Press Releases week beginning 3 February 2020
Hastings a step closer to £25m funding bid
Hastings has taken a big step closer to bidding for up to £25m from the Government's new Town Fund by setting up a Town Deal Board.
At a public meeting on Monday (27 January), delegates from the health, education, business, community and voluntary sectors in the town, as well as officers from East Sussex County Council, Hastings Borough Council and the Hastings and Rye MP nominated representatives to comprise the new Town Deal Board. Voting then took place and a Board was elected, including co-Chairs, Graham Peters and Carole Dixon. The Board will take a leading role in creating a vision and strategy for the town, and bring parties together to attract public and private investment. It will reset the regeneration plans for the town over the next 10 years or so.
Graham Peters, co-Chair and Vice Chairman of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, said:
"I am delighted and honoured to be elected co- Chair of the Town Deal Board. The Town Fund represents a really exciting opportunity for Hastings. It is inspiring to see a Board made up of people from all sectors coming together to drive up prosperity in the town."
Carole Dixon, co-Chair and Chair of the Hastings Community Network, added:
"The board understands the issues and opportunities and I am looking forward to working with them and the wider community to develop this bid for the town, and to build on the work undertaken in the town over the last 20 years."
Peter Chowney, Leader of the council, also elected to the Board, who said:
"We will be looking to develop a town deal investment plan that addresses some of the problems we have in Hastings - for example, a lack of affordable housing, low skills and educational achievement, and the need for improved transport links. We will also be expecting funded projects to help achieve our goal of making Hastings carbon neutral by 2030."
Speaking at the meeting, which was held at the council's offices, Sally-Ann Hart, the MP for Hastings and Rye and member of the new Town Deal Board, echoed Peter's enthusiasm:
"Although I am new to my role as MP I have lived in the area for many years and look forward to contributing to the bid process as part of this Board. It is good to see cross party support for this great opportunity for the town."
Councillor Keith Glazier, Leader of East Sussex County Council, also a Board member said:
"We're delighted to be part of the Town Deal Board, and wholeheartedly support the push for additional funding. Further regeneration of Hastings will provide a huge boost to the economy of the town and East Sussex, and we look forward to working with our partners to help take these plans forward."
Setting up a Town Deal Board is an important part of the first stage of the Town Fund bid process. The Board will now work on creating an investment plan for the town in consultation with the community. The plan will form the basis of the town deal which will be agreed with government. If successful, funding will be sought from government during 2021/22.
New homes replace disused care home in St Leonards
Brand new homes have been delivered in St Leonards thanks to a partnership between Hastings Borough Council and housing association Optivo.
A disused care home, Leolyn House, in Pevensey Road, had stood empty for two years, but the building has now been regenerated.
It has been converted into 16 modern apartments, all of which are affordable rent for local people, as part of the Coastal Space project. The project turns empty, run-down and derelict properties into quality affordable homes.
The latest milestone was officially celebrated on Friday 31 January at Leolyn House.
Andy Batsford, lead councillor for housing at Hastings Borough Council, said:
"Building homes that are of high quality and truly affordable is one of Hastings Council's top priorities. Returning this empty property into use has been a massive achievement and a great example of positive partnership work and bold investment. A building like this is not cheap or easy to bring back to life, but in this moment of housing crisis for our local families we must show strong leadership in our community."
Tanya Vines, Development Manager at Optivo, said:
"We're extremely proud to have played our part in bringing this empty building back to life. We've enjoyed working with Hastings Borough Council to deliver much needed affordable homes for local people. We're passionate about doing our bit to tackle the housing crisis."
Funding from Hastings Borough Council, Homes England and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership enabled Optivo to renovate Leolyn House.
Coastal Space has transformed 80 homes across various sites in St Leonards since 2013. A number of these have been derelict local eyesores including Winchester House, in Pevensey Road, and the site of St Mary's Nursing home, in Carisbrooke Road. Both have had major refurbishment work to deliver 26 and 11 high-quality apartments respectively.
The project has also helped local residents to get involved in skills and learning projects. A dedicated employment team offers one to one support, advice and guidance to help individuals find training and jobs.
Blast off this half term at Hastings Museum & Art Gallery
Reach for the stars during half term (15-23 February) at Hastings Museum & Art Gallery with a constellation of fun family events. Throughout the week families can enjoy a range of free and low-cost activities.
Kim Forward, lead councillor for culture said,
"Our museum is a great place to take the family this half term - there really is something for everyone whatever their age. The fun starts on Saturday, 15 February and runs every day throughout the holiday. As well as the museum's regular free gallery activities there will be additional 'Out of this World' craft activities for families and young children. I am pleased that we are offering Relaxed Early Opening on Saturday, 15 February, when neurodiverse children and families, people with autism or additional needs will be able to enjoy the exhibitions in a calmer environment.as videos and sounds will be switched off until 11.30am.
This year you're also invited to step into our mini celestial theatre and take a trip to the stars on Tuesday, 18 February. Tickets for the Planetarium are available online with shows throughout the day. If you have ever found something interesting and wondered what it might be then bring it along to the Relics Roadshow on Thursday, 20 February, and ask the expects who will be on hand to chat to you about your discoveries and to share some of theirs.
The ever popular LEGO Lab returns on Friday, 21 February. These amazing sessions let families get creative and make amazing programmable machines and creatures using LEGO. Book your place now through our website or Facebook page.
For full details about each of the events go to the museum's website (www.hmag.org.uk) or Facebook page.
Friendship Link Team prepares for a busy time in Twin Town in Sierra Leone
23 teachers and volunteers from Hastings are busy preparing for their visit to our Twin Town, Hastings in Sierra Leone in just under a week's time. The Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link will be leading a party of 18 Teachers and 5 Link volunteers to continue work on the Link's strategic themes of education, health, creating livelihoods and community support.
Isabel Hodger who is leading the team of teachers with the help of Roger Mitchell said:
"The teachers have been working with the British Council and their twinned schools in Hastings Sierra Leone to develop lesson plans and projects to share cultures through learning. The UK teachers all received the British Council Global Teacher Awards as a result and are keen to begin to use their new skills in Sierra Leone."
Alongside the teachers, volunteers from the Link will be working on major projects to improve sanitation and hygiene in schools, focussing on sustainable water supplies, toilets, improved hygiene facilities and waste management.
Richard Homewood, Chairman of the Link said:
"The Schools' Sanitation Project is our latest initiative. Clean water, basic toilets and good hygiene practices are essential for the survival and development of children. According to UNICEF, every day, over 800 children die, worldwide, from preventable diseases caused by the lack of these. It is acknowledged that Sub Saharan Africa, which includes Sierra Leone, lags far behind other continents in addressing the problem. In Sierra Leone the lack of these basic facilities in our twinned schools is impacting on their education and their futures. Children often miss out on education because they spend hours every day collecting water and are exhausted if and when they get to school. Many older girls have to miss school on a regular basis due to the lack of menstrual hygiene facilities. Whilst we can't tackle the problem in the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa, we can improve the prospects for the future of children in the schools we are twinned with in Hastings, Sierra Leone by ensuring they have a sustainable water supply, good basic sanitation and hygiene facilities. Following a survey of all of the twinned schools, we have already funded work at four schools to provide sustainable water supplies. During the visit we will work with the remaining schools to identify what they need and how we can help provide it."
"The teachers in the 27 partnered schools have already been working with their pupils on a Zero Waste project to minimise waste and increase recycling as part of this project. Posters produced by the children in the UK will be taken and judged by the children in Sierra Leone at an International Pupil Council meeting during the visit."
Work will also continue to improve facilities at the Health Centre in Hastings where there is a need for specific equipment but more importantly triage and isolation facilities. Survey work will be carried out during the visit and the scope of the work agreed so that fundraising can continue.
Christine Boulton-Lane, Chair of the Link's Health Committee said:
"I am very much looking forward to working with the hard working staff at the Health Centre again. There is always much to be done but they are so grateful for the things we have been able to do over the years we have been working with them, even through the period of the Ebola emergency."
The team will be working with the community to assess what other help the Link can offer including exploring including job creation to help people gain sustainable employment or create their own businesses to earn a living after they leave school. David Lewis, who is currently helping to develop future strategy for the Link's Creating Livelihoods project to help relieve widespread poverty in Sierra Leone, said:
"I am really looking forward to my first visit to Hastings, Sierra Leone where I will be seeking to identify opportunities for employment and the development of sustainable businesses. I will also be investigating the availability of vocational training through visits to secondary schools, technical institutes, development NGOs, local charities and community groups. I will be working on identifying stakeholders for potential partnerships in the Hastings area in order to achieve the project's ambitious objectives around securing the futures of future generations".
Richard Homewood concluded by saying:
"Everybody is extremely excited by the challenges and opportunities this visit to our Twin Town presents. We have several projects underway all of which have the potential to make a huge difference to the daily lives of the community there. None of this can be done without the support of the community here in the UK and we are extremely grateful to the people of Hastings UK and the surrounding areas in helping us to achieve so much in Hastings, Sierra Leone since we first started working there at the end of Rebel War. There is an awful lot more to do and we need your continued support for the work to continue."
Find out more about the Friendship Link and the work it is doing in Hastings, Sierra Leone at our website: http://www.Hastingshastings.org.uk
Published on behalf of the Friendship Link Team.
LGBT History Month celebrated with a new exhibition at Hastings Museum & Art Gallery
Hastings Museum & Art Gallery is celebrating LGBT History Month with an exhibition highlighting the little-known history of East Sussex's LGBTQ+ communities called LGBTQ+ = Me.
Kim Forward, lead councillor for culture said,
"This is an important exhibition which is the culmination of over seven months of collaborative working between a group of young people and some arts, cultural and museum experts. They have uncovered hidden histories and new stories about being LGBTQ+ and living in East Sussex. LGBTQ+ = Me is the exciting product of this work.
"As well as artwork, posters and film, there are interviews between younger and older LGBTQ+ people about their experiences which explore how attitudes have changed.
"Thanks to all the participants and to Eleanor Lanyon, Hastings Museum's Collections and Engagement Curator of Human History, who curated the exhibition".
Jack Holt, 16, from Hastings, said: "I enjoyed the project very much. It was fun learning about other people's experiences, and I enjoyed learning how to use audio recording equipment and giving interviews."
James Parks, 22, from Seaford, said,
"I didn't know anything about the events of Stonewall or any of the artists we looked at, so my biggest takeaway from this project was learning about all the different people involved in this movement."
Rylan Hallewell, 17, from Eastbourne, said,
"I found the project good because I have a better understanding of LGBT topics, and I've met a lot of people and had a lot of fun. I've also learnt a lot about LGBT history and how we've progressed over the years. I have a better understanding of what LGBT people have gone through and how to be more comfortable in your sexuality and gender expression."
The exhibition opens at Hastings Museum & Art Gallery on 18th February and runs until 3rd May. The project has been funded the National Lottery Heritage Fund and delivered in partnership with the young people, Hastings Borough Council, East Sussex County Council, De La Warr Pavilion, Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, Towner Gallery and Charleston Trust.