Merry Christmas from East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service (ESFRS).

Merry Christmas from East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service (ESFRS).

It’s that time of year when everyone’s busy having fun – and we are here to help you with that!

We’ve got some great prizes lined up in our free monthly draws as well as all kinds of vouchers and discounts.

It’s all part of Brighton Tribe – our way of helping ensure that everyone in the area has great nights out – and in – but safely.

All you have to do is sign up to join Brighton Tribe and agree to receive occasional messages from ESFRS – but don’t worry, we won’t bombard you!

Just go to complete the short form and wait for the offers to arrive. You can also forward this link to a friend and they can benefit from the rewards as well.

Major artists rally to support crowdfunding campaign for region’s young musicians.

Major artists rally to support crowdfunding campaign for region’s young musicians.

Major artists Rag’n’Bone Man and Rizzle Kicks have pledged their support to a crowdfunding campaign for a community space to support young musicians across Sussex.

The campaign is being run by AudioActive, a Brighton-based charity which supports over 1000 young people a year across the region. It aims to raise money for a community base with facilities and equipment where young people can develop their skills, build networks for the future and have access to opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise have. The charity has set a target of £27,000 to reach by 21 December. So far, over £10,000 has been raised through donations.

AudioActive have been running projects in Sussex since 2000. Hip hop duo Rizzle Kicks launched their careers after attending AudioActive’s rap and performance workshops and the Hip Hop Foundation project.  The charity currently works from multiple locations, usually from community rooms hired by the hour across Brighton, Hove and Sussex. They are now looking for a base where the community can develop and thrive from a sense of place and identity. To put this into action, the charity has invited professional artists to set up their own studios in the space. They will be given a discount on their rent of the space and in return, they will open their doors, once a week, to provide a free masterclass where young people can get involved or collaborate.

The space is currently an empty shell but comprises 13 soundproofed rooms including; rehearsal spaces, class rooms, an office, a presentation space and studios just sitting there waiting to be equipped and used. The money raised through the crowdfunding campaign will help transform the run down dead-space into a beacon of hope for talented, often marginalised young people.

In the longer term, the charity aims to establish a Centre for Excellence in Sussex. They now have support from Arts Council England and expect to realise the centre in the next 2-3 years. In the short term, the Bottega Rooms will be a ‘meanwhile space’ providing a base for the AudioActive community and a proof of concept for the Centre of Excellence.

The charity’s Patron, Rory Graham aka Rag’n’Bone Man has leant his support to the campaign, saying: “AudioActive are doing something to ensure that regardless of wealth or background, young people get a chance to be creative. I can’t support that enough. This campaign is a real opportunity to help people at the grassroots of our community and I encourage everyone to get behind it; all donations big and small will help.”

Adam Joolia, CEO of Audio Active, said: “The support so far has been amazing and we’re really grateful to all those who have donated to the campaign. Music has the power to change lives and the money raised through this campaign will have a direct impact on the lives of young people living in Sussex.  “We’ve been offered a fantastic opportunity to take over and breathe new life into a large disused space in Brighton. We want to revive it as a hub for young people, music and social innovation and we need your help. With just two weeks to go, the clock is ticking and we need as many people as possible to join us and help us reach our target. Please dig deep.”


A new and exciting, first-class line up of judges for the prestigious Sussex Young Chef of the Year 2019 competition has been announced this week, who are seeking top Sussex chefs aged 16 to 25 years to submit their entries before they close on 17 January 2019 at

Nationally acclaimed chef, Matt Gillan from Pike and Pine/Red Roaster, Brighton and Electro Pirate will head up the new panel which includes fellow Michelin star chefs George Blogg from Gravetye Manor near East Grinstead and Tristan Mason from Tristan's in Horsham; Daniel Clifford from the renowned two Michelin star, Midsummer House in Cambridge; Fran Villiani, Food Blogger and designer in Brighton; and sponsor and former restaurateur, Adrian Burr from Blakes Foods.

Said Matt, “I think the Sussex Food and Drink Awards are simply great and I am really excited to be returning to judge the Sussex Young Chef of the Year for the third year and joined by some of my close colleagues and leading chefs in the UK.  This competitive category gives such a fantastic opportunity and platform for young chefs to put their own thoughts down on paper and bring them to life. It’s so important that we keep inspiring the next generation and with limited opportunities to have that sense of ownership and achievement at a young age, this competition really does have a huge impact on them.”

This popular category, sponsored by Blakes Foods, is always bursting with talent and those making it through to the shortlist from their written application will have to prepare and produce a full three-course menu in a MasterChef style cook off, which takes place in March 2019 at the Gallery at the Greater Brighton Metropolitan College.

Adrian Burr, Director of Blakes Foods, “As suppliers to the Sussex catering industry, we at Blakes are thrilled to be part of this prestigious and established award category. It’s vital we recognise the talent of young chefs who really understand working with seasonal fare and who can produce incredible dishes with local ingredients. I am really looking forward to the cook off to see what our top young talent can achieve.”

Two other categories remain open for entries until 17 January 2019, including Young Sussex Farmer of the Year, seeking a farmer aged 35 or under, who is making a real difference on their own or on someone else’s farm, sponsored by the South of England Agricultural Society in association with Farmers Weekly; and Sussex Newcomer of the Year sponsored by SRC-Time, which could be any new food and drink business doing something special in Sussex.

The public can also vote online until midnight on 17 January for their favourite Sussex Food Producer of the Year sponsored by Southern Co-op; Sussex Farmers Market of the Year sponsored by Harvey’s Brewery; Sussex Butcher of the Year sponsored by RP Meats Wholesale; Sussex Food Shop of the Year sponsored by Sussex Food & Drink Network; Sussex Drink Producer of the Year sponsored by Natural PR and Sussex Eating Experience of the Year sponsored by Natural Partnerships CIC.

Paula Seager, co-director of Natural Partnerships CIC, who runs the awards as a not-for-profit scheme to boost the local and artisan food and drink industry said, “A record 15,000 votes were received for the Sussex Food and Drink Awards last year and we really want to beat that again this year. Sussex is blessed with a wealth of amazing food and drink and we want everyone to get out there this Christmas and support our local farmers, food and drink producers and the outlets that use and sell this superb local fare and most importantly vote for your favourite to win, it only takes a few minutes.”

As well as earning the huge respect and recognition that these awards now carry, Grand Finalists from all ten categories will be invited to attend a BAFTA-style ceremony on 15 May 2019 at the Amex Stadium in Brighton, where the winners will be revealed and 400 guests will enjoy a seven-course Sussex produce banquet, hosted by awards patron Sally Gunnell OBE and Danny Pike from BBC Sussex. 

For more information and to vote for your favourites visit

Brighton Technology Company Wins International Business of the Year

Brighton Technology Company Wins International Business of the Year

Brighton-based global technology company, Paxton, is celebrating being awarded International Business of the Year at the Sussex Business Awards. The company, who design and manufacture security systems within Sussex, export their products to over 60 countries worldwide, including France, Middle East, Scandinavia and South Africa.

Celebrating thirty years in 2018, the Sussex Business Awards are the most sought-after accolade by organisations from every sector in Sussex. This year saw a record-breaking number of nominations for each category, with representatives from sixteen towns across Sussex making the shortlist of fifty-one finalists. Judges had an enormously difficult task, as the entries were of such a high standard.

Commenting on the win, Dan Drayton, Paxton’s International Sales Manager, said: “We are delighted to have been named International Business of the Year at the Sussex Business Awards. It’s a fantastic achievement to be recognised among some of the best businesses in Sussex for our continued global presence within the security market.

“Paxton’s success to date has largely been due to our commitment to our installers who buy and work with our products. Our goal is to provide a consistent world-class experience for our customers wherever they are located around the world. We’re incredibly proud of our Sussex roots and the global impact we have had on the security industry over the last 30 years.

Chair of the judging panel, Mike Herd, said: “Each year the standard of entries gets better and better and this year was no exception. This year’s finalists are a stimulating mix of established businesses and new entrepreneurial ventures with a common thread running through them all – resilience and determination to succeed. Congratulations to all the winners!”

Employing over 300 people globally, Paxton’s headquarters are located in the Home Farm Road Business Centre, just off the Lewes Road in Brighton, and all products are manufactured locally at its facility in Eastbourne. Paxton was established in Lewes in 1985 and moved to its current location in 2004.  The company focus on the research and development of their products. This has seen Paxton feature in this year’s London Stock Exchange 1000 Companies to Inspire Europe Report and the 2017 Financial Times Europe’s Fastest Growing Companies list.

To find out more about Paxton’s award successes please visit:

Unblocking the Croydon bottleneck - public consultation in Brighton

Unblocking the Croydon bottleneck - public consultation

Network Rail are developing major proposals to upgrade the Brighton Main Line – one of the most congested routes in the country –  to provide more reliable, faster and more frequent services on the line and its branches.

Key to the upgrade are proposals to remove the most challenging bottleneck on Britain’s railway network at the ‘Selhurst triangle’ and East Croydon station as part of proposals for the East Croydon to Selhurst Junction Capacity Enhancement Scheme.

To check out the plans, the Brighton consultation will be on:

Monday 10 and Tuesday 11 December 2018 - The Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton, BN1 1YD, 4.00-8.00pm.

The proposals

To unblock the Croydon bottleneck and provide more reliable, more frequent and faster services we are developing proposals to provide:

An expanded and enhanced East Croydon station

A rebuilt station with two additional platforms, a larger concourse with improved facilities for passengers and better connections with the town centre and other transport links, supporting the ongoing regeneration of central Croydon. These new station works would also be designed to allow for new offices and homes to be built above the new station in the future.

‘Selhurst triangle’ remodelling

We would improve track layouts north of East Croydon station and remodel the junctions at the ‘Selhurst triangle’, by removing the existing junctions and building new flyovers and dive-unders.

Lower Addiscombe Road/Windmill Bridge reconstruction

To remodel ‘Selhurst triangle’ junctions and provide more platforms at East Croydon station we would need to expand the railway from five to seven tracks north of East Croydon station. This would require the current bridge over the railway to be rebuilt to provide space for the two additional tracks.

Other proposed work

Our proposals for the ‘Selhurst triangle’ and East Croydon station (East Croydon to Selhurst Junction Capacity Enhancement Scheme) would support planned works. This includes works at Norwood Junction station to reconfigure the tracks to enable more trains to run, increase station capacity and provide step-free access to all platforms at the station.

Please note that we are not consulting on planned works to the existing railway.  These works are within the railway boundary and will be carried out under existing permitted development rights.

What are the benefits?

More reliable journeys

By improving track layouts, remodelling the ‘Selhurst triangle’ and constructing two new tracks and two new platforms at East Croydon station, we would remove the bottleneck which causes delays and disruption, improving the punctuality of services.

Faster journeys

More tracks and remodelled junctions would also mean we would be able to speed up some services through the area.

More services

Once we deliver our proposals to unblock the Croydon bottleneck to improve the reliability of existing services, we would then be able work with train operators to consider running more trains.

A boost to the regional and national economy

As the main route connecting the capital with Gatwick Airport and the south coast improving the Brighton Main Line will provide a significant boost to the regional and national economy.

An expanded and enhanced East­ Croydon station

We would increase concourse space, provide new entrances and transform passenger facilities.  The work would allow above the station to be developed in the future.

Benefits of our wider plans

While we are not consulting on our plans for Norwood Junction station, as these proposed works are within the railway boundary, we would deliver more train and passenger capacity and step-free access to all platforms at the station as part of our wider plans.

Transport & Works Act Order (TWAO)

Our proposals for removing the Croydon bottleneck as part of the East Croydon to Selhurst Junction Capacity Enhancement Scheme requires work to take place outside the railway boundary.

Where we are proposing to use land or build outside the railway boundary, we must prepare an application for a Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) from the Secretary of State for Transport. If permission is given we would have the necessary powers to undertake the work.

We are now consulting with the public, stakeholders and the wider rail industry and the feedback will help inform our proposals.  We will then seek permission to deliver our proposals through a TWAO application.

Work taking place within the railway boundary, including works at Norwood Junction station, would be constructed by Network Rail under our permitted development rights.

Contact us

For more information on the proposals you can e-mail at

You can also call Network Rail’s National Helpline on 03457 11 41 41 or contact us @NetworkRailSE

Brighton Based Fugu nets three awards in one night

Fugu nets three awards in one night

Brighton’s PR and communications consultancy Fugu has won three awards at the Chartered Industry for Public Relations (CIPR) South of England PRide Awards.

Fugu’s work with Brighton & Hove’s community bike scheme BTN BikeShare scooped two gold awards, being named Transport Campaign of the Year and taking the overall prize for Regional Campaign of the Year. The company’s A-Level results day project for the UK’s largest online student community, The Student Room, was also given the silver award for Low Budget Campaign of the Year.

Fugu’s community-focused campaign for BTN BikeShare was commended for earning the scheme a place in the city’s conscience and helping it become the UK’s most successful bike share scheme outside of London.

This follows a recent national Mark of Excellence for Fugu’s work with BTN BikeShare in June with what the CIPR judges described as: “A well thought-out campaign that made real considerations for the regional market the client was trying to engage with. A wonderful mix of creative ideas and careful planning helped to deliver a stand-out campaign that produced some stunning results for the client and demonstrated real ROI.”

Fugu specialises in creative campaigns that help brands connect with their customers and communities.

Fugu MD Vicki Hughes said: “In our first year of submitting our campaigns for an industry award, we are overwhelmed to have won three - two golds and a silver. I am extremely proud of the team for getting us here and thankful to our clients for trusting us with the creative freedom to deliver great results.”

ARKA Funerals sponsor Burning the Clocks 2018 with ‘In Memory’ lanterns

ARKA Funerals sponsor Burning the Clocks 2018 with ‘In Memory’ lanterns

ARKA Original Funerals has announced its support of Brighton charity Same Sky and this year’s Burning the Clocks. For the third consecutive year, the local funeral provider is offering 25 ‘In Memory’ lanterns to be carried during the parade on 21 December. The special commemorative lanterns and participation in the parade are for anyone mourning someone who has died in 2018 and can be applied for via the website.

Taking place from 6.30pm on Friday 21 December 2018, Burning the Clocks parade runs from New Road to the seafront, with around 2,000 participants and more than 20,000 onlookers expected.

Each ‘In Memory’ package supplied by ARKA includes a lantern decoration session with Same Sky and two places to walk in the parade, followed by a name reading at the bonfire on the beach at the end of the evening.

Cara Mair, director of ARKA Original Funerals said: “Burning the Clocks is a very special event that brings the whole city together on the winter solstice. To support Same Sky for the third year running means a lot to us – just as our lanterns mean something to those who want to celebrate the life of those who have died in the past year.”

John Varah, artistic director at Same Sky added: “We’re hugely thankful to ARKA for their continued support, which gives 25 families the opportunity to commemorate the life of someone special. Having the help of local sponsors like ARKA, as well as that of the public, is the reason we are able to put on Burning the Clocks each year. We’d encourage anyone who’d like to support us and keep this tradition alive to donate through our Crowdfunder and also to put a few pounds in the buckets on the night.”

The crowdfunder can be found at:

Those wanting an In Memory Lantern should contact Burning The Clocks and provide details via:

Royal Mail Launches Small Business Festive Competition

Royal Mail has launched a Christmas competition for small businesses across the UK

Christmas is a time for giving and during this festive season Royal Mail has four prizes on offer for small businesses

There are two ways you can get involved, each with the chance to win £1000: Share a photo of your festive shop window display or tell Royal Mail about the special festive communications you have planned for your customers

There will also be two runners up for each part of the competition, who will both win £500

The competition is running from Tuesday, 27th November – Sunday, 16th December

Royal Mail has opened six dedicated parcel sort centres and recruited an additional 23,000 temporary staff to support its seasonal operation and to deliver the best possible service to customers throughout the Christmas period

Royal Mail has launched a Christmas competition for small businesses across the UK.

Christmas is a time for giving and during this festive season Royal Mail has four prizes on offer for small businesses.

All UK small businesses are able to enter the competition and there are two ways to get involved, each with the chance to win £1000:

Share a photo of your festive shop window display with us.

Or, tell us about what special festive communications you have planned for your customers. This could be anything from direct mail, email, a social media campaign or any unique festive packaging!

There will also be two runners up for each part of the competition, who will both win £500.

UK small businesses should send competition entries by one of the following ways:

By uploading your photo or comment to Twitter or Instagram, including #RoyalMail and #smallbizfestivecompetition as well as your own username. Don’t forget to tag @RoyalMail on Twitter or @RoyalMailOfficial on Instagram

Via email: with the subject line Small Business Festive Competition

Royal Mail’s contact form:

Or direct message Royal Mail’s Facebook account with the hashtags #RoyalMail and #smallbizfestivecompetition

The competition opens at 10.00 on Tuesday, 27th November 2018 and closes at 23.59 on Sunday, 16th December 2018. All winners will be announced no later than the 21st December.

A spokesperson for Royal Mail said “We support the growth of each and every small business that we have the opportunity to work with and pride ourselves on being the most reliable business partner to all. We’re delighted to be providing small businesses with the chance to win special prizes through our festive competition.”

During the Christmas period in 2017, Royal Mail handled a staggering 149 million packages. This year, Royal Mail has opened six dedicated parcel sort centres and recruited an additional 23,000 temporary staff to support its seasonal operation. Over 1,100 Enquiry Offices will be open on Sunday 23rd December and they will all be open on Christmas Eve. These measures are about our commitment to deliver the best possible service to customers throughout the Christmas period.

The Big Debate: Do Brighton’s Businesses Give Back Enough?

The Big Debate: Do Brighton’s Businesses Give Back Enough?

100 businesses, charities and public sector managers attended the Brighton Chamber’s Big Debate, asking the question ‘Do Brighton’s Businesses Give Back Enough?’

In Brighton, there are a growing number of businesses involved in ‘giving back’.

Whether it’s being a governor at their kids' school, fundraising for a close-to-their-heart charity, mentoring other businesses, volunteering expertise or providing work experience opportunities – it all counts towards creating a huge bank of support which benefits our economy in so many ways. But is it having enough impact?

Chair for the evening Richard Freeman, CEO always possible, launched the discussion and the panel of Sascha Koehler, General Manager at Hilton Brighton Metropole, Jo Crease, CEO at Brighton & Hove Impetus, Gavin Willis, MD at Search Seven and Tom Druitt, CEO at The Big Lemon explored the topic.

Discussions on each table were facilitated and shared throughout the evening with challenging questions around “sharing the love” and how to extend the conversation to include schools.

CEO of Brighton Chamber Sarah Springford said, “It was amazing to hear about the all the many ways that businesses and charities are working together in the city.”

Jo Crease spoke about volunteer work vs. paid – at Brighton & Hove Impetus, volunteers give 14000 hours of help per year yet 75% of their budget still needs to go on salaries. She said charity-business relationships are challenged by competition and longevity. It's about mutual benefit and mutual support, "there's a lot we can learn from each other."

Tom Druitt (The Big Lemon) said, "It was an obvious choice to set up as a social enterprise.” This model allows business to put their social purpose at the heart of what they do. Tom asked the businesses in the room to look for ways to make a positive social impact every day, not just making a load of money and giving some away (although that is good too).

Sascha Koehler (Hilton Brighton Metropole) said that charity work has benefited their company too - helping them to win awards for work they've done with local community and charities. Brighton is very lively for charity activity, more so than other places. "We owe this to the city, to give back."

Search Seven are proof that small agencies can put passion over profit, and still be successful whilst playing an active role in the community. Gavin made the point that you don’t have to be a big company to make a big difference. Following the event he said, “We never needed a business case to get involved, it’s our drive and dedication to support the community and build personal connections that has been the catalyst for our success.”

Improved communication, use of digital tools and networking the networks were all sited as key issues. Popular themes throughout the evening included the sharing of common goals, being clear about what you want (both businesses and charities) and the importance of having the right person leading on the partnership.

What next? Brighton Chamber and other organisations attending like Community Works and the Sussex Community Foundation are looking at how to work collaboratively to help to avoid duplication and develop relationships between businesses and charities to increase social impact in the city.

The CSR Forum who sponsored the event will be meeting in January to take forward a number of the issues raised. Watch this space and contact Brighton Chamber to get involved.

To hear about more events and discussions happening like this in the city – here’s a link to sign-up to our e-updates



  • Number of farmers aged over 65 in the UK has increased 70 per cent in last decade

  • Just six per cent of millennials in the South East view farming as a desirable career, despite over half saying they want to work outdoors

  • Barclays teams up with TV presenter, former JLS boyband star and now successful Kent based turkey farmer JB Gill to encourage farmers to plan for their farm’s future and inspire under-30s to consider a career in agriculture

Barclays has today launched #FarmtheFuture, a nationwide campaign encouraging farmers to plan for their future and tell young people about the benefits of a career in agriculture, as new data reveals that Britain’s farming population is ageing rapidly.

The bank has teamed up with TV presenter and former JLS boyband star JB Gill, who has swapped pop stardom for a rural life of turkey and pig farming in Westerham, Kent, to show the younger generation that farming could be their perfect career.

The number of British farmers aged over 65 has increased by 70 per cent in the last decade, while the proportion of under-25s running farms has dropped by two thirds (63 per cent) over the same period. The average age of the British farmer is now 55.5 years old, with almost four in ten (38 per cent) aged 65 or over.1

Just six per cent of the 18-30 year olds in the South East surveyed by Barclays said they would view farming and agriculture as a desirable career, despite the job meeting many of the criteria young people look for in employment.

Over three quarters of millennials (76 per cent) in the South East said staying physically fit and healthy while working was important to them and over half (58 per cent) said they would like to work with animals.

A lack of understanding and a perceived lack of resources appear to be the key things putting young people off a career in farming. Over half (59 per cent) believed they wouldn’t be able to afford to become a farmer, while 48 per cent thought they needed to inherit land.

While many farm businesses traditionally pass down through families, farmers with no direct succession are now exploring alternative options, including share farming agreements. These allow new entrants to farm in partnership with the farm owner with much less capital required than starting out alone their share of the business can grow over time through profit share.

JB Gill, TV presenter and former JLS boyband star, said: “There’s a lot of misconceptions among young people about what a career in agriculture really means. It’s hard, physical work so it keeps you fit, you get to work with animals, you’re your own boss and you can keep up with the trends by posting everything on Instagram for everyone else to see.

“The farming community is really welcoming, providing newcomers with knowledge on everything from tending to animals to financial advice. You don’t need to have your own land to work in agriculture, there are many options from farm management through to the service industries and I would encourage anyone interested to give it some serious consideration – it’s a life like no other!”

Mark Suthern, national head of agriculture at Barclays, said: “Barclays has over one hundred and fifty agriculture relationship managers working the length and breadth of the UK to support businesses within their local communities and help them plan for the future.

“Every industry needs new talent to innovate and look to new markets, and the next generation will be vital as the sector strives to boost productivity and drive growth.

“British farmers have proven time and again their ability to diversify, innovate, and weather tricky economic conditions, so the skill and experiences the older generation can bring are vital. But the next generation need to learn the skills to carry businesses forward in the future. The best place to make your first enquiry on a road to a farming career is your local agricultural college or university.”

Find out more at

Abode Living in Brighton stars in Visa’s Christmas campaign to support the High Street

Abode Living in Brighton stars in Visa’s Christmas campaign to support the High Street

•              Visa turns the spotlight on 100 independent retailers across the UK, as part of its campaign to encourage the nation to visit their local High Street this Christmas

•              Abode Living is one of 11 retailers from Brighton, Portsmouth & Southampton that feature in Visa’s festive campaign

•              An advert highlighting the independent retailer will be displayed on Upper Lewes Road in Brighton, from 19th November

Brighton, 22 November 2018: Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments, is turning the spotlight on 100 independent retailers across the UK through billboards and social media advertising in the run-up to Christmas, including 11 retailers in Brighton, Portsmouth & Southampton.

One of the independents featuring in Visa’s festive campaign is Abode Living in Brighton. The shop provides a range of uniquely curated interior accessories and is renowned for its independent and distinctive style.

Phillippa Brereton, co-owner of Abode Living says:

“We absolutely love the atmosphere in Brighton, it is such a unique city in that it is so supportive of independent businesses – something which not only creates a strong business community but also a loyal supportive customer base.”

Visa is switching the focus of the traditional format of a Christmas marketing campaign, from what people are buying or who they are buying for to where they are buying, encouraging shoppers to support their high streets, independent retailers and local communities this year.

The festive campaign features the real shopkeepers who are the heroes of Britain’s high streets. Eleven independent retailers from Southampton, Portsmouth & Brighton will feature on billboards in their local area and in social media advertising as part of Visa’s campaign.

Research, commissioned by Visa, shows that four out of five (81%) shoppers would miss the high street if it was no longer there [1]. The Christmas campaign builds on Visa’s sponsorship of the Great British High Street Awards 2018, the winners of which were announced last week. 

You can watch Visa's first ever UK Christmas TV advert featuring nine real shopkeepers - including a butcher, baker, bookseller and a florist - here.  Singing along to Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You, the advert invites the nation to visit their local high street this Christmas. The local billboards and social media advertising are an extension of Visa’s Christmas campaign.

Adrian Farina, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Europe at Visa commented:

“We know high streets up and down the country are a special place for communities to come together – especially at Christmas time. As payments technology continues to evolve, Visa has an ongoing commitment to high streets and to the retailers and consumers on them who are looking to engage in seamless and secure commerce.

“We’re thrilled to be featuring 100 independent retailers nationwide on billboards in their local area and on social media in the run-up to Christmas. We hope the nation will join us in supporting their local High Street and the independent retailers that make them so special.”

[1] Commissioned by Visa, the research was conducted by 3Gem between 26 April and 8 May 2018 and surveyed 2,000 consumers and 750 independent high street retailers across the UK.

Address: 32 Kensington Gardens
Phone: 01273 621116
Opening Times: Mon-Fri: 10:30am-5:30pm; Sat: 10:30am-6pm; Sun: 11:30am-4:30pm

Independent retail hit by a loss of -1,554 units in first six months of 2018

Independent retail hit by a loss of -1,554 units in first six months of 2018.

Data released today by the British Independent Retailers Association (bira) and the Local Data Company (LDC) shows that independent retailers opened significantly more shops in H1 2018 than in the same period last year. However, a record number of stores were closed over the same period. This resulted in a total decline of -1,554 independent shops (-0.5%) - a significant decline from the increase of +762 shops (+0.27%) seen in H1 2017. The net loss of -695 units located on high streets alone was the main driver of this decline. Independent units categorised as ‘Service Retail' (including retailers such as barbers, hairdressers and dry cleaners) was the only category to see growth, with a net increase of +104 units in H1 2018. 

Chain retailers (brands with more than 4 stores) have also remained in decline with a net loss of -2,848 shops (-1.36%) in H1 2018 across GB, which compares to -659 shops (-0.33%) in H1 2017. 

Key information 

  • Independents account for 65% of all retail and leisure units in Great Britain, the same as H1 2017.

  • In H1 2018 a total of 32,234 independents either opened (15,340) or closed (16,894), 14.8% up on H1 2017 where 28,076 opened (14,419) or closed (13,657).

  • The comparison goods retail category (non-perishable goods such as clothes, books and homewares) saw a net change of -1.63% in H1 2018 (-0.74% in H1 2017). This is a net decrease of -1,394 units, significantly higher than the -596 net change recorded in H1 2017.

  • Numbers of independent leisure units (including restaurants, cafes, bookmakers & entertainment) stayed the same in H1 2018 with no net change (0.00%) compared to a +0.55% increase in H1 2017. In H1 2018 there was a no change in the number of units (4,761 openings and 4,761 closures), versus a net increase in units of +475 net change in H1 2017.

  • The convenience retail category (bakers, butchers, food shops, & supermarkets) saw a net decline of -264 units (-0.86%) in H1 2018 versus a small increase of +24 units (+0.08%) in H1 2017.

  • Service retail (health & beauty, financial services, tattoo parlours and estate agents) was the only category of independents to see an increase in H1 2018 of +104 units (+0.10% versus +0.94% in H1 2017).

  • Key growth sectors have been barbers, beauty salons, tobacconists/e-cigarette shops, and Mobile phones. (see table 1 for more detail)

  • Sectors in decline include estate agents, newsagents, women’s clothing shops, and fashion shops. (see table 2 for more detail)

  • Vegan restaurants (+32%) and Vaping/Tobacconists (+6.7%) have increased the most as a percentage of their total units

  • The West Midlands showed the greatest increase of independents at +117 units (+0.49%) in H1 2018, versus +194 units (+0.93%) in H1 2017

  • Yorkshire & the Humber and Greater London saw the greatest decline of independents at -494 units (-1.64%) and -276 units (-0.40%) respectively

  • Portobello Road in London has the accolade of having the highest percentage of independents at 95% (based on locations with 50+ total units) overtaking Sparkhill in Birmingham (2nd) which was the top location in H1 2017

  • Ellenbrook is the town with the lowest percentage of independents at only 19%, against a GB average of 65% (based on locations with 50+ units)

  • Wider analysis of location types (analysis of location types by high streets, shopping centres and retail parks) shows that high streets saw a dramatic decline of -695 units in H1 2018. This represented a -0.41% net decrease in units.

  • Shopping centres saw a similar pattern in H1 2018 with a decline of -1.55% (versus +0.67% in H1 2017). Retail parks was the only location type to see growth in units of +1.48% (versus +3.41% in H1 2017) however this location type only accounts for 0.2% of all independents across GB.

Top 10 independent business openings by retail category

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Table 1. Highest numbers of independent units opened by business type in H1 2018 across GB (Source: LDC) 

Top 10 independent business closures by retail category

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Table 2. Highest numbers of independent units closed by business type in H1 2018 across GB (Source: LDC)

National and regional net variations of independents 

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Table 3. Net percentage change (openings minus closures) of independent units by region in H1 2018 across GB (Source: LDC) 

Top 10 independent towns (50+ units)

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Table 4. Towns with the greatest percentage of independent retailers (Source: LDC)

Bottom 10 independent towns (+50 units)

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Table 5. Towns with the lowest percentage of independent retailers (Source: LDC)

Change in numbers of independents by location type

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Table 6. Net change by location type for Independents across 2,700 in and out of town GB locations (Source: LDC)

Further comment from Lucy Stainton: 

Lucy Stainton, Senior Relationship Manager, Local Data Company commented:

“There is no doubt 2018 has already shown itself to be a particularly transformative year for the UK retail market. The shake-up across the physical landscape is impacting chains and independents alike. Businesses in all corners of the industry are having to look very closely at their current model and assess its relevance in an era of unprecedented consumer change. It is not all bad news for independent businesses though, if we look to the leisure sector, which has fallen into sharp decline for the first time in the first half of 2018, this has been driven entirely by a fall in chain outlets. Independents on the other hand have been able to take advantage of the consumer’s increased search for uniqueness.” 

Andrew Goodacre, CEO, British Independent Retailers Association (bira), said

“This report perfectly illustrates the problems for independent retail businesses. Despite more businesses opening, we have seen more closing resulting in a net loss from the high street. bira have been saying for a long time that independent retailers need support from local and national governments. The recent budget announcements regarding a rates reduction and the setting up of a high street fund are very welcome and we hope it is not too late to provide a lifeline to these important businesses.” 

Note: The total number of independent businesses covered in this research across GB was 310,080

Brighton and Hove to become a Sharing City

Brighton and Hove to become a Sharing City

The launch of Brighton and Hove Sharing City will take place on Tuesday 27 November 2018 at the Latest Music Bar.

Created by social enterprise, The People Who Share, and locally supported by Brighton and Hove Circular, this initiative aims to help build a more caring, inclusive, smart city, ready to face the challenges of the future.

Brighton and Hove will join over 80 cities around the world - including Amsterdam, Seoul, San Francisco and most recently, Norwich and Leeds in the UK, who are adopting the Sharing City concept. Based on the idea that our most pressing challenges including wealth, inequality, social isolation and climate resilience have the potential to be offset by the efficient and equitable sharing of vital resources with each other, the Sharing City movement is gaining momentum.

Benita Matofska, founder of The People Who Share, says: “The Brighton and Hove Sharing City launch, will bring people together across our wonderful city to discover, experience and celebrate the city’s sharing culture and help build a more caring, inclusive, sustainable, sharing economy. Sharing Cities are connected, smart cities, ready to take on the challenges of the future. Through sharing resources, we can achieve that.”

David Greenfield of Circular Brighton, says: "Circular Brighton and Hove (CB&H) are delighted to be part of Brighton and Hove Sharing City because we believe that sharing resources, be it people, food, clothing, goods or cars is key to building a circular economy in our city, creating social, environmental and economic value."

Brighton and Hove Sharing City launch event promises a shared experience to remember with a host of inspiring talks, activities, networking and entertainment including: The Dulcetones community choir, singer-songwriter Rifka Ravena, spoken word by Gramski, skiffle band Shonky Tonk, a community sing-a-long led by Sarah Tohill, crowd comedy with Gerry Thompson, citizen innovation - a chance to have your say and co-create, Tech Takeback - bring your old gadgets and give them a new lease of life.

Share Table in support of Brighton Voices in Exile, Give and Get with Cat Fletcher from Freegle, Conversation Corner with Alice Reeves from BelongCon and a bring-and-share potluck feast.

There’ll be talks by Ian Davey and Mila Brazzi of BikeShareBTN, a sneak preview slideshow of Generation Share by visual storyteller Sophie Sheinwald, insights by David Greenfield from Circular Brighton and Hove, plus guest speaker, visitor and lifelong sharer, Tom Llewellyn from the USA’s, co-editor of Sharing Cities: Activating the Urban Commons.

For more information and to book a free ticket, please visit:


Free offers, discounts and a Free Prize Draw but can you guess who from?

‘Free offers, discounts and a Free Prize Draw but can you guess who from?

Here’s a message from East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service that might surprise you and could get you some free gifts too. Here’s what they’ve got to say.

‘Hi from East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service (ESFRS). Yes, we’re all about the safety but that doesn’t mean we want to wrap people in cotton wool and never let them go out. We want to help ensure that everyone in the area has great nights out – and in – but safely.

To prove it, we’ve joined forces with many local organisations to offer you all kinds of freebies, vouchers, discounts and a free monthly prize draw to help you have fun.

All you have to do is sign up to join Brighton Tribe and agree to receive occasional messages from ESFRS – but don’t worry, we won’t bombard you!

Just go to Brighton Tribe, complete the short form and wait for the offers to arrive. You can also forward this link to a friend and they can benefit from the rewards as well.

So, sign up to Brighton Tribe today.

UK Homeowners stay put for nearly two decades, choosing to improve not move, reveals Barclays Mortgages

The 2018 Barclays Home Improvement Report has found that the average Brit now stays in their property for 19 years before moving, and regularly updates their home in this time

Homeowners in the South East spend an average of 17.4 years in a property

Over half (54 per cent) of UK homeowners choose to make improvements to their current homes rather than move to a new property

Woodchip wallpaper, mirrored ceilings and carpeted bathrooms are considered the biggest décor faux pas, while bi-fold external doors are highly desired

Property expert, Phil Spencer has teamed up with Barclays Mortgages to highlight the current trends in home improvements and how the majority of homeowners prefer to home-improve rather than move in 2018.

Barclays Mortgages has today released its 2018 Home Improvement Report. Looking at the Nation’s attitudes towards renovations, the report has revealed that Brits are now staying in their property for nearly two decades, with the majority of homeowners (54 per cent) saying they would rather improve their current home than move to a new one.

Homeowners in the South East spend an average of 17.4 years in a property, well below the national average of 18.7 years and four years less than people in Wales.

Improvement trends:

The most popular improvements to make are fitting new carpets (35 per cent), installing a new kitchen (31 per cent) and landscaping the garden (29 per cent). The most desired home improvements are bi-fold doors into the garden (30 per cent), smart home tech (26 per cent) and a spa bathroom (20 per cent).

The report also revealed the biggest home improvement faux pas, with woodchip wallpaper (60 per cent) considered the biggest property turn off.

Property churn rate:

In fact, data produced for the report in conjunction with property analytics business Hometrack found that the average person in the UK stays put for 19 years1. The figures show that those in Wales are the least likely to move property regularly, with the average homeowner staying put for nearly 23 years. However, those in Scotland are the quickest movers, upping sticks after an average of almost 15 years.

Reasons to improve:

The new research found that the main reason for people choosing to improve their home is to make their property reflect their personal taste (48 per cent), but one in four (25 per cent) stated that their main motivation was to increase the value of their property.

With a continually challenging property market, it is perhaps not surprising that money is a key driver for homeowners. In fact, over a quarter (28 per cent) of those surveyed by Barclays Mortgages said that whilst they did want to move, they have had to improve their current home because they cannot afford to do so.

The report also found that social media is having an increasingly large impact on people’s approach to updating their property – particularly in the younger age groups. For example, four in ten (43 per cent) 23 - 34-year olds surveyed stated that they had been inspired to improve their home from what they have seen on social media. While 15 per cent admitted to improving a room specifically to post on their social channels.

No matter what the motivation, the new report highlights how committed homeowners are doing up their homes. In fact, a huge 79 per cent of homeowners have made home improvements in the past two years, and 73 per cent want to make improvements in the next 12 months.

TV property expert Phil Spencer, official spokesperson of the Barclays Mortgages Home Improvement Report, comments: “There has long been an appetite for home improvements in the UK, and with so many of us now staying in our properties for such a long time, it is clear that our homes are so much more than just bricks and mortar – they are a space for us to relax and enjoy times with our loved ones, so it is important to make them fit for purpose.

“It is also really interesting to see how social media is impacting on our attitude to home improvements. It’s clear that the likes of Instagram and Pinterest are really inspiring particularly the younger generation and I’m sure this is partly contributing to the changing interior tastes. I would encourage anyone looking to update their home to take inspiration where they can, but always think about the long-term – ask yourself how something will look in 3, 5, 10 years before committing your time and money.”

Hannah Bernard, Head of Mortgages at Barclays said: “The Barclays Mortgages Home Improvement Report highlights a strong appetite among homeowners to make improvements. We understand that there are many motivations for updating your home, from simply wanting to make your home better reflect your own tastes to adding more space for a growing family.”

For further information, visit:

Brighton Technology Company Open Their Doors to University and Brighton Students

Brighton Technology Company Open Their Doors to University and Brighton Students

On 9th November, Paxton welcomed students to their state-of-the-art Paxton Technology Centre to showcase what’s on offer from the 2019 Paxton Scholarship programme. Over 140 enthusiastic students attended the scholarship open day, where they discussed the Paxton’s latest products with Paxton's technology experts in engineering, research and product design. The students enjoyed hands-on product demonstrations and discovered their potential career opportunities with the company.

Samson Mwita, student at University of Sussex, said: “I think it’s great that Paxton are offering students this opportunity and guidance with their studying. It seems like a fun exciting company to work for and hearing about the company’s journey directly from the CEO was really inspiring.”

Paxton, who design and manufacture security systems, launched the Paxton Scholarship in 2017. They now offer students studying engineering and product design related courses, the opportunity to win one of four scholarship places each worth £10,000, plus a 3-month paid work placement from July 2019. As part of the scholarship, they will participate in current technology research projects at Paxton, that will form the final year project of their degree course.

2018 Paxton scholar Laurence Budd, BSc Computer Science student at University of Brighton, said: “I am working on an idea for a new internal app and I’ll be testing some CCTV cameras too. I can happily say I’m thrilled to be working here at Paxton and I’m loving working on the projects I’ve been given.”

Commenting on the open day, Adam Stroud, Paxton’s Chief Executive, said: “I am delighted that Paxton has been able to attract so many students to our open day. All our visitors were able to see first-hand some of the technologies we use, and chat with staff about what it’s like having a career at Paxton.

“Our partnerships with both University of Brighton and Sussex are going from strength to strength. The Paxton Scholarship is an initiative that we intend to build on each year. This year, we have four scholarship places to award and I can already tell that it’s, once again, going to be a difficult decision.”

George Livas, student at University of Brighton, said: “The scholarship open day was fantastic. The facilities at Paxton are amazing and all of the staff were lovely and polite. I really enjoyed the presentation from the CEO and talking to the product developers.

For further information about the company and the variety of job opportunities Paxton are recruiting for, please visit