Press Releases week beginning 27 February 2017
High Sheriff's Reception for Tenth Year of Sierra Leone Twinning Link
The High Sheriff of East Sussex, Mr Michael Foster DL, entertained the members and supporters of the Hastings Sierra Leone Twinning Link at Hastings town hall on Friday (24th February). The event marked the tenth birthday since the formal twinning ceremony between the two Hastings in Sierra Leone in February 2007. Amongst the guests were teachers from Hastings East Sussex who spent the February half term in Hastings Sierra Leone.
The High Sheriff, who as MP for Hastings & Rye had been told of the needs of Sierra Leone through a House of Commons contact, suggested to Dr John Geater, who at the time ran the local LOAF Christian Fellowship Men's Group, that they may help and so the idea was born.
In the ten years since, the Link has provided cultural exchanges and practical help from Hastings UK to Hastings Sierra Leone, which has seen the improvement of maternity facilities and must else in what remains one of the poorest towns on earth.
"What I find of satisfaction," said the High Sheriff "is that we learn from our friends in Sierra Leone just as they benefit from the link with us. To see children in Christchurch playground playing African games that cost very little to put together is a joy and is a practical example of what we can learn from our African friends. Many of our young people in Hastings & St Leonards know so much more about and the wider world than they would do but for the twinning link."
A celebration cake, commissioned by the High Sheriff, was cut by Hastings Mayor Cllr Judy Rogers.
Hastings Deputy Mayor, Cllr Nigel Sinden has just returned from the African country. He said :- "This was my second trip to our namesake twin town, and I was pleased and honoured to be the representing Hastings Borough Council at the 10th anniversary celebrations. The friendship link continues to flourish, and we are very grateful indeed to all of those involved with the link who work so hard."
Two local schools benefit from council's employability grant
Hastings Borough Council invited primary schools and academies in Hastings to submit an application for a small grant to introduce students in Reception, Y1 and Y2 to employability and enterprise linked to STEAMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Maths and Medicine)
Schools were encouraged to develop projects that included links to Hastings that could be delivered outside the classroom and feature either one or a combination of the thematic areas of STEAMM
"We're really pleased to announce that Christchurch School and Sacred Heart RC School are both successful applicants and have secured a grant of £500 each to develop their projects", said Cllr Dawn Poole the council's lead member for regeneration.
She added, "Christ Church's project is designed to encourage confident mathematicians in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 to use their skills in a real life situation. The project will be an opportunity to develop employability skills, raise aspirations and safely grow and prepare food for sale.
"Sacred Heart's project is designed to encourage Year 2 students to learn about architecture through the years, leading to an enterprise project where participants are able to sell the goods they have designed. We look forward to seeing the schools' project presentations in due course"
New play space opens
Families gathered at Bulverhythe recreation ground on Saturday (25 February) for the grand opening of Sophie's Play Space Combe Valley, a new play park on the recreational fields in Combe Valley, St Leonards on Bexhill Road.
The idea for the play park was conceived by the Bexleigh, Hythe, Abbey Residents Association (BHARA). BHARA formed in 2013 to address issues affecting the local community with an aim to make improvements to the neighbourhood.
BHARA teamed up with Hastings Borough Council's Play Hastings and Parks teams who secured funding from many organisations including the Veolia Environmental Trust through the Landfill Communities Fund, Tesco Bags of Help, Hastings Borough Council, The Foreshore Trust, Hastings Borough Council's Small Grant Funding, Jag Community Safety Funding, The Lions Club, Police Property Act Fund, Hastings Round Table and Hastings Direct.
"Better play provision in this area was identified at Neighbourhood Watch meetings in 2012 and since then the local community and partners led by BHARA have made it happen", said Cllr Dawn Poole the council's lead member for play.
"It's really great news that this play space is now open and ready for all to use. Our thanks must go to all partners, council staff and our contractors Eibe play and Hastings & Bexhill Wood Recycling Project. We encourage everyone in the area to go along and make use of all the fantastic play equipment" she added.
Secretary of BHARA, Delia Spears commented: "We are so grateful to our community and all the funders that have made this dream a reality. Well done to all the play project team for their hard work and persistence. This play space has taken four years to achieve and is the first of our many community projects".
Hastings and Rother have officially been declared a Music City
Hastings and Rother have been declared a Music City at a formal launch on Monday (27 February) at The Palace, Hastings as part of the UnConvention; a one day music conference featuring panellist conversations with BBC Introducing the South and workshops about the future of the music industry.
Celebrating and acknowledging the many varied venues and hundreds of local musicians and the fact that Hastings has been voted first for musicality in the UK, it's an obvious decision for Hastings and Rother to make.
"As the council's lead member for culture, the local music scene is top of my priorities but it's very important to me personally too; as a teenager I remember spending hours enjoying live music at venues across the area and I continue to do so as often as possible", said Cllr Dawn Poole.
"I really believe that it's one of the most accessible art forms and with the unequalled music talent across Hastings and Rother we're lucky enough to have quality music events spilling out of venues most weekends of the year.
"I'm really proud that together we are now a Music City and look forward to seeing what the future holds. Congratulations must go to everyone that has made this happen".
The Music City idea was introduced by Andy Gunton of The Stinger magazine who made the official announcement at the UnConvention this week. He explained:
"The Hastings Fat Tuesday team and I have felt for some time that the music scene in Hastings & Rother and its cultural and economic value deserved to be recognised. When I first heard about the Music Cities idea, I knew it was the right way to go. This area punches well above its weight with regard to the quality and amount of music happening every day of the week.
"We're very lucky to have two local councils working with us to promote, nurture, support and celebrate the amazing local music scene we have. They should be congratulated for being so open to the Music City idea, and for helping us get to this stage. I'm looking forward to what the musical future holds for Hastings and Rother as a Music City - I fully expect it to be a very exciting time."
Cllr Sally Ann Hart, Rother District Council's member for culture and tourism commented:
"Music has an important social role in that it's part of our everyday life and enjoyment. Music is not only important for the 'feel good' factor it brings to us individually, but also in the bringing of people together.
"The contribution of the music industry to our national economy is considerable. It is fantastic that Hastings and Rother will benefit both socially and economically from this initiative."