Press Releases week beginning 13 July 2015
Mongol Rally to visit Hastings on Sunday
Part of the famous 'Mongol Rally' (in which older cars travel overland from England to Ulan-Ude in Siberia, via Ulan Bator in Mongolia) will visit the Stade Open Space in Hastings Old Town on Sunday, 19 July. The rally sets out from Goodwood Motor Circuit, and will be passing through Hastings en route to Siberia!
Brothers Mikey and Pete Sellens from Hastings are making the journey in a 1972 'Mini Moke'. Pete said:
"There are many personal reasons for both of us attempting the rally, but the main one now I think will be for the memory of our grandparents. The first we lost when we were only ten and seven, then last year we lost our other Grandad and this February we lost our nan.
"We were lucky to have outdoorsy grandparents that always had us out and about, and instilled in us that life is an adventure! So we hope to raise money for charity and also to make the finish line to make them proud.
"We are team OMJ (one man's junk), our hope is to attempt the rally relying totally on human kindness! We hope to borrow, or be given everything we need for the rally from local people and businesses, anything we are given for this trip we will be giving away to the people of Mongolia when we reach our goal!
"We will also be taking items for children (soft toys, colouring, etc) and also supplies (first aid, blankets, etc) to give away to people that we meet travelling along the way as we will be travelling through very impoverished places.
"To ensure maximum donations we are going to do the whole trip sleeping either in a tent or in the car, so no hotels! We will also be tacking tinned and dry food so no restaurants either!
"We are collecting money for St Michael's hospice, even more important following Saturday's awful fire.
"We want a good local send-off from family and friends, and would love the support of the media in Hastings on Sunday!"
Marcia Dart, from St Michael's Hospice, added:
"The Hospice is delighted that Mikey and his brother are taking part in the rally to Mongolia and raising money for St Michael's Hospice. We wish them all the very best of luck on this thrilling adventure."
Mikey and Pete, and other participants in the rally, hope to arrive at the Stade open space around 1pm on Sunday, and will be available for interview then, before leaving for Mongolia!
Algal bloom identified in park reservoir
Hastings Borough Council has been in consultation with the Environment Agency as a bloom of Blue-green Algae has been identified on Harmers Reservoir in the town's award winning Alexandra Park.
Cllr Warren Davies, lead member for environment, leisure and amenities explained:
"Algal blooms are a natural occurrence when temperatures are high and oxygen levels low in waters. It's possible the bloom may remain all summer and it's also feasible it could disappear quickly when the temperature drops and there is an increase in water moving through the reservoir due to rain.
"Blue Green Algae can sometimes produce a toxic substance that can affect humans and animals, including dogs, should they come into contact with it. In consultation with the Environment Agency, we have taken the precautionary measure of closing access to Harmers Reservoir until further notice and residents are advised to keep their dogs away from the water.
"Brown algae is also currently present in the boating lake at the park and whilst it's unsightly, it isn't not toxic. This will also disappear of its own accord once the environmental conditions change and is of no danger to dogs and other animals.
"We will continue to monitor the reservoir and other water bodies in the park and will seek regular guidance from the Environment Agency."
Alexandra Park is a Grade II Park of Historic Interest and has regularly been the recipient of the prestigious Green Flag Award. This national award, handed out by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, recognises and rewards the best parks and green spaces across the country.
Pupils get Creative in Business
90 pupils from 4 schools across Hastings and Rother recently had the opportunity to spend half a day with a variety of local creative businesses, finding out about their sector and taking part in practical challenges set by the businesses themselves.
Organised by Culture Shift and funded by Hastings Borough Council, Rother District Council and East Sussex County Council, The Creative Café took place at the White Rock Theatre on 02 July, with the aim of connecting young people with business professionals based locally to inspire the pupils' future career choices.
On behalf of the partnership, Cllr Dawn Poole lead member for regeneration explained:
"Each participating business had the opportunity to tell the pupils what their job involved and what it was like day-to-day, followed by practical challenges such as designing a chair, designing a structure on a cliff, editing a magazine article, learning how to document events and how to take photographs in different locations.
"Businesses involved included John Cole photographer, Oaten Architects, Maggie Alderson fashion editor and writer, Otti Albietz musician, Christine Shepherd The Kula furniture, Susan Ward curator at Hastings Museum, Catherine Donaldson film maker, Nikki Leach education programmer at the White Rock Theatre, Nathan Lauder graphic designer and Andrew Harries theatre director. We are very grateful to all these businesses for volunteering their time to inspire the pupils.
"Feedback from pupils and the businesses involved was very positive. The businesses were impressed with how quickly pupils got involved with the challenges, the skills they bought to them and their enthusiasm for finding out about the different roles in the sector and the young people enjoyed meeting different local businesses and being able to engage with them informally in a dynamic and fun way.
"Enabling young people to have an understanding and experience of different businesses is important to us all and we will continue to work in partnership with Rother District Council and East Sussex County Council to support Culture Shift with this project."
The next Creative Café is planned for October, if you are a tourism, hospitality or catering business and are interested in getting involved, please contact Vicky Jones at email@example.com
Hastings Shanty Festival returns
The Hastings Shanty Festival is now a much prized hardy perennial in the Hastings festival calendar and has now gained widespread acclaim in the world of shanty singing.
The festival returns to the Stade Open Space on Saturday, 18 July and will feature Keith Kendrick and Sylvia Needham, Many a Mickle, Jim Mageean, Graeme Knights, Titus, Chris Roach and Dominic Magog the Hastings Shanty Singers and the RX Shantymen.
Cllr Dawn Poole, lead member for regeneration communities and culture commented:
"The Hastings Shanty Festival organised by the council is part of the summer Stade Saturdays programme of free cultural events.
"Once again a selection of the country's finest performers of traditional sea shanties will descend upon Hastings seafront including our own wonderful Hastings Shanty Singers, whom many will know well from their regular Thursday night sessions at the Stag in All Saints Street.
"The festival starts with an opening singaround concert at the Stag in All Saints Street, Hastings on Friday, 17 July from 8:30pm and then on Saturday events take place on two sites from 1pm at the Fisherman's Museum and then from 7.30pm at the Stade Open Space."
For more information about this festival telephone 01424 436182.
Visit www.hastings.gov.uk for the full Stade Saturday's programme of events.
Council's new Social Lettings scheme
The demand for social housing in Hastings far outweighs supply and many local people are finding it increasingly difficult to access privately rented properties that are suitable for their needs and that they can afford. In response to this Hastings Borough Council has developed a new scheme called Letstart Letting social lettings agency; a new council service that offers a range of housing management solutions to private landlords.
Deputy Council Leader and Lead Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Kim Forward explained:
"Over the next twelve months we are piloting the Letstart Lettings scheme and will be leasing accommodation from private landlords and making it available for people accessing the council's services for assistance with housing issues and homelessness prevention.
"The aim is to help make accommodation accessible and affordable for local households struggling to secure housing. In addition landlords and tenants will be able to access the council's new quality management service. The scheme will ensure that tenants don't have to pay huge fees to secure accommodation, that they have suitable, secure homes and are not exploited by rogue landlords.
"There is no contractual arrangement between the property owner and the tenant as the council has full landlord responsibility including tenant finding, tenant sign up, rent collection, some repairs and terminating tenancies. We currently have five very happy tenants and five happy landlords participating in the scheme and more in the pipeline.
Letstart Letting tenant, Nicole Morgans added:
"It would have been impossible for me as a single mum with young children to find a property in my price range and I really faced uncertain times on waiting lists and possibly even homelessness so I am very grateful to be one of the first tenants to be housed under this new scheme. It will mean that my family have secure, comfortable living in a safe environment."
Hastings Borough Council is keen to hear from Landlords who are interested in leasing their accommodation to them so, if you are a landlord or a tenant you can find out more about this scheme at www.letstartletting.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01424 451100