fibrillation process.

Jim Christy, director for the Innovation Centre in Hastings said: “As a business our very first priority is the safety of the people on our site.

“Hopefully, the equipment will never need to be used, but even if the defibrillator never leaves its case, it will act as reassurance to the thousands of people passing through ours doors every year.”

Vincent Mathieu, managing director of DOC, said: “Every six minutes, someone in the UK dies of a heart attack. Sadly cardiac emergencies are a huge risk, so it is great to see firms such as the Innovation Centre leading the way.”