Driving Hastings forward 01424 205481

A pop-up exhibition the Union of Shop Distributive and Allied Workers ‘Usdaw: 125 Years Strong’ will open to the public from 1 to 30 November 2016 at Hastings Museum & Art Gallery.

The exhibition reviews Usdaw’s social history and showcases campaigns then and now in the areas of safer workplaces, better conditions, improved pay and fairness at work. The exhibition offers a fascinating insight into the rights of shop workers through the years.

“One hundred and twenty five years ago, representatives of workers met in Manchester and Birmingham to establish the trade unions which would, in 1947, amalgamate to become the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers” said Cllr Dawn Poole the council’s lead member for leisure. “We are really pleased to be hosting this exhibition as part its tour during 2016 especially with Hastings’ history of early socialism and the Robert Tressell connections with the town”.

The exhibition opens at Hastings Museum and Art Gallery on 01 November with FREE entrance.

More information of events at Hastings Museum can be found from their website www.hmag.org.uk


A new free public Wi-Fi is now available in Hastings at hotspots along the seafront. 

Hastings Borough Council is pleased to announce the new free public Wi-Fi at a number of hotspots along the seafront including the Stade area at Rock a Nore, Pelham Beach, the promenade at The Source Park and Pier and Warrior Square, St Leonards.

“We are really excited about this new project which has been grant funded by the Coastal Communities Fund. For some time we have wanted to provide free public access for non-commercial use in the town and this is a great start” said Cllr Dawn Poole the council’s lead member for regeneration.

“You’ll know when you’re in the Wi-Fi hotspot areas; look out for the purple Wi-Fi logo and stickers. To get started you will need to register for the service via your mobile device and then you’ll have free access for a 12 hour period any day you want.”

“It’s so easy and will give everyone in the area residents and visitors alike the opportunity to access information at their fingertips for free! Our thanks must go to everyone involved in this project especially our network installation contractors Technology Box; a local company based in Rock House” added Cllr Poole

Hastings Borough Council has used the Coastal Communities Funding for a range of projects including signage, kiosks, public realm improvements, business mentoring for tourism and seafront businesses.


Hastings Herring Fair 05 – 06 November 2016 

Organised by Hastings Borough Council and funded by the Coastal Communities Fund (CCF), the fifth annual Hastings Herring Fair will take place at the Stade Open Space in Hastings over the weekend 05 and 06 November 2016.

“We are pleased to present the Hastings Herring Fair again this year which aims to promote the local herring industry and showcase the versatile herring which is so abundant at this time of year.” explained Cllr Kim Forward the council’s lead member for marketing.

“After the successful classes held at the Seafood and Wine Festival, the famous Billingsgate Seafood Training School will be back to deliver cookery classes in the Classroom on the Coast on Saturday 05 November. These special herring taster classes will teach you how to prepare herring and you’ll be able to take some home to cook” added Cllr Forward.

There’ll be demo’s from local forager, Sarah Watson of Wild Feast and lots of stalls offering mouth-watering fishy dishes, vegetarian options and plenty of local wine together with a beer festival run by the First in Last Out (FILO) public house and a host of music and entertainment including shanty singers, bands, dance performances and a ceilidh until 4.30pm on Sunday 06 November to top it all off.

“Once again the fair promises to be an exciting weekend full of all things fishy and don’t forget this is an undercover event so won’t be affected by wet weather! “said Cllr Forward.

The Herring Fair takes place at The Stade Open Space, Rock a Nore, Hastings on Saturday 05 and Sunday 06 November 11am – 4pm both days. Full details of all festival events can be found at http://www.hastingsfestivals.com/herringfair

To avoid disappointment book the Billingsgate Cookery classes in advance. Places are £6 per person, contact Billingsgate directly 020 75173548. Class times are 11am, 12.15pm, 1.30pm, 2.45pm

The Central St Leonards Town Team hosted a reception last week to recognize and reward businesses in St Leonards that are making the most of their retail frontages and firmly placing shopping in St Leonards back on the map after years of decline.

Supported and funded by Hastings Borough Council, with sponsorship from the Co-op, awards were made to over 35 of St Leonards’ finest retailers, bars, restaurants and commercial businesses.

“It was great to see so many businesses represented at these awards and all of them worked so hard to make the most of their shop front. Gold, silver and bronze awards were given and recognition was given to those that bring something extra to the area” said Cllr Dawn Poole the council’s lead member for regeneration who attended the awards ceremony at The Royal Victoria Hotel.

She added: “St Leonards really is on the up and it’s down to businesses like these with the support from the Town Team that are making the difference. Congratulations to you all!”

Gold winners included Shop, Relax Restaurant, Half Man Half Burger, The Wine Shed, Spread Eagle Tattoo, Calneva, Bobos Flowers and Kino-Teatr.

The Borough of Hastings celebrated in its usual flamboyant and colourful way the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings over the weekend. The community worked together to put on a medieval extravaganza in the Old Town where music, hog roasts, living history displays and a loud and proud daytime firework display all combined to entertain and cheer everybody despite the worsening weather. The guy competition produced numerous intricate interpretations on a theme even containing a representation of our own MP Amber Rudd who entered into the spirit and placed it first in its category.

The first procession was led by representatives of the Hastings Celebrates 950 Committee followed by dignitaries from all over the world and numerous own Criers and joined by the Hastings Community who had turned out in their thousands and it was pleasing that the high spirit was not dampened when the rain fell.

The traditional torch lit Sussex bonfire procession was the largest yet in the 22 years of Hastings Borough Bonfire Society and the bonfire was a warm welcome to all who had yet again enjoyed a good soaking thanks to the weather. However the effigy, a Norman longboat, and the fireworks, whilst affected by the weather still gave a fitting and spectacular end to the day for the many thousands who had also been rained on and buffeted by high winds.

The Reflections service on Sunday was a spiritual end to Hastings Week with the blessing of the Hastings People’s Tapestry and the lighting of candles for peace both past, present and future.

All the above events where largely funded by and  put on by unpaid volunteers for the benefit of the community and by doing so collected nearly £4000 which will be distributed to local charities.

The 950th Hastings Celebrates and Hastings Borough Bonfire Society acknowledge the support of Hastings Borough Council both financially and as a facilitator and wish to thank all the dignitaries, volunteers and the community as a whole both for its endeavours and their attendance.

Three companies supported by Locate East Sussex scooped awards at this year’s Best of East Sussex Business Awards to celebrate the cream of the county’s businesses.

The Alliance of Chambers in East Sussex (ACES) event was held at the De La Warr Pavilion on Thursday evening (October 13) attracting business people across the county for a glittering evening hosted by Radio 4 presenter Timandra Harkness including a three course meal and live music.

Winners of the Start-Up Entrepreneur of the Year were Rory Myers and Matt Woodhouse who own Half Man! Half Burger! on St Leonards seafront.

Accepting the award, the duo thanked Locate East Sussex for helping them secure a £10,000 grant towards setting up and they were also lent money by Let’s Do Business Group for start-up costs when high street banks turned them away.

Since then the profit target for Half Man! Half Burger! has been exceeded by more than 400% and the owners are opening their second restaurant in Eastbourne without increasing their borrowings.

Surrey NanoSystems, which won The Innovation Award, also paid tribute to Locate East Sussex for the business support service’s help in relocating from Surrey to Newhaven where the facilities are more cost effective and staff enjoy a better work-life balance. The team has since invented Vantablack, the darkest substance known to man and is in great demand locally.

Overall Business of the Year was named The Source, the new underground skate park on Hastings seafront which was created from the derelict White Rock Baths.

Locate East Sussex helped secure funding of £320,000 for The Source from the Regional Growth Fund, administered locally by East Sussex County Council, as well as a loan of £28,000.

The Source hosted the Battle of Hastings this year, the most acclaimed BMX event in the world, and the company’s exports have grown 800% since 2013 and its TripAdvisor scores are 5*.

Philip Johnson, Director of Locate East Sussex, said: “It is fantastic to see businesses that we have helped, either through access to funding or relocation advice, becoming so success. These awards are very well deserved and a testament to the determination and vision of all the business owners.”

For more details about Locate East Sussex visit www.locateeastsussex.org.uk, email enquiries@locateeastsussex.org.uk, or phone on 01424 205085.


BD Foods, a Hastings-based food manufacturing business is expanding into purpose-build new premises and creating 40 new jobs with help from funding provided by East Sussex County Council.

BD Foods produces an extensive range of sauces, dressings, dips and soups which are sold to restaurants, hotel chains and airlines. Its impressive client list includes British Airways, Conrad Hotels, Eurostar, Nandos, Café Rouge and Marriott, to name a few.

BD Foods has accessed grant and loan funding of £360k through Locate East Sussex, the county’s business support service. This has been supplemented with an investment of £750k from Hastings Borough Council, all of which will be invested into a new building for BD Foods.

Since 2001, BD Foods has grown from a start-up company with just three members of staff, to its current size where it employs over 100 local people. The company is expanding rapidly and now has a turnover of £7 million a year as a result of 15 years of strong and sustained growth.

In 2015, BD Foods was finding that future growth was potentially at risk. Capacity constraints at its site on the Castleham Road Industrial Estate in St Leonards-on-Sea were limiting production and restricting further expansion.

The company needed to expand. Plans for a new factory were drawn up and BD Foods approached Hastings Borough Council and Locate East Sussex for support. The new factory, due to be completed late 2016, will see an additional 40 new permanent jobs being created and will provide an additional 10,000 sq. ft. of space next to BD Foods’ main production facility. Exactly what BD Foods needs to grow.

John Davis, Managing Director of BD Foods, said: “Hastings is a great place to run a business and we are both successful and happy here.

“Hastings Borough Council has been productive, flexible and supportive with our expansion plans. The town itself has a great labour resource so we never have problems with recruitment. Many people are moving to the area as it is better value to buy and rent property, which means the calibre of employees is constantly increasing. The town is growing very quickly and importantly, there is the space to expand and it is a lot cheaper than Brighton.”

“Transport is a huge part of our business, as we travel to airports at least once a day. The A21 has seen a huge investment and is improving, along with the planned high speed railway which will make trips to and from London much easier for us and our clients,” John continued.

John Davis concluded, “Without Locate East Sussex, we wouldn’t have been able to fit out the new units. The team at Locate East Sussex understand problems, money and business. They really want to help and I am grateful for their input.”

Adam Berger, Location Service Manager at Locate East Sussex, said: “We are pleased to have helped BD Foods expand. It is really encouraging to see a great, local Hastings business thrive and develop strong growth plans for the future.”

To find out more about how Locate East Sussex can support your business, visit www.locateeastsussex.org.uk


Hastings mayor Cllr Judy Rogers has ‘struck’ her own commemorative Battle of Hastings 50p coin on a visit to the Royal Mint to see the special coins being made.

Cllr Rogers was invited to the Royal Mint with Cllr David Furness, mayor of Battle, and they made the trip to Llantrisant, in the Welsh valleys on Monday (10th October). They were met by Adam Lawrence, the Royal Mint’s chief executive, and given a tour of the site, including a visit to the Royal Mint’s museum.

Cllr Rogers said :- “It was a fantastic day out, and I was honoured and privileged to be able to ‘strike’ my own Battle of Hastings commemorative 50p.

“It was fascinating to see other coins being struck too, including the new twelve-sided £1 coin which goes into circulation next year, and the Royal Mint museum. This included coins going back over 1000 years, including coins that were used in the time of both Harold and William.

“The special commemorative 50p coins can be bought from the tourist information centre at Breeds Place, Hastings, and they will also be on sale at the 1066 Country stand at the Battle re-enactment over the weekend.”


Posted by: In: News 07 Oct 2016 Comments: 0 Tags: ,

Music first Audio is one of the hidden gem companies based in the Innovation Centre at St Leonards on Sea.

They are internationally recognized in the Music Industry for their high-end products which are manufactured to a world class level.

Their latest awards include; 

Hi Fi Magazine – Best Sound at Show Alan Sircom April 2016 

Hi Fi Critic Vol 10/No 2 “ and the sound quality winner is Music First Audio” – April – June 2016

The ear.net

“Product of the year 2015” – Jason Kennedy

AV Showroom

Gold Show Award “Best Sound” – 2014

 Music First Audio founder Jonathan Billington has been manufacturing award winning Hi-Fi from our workshops at the Innovation Center premise’s for a number of years now. Their demonstration studio now has its own website at http://www.musicfirststudio.co.uk/

The Music First Audio Classic Pre Amplifier was introduced in 2003 and positioned itself at the very heart of a true high end hi-fi systems. The Classic V2, Reference and Baby Reference pre amplifiers followed and the awards kept coming.

Now the Music First Audio product range includes the passive moving coil cartridge step up transformers and recently the introduction of the active transistor and valve, Classic and Reference, MM Phono Amplifiers.

Music First Audio is owned and run by Mr. Jonathan Billington (BSc. Hons). Music First Audio products are manufactured by the family firm Stevens & Billington Ltd. A family, with an audio history going back to the late 1940’s.

Sample the Luxury Experience of Sound 

Enjoy an afternoon or evening audition exclusively by appointment. From a single person to groups of 10. Select from a number of sources and both valve and transistor amplification. A number of speakers are available from Graham Audio LS5/9’s, Audio Note (UK) K’s, Quad ESL 63’s and Howes Acoustics ¼ waves fitted with Voxativ drivers.

The room, treated with damping materials from Blue Frog Audio, has ambient lighting and will be a relaxing yet exciting experience. A wonderful opportunity to experience high-end hi-fi from some of the world’s great manufactures. Hear many of the components used by Music First Audio at shows from around the world.

Jonathan has extended an invite to visit their studio at any time to hear some great sounds. Come down to Studio 1 or 2 at the Innovation Centre and all are welcome.


The business community in Hastings has come together to push forward a Hastings BID (Business Improvement District)

There are currently more than 230 BIDs throughout the UK, cumulatively investing over £200 million in projects decided upon by their respective local business communities. For the first time in Hastings the business community could have a budget which could be used to bring about change and increase business.

The Hastings BID, to be managed by a newly created Hastings Town Centre BID Company, aims to improve the experience for residents, visitors and businesses in Hastings and to market the town as a great place to work, live, shop and visit. It wants to reflect the ethnic and cultural diversity of the town, provide a voice and support for town centre businesses and lever in more money from other sources to supplement budgets.

“The Hastings BID affects businesses and amenities in the town with a rateable value of over £5000 and the money generated, which could be in excess of £1 million over the first five-year term, will fund eighteen additional town centre projects within four themes” said Cllr Dawn Poole, Hastings Borough Council’s lead member for regeneration.

The four themes are a better feel for the town centre, better connections and communications, a stronger business voice and a safer place.

“Businesses are being encouraged to vote in the Hastings BID ballot which takes place between 13 October and 10 November 2016, look out for ballot papers which will be arriving soon. 100% of funds generated by the BID will be held by the BID Company to spend locally on its approved projects” added Cllr Poole.

To find out more about the Hastings Bid visit www.hastingsbid.co.uk