Observer column: 18 February 2022
It's been half term this week and I hope our children and teachers have had a good break and that our teachers and support staff especially are feeling refreshed ready for the coming weeks.
It was great to hear that so many people had their COVID-19 vaccinations at our Superstar Saturday event last weekend. If you still haven't had your vaccines, whether it's your first, second or booster, you can get them without an appointment at the Hastings town hall or Hastings Centre. Please check our website for more details.
Being vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19. The number of cases remains high in our town so we need to remain cautious and do all we can to prevent the spread of the virus. Continuing to wear face coverings, keeping our social distance and regular hand washing all help keep everyone safe.
Everyone in East Sussex is being asked for their opinions on the future of cardiology (heart) and ophthalmology (eye) services in the county. We need to keep these services in our town so that people don't have to travel far for treatment at what is often a stressful time. Please have your say on the survey online there is also a link on our website.
We have some exciting events coming up in our town including the Last Thursdays which have been funded by the Welcome Back Fund (European Regional Development Fund EU funding via the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities).
This Thursday February 24 the event starts at 5pm at the White Rock Theatre, with A Carnival of Creativity including the chance to learn circus skills, balloon modelling, perform magic and much more; a carnival making workshop and a music makers market.
Then, from 6pm Hastings town centre will be lit up and loud with light and sound installations - don't miss the old Debenhams building being brought to life; a giant set of illuminated chimes to play; late night shopping; a busking stage and the Museum of Us - a pop-up museum celebrating the people of Hastings.
You can find out more on the Last Thursday website, and put Thursday March 31 into your diary as there will be more activities to enjoy then.
Hastings Fat Tuesday is back again this year, bringing five days of music and Mardi Gras to the South Coast. This starts on Thursday February 24 (such a fun Thursday in our town!) and goes on until Tuesday March 1. There will be more than 350 gigs, parades, and parties.
Most of these events are free and include the ever-popular Umbrella Parade on Sunday February 27. If you want to get involved in the parade, you can bring your umbrella along to a workshop being held by 18 Hours and Radiator Arts to decorate it. The first of these is this Saturday, noon to 4pm at Southwater Community Centre.
Visit the Fat Tuesday website for all the information and to book your tickets so you don't miss out.
The Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition is also making a return to the White Rock Theatre at the end of February and into March. You can book your tickets online.
It is lovely to see these arts and cultural events again in our town after the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to most of them. I hope these events will give a much-needed boost to our businesses and the industry. It is still important though to act with caution especially in crowded spaces and face coverings are still being encouraged in busy indoor spaces. We can take a lateral flow test before we go and stay at home if we have any symptoms of the virus. That way we can all stay safe and enjoy the fun!
Council Leader's column