Driving Hastings forward 01424 205481

On the 25th January Hastings business owners will get a chance to get involved in and have their say on a set of proposals for a new Hastings Business Improvement District (BID). The BID’s are run by business for business and are said to be already benefiting the towns ad cities that already have this in place.

With this in mind there will be a chance to find out more and network with other business owners in the area as the first meeting will be at Sussex Coast College discussing the BID in more detail and to start planning the projects that the BID could deliver to support businesses in the area such as maek Hastings easier to get to and get around, make the town cleaner and more attractive and improve the marketing and promotions that are already in place.. There will also be a special guest speaker, Sharon Clarke who is from the successful BID in Worthing.

Detail of the event are as follows:

Business Improvement District meeting

  • Location: Sussex Coast College, Ground Floor Meeting Room (G002)
  • Time: 6pm

You can confirm attendance or find out more by emailing rob.woods@ldbgroup.co.uk or call 01424 205516

HSBC said that after two days of disruption for customers its online banking system is operating at full capacity.

Monday and Tuesday showed that business accounts were not running at its usual speed and some customers were unable to log onto the personal banking site but customers were able to log on since yesterday evening.

The disturbance which affected many customers was followed by John Hackett, HSBC’s chief operating officer, posting a video to Twitter apologising to customers for the hassle it has caused.

HSBC have said that the problem was due to a complex technical issue within its banking and mobile systems but has not given its 17 million customers a specific explanation.

All customers would be compensated for any losses caused by the issue and there was no personal data at risk during the disruption, Mr Hackett said.

This is not the first time HSBC has had a technical glitch as back in August 2015, 275,000 payments were prevented from going through.

Andrew Tyrie, the chair of the Treasury Select Committee, stated that he would question HSBC’s chief executive about why problems keep occurring.

It’s that time of year when it seems half of the local population are out pounding the streets in readiness for the Hastings Half Marathon. This year Shopper Anonymous is shaping up and getting into fitness too!

The popular mystery shopping, training and customer feedback provider based in St Leonards has recruited a leisure expert as Regional Director for their Sussex Franchise. Paul Matthews, 36 has 18 years-experience in the leisure industry working for some of the best in the business including DC Leisure, Bannatyne’s Health Clubs and most recently Serco Leisure.Paul Matthews

Paul said “I am delighted to have joined the Shopper Anonymous team. Having successfully used Mystery Shopping via Shopper Anonymous for the last ten years to improve morale, customer service and ultimately profit I know first-hand what a wonderful management tool it is. The reports produced by Shopper Anonymous are second to none and allow you to walk in the shoes of your customers. When a “shopper” visits or telephones your business, they behave like a normal customer and experience your business as a real customer would.  Once their visit is completed a feedback report is produced, which allows you to review how your business is perceived and helps you coach, train motivate or incentivise your staff. I know Mystery Shopping changes businesses because I’ve done it. It gives you the information you need to make sure your customers get a consistently great experience when they visit you.  If your customers love you, they’ll come back time after time.  And they’ll tell others!” 

Managing Director Jonathan Winchester said “We are delighted to have a leisure expert in the team, we have many clients in the leisure and attractions sectors who will benefit from Paul’s knowledge and experience, and many more who will be keen to work with him to improve their business”.

Shopper Anonymous provide services to all sectors, to find out more and for a FREE consultation call or Email Paul via 07710394729 or paul.matthews@shopperanonymous.co.uk

Traineeships were introduced by the Department of Education in 2014, with Sussex Coast College Hastings currently being one of the few Colleges’ in the region to offer the scheme.traineeships

Ten students completed the first Traineeship offer that started in September and six have now been offered apprenticeships by their employer at the end of the course in Construction, Bricklaying, Carpentry, Plumbing and Parts Management with Ford.

Project Co-ordinator Tony Giles said, ‘The course consists of two weeks’ employability training, including confidence building, job search, personal statement, interview techniques, CV writing and so much more.’

Shannon Firminger completed her Level 2 in Mechanics at SCCH and hoped to go on to an Apprenticeship to start her career, but unfortunately her maths and English grades were not high enough.

She was told about the Traineeship scheme by one of her tutors and decided to embark on the 12 week programme, helping her gain her maths and English grades to progress onto the Apprenticeship she had her heart set on.

Shannon has now progressed on to her Mechanics Apprenticeship with Hastings based company 247 247 and is enjoying every minute.

‘I would recommend a Traineeship to anyone as you learn skills to take to your employers which make you look more professional and feel more confident’ says Shannon. ‘It is intense but I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. It has been worth every minute.’

Dan Shelley, Vice Principal for Enterprise, Employment and Skills, said, ‘Our Traineeship scheme provides employers with an excellent opportunity to support young people gain skills by offering work placements that could also lead to them becoming their next employee. They are also a great way for young people to get the skills and experience they need to secure an apprenticeship, which will lead to employment and a career in the future. We really urge any employers or students who are interested to get in touch.’

Shannon concluded, ‘I want to keep working with cars and keep doing what I love doing, which is being a mechanic. I now have my C grade in English and I am working towards my C grade in maths.’

If you’re a young person or an employer looking for more information on Traineeships at Sussex Coast College Hastings, contact Tony Giles on TGiles@sussexcoast.ac.uk or call 01424 458824.




With a new year just beginning, many home owners are already looking at ways to get more from their home and garden in the coming twelve months – and Skinners Sheds could have just the solution you’re looking for!skinners

Whether working from home, planning a few extra garden parties or desperately seeking extra storage for those tools and toys, Skinners has it covered – and now you can browse the whole range from the comfort of your armchair thanks to their easy-to-use new website.

Although their existing website had good search engine visibility for some products, others were being overlooked or left outdated and with an extensive range including Log Cabins, Summerhouses and Garden Offices on offer, Technical Manager Alan Barry was tasked with finding the solution. He chose Hastings web design agency FAT promotions for the job. We’d worked with FAT already for our hosting needs says Alan. “As we’d been pleased with their customer service and responsiveness, we were happy to hear their proposal for the new website look and feel”.

Maximising their strength for a targeted marketing approach, the FAT promotions team worked closely with Skinners to learn more about the people they really want their website to appeal to. “We saw that the website needed to appeal to both genders, as the range has grown far beyond the traditional garden shed” says FAT promotions’ Managing Director Fiona Allman-Treen. Modern families needed to see the quality and integrity of products such as elegant timber home office solutions as well as wooden playhouses for the kids”.

The new website has a warm, brochure-style appeal and is fully smartphone and tablet ready, plus it runs on a database-driven content management system which gives the client full and instant access to update their range at any time. “The new website is just what we were looking for” says Alan, “it has a wider reach and audience appeal – plus we’re continuing to work with FAT to help it grow and develop alongside our company.”

For websites that grow with your business, contact FAT promotions on 01424 858123 today.


One of the most popular events in the running calender the Hastings Half Marathon will be taking place on the 22nd March for its 31st Half Marathon.  Thousands of runners will be taking part with crowds expected to line the streets.hastings half marahon

The Hastings Half Marathon is organised  by the Hastings Lions Club to raise money for needy causes.

Starting at the seafront and following the route of William the Conqueror towards Battle round the back of the Town and down to the Famous ‘Old Town’ and fishing Village of Hastings, then comes back along the three mile Seafront back to where you started where the 13.1 mile marathon will finish.

There is still time to enter this year, so if you fancy a challenge and want to dust off your running shoes click here.


As the frost sets in across much of Sussex and the Hastings area, what sort of precautions should employers and employees take to minimise the impact on the workplace. We asked Raquel Twigger from employment law specialist Stephen Rimmer LLP’s for more information on what to do in case the snow comes.snow

Make sure you have a severe weather policy in place

If there is a severe weather policy, make sure all employees are familiar with it and know what is expected of them. The policy should provide clear reporting procedures, explain how far they are expected to make an effort to get into work and whether they can expect to be paid that day or not. If there is not a severe weather policy, employers should strongly consider drafting one

Contingency planning

Consider contingencies, so for example where staff can work remotely, try to ensure they have the necessary means with them such as laptops, network codes and so on to do so. Encourage them to think ahead and take home case files or data as appropriate to support home working. Remember to stress what is expected of homeworkers eg the same level of professionalism and attention to detail, client care and data protection as in the office.

Offer holiday or make the time up later

Workers should be given an opportunity to take the time off as paid annual leave or to make the time up in lunch hours or by working extended days over time.

Schools and other outside factors

Remember that certain employees may not be able to work because other services such as schools or nurseries have been closed. Remember that carers of dependent children in these situations are entitled to take additional unpaid time off to care for their children in an emergency. So offer them paid or unpaid leave and don’t penalise them if they have not been able to make it into work because they have to remain at home to care for their children.

Health and Safety aspects of travelling to work

When determining how far employees need to go to get into work, do consider the health and safety implications of them doing so. Do not encourage them to drive in poor weather conditions even if they own large 4×4 style vehicles. It may be reasonable to expect able employees to walk to work within a given radius of the workplace but obviously the same cannot be said of disabled employees.

Closing the workplace

Consider when it may be appropriate and safer to close your business such as when there are problems with the heating in the building which may contravene health and safety, plumbing issues affecting toilet facilities or other weather related hazards on site but do remember that if you close your business, you are obliged to pay your employees regardless of whether they could or would have turned up.

If you need a severe weather policy drafting or simply more advice on the subject please contact Raquel Twigger at Stephen Rimmer LLP Solicitors on rt@stephenrimmer.com 01323 644222.

Good news for Hastings, it has been confirmed that Schuh will soon be opening its doors in Priory Meadow.  The store is expected to open in March.Schuh

Schuh is one of the leading fashion footwear retailers in the UK, successfully trading from 99 stores and online selling over 100 brands as well as their own label. Their well trained and motivated staff enable them to offer some of the best customer service on the high street as well as a fantastic product range for men, women and children. It has come a long way since its original store first opened its doors in 1981, on Edinburgh’s North Bridge.

Schuh has always been known as a veritable footwear ‘Treasure Trove’ boasting 100 or more of the hottest footwear brands alongside its own innovative creations.

This is great news for Hastings and will mean new jobs for the town.

To see what jobs are available click here

Grace Isted is a 25 year old single mum to two girls. After training as an actress at stage school, Grace had her two children and found herself as a single mum living in Rye. Working in a bar and on benefits, Grace felt down and trapped about her life. She knew she wanted more and was capable of more so she started looking at Sussex Coast College Hastings for courses she could enrol onto.

Grace found a Beauty Therapy course which interested her and realised 24+ loans were available to her.

24+ Loans

‘Doing this course has completely changed my life’ says Grace.

‘Applying for the 24+ loan was easy, I came to the college for my interview and the tutor took me straight down to the student services team who were fantastic. They made it clear which part of the forms I had to fill in and which letters and certificates I needed to bring them. It couldn’t have been quicker or easier, thanks to them.’‘The money for the fees was paid straight to the college and I have had help with my childcare too. There is a nursery in the college and I haven’t had to pay towards the costs, which was my biggest worry when enrolling on the course.’‘The college couldn’t do enough to help me find a way, every issue I have had, the college has taken off my hands.’

Grace concluded, ‘I can’t say yet if I have financially benefited from coming back to college, but I can honestly say what it has done for my identity, confidence and self-worth has made it worth every minute. It has given me more than any financial gain, it has given me my life back whilst enabling me to still be a great mum to my girls.’

Grace has a 5 year plan, hoping to continue her Level 3, specialising in skin care, then gain experience for a year before going freelance and opening her own salon.

About 24+ Loans

  • You can apply for a 24+ Advanced Learning Loan to help with the costs of a college or training course if you’re 24 or older.
  • The course must have started on or after 1 August 2013 and be an eligible Level 3 or 4 course, e.g. A-Levels.
  • Loans have to be paid back but repayments don’t start until April 2016 and you won’t have to pay anything back until you earn more than £21,000 a year. The loan doesn’t depend on your income and there are no credit checks.


Every month, Peter Watters, ACA, shares some useful financial tips especially for Business in Hastings readers. This month, he looks at investments. Which is the right investment vehicle for you to consider?mcphersons-logo

As each has its own features, choosing the one – or even two or three – that’s right for you could bring additional benefits to your investment strategy.  


If you invest directly in shares you are holding a small part of a company and will benefit financially if it is successful, through an increase in the share price or by dividends.

Shares are purchased through a stockbroker or an online share dealing service and charge around £10 plus stamp duty of 0.5 per cent of your investment. However, shares listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) are free of stamp duty from 6 April 2014.


• You can choose which company shares to buy.

• As a shareholder you usually have the opportunity to vote on some company decisions.


• Lack of diversity – unless you hold a portfolio of shares your investment is concentrated in one company.

• Dealing charges can make this an expensive way to invest if you are a small investor.


Funds such as unit trusts and Open-Ended Investment Companies (OEICs) are collective investments which allow investors to pool their money together to create a large fund that invests across a range of different shares and/or other assets such as bonds or property. This is run by a professional manager in line with the fund’s objectives.

You buy units with minimum investments as low as £500 or £25 a month, and there are no restrictions on when you sell. Charges vary depending on the type of fund, but are typically an initial charge of up to 5 per cent with an Annual Management Charge (AMC) of up to 1.5 per cent.


• Instant diversification without a large upfront investment by you

• Investment decisions are taken by an experienced financial adviser

• Thousands of funds to choose from investing in equities, bonds and property as well as other types of assets


• Management charges can be high.

• The manager doesn’t always get it right.


An investment trust is a form of collective investment, you buy shares in a company, which then uses the money raised to invest in a range of assets on your behalf.  There are some key differences between trusts and funds. Trusts are more sophisticated, and therefore slightly riskier,

investment than funds. Investment trusts are able to borrow money, known as gearing, which can help to increase profits but can also magnify any losses in a falling market.

Additionally they are closed-end. This means that a finite number of shares are available, so the share price will be affected by supply and demand as well as the value of the underlying assets. This means the shares can trade at a discount or a premium to the net asset value.


• Instant diversification without a large investment.

• Gearing means gains can be magnified, although the same also applies to losses.

• Normally lower annual management charge than an equivalent fund.

• Returns can be enhanced if you buy on a discount and it narrows as the trust becomes more popular.


• Dealing charges can make this expensive for a smaller investor.

• More sophisticated and potentially more risky investment than a fund.


A pension fund operates exactly the same as a fund, a manager investing according to the fund’s objectives, but because it is a wrapper specifically for pension investments, there are some important tax advantages. Subject to earnings and the annual “lifetime pension allowance”, anything paid into a pension fund receives tax relief at the basic rate, effectively topping up an £80 contribution to £100. Higher-rate taxpayers receive tax relief at their highest marginal rate. Additionally, although you cannot reclaim the 10 per cent tax credit on dividends, all income and gains in the fund are tax-free. However when you come to take benefits, either as an annuity or when drawing income from a personal pension, these are subject to income tax.


• Instant diversification.

• Tax breaks.


• Money cannot be accessed before age 55.


A venture capital trust (VCT) is a trust which invests in fledgling companies that are looking to develop their business. The nature of these companies means that this is a higher risk investment.

Due to the risk there are a number of tax incentives to encourage investment. These include tax-free income, dividends and gains and an income tax rebate of 30% of your initial investment into new VCT shares, providing you have paid sufficient income tax that year and you hold the shares for at least five years.


• Generous tax breaks.

• Opportunity to invest in very small companies.

• Income payouts make them very attractive for retired investors.


• Higher risk and more suited to sophisticated investors.

The value of your investment and the income from it can go down as well as up and you may not get back the original amount invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator for future results. Please contact us for further information or if you are in any doubt as to the suitability of an investment.

The value of your investment and the income from it can go down as well as up and you may not get back the original amount invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator for future results. Please contact us for further information or if you are in any doubt as to the suitability of an investment.