Driving Hastings forward 01424 205481

The Checkatrade.com Expo returns to the  Azur at the Marina Pavilion in St. Leonards on sea on Friday 17th March starting at 10am.

This year’s event will be attended by the Chairman of East Sussex County Council, The Mayor of Eastbourne and the founder and CEO of the Checkatrade.com group of companies Kevin Byrne.

Checkatrade.com is the official partner to East Sussex Trading Standards Authority  and are proud to have a presence in the County.

The Checkatrade.com group of companies are responsible for contributing  £2.8 Billion pounds per annum to the UK economy.

The event is a B2B, B2C, B2G and B2E  event and will boast other high profile visitors throughout the day.

All day networking combined with the latest products and services on offer makes the Checkatrade.com Expo the ideal event to attend if you are in the trade.

We’ve also been told that there are a few exhibition stands remaining and a high media presence confirmed so if you want to be part of the bigger, better and bolder  Checkatrade.com Expo then contact Lord Brett McLean for further details.

The Hastings Independent Press (HIP) is a free, not-for-profit, fortnightly newspaper run mainly by volunteers – and they’ve just published their 50th issue. Having run for two years on a shoestring, they’re now raising the bar – to the tune of £15,000. This would finance a professional office space and a distribution service, allowing the paper to build on its success.

About the Hastings Independent

For two years, HIP’s team of volunteers have worked tirelessly to provide quality news, back local causes, support community cohesion, promote local arts, and provide training and work experience to local people.

This kind of positive, community-focused organisation is vital to the town, which suffers low average incomes, high unemployment, and more than its fair share of substance abuse and mental health problems. According to the Department for Communities and Local Government, Hastings is the most deprived town on the south coast, and the 13th most deprived local authority in England.

“It’s a community paper, for and of the community,” says reader Jane Grimshaw, who has also appeared in the paper for her work with Hastings Supports Refugees. “It’s lead and inspired by members of the community with an inclusive approach to reporting what is happening in our area.”

Providing training to the community

Very few of HIP’s volunteers have formal training in journalism, so the team run free weekly peer-to-peer sessions on Monday evenings at a local careers centre. Recent sessions have included news writing (run by the news ed, an ex sub-editor), law for journalists (run by the sports ed, a retired solicitor), photojournalism (run by the picture ed, a professional photographer) and media sales (run by the advertising manager). Volunteers also make use of free training resources, such as the online course in community journalism by Cardiff University.

“I came to HIP to learn new skills, become more confident in my writing and gain new experiences,” says volunteer Leanne Cannon, who is also studying English with the Open University. “Working with HIP I feel that I can reach those goals.”

With recent news that the University of Brighton will be withdrawing its Hastings campus in five years (along with its journalism course), HIP has become even more vital as a training resource.

Recent coverage

HIP is primarily paper-first, feeling that a free, paper-based news source is important to the community. But it has also recently refurbished its website, to broaden its reach and allow volunteers to link to their stories when applying for jobs. Here are a few recent articles:

Achievements to date:

  • Pagination has increased from an initial 16 pages to a current 24.
  • Regular volunteers have grown from an initial 4 to a team of 37, including 12 section editors, 4 sub editors, 4 photographers and over 20 writers.
  • We also have more than 100 occasional contributors.
  • Advertising covers most running costs, with preferential rates for small local businesses and community organisations.

What past volunteers are doing now

Several volunteers have used their experience with HIP to gain new employment. A few examples are: gallery assistant at Express Newspapers, social data journalist at Brandwatch, freelance writer for Novara and the Guardian, communications manager for the local borough council.

Crowdfunding campaign

Having confirmed the local appetite for an independent news source over the past two years – and the HIP team’s ability to provide it – they are celebrating their 50th issue by launching a crowdfunding campaign to raise £15,000.

This will allow the paper to build on its success to date, by financing for one year:

  1. A distribution co-ordinator to do newspaper deliveries.
  2. Improvements to the office, which was kindly donated but needs some work.
  3. Occasional shortfalls in running costs such as printing and design (usually financed by advertising).

hastings-independent-logoAny help with raising the profile of the crowdfunder, or the paper in general, would be much appreciated.

Chancellor George Osborne announced that corporation tax will be reduced by 17% by April 2020 and hopes this will lure more companies to Britain.

The tax was already cut from 28% to 20% previously and Osborne believes the extra cuts will provide a boost to local firms. This should save British firms around £15 billion a year by 2020.

A reduction in corporation tax would make Britain the country with the lowest rate in the G20, which will encourage more people to start, run and grow businesses in the UK.

The deficit will also be eliminated over the next 4 years and the government will be running a surplus. There will be a further £3.5 billion of savings from departmental spending in 2019-2020 to help achieve this.

Osborne announced in the Budget that there will be a longer school day for 25% of secondary schools and every school will become an academy by 2022.

The new Lifetime ISA will allow people to save for retirement or to buy a first home as from April 2017, any adult under 40 will be able to open one. Each year up to £4,000 can be saved and savers will receive a 25% bonus from the government.

The current Personal Allowance rate stands at £10,600 before workers start paying tax, but this will change from £11,000 in 2016 to £11,500 in April 2017.



Danny Alexander the chief secretary to the Treasury has said that he will demand an assurance from fuel suppliers and distributors that they are doing all they can to cut prices further after recent declines in the cost of oil.

This week Brent Crude has slumped as low as $82 (£51) per barrel which is its lowest level in just over four years due to concerns about over supply.motorway-at-night

Petrol in the UK has fallen from 131.7 pence per litre to 124.22 pence which sees a decline of about 6%. For diesel the drop is from 136.37 pence per litre to 1.28.58 pence.

This news has seen the start of the supermarket price war and we are starting to see this locally. The cheapest fuel that we found locally so far is Asda in St. Leonards, they are as of 17.11.2014 selling at 118.7 pence per litre and diesel is currently at 123.7 pence per litre this has also seen Tesco’s and Sainsbury’s following suit with 1p cuts of their own.

The declining price of fuel can only be a good thing for the local economy. The knock on effect that fuel costs have on every aspect of the economy from the distribution of pretty much everything from food to consumer and business products should start coming down in price as the cost of transporting them goes down.

It will also naturally benefit everyone’s customers as they will have more disposable income which could translate into more spending.

The Hastings Independent will be celebrating its six-month anniversary this Friday 15th August when its 12th issue returns hot off the press.

The fortnightly paper is a non-profit venture run entirely by local volunteers – writers, editors, photographers, designers and distributors. It was conceived in a pub, as all the best ideas are, and has grown rapidly. It expanded from 16 pages to 20 pages two months ago, and plans to increase its current print run of 10,000 to 13,000 as soon as finances allow.

Hastings has welcomed the paper with open arms, with letters and emails flooding in and more volunteers turning up to the public news meetings each week, asking how they can get involved.


The Hastings Independent News team

And that’s the plan, says Sam Kinch, one of the paper’s four directors: “I see the Independent as a mouthpiece for the town, to give people a voice to air their views, to take a stand or even just to share gardening tips. But more than that I see it as a vehicle for community-led regeneration.”

For some of the team, setting up the paper has meant learning a whole new set of skills – for example the chief designer, Joseph Gregory, who taught himself to use InDesign and the intricacies of newspaper layout.

Others have taught themselves and one another how to write and edit news. For those trying to build up their CVs, it has provided an opportunity to build up portfolios of published articles and gain insight into the journalism industry – experience that is increasingly hard to access in mainstream journalism.

However, there have been challenges – the biggest, of course, being money. While the paper has applied for and been awarded some grants, so far the £700 a month printing costs have been funded mainly through advertising sales and fundraising, leading to several white-knuckle press days. But with new and repeat advertisers steadily coming on board, and the introduction of new sponsorship packages for local businesses, the finances are slowly stabilising.

“There have been times when we didn’t think we’d make it,” says Cathy Relf, one of the paper’s volunteers. “But with a bit of determination and a fantastic and expanding team, we’ve got stronger and stronger. Getting to six months is a fantastic achievement, and the reader feedback makes all the hard work worthwhile.”

There are big plans for the next six months, including a stall at Brighton University’s Freshers’ Fair, collaboration with a group of year 12 and 13 students at Parkwood 6th Form College, an art auction at the Crown in September and the much-requested addition of a sports page. Watch this space!

For more information about the newspaper, visit www.hastingsindependentpress.co.uk. You can also call them on 07961 108801 or email subs@hastingsindependentpress.co.uk.

Posted by: In: Manufacturing, News 11 Jul 2013 Comments: 0 Tags: , ,

The annual Insider Made In The South East awards is still open for nominations from manufacturers in the South East.

made in southeast manufacturing awards

Nominations are open for manufacturers until the end of July

Nominations for manufacturers close on 31 July 2013 so if you would like to enter please do so by this date.

Here is the overview of the awards that can be won:

Manufacturing Company (Turnover below £10m)

This award is for the manufacturing company based in the South East, with a latest reported turnover of less than £10m that has demonstrated the excellence and growing sales of its products and the innovation of its processes (Voting period 1 August 2012 to 31 July 2013).

Manufacturing Company (Turnover between £10m and £25m)

This award is for the manufacturing company based in the South East, with a latest reported turnover of between £10m and £25m, that has demonstrated the excellence and growing sales of its products and the innovation of its processes (Voting period 1 August 2012 to 31 July 2013).

Manufacturing Company (Turnover above £25m)

This award is for the manufacturing company based in the South East, with a latest reported turnover of above £25m, that has demonstrated the excellence and growing sales of its products and the innovation of its processes (Voting period 1 August 2012 to 31 July 2013).

Export Award

This award is for the manufacturing company based in the South East deemed to be the most prolific exporter, in terms of both international presence and overseas sales (Voting period 1 August 2012 to 31 July 2013).

Technology Award

This award is for the company deemed to have had the biggest impact in the areas of electronics, software, computer hardware and/or telecommunications (Voting period 1 August 2012 to 31 July 2013).

Food & Drink Award

For the food or drink company in the South East that the judges deem has had the biggest impact during the period August 2012 and July 2013.

Digital Award

This award is for the South East company, with a latest reported turnover of less than £25m, which operates in, or for, the manufacturing industry, which has demonstrated continued innovation in its products and services (Voting period 1 August 2012 to 31 July 2013).

Apprenticeship Scheme

This award is for the best manufacturing apprenticeship or other training scheme in the South East. The category is open to all manufacturing businesses, colleges or other institutions in the region that have devised or are running an apprenticeship scheme, either alone or in partnership (Voting period 1 August 2012 to 31 July 2013).


This award is for the aerospace and defence company which is deemed to have had the biggest impact on the region either in terms of employment, growth or exports (Voting period 1 August 2012 to 31 July 2013)

The awards will be held at G Live, London Road, Guildford, GU1 2AA on Thursday 10th October, 2013.

To get tickets to the award ceremony and dinner or to nominate a local manufacturing business please visit their site here