Latest HBA Newsletter - October 2017

The Hove Business Association Newsletter is now available. (Link opens in new window)

Read about:

  • Our new committee and AGM
  • Recent street vacancy report
  • New community ambassadors scheme
  • HBA Summer Event
  • Community News
  • Meet the new i360 Executive Director
  • Plus lots of other news


AGM and Business Networking at West Hove Golf Club

Our AGM was on Wednesday – thanks to West Hove Golf Club and Preston Insurance Brokers for sponsoring.

Our Chair, Victoria Mason reported on a successful year;

“As we conclude the first year of the new committee, I am pleased to announce several successes and highlights, as well as a year end surplus of almost £3000, making the organisation more stable for the year ahead. Since the committee took over HBA in Oct 2016 we have re-engaged with the Hove and Portslade business community; delivered services on behalf of HBP funded by the Council (including Christmas Tree lights on George Street); delivered eight successful networking events (attended by over 280 business managers and owners); undertaken two vacancy surveys and produced a new business magazine (“Actually”) to replace the previous newsletter.

Additionally, as part of our community engagement strategy for the year ahead, we have undertaken preliminary research into a new “Community Ambassadors scheme” and will launch a multi-street pilot scheme in November.

The HBP receives funding from Brighton and Hove City Council to deliver a clear set of Services each with agreed, measurable Outcomes. HBA delivers those services on behalf of HBP. We have met and evidenced our funding commitments so far this year and have secured a 33% increase in funding for the period Oct 17 – March 2018. We have made a small increase to our membership fees, which from 1st October will be £5 per month.

I would encourage businesses and HBA members to engage with us; this is why the committee agreed to be part of saving and growing HBA.”

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Rescue team looks in great shape

New members have committed to joining and supporting the work of the committee and the Association to work alongside existing committee members. Gerry Hussein, Victoria Mason and Martin Lawrence will provide continuity while retiring committee members Andrew Nichols, John Butlerand Martin Harris offered their support in the transition which will formally take place at the AGM on Monday 17 October. Location will be the Sussex County Cricket Ground.

Hove business people committing their support so far include:

Helen Chesshire, Brighton Gin
Camille Pierson, The Float Spa
Rob Reaks, Skyfall
Jeremy Jacobs, Raise Bakery
Fiona Ascroft, A Shade Above
James Wright, Streamline Taxis

There was also support from Trevor Freeman, formerly of the Federation of Small Businesses and from Dr Clifford Conway of University of Brighton who committed to again help provide students to assist with the work of the Association as part of their business degrees.

The next committee meeting will include an open session to welcome all members interested in getting involved in moving the Association forward. This will be at 6pm on Tuesday 6th September.The location is provisionally at Carden’s (to be confirmed in our next newsletter and on the website).

If you have any ideas and would like to add to the momentum building to create a vibrant business community in Hove, don’t hesitate to email us at

Green Light for the Future

A Special General Meeting held on Monday 8 August 2016 gave the green light to a new way forward for the Association, working with and for businesses in Hove.

The debate on the future of the Association resulted in a vote to continue the Association after a strong show of support and enthusiasm from other members to get involved in creating a new and vibrant business support community.

The Association has struggled for some time to get viable numbers to attend events despite some great speakers. Also, after taking stock of the situation, during a year where the committee tried to better understand members’ wishes and needs, and identify future opportunities to make the Association stronger and more successful, it had reached a point where it was felt that there was not sufficient interest from enough members, and the demands on the volunteer committee members had become disproportionate.

But during a positive and extremely encouraging discussion at the Skyfall Restaurant in Church Road on Monday there was plenty of encouragement shown. Members spoke enthusiastically about helping to keep the Association going with a new lease of life.

Some of the news ideas discussed included reaching out to a broader range of businesses, such as services, traders and manufacturers, using communication tools to build a sense of community among members and developing specific areas of interest such as ‘news from Portland Road’.

The formal vote went overwhelmingly in favour of keeping the Association very much alive.

HBA chair Martin Harris expressed his relief at the result and after staying neutral during the debate at the SGM which heard submissions from both sides for and against closure. He said: “I am absolutely delighted that a viable new committee has emerged and there was such enthusiasm for the Association coming through. The last thing any of the committee wanted to have to do was to switch the lights off on our way out, but for a time that had started to look inevitable. The risk of closure seems to have galvanised a number of people and I wish them every success in taking the Association forward”.

Special General Meeting, 8 August 2016

HBA calls for Special General Meeting to decide its future

Notice of a Special General Meeting for members went out Tuesday this week. The meeting, called for on Monday 8 August, will address the recommendations from the committee to voluntarily disband the Association. The meeting will be held at Skyfall ( on Church Road at 6pm. Chair Martin Harris has written to HBA members with a message to explain why this has come about.

Copy of letter sent to HBA members 5 July 2016

Dear Member,

Re: Special General Meeting to decide on a proposal to voluntarily disband the Association

On behalf of the Hove Business Association Committee, I write to explain why we have called a Special General Meeting on 8 August, in accordance with the rules of the Association, to propose to voluntarily disband the Association, in accordance with its rules.

The Association has struggled for some time now to get viable numbers to attend events and last year following the AGM we took a slightly different path to enable the committee to spend time properly taking stock of the situation, better understanding members wishes and needs, and identifying future opportunities to make the Association stronger and more successful.
We reduced the number of events and aimed for higher quality in an effort to create a stronger base to grow from. Through the efforts of the committee, we were very successful in raising the breakfast events with some terrific speakers and some new venues, and I would particularly like to thank John Butler for his work in this regard. Nevertheless, attendances remained very modest. Social events were even less successful in attracting the support of the membership.

We conducted a member survey which made clear how members’ time pressures and other priorities had overtaken their desire to get involved with the Association’s events on a more active basis. We also had to recognise that for those that do want to actively network with other business people in the city, there are many choices available from other organisations, most of which are considerably larger than ourselves and better resourced.

Recognising that marketing and administration resource was to be essential if we were to put the Association into a positive upward spiral of growing member engagement, event support, membership numbers and sustainability, we very seriously considered a ‘rescue package’ of investing the Association’s funds into a resource to seek to create the momentum needed. Without this it was looking increasingly unlikely that the Association could be sustained effectively. The committee members carry out the marketing and administration on a voluntary basis, all having very busy day jobs and businesses to run themselves. Despite exploring a range of possibilities for this rescue package, the committee decided that none were likely to be sufficiently effective to make the resource self-sustaining.

In recent months, we found we had no alternative but to increasingly consider the very real possibility that the committee would have to ask the membership to consider closure. Previous efforts to add more committee volunteers to share the workload and increase member engagement had not been very successful, and the size of the committee had indeed shrunk a little over time. Looking towards the autumn’s AGM, with potentially further retirements from the committee, the prospects were not good.

At our June Committee meeting we finally conceded that we had no option but to call a special general meeting of members, to consider a proposal to disband the Association in accordance with its rules, and similarly dispose of the balance of its funds. The formal minutes of that decision will be available at the Special General Meeting or on request for members wishing to vote by proxy.
The formal notice of the SGM and the agenda is with this message to members, and I do hope that you will be able to attend. Details of proxy arrangements are included for those who are not able to do so.

I should make clear that whatever the outcome of the decision on the Association, the Hove Business Partnership will be unaffected and will continue to function. Indeed, the membership survey indicated continuing strong interest in the sort of business issues that the Partnership is established to address. HBA committee member and past chair Andrew Nichols continues to chair the Hove Business Partnership.

The Association has been running for many years, and enjoyed great successes at times. It is with deep regret therefore that I have to bring you this news. I took on the role of chair at last autumn’s AGM with a desire to see if we could find some new and viable niches for the Association to successfully occupy in a very crowded marketplace. I have not been able to achieve that aim. The whole committee has worked hard in pursuit of a strong and viable future for the Association. It is very sad that we have not been able to do so and that we now have no alternative but to recommend closure.

Martin Harris

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Hove seafront

February Business Breakfast: Business and the arts

Helmet Lusser of Hove Civic Society was guest speaker at our Business Breakfast on 18 February at Topogigio. Helmet talked about Hove Plinth and how this exciting project is bringing interactive art to Hove seafront in the form of a sculpture. If you missed this breakfast, you can find out more about the project by visisting

Hove Plinth






Antonia Shepherd from the The Martlets also gave a short talk on their Snowdogs by the Sea arts trail which has been inspired by the The Snowman animation. It’s an extraordinary public art trail to be launched this autumn. Find out more by visiting








You can book onto our next business breakfast to be held on 21 April by visiting our events page.


HBP have engaged with 35 retailers in Hove and Portslade who will be taking part in a Christmas Gift Hunt.

The initiative will be launched on 5 December to coincide with Small Business Saturday and finish with a prize draw on Monday 21 December. Flyers will be available at each participating retailer which will list details of how to enter the competition, and the initiative will be promoted in Brighton and Hove Independent.

A list of those taking part can be found on the Hove Business Partnership page.

Plans for second HBA defibrilator being finalised

Hove Park cafe will be the location for the second HBA sponsored AED . The park is continuously in use by people taking rigorous exercise and serves thousands of visitors every year. The defibrilator could save lives and the Association is very grateful to the Sussex heart Trust for its help in making this come about. This follows the first AED sponsored by HBA for the seafront which is located at the i360 as an ideal spot to help people in Hove or Brighton down on the seafront. There is a growing network of defibrilators across the city and HBA is looking at helping provide a locator map covering them all.

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