Driving Hastings forward 01424 205481

RDPI is delighted to announce the launch of Unlock your potential – a year that will change your life, in St Leonards-on-Sea. This programme is the brainchild of Katie Day and Dr Roger Prentis, who together have decades of experience and expertise in the areas of business coaching, training and consultancy, having worked all over the world with many major global organisations including the UN.

Unlock your potential will take you from where you are today to where you want to be. With six months of targeted seminars, supported by six one-hour webinars, the first half of the programme will equip participants with the key skills, strategies and confidence to realise their potential. Realise they have bucket loads of potential, and realise this potential by bringing it out into the open. The seminars are unlike any you have attended before. These sessions are aimed at getting to the core of who you are, exposing your brilliance and catapulting you into your future. All participants have the opportunity to enter the competition at the end of six months, where the top ten will be invited to pitch their business in front of a selected audience, including potential investors, at a London based prestigious venue. The pitches will coincide with the Awards ceremony with an exciting package for the overall winner.

As if this wasn’t enough, after the six month programme, you will be supported for a further six months via the monthly Mastermind Groups. These will bring together everyone on the programme to share successes, embed the learning, talk through any challenges and receive independent and supportive feedback.

The programme is being offered at the introductory price of £150 per month, or if paid in advance, £1250, which represents a saving of £550.

The launch of Unlock your potential will be on 30th June in London, with the full programme starting in St Leonards-on-Sea in early September. For more information, contact Katie or Roger at unlock@rdp-int.com


The Luna Cinema is using Hastings rebuilt pier as a platform to show a variety of open air movies. We were lucky enough to pop down on Saturday to see Star Wars – The Force Star Wars on the PierAwakens, the doors opened at 7pm and the film started at 9pm.

Tickets for it were a tad on the expensive side however it is a unique experience, they are also non-refundable unless the Luna Cinema specifically says the weather could cause the showing to be dangerous. Luckily for us it wasn’t raining and not too cold either.

The screen was sat on the front half of the pier, pointing towards the sea. Which meant you could either use the open space or sit on the steps going up to the restaurant seating area.

The showing was delayed a little and started at around 9:30pm, this was to ensure it was dark enough to see the film clearly.  The image and sound quality were a lot more impressive than we had expected, and you could not here a thing from the traffic just outside of the pier.

This was a great way to start things rolling on the pier, the first night was a documentary RE: The Pier, followed by Jaws and Star Wars – The Force Awakens. Pride and Dirty Dancing will be shown on 27th and the 28th May.

There is really something for everyone, and is a really fun experience if you are up for braving the weather.

Once again Hastings is in the press this week with another article from the Independent.

Hastings Old Town has been described at the cool place of the day, with The Stade, the Jerwood Gallery, the Castle and of course the brand new pier.

Check out the full article here


George Street

Plastipack Ltd, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of specialist covering materials for swimming pools, has opened an exciting new test and research facility at its headquarters in St Leonards-on- Sea, East Sussex. The new capability was officially opened by Rt. Hon. Amber RuddMP, Member of Parliament for Hastings and Rye, and Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.

The unique test facility, a world first, comprises five outdoor 8m x 4m x 1.2m swimming pools located side by side. This allows Plastipack to accurately measure and compare the performance of different types of cover materials, while monitoring real-time water temperature and environmental conditions.Plastpack Ltd

Amber Rudd was delighted to formally open Plastipack’s new test facility, saying; “It’s encouraging that an interesting and innovative business such as Plastipack is growing so strongly on the world stage from their established base in Hastings. It’s vital that they are able to continue to access the support within the UK and Europe that is so important for their growth prospects.”

Peter Adlington, managing director of Plastipack Ltd, explains how the test facility will benefit the company. “Our new outdoor laboratory will be invaluable in the development, analysis and comparison of high performance cover materials for pools. It increases our understanding of how products perform on real pools and will help Plastipack maintain market leadership through technical expertise. It adds credibility to product claims with publishable results and greater environmental monitoring which sets us and our products apart from other manufacturers. It also helps raise the importance and industry awareness of credible performance data,” he adds.

The test facility has been designed and developed in collaboration with the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) at the University of Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute and Department of Physics. The project is co-funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

The test area represents an investment of £100k at Plastipack’s St Leonards site, which currently employs 34 core staff. The company has invested over £3 million in its manufacturing and distribution capability since it was formed in 1999. Plastipack currently exports to 34 countries throughout the world, with around 75% of its business in the EU.

Plastipack Ltd contact details: Tel +44 (0) 1424 851 659, www.plastipack.co.uk

Hastings based couple Sam and Jasmin Bollen have recently set up their own family run Chilli sauce business.

Founded through the lifelong passion from Sam who has always loved getting his chilli kicks but was struggling to find sauces with heat and flavour.  He started making his own sauce and after a couple of years perfecting his recipes and amazing feedback from friends and family plus Mrs B (Jazzy’s) encouragement he decided to take it to the public. He had finally found the heat and flavour he wanted along with an added bonus that to get this he only uses carefully selected SUPERFOOD ingredients so its great for your health too.

The sauces come in a variety of three flavours, The Cheeky Chick, The Hardcore Hen and The Courageous Cock all with different heat levels.

After choosing the name for the sauce, ‘Mr & Mrs B’s Seriously buzzin’ hot sauce’, designing their own labels and branding, setting up their own Facebook page and finally receiving their 5* Food Hygiene Certificate in April this year their hot sauce is now available in a number of places in East Sussex, currently selling in the Hastings Handicraft Kiosk on the newly built Hastings Pier and the Lime Cross Nursery in Herstmonceux.

The couple also took to the streets of Hastings on the May Day Bank Holiday weekend to give out samples to all the tourists on the pier, and they have also been fortunate enough to be able to sponsor two local athletes mma/k1 fighhter Dinko Pehlic and mixed martial arts fighter Steven Hill. Not only that they are looking forward to being at the Fiery Foods Festival in September this year where they will be entering their sauce in the national chilli awards.

We spoke to Sam and Jasmin recently who said “We  absolutely love what we do.  Our aim is to unify the heat and flavour of our specially selected chillies along with our carefully chosen superfood and organic ingrediants to create a seriously buzzin’ hot sauce for people to enjoy with any food their tastebuds require, even Jaffa Cakes!!

You can find the guys monthly at the Kings Road Market or check out their Facebook page and their website




The University of Brighton, Hastings Campus are inviting people to go and see their final year undergraduate projects and learn about them from their creators.

Students from their BSc (hons) courses –  Digital Games Production, Internet Computing, and Computer Systems with Networking will be demonstrating their projects on themes including Augmented Reality, Data Visualization, Serious Games, Human Computer Interaction, Web Development, and more.

The event will be taking place on Tuesday 24 May at the Hastings Campus between 13.00-17.00.

For more information contact Jon Nicholson here

Hastings-based Hivac Engineering is a well-established specialist in the manufacture of ultra-high vacuum chambers and equipment used in surface science, semi-conductor and synchrotron particle acceleration. For the latter think CERN and the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, or closer to home Diamond Light Source in Oxfordshire.

The type of work that Hivac Engineering undertakes, therefore, is generally low-volume, R&D, but to extremely tight tolerances on large components.

Many of the products manufactured by Hivac Engineering are welded assemblies, made up from a number of machined components, some of which are straightforward, others can be complex. This work is a mix of made to drawing and in-house design, where it employs 3D CAD and Finite Element Analysis. A common thread throughout, though, is the finished accuracy of the welded assemblies, which have to be finished machined, creating a requirement for large capacity, and accurate, machine tools. “Our investment in machine tools is driven by market requirements, if we need a machine we will buy it, but due to the nature of our work, the majority of it being stainless steel, but we also machine refractory materials such as tantalum, molybdenum and high temperature ceramics, such as Boron, Macor and Shapal. As a result we need robust machines that are capable of not only accommodating the parts we make, but also of being able to achieve the quality of machine finish that our customers and products require,” says Paul Lennard, Managing Director, Hivac Engineering.

Investment in machine capacity at Hivac Engineering backs up this point with a heavyweight XYZ 2010 vertical machining centre and an XYZ XL 1100 extra-large lathe being the most recent additions. Key to the decision to buy the XYZ 2010 VMC was its construction, which features a solid cast base, rather than a fabricated one. This 20,000 kg machine provides Hivac with a robust machining platform, added to which is the standard 1000 mm travel in the y-axis, which when combined with the 2000 mm and 800 mm travel in the x and z axes creates a large machining envelope, yet the footprint of the machine is relatively compact for a machine of this capacity. Hivac also took the 4 th axis option with the machine as well for even greater versatility. “We need machines that are capable of machining straightforward and complex parts, and with the XYZ machines this is what you get. This is helped by the use of the Siemens ShopMill 828D control system, which we find extremely easy to use thanks to the conversational programming and operators who are unfamiliar with it quickly get up to speed.”

Changes in personnel and production requirements were also a driver in the choice of the XYZ XL 1100 lathe that was installed in October 2015. Much of the large diameter turning work at Hivac Engineering had been done on manual machines and due to the skill requirement for this work this was becoming a bottleneck. This led to Paul Lennard looking for an alternative and the criteria for the lathe was much the same as for the machining centre, it had to be robust, easy to use and have a relatively compact footprint. “The XYZ XL 1100 met all those criteria as it is an 8000 kg machine, with a solid cast construction, with the bed length that we specified the footprint is only 3930 mm by 2300 mm by 2200 mm, but we can swing 1100 mm over the bed.”

The XL 1100 makes use of the Siemens 840D control, in this case with the ShopTurn variant. Both the ShopTurn and ShopMill controls make use of Siemens JobShop Concept that simplifies all of the on-screen prompts ensuring that programming is quick and easy.

Confidence in the resulting program is enhanced by Siemens’ Line trace graphics that allow the operator to view the program as it progresses through each stage of the cycle, with full 3D graphics assisting the process. “When it comes to investing in machine tools we generally know what we want and with XYZ Machine Tools we know what we will get. The machines are well constructed, the  service and support is excellent and we feel that we get looked after. We must do as these latest two machines take our XYZ plant list to nine machines now, a mixture of five CNC lathes and machining centres with the Siemens control and four ProtoTRAK controlled mills and lathes,” says Paul Lennard.

The state pension was first introduced in May 1908 by the then recently appointed Prime Minister, H.H. Asquith.  The Old Age Pensions Act received royal assent in August of that year and the first payments were made to pensioner in January of the following year.

At that time eligible people over the age of 70 were entitled to a maximum payment of five shilling per week – in today’s term’s this is the equivalent to £20.

Comparing the first 100 years of the state pension it’s clear to see why the government’s pension budget is now under strain. In 1908, there were 500,000 pensioners – in 2008 there were 12 million. The £20 per week payment had increased to £90, and the ratio for surviving to age 100 had increased from 1:200 to 1:4. The government decided to push an initiative for us to save for our own retirement to compliment the state provision.

In 2008, a revised Pensions Act was made for all eligible employees to be automatically enrolled into their company pension. The membership of this scheme runs between October 2012 and February 2018 by which time every organisation of any size will need to offer a workplace pension to their workers.

Employees – will you be automatically enrolled?

As a worker you will fall into one of three categories, one of which automatically places you in your workplace pension. This most common category covers all UK workers aged between 22 and state pension age who earn over £10,000 per year.

If this means you – contributions to your pension will begin at the next pay day after the company’s ‘staging date’ (or after a maximum 3-month postponement period if this has been utilised by your employer). Although you have a right to opt-out, this can only be done once you have been assessed for eligibility, i.e. after staging date.

Pension contributions are based on a qualifying band of income (£5,824 – £43,000 for this tax year). Initially you will pay 1% including tax relief, rising to 5% in April 2019. Your employer will pay 1% of your qualifying earnings, rising to 3% in April 2019. These are minimum amounts and you are normally able to increase your contributions if you wish, however your employer is not obliged to follow suit.

Employers – Is your company ready for auto-enrolment?

Choosing a pension scheme for auto-enrolment is a complicated and time consuming process. There are a number of steps your company will need to go through; starting with finding out your company’s staging date, assessing your workforce, keeping them up-to- date with the pension changes, and informing the Pensions Regulator that you have met your obligations. Once the pension scheme is up and running you then need to make contributions and manage opt-outs and new joiners.

Furthermore, there are a number of other issues that you will need to consider to practically implement the regulations:

  • Which product solution will best suit
  • Which product solution will best suit your company’s needs?
  • What will you choose as your default investment and contribution level?
  • How the costs and admin burden affect your business?
  • How will you retain and maintain your records?
  • How will you notify your eligible jobholders?

Can McPhersons help?

The Pensions Regulator has stated that 7/10 employers are seeking advice on meeting their Auto-Enrolment obligations. If you require assistance, Aron Gunningham is our pension specialist and an independent financial adviser. Aron will be happy to help answer your questions and guide you through your duties.

The Pension Regulator has issued financial penalties for company’s who do not comply by their staging date, or for errors in the scheme once it has been setup. Coupled with the admin involved in meeting your duties, it would be prudent to speak to a financial professional.

Although we can be excused for thinking that our National Insurance contributions should be paying for our retirement, inevitably the state provision will not be sufficient. Under the newly formed ‘single-tier’ state pension, retirees in 2016/17 are entitled to a full pension of £155.65 per week. Rarely is this seen as enough to live on. Like it or not, we must find alternative ways to supplement our retirement income. Auto Enrolment, although not a perfect solution, is the Governments way of forcing us to think more carefully about funding our retirement.

Just call 01424 730000 or email info@mcphersons.co.uk to arrange your free meeting.

The 1066 Anniversary Community Grants Fund 2016 is a small grants scheme set up to help the communities of Hastings mark the 950th anniversary of the battle that bears its name.

The Fund is aimed at voluntary and community sector groups who want to hold their own events or develop their own projects as part of the town’s anniversary activities and offers grants of up to £3,000.

The fund would like to support a diverse range of projects, which enable people to mark the anniversary in any way, but might include cultural or community events, educational activities or more permanent memorials.

The events or activities must be developed by or with the communities who will benefit.  Events must take place during 2016 and take place within Hastings Borough.

Examples of activities and events which would be welcomed for consideration are themed mini-festivals, street parties, performances, local community tours, displays, talks and storytelling, art installations etc.

The closing date for applications is midday (12pm) 16th June 2016.

For the grant criteria or to request an application and guidance please email 1066AnniversaryGrantsFund@hastings.gov.uk  or telephone Cheryl Chitty on 01424 451391 (working days are Tuesdays and Thursdays). Alternatively go to http://www.hastings.gov.uk/community_living/tourism_culture/arts_culture/


1066 Anniversary Community Grants 2016


On Saturday 14th May there will be a public rally/demo taking place against the proposed closure of the Hastings Campus and Hands Off Hastings would love a many of you as possible to join them.  Why? Because the closure of the Hastings Campus will have a direct and negative impact on the local community and economy, it will also impact on the creative culture that Hastings thrives on.

At present the town has over 600 students studying in Hastings.  Each one of those contributes to the town in one way or another.  Students work for local businesses, raise money for charities and offer their skills during work placements and volunteer placements.

From art students, computer students, post production students, business students, Biology students, games production students, Radio and TV students and so many more.

Rachael Kamara said ‘This is the kind of creativity we need to keep in the town, we need to encourage the university to invest not divest in our community and we need to fight for a better future for the younger generation.  We can do this by showing the board of governors and senior management what Hastings is all about and how much this community works together to make this an amazing place to live and study.  The opportunities provided by the Hastings Campus should not be taken away and we hope that you can join us in our campaign.  We want Saturdays rally to be about, the culture and passion of Hastings.  If you are a dancer, a pirate, a bogie, a drummer, or just an exhibitionist we would love you to come along in full colour and help us turn a rally into a party.’

Detail of the event can be found here.


Please help us spread the word.  If you can’t join us on Saturday, tell your friends or sign the petition below.