Ashdown Radio Business Expo

Ashdown RadioAshdown Radio is organising a Business Networking Lunch and Mini Expo to celebrate two years since they rebranded and started formally broadcasting to Crowborough and surrounding villages.

The lunch is being held on Wednesday 27th March between 11am-2pm and is a great opportunity to network, wander around the Mini Expo and have a buffet lunch.

All the spaces for the Expo have been taken – but lunches are available still and can be booked via Eventbrite.

Closing date for bookings is 20th March.

Business Grants

There are currently several different grant schemes available to local businesses in Sussex, below are a break down of a few of them.

Also, this one is particularly interesting for any capital growth projects.

There’s a whole raft of information at

The funding is for 30% funding towards capital projects that will assist in growth. Grants are up to £10,000. It’s like getting a 30% discount on an investment project you might be planning. Applicants also get free support to help with completing & submitting the proposal, which will give an improved chance of success.  There’s a bi-weekly information session that is free to attend & will answer all of the questions (

So far SMEs and Sole Traders in the area have had cash towards new vehicles, equipment and specialist machinery, marketing equipment, software and website development.

To apply for Grant Funding, please complete the Eligibility Check at

Helping Businesses Grow during the Pandemic

Over the last year, Sokada Ltd have been working more than ever to help local businesses grow, and make the most of the internet.

It’s no doubt that 2020 will go down in the history books. We’ve all had to learn how to deal with living in the current pandemic and the changing rules that are being put in place. It’s clear that the lockdown period and the current restrictions are resulting in constantly changing landscapes for businesses in every industry across the country.

Even for us at Sokada, whilst we normally like to work with our clients face-to-face, we have had to adapt. Either working from home and having meetings with our clients via Zoom in order to continue to work with them.

We’ve also had to adapt some of the marketing strategies that we provide for our clients. We’ve been working with all of them to ensure they continue to grow and thrive during the Covid-19 pandemic.

That’s why we thought we’d showcase a few of our clients who we have worked with over the last few months to adapt and help them grow… click here for more details

Business start-up workshops

EDEAL have added 2 new online business start-up workshops to the events page on their website. They will be delivered in 2 parts across 2 consecutive days

Start-up workshop for Eastbourne residents

Part 1 – Mon 15th March 10am to 1pm
Part 2 – Tues 16th March 10am to 1pm

Start-up workshop for Wealden residents

Part 1 – Mon 22nd March 10am to 1pm
Part 2 – Tues 23rd March 10am to 1pm

Across the 2 days we will cover the following

  • Do you have the motivation, vision and values to run a business?
  • Business reality check, will your idea work as a business?
  • Business planning – why and how
  • How much do you know about your business idea?
  • Legal status for your business
  • Keeping on the right side of the law
  • Finance – cash flow forecasting, profit and loss and breakeven
  • Customer focussed marketing

Workshops can be booked direct or via Eventbrite on the EDEAL website – links below

East Sussex Visitor Summit

The Alliance of Chambers in East Sussex are pleased to confirm that during the second lockdown we will be holding an emergency East Sussex Visitor Summit to discuss the current situation and how best to navigate the challenging trading position we are all experiencing.

This important meeting is specifically aimed at the hospitality industry but you and all your members are very welcome to join us. It will be via Zoom and is free of charge.

We will be joined by:

  • The Minister for Tourism, Nigel Huddleston MP
  • Alex Polizzi, the Hotel Inspector (Channel 5) and owner of The Star Hotel, Alfriston and The Polizzi Collection;
  • Mark Driver, the owner of the Rathfinny Wine Estate, the largest vineyard in the UK
  • Nick White, CEO of Bistrot Pierre UK restaurant group and
  • Nathaniel Hepburn, CEO of The Charleston Trust
  • Julia Hand, the owner of the Buxted Park Hotel and the Handpicked Hotels Group
  • East Sussex MPs, Caroline Ansell, Nus Ghani, Sally-Ann Hart and Huw Merriman

The industry titans will be quizzed by Rob Cottrill, the CEO of Eastbourne Borough and Lewes District Councils and there will be plenty of opportunity for you and your members to ask questions too.

We have decided to hold this event online before Christmas so that your members can begin to prepare for the new year, click on the link below for full details:

Booking will be via email and couldn’t be more simple, just follow the link above.  We would encourage all Heathfield Chamber members to book now and save the date in their diaries. We will send the zoom link out on Monday 23rd November.

Heathfield High Street set to Re-open soon!

Thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centres across England, including many in Heathfield high street, are set to reopen on in mid-June once they are COVID-19 secure and can show customers will be kept safe.

At the same time, a new Reopening High Streets Safely Fund was announced by High Streets Minister Simon Clarke to help councils in England introduce a range of safety measures in a move to get people back to work and customers back to the shops; this fund will be managed locally by Wealden District Council and they’ve been allocated £143.3k for the district from the total fund for England.

From June 1st 2020, the Government intends to allow outdoor markets and car showrooms to reopen, subject to all premises being made COVID-secure.

From June 15th 2020, the Government intends to allow opening by a list of further retailers, ranging from shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets, if the Government’s five tests are met and they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines.

Businesses will only be able to open from these dates once they have completed a risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and are confident they are managing the risks. They must have taken the necessary steps to become COVID-19 secure in line with the current Health and Safety legislation.

Other businesses, including hairdressers, nail bars and beauty salons, as well as the hospitality sector, will remain closed, because the risk of transmission in these environments is higher where long periods of person to person contact is required.

Updated guidance for the retail sector was published alongside this announcement, detailing the measures retailers should take to meet the necessary social distancing and hygiene standards. You can find the guidance HERE.

You can also join a free webinar, hosted by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), to find out more about how to make your retail workplace COVID-secure.Thursday 28 May, 11am: Shops and branches – Guidance for people who run shops, branches, stores or similar environments – click HERE.

The funding comes from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and is intended to help adapt urban centres and green spaces for social distancing during the pandemic. The money will be allocated to councils on a per capita basis and will be ready to spend from 1 June 2020.

Finally, please take part in the SELEP Coronavirus Business Recovery Survey to let the government know how you are preparing your business for the next phase in socially distanced and COVID-secure enterprise. Click HERE to complete the short survey.

Cuculo Happy Hour

Heathfield Happy HourCuculo Deli are hosting an event tomorrow evening (Thursday 29th August) promoting the other businesses in the High Street, “The Heathfield Happy Hour”.

The idea is that the people participating will arrive at Cuculo, have a glass of something to drink and sample the first of many delicious antipasto that they have created. Throughout the High Street other retailers are staying open and in each of their shops you will find a different antipasto. While you enjoy your antipasto you can look around each shop and find out a little more about each and what goods they have to offer.

This is going to be a relaxed, fun evening, tasting great food, enjoying a drink and all the time supporting the local High Street businesses.

For just £10 you get an initial drink at the Deli and all the food at each shop, so please support Cuculo and the local traders by attending this event. If you want any more information please contact Cuculo, you can email them at or call them on 01435 862 596 or just pop in and speak to them.

Charities we have supported

Over the years, when we can, the chamber have tried to support local charities; you can see more details below.

The Chamber’s charity for 2018/19 was The Children’s Respite Trust. The Children’s Respite Trust is a charity that provides respite for disabled children and support for their families throughout Sussex and parts of Surrey and Kent. The Trust’s team of carers provide respite care in families’ homes throughout the community. The Trust is currently developing a new Centre in Uckfield which will open in the summer of 2018 to provide day care. For more information please go to:

The Chamber’s charity for 2017/18 was Wealden Works a project to get 16-24 year olds back into education, employment or training. Contact details: Lisa Crozier, Task Force Leader, 07437 496651 or go to for more information.

The Chamber’s charity for 2016/17 was Chestnut Tree House which is the children’s hospice for East and West Sussex and South East Hampshire and cares for 300 children and young adults from 0-19 years of age with progressive life-shortening conditions. The Chamber raised £250.00 over the year for them. For more information please go to:

The Chamber’s charity for 2015/16 was the Heathfield and District Street Pastor initiative who celebrated their 7th birthday in May 2015. Street Pastors are trained volunteers from local churches who care about their community. They patrol in teams of men and women, from 7.30pm to 10.30pm on a Friday night, to care, listen and help anyone on the streets, especially young people, and greet those working in the local night-time economy. Also once a month they patrol on a Friday after school. There are plans to recruit new Street Pastors and extend patrols into other local communities. We raised £250.00 over the year for them.

During 2014-15 the Chamber proudly sponsored the Heathfield and Waldron First Responders’ scheme – responding to emergency calls from Five Ashes, Cross-in-Hand, Heathfield, Waldron, Broad Oak and Punnett’s Town. When you dial 999 you want help fast. Their volunteers are trained by the Ambulance Service to offer a quick local response to medical emergencies. As the First Responders live and work within our local communities they can be on the spot within a few minutes of your making the 999 call. They are able to deliver vital life-saving support while you wait for the arrival of the ambulance. We raised £750.00 over the year to help equip a responder with the necessary equipment.

To volunteer or to contribute to their funds, please contact Dr Tim Williams on 01435 812273 or email

During 2013-14 the Chamber raised money for the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust which is a registered charity established to provide a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) to people living, working and travelling through the three counties. The Chamber raised £800.00 over the year.

During 2012-13 the Chamber donated over £1,400 to Chestnut Tree Children’s Hospice which was the nominated charity for that year. This money was raised during Expo, Heathfield’s own Business Exhibition, and also during the Christmas Fun Day. Thank you to everyone who donated to this worthwhile cause.