Record turnout for 2024 Jobs Fair

A record number of people visited the 2024 Bexhill Jobs & Apprenticeships Fair on Friday 15 March. Almost 700 visitors came through the doors of the De La Warr Pavilion to explore live job vacancies, apprenticeships, placements, courses, skills development opportunities and back to work support.

The 2024 fair, in association with Bexhill College and East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, saw visitors queueing ahead of opening, and continued to be busy and vibrant through to the afternoon Quiet Time, introduced this year for visitors with access requirements or who might feel more comfortable in a quieter environment.

Visitor feedback on the fair has been hugely positive: “What a wonderful and well-organised event and very inclusive.” and “Engaging stalls were the best – a great way to find out about roles.”

Exhibitor feedback has included: “We are a small local business and successfully recruited at last year’s Jobs Fair so as we are expanding, we are back this year to fill our new roles.”  and “This is our first time at the Jobs Fair. It’s been really busy since the doors opened and we have had lots of interest in the jobs we are looking to fill. It’s also been good to meet so many other local businesses and organisations. Everyone has been so friendly.”

Huw Merriman MP said: “It was fantastic to see so many visitors, businesses and organisations at this, the 8th, annual Bexhill Jobs & Apprenticeships Fair. The event continues to be a crucial milestone in the local recruitment calendar with many exhibitors returning year in year out because it’s so productive for them – I heard from one accountancy firm that they recruit all their apprentices at the fair every year. Visitors can come to the fair confident in the knowledge that every business and organisation exhibiting will have something tangible to offer. Matching genuine opportunities with people who are actively looking for work, develop their skills or learn is what continues to make the fair so successful.”

Stewart Drew, Director & CEO, De La Warr Pavilion said: “Another amazing Jobs Fair, busy and buzzy from the start, the Auditorium packed with exhibitors and visitors deep in conversation. Once again, there was a brilliant mix of exhibitors – large corporates and organisations rubbing shoulders with small businesses and community groups – and a fantastic range of visitors of all ages. It was great expanding the fair out across the building with workshops taking place in the Studio and Learning Zone as well as on the Auditorium Stage and the new Quiet Time worked really well, making the fair feel even more welcoming and inclusive. Huge thanks to the all the exhibitors and visitors for making the fair such a special community event and particular thanks to East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, Bexhill College, Gatwick Airport, Govia Thameslink Railway, Hastings Direct and the other 2024 fair sponsors for their invaluable support.”

Image Credit: Burst Photos

South East Creatives: The Success Stories – 18 Hours

Creating mesmerising and memorable experiences for the whole community

With a passion for diversity and community, 18 Hours delivers events, education and activities that engage and resonate
A host of vibrant local festivals and events are planned and produced by Mandy Curtis and the team at local organisation 18 Hours. Events include Hastings Storytelling Festival, Streets of Rother, Little Gate Big Festival and many more.

The Journey

With twenty years’ experience in events, education and research, Mandy ran the Development Centre and Global Fusion festival at Pestalozzi Village before going on to deliver local festivals including Coastal Currents with producer and writer John Knowles. After taking time out to do a PHD, she set up 18 Hours in 2013. Marketing expert Naomi Robinson joined Mandy, initially as a volunteer, and since then the team has grown to six. Running a portfolio of around ten festivals, each member of the team has a different specialism, but all get involved in many aspects of the events.

‘We have an amazingly versatile team with everyone helping each other out to deliver what matters most to all of us – creating a fantastic experience for our audiences.’ Mandy Curtis, 18 Hours

Storytelling and more

Since 2008, 18 Hours have produced Hastings Storytelling Festival which celebrates the art of storytelling through magical, moving, joyous and often raucous spoken word, dance, puppetry and digital performances. Sir Quentin Blake is the Festival’s Patron and four Children’s Laureates have appeared. Events have ranged from puppet shows in local schools to crazy nights of cabaret, performance and adult stories at the Velvet Curtain events.

But festival planning and production is just one strand of 18 Hours’ activity. The organisation also works with schools to embed the principles of global citizenship in the classroom, with modules ranging from environmental sustainability to British values. They also manage research projects in diversity, community and the Creative Industries for clients including Rother District Council and Hastings Borough Council.

A not-for-profit organisation, 18 Hours relies primarily on funding and some sponsorship. With decisions often made annually, forward planning, particularly around cash-flow, can be challenging.
Also, with the increasing number of festival and events in the area, 18 hours would welcome more co-ordination and network support opportunities.

But the greatest challenge the team faces currently is a lack of storage space.

‘Over the years we’ve amassed a huge amount of equipment and props, that have gradually taken over the office,’ says Naomi. ‘So, although we love being in the buzzy environment of Rock House with other creative and digital small businesses, we’ve outgrown the space.’

‘For small creative businesses like ours, finding affordable workspace is an issue,’ says Mandy ‘The area is crying out for more reasonably-priced options, preferably with capped rents.’


One issue which has been resolved this year is transport. Mandy was using her car to ferry equipment and props to and from events and continually having to make multiple trips. Now, thanks to a match funding grant from the South East Creatives programme, the team have a bought a Peugeot Partner van.

‘Getting the van has been transformational. Just being able to load up and go saves us so much time and effort.’ Naomi Robinson, 18 Hours

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund, South East Creatives aims to give small businesses in the creative, cultural and digital sector a boost through a programme of grants and business support through workshops, training, mentoring and events.
‘Getting the grant was pretty straightforward,’ says Mandy. ‘The local South-East Creatives co-ordinator Marina Norris supported us through the application process, we got the go-ahead within a month of applying and then had three months to spend the money. This coincided with our busiest time of year so put us under pressure slightly to find the right van quickly. But we’re so pleased now we’ve got it and we especially love the fantastic signwriting on it which was done by Sign Tek in Eastbourne.’

Future plans

In the same way that 18 Hours took their Streets of Battle festival concept and applied it to Streets of Bexhill, the team are now exploring opportunities to expand their existing festivals franchise into new areas. The team is also managing two exciting new projects in 2020, but details are still currently ‘under the hat’.

See more South East Creatives success stories.

18 hours team with van
Dick Danger Dives into a Bucket at Streets of Bexhill. Picture by Kim Hall
Circo Rum Baba with their show L’Hotel at Hastings Storytelling Festival. Picture by John Cole
Thingumajig Theatre and Vocal Explosion Massive at St Leonards Festival with the show Ghost Caribou. Picture by Kim Hall

Tapestry Taster – Learning to weave with DLWP

Barbara Flint talks us through our Tapestry workshop

The workshop was a wonderful opportunity to experiment and discover a new craft technique.

The tutor, Philip Sanderson, from West Dean College, was an extremely knowledgeable and experienced tapestry weaver and a fantastic teacher. He included a very interesting introduction to the history and work of the West Dean Tapestry Studio and followed it by giving us a clear
step-by-step guide to a few of the basic techniques of tapestry weaving, from making simple blocks of colour to creating diagonals, dots or ‘beads’, stripes and other linear patterns.

The time flew by as we all concentrated on trying to produce professional looking samples in a calm and relaxing atmosphere, resulting in a small example to take home. The techniques of tapestry weaving are sophisticated and become ever more complex the more complicated the design, however this felt like a very comprehensive introduction and I for one, am inspired to make a loom and keep on weaving!



By Barbara Flint

Musical Matinee Club returns with Singin’ In The Rain!

Musical Matinee Club’s fabulous hostess Suzy Harvey recaps the glorious return of the disability and dementia-friendly film series

It’s official. I LOVE the Musical Matinee Club!

After a break of about two years, 160 of us came in out of the actual rain, and gathered in the auditorium to watch Singin’ In The Rain. It was a delight to see so many faces of folk who used to come, and to welcome so many new audience members.

I dressed myself as part Gene Kelly, part Debbie Reynolds, and we all sported our very own plastic rain macs (made from yellow bin bags)!

We each had a goody bag of props to use during the film, lovingly loaded by our incredible volunteers. Each time the actors tap danced on the screen, we tapped some spoons together to create the sound effects. We wore feathers in our hair, threw streamers in celebration, waved lengths of toilet paper in the air, sang out loud and danced along throughout.

Mid-film, during our dance break, we danced to Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head and It’s Raining Men and a wonderful audience member gave us a very encouraging critique and a score of 9 out of 10.

It was such a delight to be back, in the company of such committed staff and volunteers, and playful, open-hearted audience members.

Roll on 26th November for Funny Face!

Work experience with DLWP

Last week, the Pavilion’s work experience programme introduced more students to life working in the creative industries. Jamie and Mia joined the DLWP team and got stuck in to five days of stewarding, catering, media and communications, events planning and, everyone’s favourite, lighting and sound.

The pair were kind enough to leave a glowing review of their time with us, which you can read below. Thanks again to Jamie and Mia for all their help!

If your child is entering Year 1o this September and their school supports a week of work experience, contact to discuss work experience at the Pavilion for 2020.




Karl Wirsum, Ice Pick Nick Fisherman, 1979 (acrylic on wood, 22 inches high)

The banner on the wall of the Pavilion depicts a work Ice Pick Nick Fisherman from 1979 by artist Karl Wirsum (b.1939, USA), who collected toys and puppets. This work is inspired by his collection. They are small hand-made wooden puppets, with wooden handles for the puppeteer to hold. They depict fisherman, who used ice-picks to fish. The puppets are part of our How Chicago! Imagists 1960s & 70s exhibition, which features works by 14 artists whose distinctive and lively visual style would go on to influence some of the most important artists of the 20th century. Many of the works were inspired by the artists’ love of everyday items such as comic books, amusement arcades and advertising, with no hidden meaning.

We appreciate that the post on Facebook did not give background to this work, and we are sorry for any offence caused. We have spoken to some trusted community partners and have made the decision to keep the banner up. People who walk past the Pavilion will know that we regularly change our banners according to the season.

To see who we work with in our local community, click here 





RPO and The Bexhill Festival of Music. Interview with Brian Wright.

Ahead of Bexhill Festival Of Music at the De La Warr Pavilion read an interview with Brian Wright who is talking about the history of the Festival and the upcoming Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s Elgar’s Cello Concerto. 

Bexhill Music Festival is a highlight of the music calendar! Can you talk a little bit about the history of the festival and your involvement?

The Festival was started 13 years ago, the year my wife Sue and I moved to Bexhill. Incidentally, it’s a great place to live and the best move we’ve ever made! I understand the Festival was originally designed for local groups to come together during the month of June and present what they do under a single umbrella. But in 2012 I’d been talking to the then RPO Managing Director Ian Maclay, and Sue knew the then Festival Director, so we put them together at the De La Warr Pavilion. Bexhill worked its magic on a gloriously sunny summer day, and we gave our first concert together at the De La Warr in June 2013. Frankly, Bexhill had been deprived of hearing a professional orchestra for decades, so the audience lapped it up, and I’m glad to say we’ve had very good audiences every year since. Professional music-making involves a vast amount of travel, so it’s a real joy for me once a year to conduct a concert just five minutes away from home!

For people who are not familiar with Elgar’s Cello Concerto, what should they listen out for?

It’s a work I love and I’ve been really privileged to conduct it with some great cellists over the years, from Paul Tortelier and Stephen Isserlis, to last year – when he performed it for the very first time – Sheku Kanneh-Mason. Each time it’s the slow movement that really gets an audience – a very moving look back by Elgar to the anguish of the recent 1st World War. But overall Elgar’s Cello Concerto isn’t a tragedy. There are a great many moods which the soloist acts out and links in a story line rather like a narrator.

And what else can audiences expect from this concert?

To end we’ve Tchaikovsky’s exciting and very passionate 4th Symphony. Tchaikovsky was typically Russian in his belief that we’re all governed by the disruptive power of fate and it really shows in his opening movement. But as he said about the meaning of his boisterous finale: “If you can find joy in the joy of others, you can still enjoy life!” Again, that’s typically Russian. And to begin we’ve Sibelius’s famous Finlandia which was seen as a rallying call for independence from Russia in his native Finland.

What is the best perk of being a conductor?

Undoubtedly it’s when working with great colleagues, like the RPO’s players, you can set out the parameters of what you’d like in rehearsal, but then at the concert feel that you’re just letting them play. Conducting is a ridiculous business really – part musician and part mime artist.

Have you worked with Michael Petrov before? (and if so, can you talk a bit about how you’ve work together?)

Yes, Michael played a very fine Dvorak Cello Concerto with me a couple of seasons ago. We should have performed Shostakovich together earlier this season, but he had to withdraw having injured his hand. He’s a lovely young player – Bulgarian, but an Anglophile, and he studied and now lives here. I’m very much looking forward to hearing his take on Elgar.

What is the best feedback you’ve ever received from an audience member?

That’s difficult and this is a bit bland. But it’s probably been when someone I don’t know has unexpectedly come up to me after a concert and said a simple “Thank you, I really enjoyed that”.

Tickets for the Elgar’s Cello Concerto can be booked here

DLWP becomes a Cornerstone Employer

The De La Warr Pavilion is delighted to announce that we have today agreed to a new partnership to support young people in Bexhill and the surrounding area by becoming one of The Careers & Enterprise Company’s Cornerstone Employers.

Regular, meaningful encounters with employers is an absolutely vital part of preparing and inspiring young people for the world of work. The Pavilion knows that this kind of support means young people are less likely to be not in education, employment or training (NEET) when they leave school.

Becoming a Cornerstone Employer means the DLWP is committing to working together with our networks, the wider business community and schools and colleges to make this happen in Bexhill.

What is a Cornerstone Employer?

A Cornerstone Employer is a business that is invested in the successful and sustainable delivery of careers education for young people and commits to join a leadership group of local businesses to support the schools, colleges and young people in their area.

The Cornerstone Employers work together with their networks and the wider business community to ensure all young people have the opportunities they need to be prepared and inspired for the world of work.

Cornerstone Employers may be large or small businesses, at local or national level, but it is important that they are:

  1. Experienced in engaging with education and so can lead by example and share their experiences with other businesses
  2. Dedicated to investing time and resource to benefit schools, colleges and young people
  3. Committed to working with other Cornerstone Employers in an Opportunity Are or Careers Hub
  4. Willing to galvanise their business networks in the are, to collaboratively meet the needs of schools, colleges and young people
  5. Focused on sustainability and act as an ambassador and champion for social mobility

If you would like to find out more about our new role as a Cornerstone Employer, you can visit our website here.

Turbulent Spinsters and Badass Sisters

Ann Kramer delivers a crash-course history lesson on women’s suffrage in Bexhill and Hastings


Our aim for the workshops was to both provide information about the local women’s suffrage campaign and some key women within that campaign, and to make space and time for people to express their personal views verbally and creatively, using written and visual outlets.

With this in mind, Ashley McCormick and myself met on a couple of occasions to identify appropriate crossover elements within the Still I Rise exhibition that could be used to introduce elements from the local women’s suffrage campaign, based on my book Turbulent Spinsters: Women’s Fight for the Vote in Hastings and St Leonards. Reasons for doing this reflect the fact that local suffrage activity is not well known and also that, it can be argued, women’s fight for the vote was an extremely important example of women’s resistance that issues around feminism and gender highlighted in the exhibition.

Once we had identified the appropriate exhibits, we were able to plan and organise the workshop, ensuring a balance between providing information and encouraging participation in the form of various activities.

We began at the entrance to the exhibition with a general welcome and introduction, and a brief overview of the local women’s suffrage campaign, introducing local campaigner Barbara Bodichon and defining ‘suffragist’ and ‘suffragette’ along the way. Attendees were then invited to define what feminism(s) meant to them and to record personal acts of resistance. Some were shared and generated a lot of discussion.

We then moved to the first exhibit, a board game Roots and Bootstraps, which we examined. I used the exhibit as a jumping off point to explore issues of class within the suffrage campaign. I described the class composition of the local campaign, introducing activists such as Emma Fricker Hall, Jane Strickland and Lady Muriel Brassey. Participants were invited to make a list or diagram of female friendships and alliances and their meaning to them.

The exhibit Water Cooler Moments provided the opportunity for me to discuss verbal and physical attacks on suffragettes, locally and nationally, including hurling missiles, anti-suffrage letters to the press, physical attacks by the police and force-feeding. This was followed with an activity based on producing a mind-map of barriers that women still face today.

Our third stop was at Mary Lowndes’ suffragette banners and See Red posters, which I used to talk about the creativity and pageantry of women’s politics via banners, posters and slogans. I also gave examples of local suffragists and suffragettes, such as Isabella Darent Harrison who joined major demonstrations in London and also carried out creative acts of resistance in Hastings and St Leonards.

Finally we moved to the roof top foyer where we invited people to create campaigning slogans and placards, using coloured paper, stencils and collaging material. A number of brilliant slogans were produced and there was energetic discussion around a number of issues.

I enjoyed co-facilitating the workshop enormously. It was a lively and enthusiastic event. Participants were clearly engaged and found the subject matter stimulating, generating some very interesting debates. These in turn raised important issues such as the difficulty in defining feminism, the interlocking natures of oppressions, how personal acts of resistance, such as deciding not to wear make-up, might seem quite small, but can have a much wider impact. All the participants who attended certainly seem to have appreciated the workshop and to have gained insight and inspiration from the experience, not least the opportunity to discuss gender issues with others. I was delighted to have the opportunity to co-facilitate the workshop and found it a very positive experience.

Tales For Toddlers: Exploring our Exhibitions

Storyteller Ed Boxall tells us how he introduces little ones to art and exhibitions at the DLWP.

I like to base sessions for the pre-schoolers at Tales For Toddlers on coinciding exhibitions at the De La Warr. So, inspired by the Hayv Kahraman exhibition, Tales for Toddlers for February was all about pattern. Pattern appears in all sorts of ways in her work- the fabric of the clothes, the rhythms of the bodies.

The link to the exhibition needs of course to be right for the age group. With toddlers, we’re not ‘educating about art’ but experiencing the fundamental processes involved. In the long run, we might be helping children to get in the habit of delightful artistic processes and perhaps seeing a connection between what they do and things they see in galleries.

We had the space ready for the children by covering the floor with giant paper. You need something for children to do if they arrive early so they started by drawing round bits of their bodies with bright oil crayons on the paper while everyone arrived. They could repeat patterns with hands, fingers, feet and whole body shapes.

When everyone was ready, we moved onto pattern in poetry and enjoyed Brian Moses’ ‘Walking My Iguana’, which has a great chorus to repeat. Next, musical instruments were handed out and we noisily got to know our chosen instrument. We all joined in with my song ‘Yellow Cars’ which has a nice loud/quiet pattern from verse to verse.

We went back to the big paper for the remainder of the session but with some more pattern based processes to use. I brought rubbers to print with, stamp pads, patterned gift wrap and textured wallpaper. The stamp pads are great when you want to print but don’t quite want the full on mess of printing ink.

The children were probably unaware that we were ‘exploring pattern’ but I hope had a great time doing so and parents and children left with some easy things to try at home.

More Tales For Toddlers workshops with different storytellers and workshop leaders will take place on March 11, April 8 and May 13. See our full workshop list and sign up here.

Images courtesy of Matthew Harmer