Taking a Tour – Flourishing Lewes Businesses
Business support organisation Locate East Sussex took a tour around a selection of flourishing Lewes District businesses with local councillors and officers showcasing the importance of providing support to businesses looking to grow.
Joined by Eastbourne and Lewes Borough Council’s Head of Regeneration Lisa Rawlinson, Regeneration Monitoring Officer Maiken Bagley, Regeneration Project Manager Guy McQueen, along with East Sussex Deputy Leader Councillor Nick Bennett and East Sussex County Council’s Economic Projects Manager Vera Gajic, the group visited a variety of brilliant Lewes based businesses to talk through their progression, their challenges and the impact that the support from Locate East Sussex has had on their businesses.
Locate East Sussex is a business support programme and the inward investment agency for East Sussex. It provides 12 hours of free advice, support to access funding and business finance, help finding commercial property and free events and training, and as it is fully funded by East Sussex County Council, the 5 District and Borough Councils, and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), it services are free of charge. Here to support businesses already based in, or looking to relocate to East Sussex, the programme, delivered by Let’s Do Business Group, promotes business growth, stimulating the local economy and creating jobs.
The first stop was to Eastside Business Park in Newhaven to visit reusable baby wipe, nappy and period pant distributer Cheeky Wipes. Owner Helen talked to the group about how the business has gone from strength to strength, increasing employee numbers, expanding the range, and winning the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, despite struggles with rising shopping costs and the devaluation of the pound to the dollar.
The next stop on the tour was kitchen and furniture manufacturer Claremont Interiors. Explaining the importance of apprenticeships and developing staff through the business, Owner Bianca talked through how the business has evolved into fitted furniture, and will continue to evolve depending on the current market conditions.
Heading off towards Lewes, the next stop was to Bridge Farm Workshops in Barcombe. The site has made a huge difference in the area, transforming from a dairy farm into a hub for makers and creative businesses. Already expanding once, adding an additional 22,000 sq ft of space, Landlord Mark and Manager Tristan have hopes to develop even further, adding much needed commercial space in the area.
During our visit, we stopped in to visit Bridge Farm tenants, furniture makers CAB Workshop and Crafted in Lewes. Explaining to the group how Locate East Sussex and Let’s Do Business Group helped them access funding for machinery to aid their business growth, It highlighted the importance of dedicated support programmes to provide impartial advice to starting and growing businesses in the county.
Stopping for a rest stop and bite to eat, the group enjoyed a wonderful lunch at The Cock Inn, Ringmer, including Cod Loin, Homemade Steak Pie, and Duck breast.
Travelling into Lewes, the next stop was to Cliffe Industrial Estate to visit Beak Brewery. Owner Daniel Tapper talked through his growth from nomadic brewer, to having his own brewery and taproom in Lewes, and how he has received tremendous support from the community and local associations to aid his continuous growth.
Our last visit was just a short few steps away to Pharmacie Coffee. Independent coffee roaster and café. Having received East Sussex Invest (ESI) funding from East Sussex County Council, through Locate East Sussex, they have been able to purchase machinery and custom fit their unit at Cliffe Industrial Estate to create coffee heaven.