October round-up of Uckfield business news
One Uckfield business is turning the humble piece of cake into a real art form.
Ruby Noodle Cupcakes have real wow factor, so much so they caught the eye of top magazine Vogue, writes Paul Watson.
In its November issue (out on October 6), the magazine is featuring sweet treats. They searched on the internet for cupcakes and soon were speaking to Sophie Adams of Ruby Noodle Cupcakes.
She said: “I’m over the moon. I’ve never appeared in a newspaper, magazine or anything like it.”
She’s been making cupcakes for “years and years”. Earlier this year she decided she wanted to take it on a bit further and make it a full-time business.
Her distinctive designs certainly set her out from the crowd. “People have said ‘your cupcakes are unbelievable’ or ‘your cupcakes are devine’.”
Sophie is always up for a challenge when it comes to cupcakes and is determined to get it right. “A lot may end up in the bin or in my husband - he’s the chief tester – but I do not give up. I take my time with things and don’t rush.”
Sophie makes the cupcakes to order. They come in all shapes and sizes and are baked for any occasion.
One question she is always asked is why is the business known as Ruby Noodle Cupcakes? Ruby Noodle is the name of her pet chicken, which is kept for her by her mother and father.
Credit union puts down roots in Uckfield
The credit union movement is putting down roots in Uckfield with more and more people taking advantage of the service.
It launched here four months ago and word is spreading about the organisation which can help people save money, budget and access affordable loans.
The East Sussex Credit Union is a not-for-profit, community savings and loan co-operative. It works with local councils, associations and the Citizens' Advice Bureau.
The credit union aims to help combat poverty and contribute to economic regeneration by promoting savings and sensible borrowing within its membership.
Marta Baginska, who mans the credit union help point in Uckfield, said: “We are going in the right direction. We moving up in the number of customers we are seeing.”
She gave an example of how the credit union can help people.
One woman traditionally borrowed £300 every year to pay for Christmas.
She re-paid the money over the next 12 months: the interest amounted to £200. With a credit union loan, the interest is £34.
The basis of the credit union movement is that people save and are then able to take out loans. However, Marta said each case was looked at individually and it might be possible in some circumstances to borrow without being a saver.
Savings are protected by the Financial Services Authority.
If you would like to call in and chat with Marta about how the credit union could help you she will be at the Citizens Advice Bureau, The Hub, Civic Approach, Uckfield, each Thursday from 10am-1pm.
Marta, who is East Sussex Credit Union community advocate for Wealden, can also be contacted by telephone on 0798 444 9304 and by email at email@example.com.
Solicitor explains new agency worker regulations
New agency workers regulations come into force today (October 1).
Dawson Hart LLP said the rules are designed to provide equal treatment for agency workers.
It has been explaining the new arrangements to businesses that use agency workers either on a regular or ad hoc basis.
The focus has been on the legal rights acquired, by whom and at what stages. Another key area is the new administrative and legal obligations placed on businesses.
Website company moves offices
Blue Planet Internet Solutions has moved from offices in Uckfield to Crowborough.
The company continues to work across the South East and helps businesses develop an online business strategy.
Read more about Blue Planet in an Uckfield News profile.
Lawson Commercial recognised as "Safe Agent"
Uckfield-based Lawson Commercial has joined the Safe Agent Campaign.
Partner Chris Lawson said: “We live in an ever increasing consumer orientated society and it becomes particularly important to know which firms adopt a totally professional attitude to looking after both landlords’ and tenants’ monies. The Safe Agent campaign is aimed at raising awareness in its logo, which is what to look for to find an agent where tenant’s and landlords’ monies are protected by a client money protection scheme.”
He said the launch of the Safe Agent scheme followed a number of high-profile media cases where unscrupulous letting agents had absconded with tenant and landlord funds.
“Although this scheme is predominantly for residential lettings agents we felt that we also should join it because we do look after both commercial tenants and landlords and we have always belonged to a client money protection scheme,” he said.
This Uckfield plumber specialises in bathroom re-fits
Remember Reeve Plumbing Solutions when it’s time to re-fit your bathroom because this Uckfield company has the experience and the contacts to make the process a smooth and rewarding one.
Owner Kevin Reeve works with his regular team of plasterers, tilers and electricians and is confident they work to his high standards. He is happy managing the whole project.
Before, top, and after pictures of one of his bathroom refits are shown here.
Kevin said: “Attention to detail matters to me and I take pride in making sure things look right for a fair price without cutting corners.”
He has worked on projects from the basic replacement of bathroom suites through to others involving construction work, such as moving walls, and re-routing pipes to accommodate a new layout.
Reeve Plumbing Solutions carry out general plumbing work too and answers emergency calls within Uckfield and in surrounding villages. To learn more please contact Kevin Reeve on 01825 766589 or 0777 193 7172.
Tips on preparing your swimming pool for winter
The heatwave at the end of September may have put back the date when people get their swimming pool ready for winter but autumn is upon us and winter will not be far behind.
So what should you be doing? We spoke to GB Poolstore.
• Check the insurance of the pool technician you employ. See if they have public liability and defective workmanship insurance. If work is poorly carried out on your pool it can have expensive consequences later.
• Choose a company that gives you a proper receipt and does not ask for cash. Many pool companies have gone bust working on a cash basis and the Inland Revenue is looking especially the pool business as we speak.
• Speak to your local pool companies and see what chenicals they use. Take care, many cheap internet chemicals can be cut with other substances to bulk out the product.
• The internet is a cost effective place to buy chemicals and covers, however it’s worth getting good advice. Winter debris covers are substantially less expensive from some internet suppliers without pool experience but many pool owners are shocked to find the winter debris cover they bought last year for 50% less than a pool company’s quote lasted for one year. This is a common problem where inferior products are supplied at cheap prices.
• Winterising an in-ground concrete pool is designed to protect the pool from damage form the elements ie: frost. If the pool can be kept as clean as possible it will reduce the costs and time at the beginning of the season dramatically.
• It would be prudent to test your chemistry. Some pool owners test their pool with test strips which are fine. Pool technicians probably use a test kit where you add a pill and you get readout. Top tip. Test strips may give varying results in cold water.
• Check the pH, Total Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness are all balanced. This will reduce any staining in the pool.
• Vacuum out pool before winterising, net out leaves. Clean out the skimmers of falling leaves and twigs.
• You will need 2 x Winteriser and 1 X Sodium Hypo Chlorite. Top tip use the Sodium Hypo that is 14-15% as it is better value than the 10% and does a better job pound for pound. Add all the chemicals and let them circulate around the pool covering every area.
• Wash down the winter debris cover and remove any debris.
• Tighten the straps and make sure the net is off the water. Top tip, if your cover is suffering from age you can add one or two of the barrels under the net to support it. When leaves and plant debris fall on the net, if it is in the water it rots and eventually falls through the net and makes mulch in the bottom of the pool. If the net is taught then the pool cover catches the leaves and they dry and blow off. Don’t be scared to tighten these straps up that’s what they are designed for. Top Tip. You may have to take a cordless drill to drill out the holes in the pool surround as they may be full of debris.
• If you are closing off your pipework there are two plugs on the motor one below the basket and one on the motor ring its self, these will release water out of the motor. Turn on for one second to remove the water from the impeller, no more. Top Tip, leave in basket of motor for next year.
• You may want to drain down your heating system while you are at it.
• You must drain all the water from your filter equipment.
• Put the multiport valve between two points to release the pressure on the valve. So where it says filter and rinse lift up and place between notches.
• Some pools will lower the water below the skimmers, some will not and have a frost stat the will turn the motor on when the temperature fall below a certain level and move the water around and stop it freezing.
• By lowering the water level below the mouth of the skimmer this will stop the water freezing and causing possible damage. Top Tip removes any chemical tablets left from the summer. They will burn the plastic and may turn it a yellow colour over the winter.
• You can plug the skimmers with a screw thread bung and that will protect the lines for the duration, make sure the water is out the skimmer line first. If you have no thread in the skimmer you can use a bung, available form pool stores.
• If you have a floating automatic hydraulic safety cover it may not be possible to lower the water. Speak to pool technician before doing this and check if you have an auto top up for the pool which is insulated.
Top Tip: if the water level reduces when you have a Hydraulic Safety cover below a certain point the cover may come loose and take the tracks with it as the water supports the cover.
Top Tip: You should have a Hydraulic Safety Valve which is inserted in the sump of the pool if you have one. This releases the pressure if it is greater than the outside. If you don’t have one, they are a few pounds and stop your pool becoming a boat when a lot of water is around, especially if you have a pool in a water table.
Depending on the construction of the pool Vinyl pools are not as strong as concrete swimming pools.
They suffer from pressure from the outside and a rising of water around the pool can lift off the liner and leave creases when it settles.
Some Vinyl pool owners add Gizzmos or Aquadors which cover the skimmers and give that extra water weight to hold the pool in place over the winter.
The pipes will be emptied as above it just ensures as much weight is in the pool. Top Tip Speak to a pool specialist for advice
This is a personal preference and a guide only.
All pools are constructed differently and may require specialist attention.
In other news
Unemployment is rising in Sussex. In the two months to August 2011, the county’s unemployment benefit claimants total went up by 1,424 in Sussex
There are now 27,606 claimants in Sussex.
However, in the four months to June there was a fall in unemployment figures in Sussex, by 1,269. Therefore, we have experienced a net increase of 565 claimants in Sussex since February 2011.
Mark Froud, Chief Executive of Sussex Enterprise said: “These figures were disappointing, showing a shift towards a gradual increase in the number of claimants.
"This is not surprising in the face of the worsening global economic situation and the government’s tough austerity plan.
“In the second quarter of this year the number of people employed in the public sector in the UK fell by 111,000, the largest fall since records began. The number of people employed in the private sector rose by 41,000, showing that businesses are willing and able to create jobs.
“These figures reinforce the need for the government to help the private sector to create more jobs. Reducing red tape, and creating a skills system that provides the right candidates for firms, will aid businesses in increasing their workforce.
"However it is crucial that the government perseveres with the deficit-cutting plan, and ensure the UK does not lose its AAA rating.”
(Added to site Saturday, October 1st, 2011)