Press Releases week beginning 19 December 2016
Council offices renamed Muriel Matters House
Hastings Borough Council offices on Hastings seafront have been renamed Muriel Matters House.
The building formerly known as Aquila House has undergone massive refurbishment over the last 18 months creating bright, new, modern offices and a welcoming Tourist Information Centre. Not only has the building had a top to toe makeover the council has also recently purchased the building, saving money on future rental outgoings.
The council now receives an additional income of £135,000 p.a. from renting out parts of the town hall and Muriel Matters House. In addition, the council is making a net saving of £75,000 p.a. from purchasing the building rather than paying rent. The total of £210,000 p.a. will help to meet the massive funding reductions the council is experiencing and assist in protecting the services it delivers.
To mark the fresh start the council have renamed the building Muriel Matters House.
Cllr Peter Chowney the council's leader explained:
"Muriel Lilah Matters (12 November 1877 - 17 November 1969) was an Australian born suffragist, lecturer, journalist, educator, actress and elocutionist. She lived in Pelham Crescent, here in Hastings next door to our offices, and stood for election as MP in the town in 1924. She died aged 92, at a nursing home in St Leonards".
He added: "Based in Britain from 1905 until her death, Matters is best known for her work on behalf of the Women's Freedom League during the height of the militant struggle to extend the vote to women in the United Kingdom. In 1909, Ms Matters chained herself to a grille in the Ladies' Gallery of the House of Commons.
"With the knowledge that the building was to be renamed after Muriel Matters, Australian MP and secretary of the Muriel Matters Society based in Australia, Frances Bedford visited the UK and in particular Hastings on a whirlwind tour to promote Muriel Matters and her cause. She was thrilled that Muriel would be recognised in her home town in this way".
East Sussex welcomes Syrian refugee families
In September 2015 the UK pledged to welcome 20,000 refugees from Syria over the next five years
East Sussex district and borough councils have agreed to support the resettlement of vulnerable Syrian families who have fled war zones. Many refugees have experienced traumas such as torture, the deaths of loved ones and the loss of everything they own. They have fled in a desperate search for safety, the majority with young children.
Eastbourne, Lewes, Wealden and Rother councils have each agreed to resettle 40 people with Hastings Borough Council pledging to resettle 100 people over the next five years.
Since November working closely with the Government and a range of key partners including health, education and voluntary and community groups the East Sussex Syrian Resettlement Programme has resettled 22 people including grandparents and children. And in January, a further 22 people including extended families will be resettled in East Sussex.
"Hastings Borough Council have pledged to take 100 people over the next five years and considering the scale of the humanitarian crisis in Syria, I believe this is the least we can do" said Cllr Peter Chowney leader of Hastings Borough Council.
He added: "We are working very closely with key partners to ensure that the families are properly supported here in Hastings. I am very confident that Hastings will give the refugees a warm welcome"
East Sussex Community and Faith Action (ESCAFA) for Vulnerable Syrian Families have been working with councils to bring together individuals and community and faith groups across East Sussex who are interested in supporting the families coming into the area.
For more information about ESCAFA visit http://www.escafa.co.uk/
ROOT1066 Festival hailed a success
ROOT1066 the international contemporary arts festival that commemorated and explored one of English history's most important dates, the Battle of Hastings, has been hailed a success by its organisers.
Marking the 950th anniversary of William the Conqueror's invasion of England, the festival promised to bring innovative and fresh perspectives on the history and legacy of 1066 from artists working in both Britain and France.
With specially commissioned works, exhibitions and performances staged across East Sussex by internationally renowned artists, companies and community groups, it really was a festival for all. Highlights of the festival included The Story of Hastings in 66 Objects at Hastings Museum, Marcus Harvey's 'Inselaffe' exhibition at Jerwood Gallery, iy_project by Chris Levine who recently collaborated with Philip Glass at Glastonbury - staged a spectacular light and sound event on Hastings Pier, PUSH a community opera from Battle Festival in collaboration with Glyndebourne and the De La Warr Pavilion, Fiona Banner's exhibition Buoys Boys at the De La Warr Pavilion and so much more.
The festival engaged an enviable collection of 130 partner organisations and community groups who reached over 3750 participants and an audience of 75,000 people.
Visitors to ROOT1066 events described them as 'uplifting', 'exciting' and 'emotional' and 52% stated that the festival was 'fantastic and far exceeded their expectations'.
"The ROOT1066 International Festival gave us six fantastically creative weeks of exhibitions, performances and events from a wonderful array of artists" explained Polly Gifford, ROOT1066 Festival Director.
"We wanted to celebrate our connections with our Norman neighbours and the programme, which included 13 new commissions and premieres, explored some big themes such as Who are we?, Where do we come from? and What is important to us?
She added: "The festival was a huge collaborative effort and we'd like to thank Hastings Borough Council, Arts Council England and the many other funders, sponsors, supporters and volunteers who helped make it happen. We hope many of the partnerships will continue leaving an ongoing legacy for the area."