Behind the Counter: The Purple Carrot Hassocks


By Deirdre Huston

Brighton’s loss is Hassocks’ gain. I’m not in The Purple Carrot for long before I realise just how much there is going on. Many years ago when Chris went travelling he was fascinated by the cafe culture he saw. The mixing of the generations (not just families going out) and the general feeling of bonhomie. Back in the late 80s, inspired by his travels around Israel, Chris made tentative attempts to start a Mediterranean style café in Brighton, but loans were not readily available and, sadly, Chris had to shelve his plans.

He put in a good few years working for the council but when redundancy created an opportunity for him to make a change, he was eager to rekindle his earlier ambitions. He accepted that he’d become rooted in Hassocks and found his first premises on the west side of the station where many of you will have sampled the excellent cheeseboards at book club or card evenings. When the lease at No 6 became available, Chris recognised its potential and the prominent corner location between high street and station is well suited to his vision for The Purple Carrot’s future.

The interior is light filled and relaxed. Customers wander in and out and Chris is quick to put people at their ease. As he talks to me, although he is diffident and self deprecating, his motivations soon shine through. Rather than bean counting, it’s a wish to create a community which is at the heart of his business plans. He elaborates: “I’ve always been drawn to dealing with a range of people of varying ages and backgrounds. I want them to be allowed to be able to take their time and enjoy their food and drink.” Chris has a real passion for the food side of things; the invention and experimentation, the getting people to try out new things.

Summer Trail created by Hassocks youths


By Deirdre Huston

When I went along to Hassocks Youth Hangout a group of young people were engrossed in developing the Adastra Summer Trail. This activity is being designed by them and is hoped to be popular with children and families over the summer.

The initiative uses recycled materials and works in a similar way to geocaching but without the app.

Families will be able to download the trail from https://sussexcyp.org.uk/news/hassocks-science-trail/.

They must solve clues to find boxes hidden across Adastra Park which contain hands-on science challenges to complete and a stamp for marking their entry form. Everyone who completes the trail can take their completed sheet to the Hassocks Market on 24th August where they will receive a small reward and be entered into a prize draw. The Turner Dumbrell Foundation in Ditchling funded the activities, staff and promotion necessary to make the Adastra Summer Trail a reality, while Hassocks Parish Council were very supportive in allowing Adastra Park to be used. “It was lovely to have that immediate response and support,” admits Liz Jeavans, local resident and scientist extraordinaire.

Top Hassocks businesses get praised


Muddy Stiletto Awards

By Caz Houghton

No, this isn’t about inappropriate footwear and getting stuck as your heels sink into wet grass on a walk up to Jack and Jill.

Muddy Stilettos has become the ‘urban guide to the countryside’, a reference for the best local things to do in local areas across 21 counties, including Sussex. Since 2013 it has been running an awards programme to celebrate independent, creative businesses.

During May you might have noticed a hive of activity as Hassocks residents made it their mission to show support to our local businesses, nominating and voting across 24 lifestyle categories. With over 15,000 businesses involved and 750,000 votes cast, you can’t help but feel proud that five of the Sussex finalists were from Hassocks:

Best Beauty Salon FINALIST: Profiles Health and Beauty

Best Hairdresser FINALIST: Reflex@42

Best Gift Shop FINALIST: Indigo

Best Jewellery Store FINALIST: Marvellous Marmalade

Best Florist WINNER: Bella June Flowers

Hassocks Bike ‘n’ Fun returns this month

Hassocks Bike ‘n’ Fun 2019

Hassocks Bike ‘n’ Fun 2019

The community bike ride returns later this month, as resident Pippa Crouch takes over the reins this year.

The event will take place on Sunday 30th June 2019 and will feature two safe, marshalled routes – a four and eight mile ride. Both start from The Hassocks Hotel with registration at 9.30am. The shorter route will go via Oldland Mill (which will be open until 1pm) and Ditchling, ending back at The Hassocks. The longer route will go via Oldland Mill, Ditchling, Underhill Lane, Hurstpierpoint and back to the same place.

Pippa explained: “This fun event is for the whole community, regardless of age and cycling ability.” The event will be kindly marshalled by volunteers from the Proper Cycling Club, and will feature a BBQ too.

For more information pop into Proper Coffee, QD Stationery or like the Facebook page – search for Hassocks Bike ‘n’ Fun.

Behind the Counter: Bella and Megs, Hassocks

Chantal and Phil from Bella and Megs Cafe in Hassocks

By Joe Wayte

When Phil and wife Chantal decided to move into their corner plot on Keymer Road, they heard the cries from the people of Hassocks hoping it wouldn’t be ‘yet another coffee shop’. While during the day you can turn up any time for a quick beverage and a bite to eat, Friday nights at Bella & Megs are quite different, and if you haven’t already booked, you’ll need to join the waiting list.

In April 2018, Bella & Megs café and bistro opened its doors for the first time. The sun was shining, prosecco was on tap and many locals showed up to see what owners Phil and Chantal had done with the place. “It was very white when we first acquired the shop,” Chantal explained, “so we decided to do a refit. I wanted somewhere that felt homely, yet rustic and modern.” The launch was a huge success and, after twelve months in business, the pair are pleased with how things are going.

Originally from Newick, Phil started his career in stage management at the theatre in Worthing. After ten years of commanding crew behind the scenes, he decided he was ready for his next challenge and turned his hand to hospitality. “I went into training with the British Institute of Innkeeping,” Phil told me, “and then advertised myself locally when I was ready to take on a job.” Phil received an offer shortly after and moved to Poynings to work at the Royal Oak. It was there that he met Chantal, who grew up in the village.

This isn’t the first time the duo have gone into business together. For a number of years they ran Dolly’s Pantry in Ditchling, which they sold in 2007.

[Read the full article in the May 2019 issue of Hassocks Life magazine]

Norma opera comes to Hassocks


Touring operatic company Heber Opera is once again playing at Adastra Hall with its current production of Norma.

According to Heber: ‘Bellini’s Norma is an opera that is not performed very often but has a strong story and lovely music, including, of course, one of opera’s most famous arias Casta Diva (or in our English version Sacred Goddess)’.

Heber’s production will be sung in English and performed in the round, and it will feature the talents of local performer Steve Hawksley (pictured) from Hassocks.

This tour is made up of just five dates, including 7.30pm on Friday 24th May at Adastra Hall in Hassocks and Sunday 26th May at nearby Hurstpierpoint’s Village Centre where the show will start at 6pm.

Tickets may be purchased online or by calling 07503 783403.