Press Releases week beginning 18 May 2020
Council message the same: keep Hastings safe!
Hastings Borough Council has emphasised again that we remain closed to visitors from outside the town at this time, and urges residents to keep up the good work of keeping infections so low in Hastings, despite the government starting to relax the lockdown rules.
Council leader Kim Forward said
"Our position is clear, it hasn't changed. This is because our priority remains, and will always be, keeping our residents safe.
"We have one of the lowest infection rates in the whole of England and we intend to do our part to keep it that way. So, for now our amenities will stay closed. We want to keep Hastings safe and these cannot just be empty words, they must be backed up by actions. Opening our amenities will encourage more people to visit and will lead to increased risk of infection.
"Although the government has changed their message, we have not. Our message to residents is still stay safe and stay home as much as possible to save lives. We know people will go out for exercise, but people must keep social distancing and washing their hands when they return home.
"Our strong message to visitors from outside the town is similar to that of many other seaside towns, such as Eastbourne, Torbay and Weston-super-Mare, Hastings is still closed.
"Government has issued guidance, but they have also made it clear that councils need to decide for themselves what they can safely reopen, taking into account their own local circumstances.
"On Tuesday, the government's own deputy chief scientific adviser Prof Dame Angela McLean, said that scientists have told ministers that they should only relax the lockdown when a proper contact tracing system is in place. Beyond a test on the Isle of Wight of such a system there are no firm details from government that a countrywide system is ready to be put in place any time soon.
"We will continue to monitor the situation. We will review once we see signs of a proper Track, Trace, Isolate and Support System in place and a sustained "R" rate that is below 1.
"We are aware some people may disagree with our decision and we accept that. But it won't alter our stance. We are putting residents' safety first. We are dealing with a virus that kills.
"At the end of all of this, it will be impossible to know if we overreacted, if we were too cautious. But if will be obvious if we under reacted, if we weren't cautious enough."
Hastings Museum & Art Gallery launches a lock-down community art project
Hastings Museum & Art Gallery is looking for people to get involved with creating a digital artwork piece as part of #HastingsDigitalMuseum.
The museum is working with artists, Kate Hulme and Carissa Tanton, to create a piece of community digital art based on Edward Badham's painting of Hastings, Corner House and the Blue Saloon, painted sometime between 1922 and 1935. The piece was chosen because it represents everyday life and community, two things which feel are particularly precious at this moment.
The painting is being divided into squares, a bit like a jigsaw or patchwork quilt and we would like people to take a single square and recreate it however they like. This could be a square of knitting, embroidery, oil painting, colouring in, crochet or watercolour. But equally it could be something more surprising, for example an iced cake, a collage of fabric, an arrangement of objects in your home.
We welcome contributions from all ages and abilities; this will add to the beauty of the finished piece.
Council Leader Kim Forward, said,
"People in our town have come together during this crisis and this sense of community has been very important. This is an opportunity for people to join in and create something beautiful which will come to symbolise how we are currently working every day to cope. I look forward to seeing our community's response when the unique pieces are joined to create something beautiful and unexpected in a Digital Quilt."
Kate Hulme said,
"The idea for the digital quilt came to me when I was creating cross stitch grids with my six-year-old son to send to his friends during lock down. It occurred to me how great it would be to get a lot of people to contribute to a bigger piece of art in whatever way they chose, and to whatever skill level they had. The more I thought about it the more it seemed to represent a sense of community, where our unique strengths and weaknesses come together to create something bigger than we are."
Cariss Tanton said,
"I loved Kate's idea for creating a quilt from small squares and cannot wait to stitch it all back together. For me the wonderful thing about drawing is it brings a new level of paying attention as one really has to look closely at what's in front of you."
To get involved email firstname.lastname@example.org. You have until Friday 29 May to complete your square. The final artwork will be published on Wednesday 3 June.
You can view the digital exhibitions at: https://www.artsteps.com/profile/5eaf06134ce5136fb05881e2
Virtual council meetings coming soon!
Hastings Borough Council will be holding meetings again soon, with the first one coming towards the end of May, and they will be held virtually.
In April the Government gave local authorities permission to hold meetings in this way because of the COVID-19 crisis. Since then the council has been working hard to make virtual council meetings possible.
Cllr Kim Forward, leader of the council, said
"We have been sorting out the technology required to allow our meetings to be held virtually and officers are working hard to set up all the necessary IT equipment with councillors. This is an example of the way the council has been adapting since the COVID-19 outbreak."
The council has not held public meetings since March in response to the Government's guidelines on social distancing.
Cllr Judy Rogers, lead cabinet member for Transformation, Governance and People, added
"These virtual meetings will allow councillors to make important decisions without having to meet in person so helping to keep our town safe.
I hope that people will join us via the link we will provide and watch the meetings live from their homes."
The first of the virtual meetings will be the Environment and Safety Committee on May 28, Planning Committees on June 3 and 17 with a Cabinet meeting on June 8.