Press Releases week beginning 23 March 2015
More family fun at Hastings Museum
Hastings Museum is a great place for families to visit. Over 300 visitors of all ages enjoyed the recent Uncovering Africa family day, getting their hands on real objects, making African inspired crafts and feeling the African beat with George Fiawoo's stories and drumming.
The next family event at the Museum is the return of its popular annual Easter Egg Hunt from Saturday, 28 March to Sunday, 12 April. Clues have been left around the displays - solve them all to reveal the mystery word and you could win yourself an Easter chocolate treat!
Hastings Borough Council's lead member for leisure and amenities, Cllr Dawn Poole explained:
"This kind of free drop-in activity is a great way for families to spend time together exploring new things and a central part the Hastings Museum and Art Gallery programme. The emphasis is on having a fun experience and we do everything we can to make it enjoyable for children and relaxing for accompanying adults!
"It's always so rewarding to see visitors of all ages taking part in things together. At the African day, for example, a retired couple came along for the drumming as a way of reminiscing and sharing their memories of their time in Africa around fifty years ago."
The Easter Egg Hunt will take place from 28 March to Sunday 12 April during normal museum opening hours Tuesday to Saturday 10am-4pm and Sunday 12noon-4pm.
Grotbuster seafront walkabout
Hastings Borough Council's Grotbuster team undertook its annual inspection of the town's seafront on 23 March as it approaches the 700th property improved under the innovative scheme.
Council Leader, Cllr Jeremy Birch explained:
"Walking along our seafront now, the town's shop window, it's sometimes difficult to remember just how bad the condition of the seafront was in 2000 when the Grotbuster scheme began. Who remembers the Queens Hotel, Regents Court as well as other numerous neglected, unloved eyesores which characterised our beautiful, historic seafront?
"It's a very different story now thanks to the Grotbuster scheme. However, there is no room for complacency. During our walk a number of seafront properties were identified and the owners will be receiving letters from the council asking for improvements and warning of enforcement action shortly. Particular concern was expressed at the condition of the abandoned shops and frontage of 37 - 40 Marina, opposite the Azur and the former laundrette in White Rock."
A number of key properties have been improved since the teams' last seafront inspection. They include the frontage of the building above Kassa Coffee in Grand Parade and the property on the western corner of Grand Parade and London Road. The team noted that work was underway at number 6 Claremont readily visible from the seafront (previously the Thai Experience), following the service of an enforcement notice last year.
Cllr Birch added:
"We are very proud of the Grotbuster initiative. It has been a huge benefit to Hastings and with the help of our team, the model has been adopted by towns and cities up and down the country."
This girl can with Us Girls
Hastings StreetGames Us Girls project has secured funding to encourage girls and young women into sport through Sportivate supported by Active Sussex.
Sportivate is a £56million Lottery programme that gives 11-25 year olds access to 6-8 week courses in a range of sports.
StreetGames Us Girls will be running three, free fitness projects; Boxing for Fitness, Self Defence and Fitness for Fun.
Cllr Dawn Poole, lead member for leisure and amenities explained:
"The Sportivate programme is aimed at those who are not currently choosing to take part in sport in their own time, or are doing so for a very limited amount of time.
"Active Sussex currently delivers a successful Sportivate programme across Sussex and have awarded funding to over 500 projects including our own StreetGames Us Girls Can project.
"Our new, free sessions will start week commencing 13 April and will offer a variety of exercise and fitness options for girls and young women in the local area."
For more information about these sessions please contact Ken Dullaway firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01424 451109.
Council offices to get makeover
Muriel Matters House, the main seafront offices of Hastings Borough Council, is to get a major makeover during the summer.
The £1.3m work is being carried out, and paid for, by the building's owners, Ashbourne Cedar Property Ltd.
Cllr Andrew Cartwright, lead member for corporate services, explained:
"We have a 15 year lease on the building, after concentrating most staff in here during 2010 to reduce costs.
"The work is being carried out to deal with some serious problems we have been experiencing, including a leaking roof and windows, which forced the council to stop using the top floor of the building over a year ago.
"During the work, the offices will remain open, although some disruption is inevitable. The front of the building will be covered in scaffolding, but the pavement will remain open, with a covered walkway for pedestrians. The Tourist Information Centre will remain open too, although there may be some disruption during deliveries and for work on its shopfront.
"We are very pleased our landlords are carrying out these vital works, which we expecting to be completed by the autumn. This will give us a much better building, fit for our colleagues who work here and, equally importantly, for our customers and residents."
Council's energy switch great success
Recent figures show that Hastings Borough Council achieved a high number of switchers in the February Big Community Switch energy auction, in line with the highest number of switchers in the UK, ever.
Cllr Andrew Cartwright, lead member for Corporate Services explained:
"Our most recent auction in February saw energy suppliers bidding with deeply discounted exclusive tariffs that were better than those available in the general market.
"Locally, 445 people registered interest in switching energy suppliers in the February round of our Switched On scheme and 98% of those that registered made a saving on average of £198. Those who had dual fuel online accounts made huge savings of over £221.
"I'm very pleased to see that so many local families have benefitted and made excellent savings on their energy bills by using our Switched On scheme."
Across the UK the Big Community Switch energy saving schemes have saved families a whopping £4million in this last auction round alone.
Sussex Youth FA Forum win national award
A group of young people who have a passion to support and develop grassroots football have been recognised for their hard work in the local community.
The Hastings StreetGames Sussex FA Youth Forum was recognised at the National StreetGames Awards in Warwick on 17 March, where they won the category Project Innovation Award.
Cllr Dawn Poole, lead member for leisure and amenities commented:
"This is a great achievement for the group as the Forum has only been running for a year. Not only did they win the category Project Innovation Award they also came runner up in the category of Securing the Future. These awards follow on from their success last year in winning the national FA Award. Congratulations to them all!
Nikki wins FA award
Nikki Lake a young volunteer for Hastings Borough Council's StreetGames project has been recognised for his hard work in delivering Sunday afternoon football in Alexandra Park.
Cllr Dawn Poole, lead member for leisure and amenities commented:
"Nikki successfully won the Football Association (FA) Community Award presented by the Sussex County FA in the category 'Young Volunteer of the Year' and our congratulations go to him.
"He set up an informal football session through the FA Just Play project and encouraged people to come along and have some fun with their friends on Sunday afternoons. On average Nikki had 25 people playing social football each weekend. This is a tremendous result and an excellent achievement for a young volunteer."
Hastings Borough Council and University of Brighton sign collaboration memorandum
Hastings Borough Council and the University of Brighton, which has a campus in the town, are collaborating on economic and social regeneration within Hastings and St Leonards after signing a Memorandum of Co-operation (MoC).
Leader of Hastings Borough Council, Cllr Jeremy Birch explained:
"By joining forces with the University of Brighton and signing the MoC we pledge to build on our existing strong relationships to offer those who live, work, visit and study in the town the best experiences.
"This collaboration aims to open up a wide range of initiatives for information and knowledge sharing such as identifying how both physical and human resources can be best used to promote joint working; identifying and supporting sectors that will create jobs and provide sustainable economic growth; to improve the student experience and establish Hastings as a university town that can support and benefit from student population growth and to evaluate and secure funding for projects and new initiatives.
"There will be a number of joint areas of collaboration including low carbon economy, culture and community-led regeneration, fisheries and the Hastings Fisheries Local Action Group legacy, housing and urban development, the visitor economy, business engagement, support and inward investment. These joint areas will also include academies and improving educational achievement for young people and opportunities to improve the skills and employability of university students and graduates.
"We welcome this opportunity and look forward to working with the University of Brighton to benefit our town and all who live, work and study in it."
Professor Julian Crampton, the University of Brighton's Vice-Chancellor, added:
"The University's campus in Hastings is expanding and we and the Borough Council have enjoyed working together on projects of mutual interest for many years.
"We both enjoy similar aims and beliefs when it comes to involvement in the community and this memorandum seals this excellent relationship."