Press Releases week beginning 27 April 2020
Hastings Borough Council faces increased financial risk due to COVID-19 despite government money
On 28 April 2020, the government provided details of further funding to local authorities to deal with the impact of COVID-19.
An extra £1.6bn of funding is being allocated. Hastings Borough Council received £67,268 in the first round of funding announced a month ago and has been allocated £918,693 this time - a total of £985,961.
Cllr Kim Forward, leader of the council, said:
"Unfortunately, the new allocation from the government is still insufficient to meet the additional costs and the loss of income that the Council is experiencing as a result of COVID-19. We provide many key services such as waste collection, street cleaning, upkeep of parks, housing services and temporary accommodation, planning and environmental health and there is increasing pressure in all areas. We will continue to press the government for fair funding for our town.
"Along with many other coastal towns our economy depends on tourism and sadly we are seeing businesses struggling and much higher unemployment with many more people claiming benefits. We are proud that our council tax reduction scheme still includes a 100% discount for those in greatest need, but it means our income will be greatly reduced in this area.
Cllr Peter Chowney, lead councillor for finance and property, said:
"As Hastings Council has suffered relatively large cuts in government grants over the years, it's had to replace this with income from fees, charges and property rental income, amounting to around £14m a year. Like other councils, we have few opportunities to reduce staffing costs during the current crisis. Council income from car parking, weekly beach chalet lets, and the cliff railways will be hit especially hard.
"The latest estimates for additional costs, resulting from extra spending and loss of income, range from £2.8m to £6.2m for this year. This is in addition to the £1.2m deficit already forecast for the year. Deficits of this size are not sustainable. If we don't get further substantial funding from the government there will be a massive impact on council services.
"We've also learned that the planned review of the way councils are funded is being delayed by another two years, so councils in the most deprived areas, such as Hastings, will continue to be denied the funding they need to meet local needs."
Cllr Forward added:
"The Council is working hard to support the most vulnerable in our community and it is doing so in partnership with other public services and our many community and voluntary organisations. As a resident of the town, I am proud all the work being done to combat this terrible pandemic and I would like to thank all those in the NHS and care sector and other key workers for all they are doing to look after us.
"I would also like to thank businesses who have really stepped up to support our town and the country like BD Foods on the Castleham estate who are finding the resources to provide hot meals for those most in need while experiencing severe reductions in business themselves."
The Community Hub established by the council in partnership with other organisations has so far supported over 850 people throughout the town with food and medicine deliveries as well as issues of fuel and poverty.
Hastings Borough Council remains committed to continuing to support the most vulnerable in the community and the hard-pressed voluntary and business communities as far as possible with the limited resources it has available.
Foreshore Trust grant fund opens with focus on COVID-19 response
The Foreshore Trust is now asking for applications for the third round of the small and events grant programme. The call for applications opened on Monday 27th April 2020.
This grant call will primarily fund organisations to help our communities respond to the COVID-19 crisis. There will be a quicker turnaround than usual to award grant funding to local organisations that are responding to the challenges within our community presented by the current crisis.
Applications will also be considered from organisations which have been indirectly disadvantaged by the pandemic or which bring proposals to enhance social cohesion at the present time.
Grants of up to £6,000 will be awarded to voluntary and community groups providing support within Hastings & St. Leonards. Around £45,000 is available for this programme round.
Councillor Sue Beaney, Chair of the Charity Committee said,
"A wide range of activities were awarded grants in the last round of funding including:
- Provision of a support and advice service for Pantry service users,
- Intergenerational mediation,
- Training aimed at upskilling organisations and front-line staff to address the Universal Credit skills crisis,
- Provision of sessions for young men in the key Motivate delivery areas in Hastings.
So if you have an activity in mind, particularly in response to COVID-19, that might need some financial help, please send in an application."
To request an application pack, which includes grant guidance, please email: Foreshore-SE@hastings.gov.uk.
The programme is open for applications from Monday 27th April 2020 and closes at 5pm on Monday 18th May 2020, with approval of the grants anticipated in mid-June 2020.
For further information on the Foreshore Trust please go to: https://www.hastings.gov.uk/my-community/foreshoretrust/whattheydo/
Town at forefront of Covid-19 response
As well as the sterling work of many Hastings residents on the 'front line', others are working hard behind the scenes as local companies play their part in the local and national response to Covid-19.
Interface Manufacturing, based at Churchfields industrial estate, are a manufacturer of scientific equipment and test kits for the coronavirus disease, in addition to healthcare equipment and supplies used in fighting the coronavirus outbreak. They have supplied electron beam microscope and mass spectrometers at short notice; these pieces of equipment are at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19. A subsidiary, Interface Precision Engineering, are also working with a range of customers in the 'nano imagery' sector, the components manufactured are key parts of the imaging machines used in the search for a Covid-19 vaccine. The company has also been busy manufacturing ventilator critical components on a fast turnaround.
BD Foods, based at Castleham Business Estate, normally provide aeroplane meals, but have seen a huge drop in their revenues as airlines around the world have grounded their fleets because of the coronavirus. They are providing stock of soups and sauces to local organisations and are supporting the work of the Hastings Community Hub as well as Dom's Food Mission. BD Foods are also manufacturing and supplying regional wholesalers with pasta sauces and soup concentrates that go into care packs for the vulnerable sector. These are distributed by local councils around the country to those that cannot get access to food.
Technoturn, based at Churchfields industrial estate have been manufacturing critically needed precision components for ventilators. 96 000 vital ventilator components have been manufactured on a fully automated machine running 24/7 to deliver parts within days.
Marshall-Tufflex, based at Castleham industrial estate, has been supplying the NHS with its antimicrobial cable management system for the new emergency NHS Nightingale Hospitals, in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. Six new Nightingale hospitals have been supplied with Marshall-Tufflex's cable management systems The manufacturing process for these antimicrobial cable management systems ensures that 99.9% of harmful bacteria, (including MRSA), will not survive on the surface. Even if these become scratched or damaged, the active ingredients will continue to help prevent the spread of healthcare associated infections, making it ideal for use in the hospital environment where control of infection is critical. The manufacturing plant has been working around the clock to deliver the Nightingale orders.
Council leader Kim Forward said :- "We rightly applaud our many front line and key workers who are battling Covid-19 and those supporting the community. And we are proud too of those carrying on other vital work in the fight against the coronavirus. It is really heartening that so much is being done by so many local people in other ways such as providing the food for the most vulnerable across the country, supplying vital ventilator components, cable management systems for the Nightingale hospitals and high tech equipment being used to search for a Covid-19 vaccine.
"Three of these four local businesses work from premises owned and managed by Hastings Borough Council and I am pleased that we are able to play our own small part in this massive operation."
Hastings 'Jack in the green' festival invites town to dress up and celebrate together online for the NHS
'We are very pleased to say that during these difficult times we are looking to bring the town online and together to celebrate our beloved festival, Hastings Traditional Jack in the Green. We are working with local community Facebook channel Isolation Station Hastings to run a series of events streamed live on our Facebook page and theirs including a sunrise ceremony at dawn on 1st May and Morris Dancing, drumming and music on Saturday May 2nd with the main procession taking place on Sunday 3rd via Zoom and Facebook.
DRESS UP IN GREEN, DECORATE YOUR HOMES AND JOIN US ON ZOOM!
For the main event on Sunday we are asking the whole town to get dressed up in green as they normally would and join us online on Zoom. Here we will all be able to celebrate together watching footage of previous years' processions as well as live performances from across Hastings including Morris dancing, drum performances, a ceilidh, live music, the slaying of the Jack and all of the wonderful people and characters that make this event what it is. The exciting part is we will be able to see everyone dressed up and enjoying the virtual festival from their homes.
MAY DAY 'BANG YOUR DRUM FOR THE NHS AT 3.30PM ON SUNDAY 3RD MAY'
We will end the proceedings at 3.30pm by inviting the whole town to go to their doorsteps, windows and balconies and bang their drums in a special Hastings May Day applause for the NHS, before we conduct the famous ceremonial slaying of the Jack.
RAISING MONEY FOR OUR NHS
It's no small undertaking - we estimate there will be over one hundred people working and performing at this event, which will include as much of the actual schedule as is technologically possible. We are a charity ourselves and are of course losing money this year, but we hope everyone will come together and we are inviting those who can to donate to two local charities providing PPE and other support for our NHS: 'Hastings Supports Our NHS Staff' and 'Friends of the Conquest Hospital'. Normally tens of thousands attend our event, so if everybody donated a small amount we could make a big difference.
Donation link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jack-in-the-green
SHOW US YOUR DECORATIONS THIS WEEK ON SOCIAL MEDIA
All details will be announced on our social media pages this week, but in the meantime we are asking everybody to start preparing their decorations and costumes and post photos & videos with the hashtag #hastingsvirtualjack2020
There will be a few hundred places available for the Zoom Procession, but it will be simultaneously broadcast to our own Facebook page and Isolation Station's so nobody needs to miss out.
We believe this very special event belongs to our community, and we will work night and day to bring it online so that we can keep the spirit of Hastings alive during these difficult times.'
- Keith Leech, Chair of Trustees Traditional Jack in the Green
The online event is free to all. Friday and Saturdays events will broadcast live on Facebook.
To apply for spaces for Sunday's Main Procession on Zoom, details will be announced on https://hastingstraditionaljackinthegreen.co.uk in the coming days.