Press Releases week beginning 14 September 2015
Hastings to respond to the Syrian refugee crisis
Hastings Borough Council is actively making plans to assist with the Syrian refugee crisis.
Council leader, Cllr Peter Chowney explained:
"Currently it's not clear when we are to expect the arrival of the first refugees in East Sussex but it's likely to be some time yet. In Hastings we are offering to take 100 refugees; 20 per year over the next five years and it's expected that any additional financial costs to local service providers will be met in full by central Government.
"We will be working closely with the Government and other local partners including East Sussex County Council, other borough and district councils as well as health, voluntary and community groups to ensure that any refugees are properly supported by the local community.
"Considering the scale of the humanitarian crisis in Syria, I believe this is the least we can do. I have already received many messages of support and offers of help from local people, so I am confident that Hastings will be able to give the refugees a warm welcome."
Residents wishing to make offers of help can find out more by visiting the Government response website or by contacting the Red Cross.
In the meantime, the Hastings Supports Refugees Group are arranging drop-off points for donations to be taken to Calais to link up with organisations on the ground there.
The next drop off points in Hastings are on Tuesday, 22 September at the Community Contact Centre at the town hall 10am until 3pm and at The Observer Building, Cambridge Road from 4pm.
Items needed most are:
- Men's shoes - hiking shoes/boots and trainers, size 40 to 43
- Men's waterproof jackets, small and medium (not large)
- Men's socks
- Men's warm hats, gloves and scarves
- Tents and tarpaulins
- Sleeping bags and blankets
- Basic cooking equipment: pots/pans and tin openers
- Food: dried, cans with ring pull tops - a food parcel could contain rice, kidney beans, chopped tomatoes, all spice
Please sort and label donations clearly and please don't donate women's or children's clothing or shoes as they are not currently needed.
Young students' work to go on show at the Jerwood Gallery over Seafood and Wine weekend
Around 1,000 pieces of work are to go on display at Jerwood Gallery over the weekend of 19 and 20 September as part of a joint project between schools in Hastings, the Education Futures Trust, Hastings Borough Council and Jerwood Gallery.
Every year 6 student in the town who left their primary school this summer completed a piece of work that they took with them to their new secondary school earlier this month. The work involved English, maths and art, and was on the theme of 'Journeys'. Hastings Borough Council worked in partnership with the Education Futures Trust to employ local artist, Ed Boxall, to work in every primary school in Hastings.
All of this work is now going on display at Jerwood Gallery to coincide with Hastings Seafood and Wine Festival which takes place on the Stade Open Space over the same weekend.
Cllr Kim Forward, deputy leader of Hastings Borough Council and lead member for marketing, said:
"We have been pleased to support this project as part of our 'Famously Hastings' initiative. Last year the students produced some fantastic pieces of work, and we were pleased to be able to show everyone, nearly 1,000 in all, at our last Seafood and Wine Festival.
"This year's work has been quite brilliant too - famously classy, you might say!
"All of the work has been bound into massive books, and I am very pleased indeed that it will be on display at Jerwood Gallery over the Seafood & Wine during the weekend of 19 and 20 September."
Carole Dixon, Chief Executive of the Education Futures Trust, added:
"This is an exceptional project, and the students produced some exceptional work this year. I am really excited that this year all the work is going to be on display in Jerwood Gallery and that the students and their parents will be able to see their work displayed in the gallery, as well as the rest of the exhibits there, free of charge, courtesy of Jerwood Gallery and Hastings Borough Council.
"I'm very grateful to Hastings Borough Council for sponsoring this project, to Ed Boxall for his invaluable contribution in the classrooms, and to the schools and their students across the town for their enthusiasm in supporting this fantastic initiative."
Liz Gilmore, Director of Jerwood Gallery, added:
"We are committed to working with young people, and are delighted to be able to help by showcasing the students work in this way. I hope as many students as possible, and their families, will be able to come to the gallery next weekend to see their work exhibited alongside our current exhibitions."
Mayor and Councillor correct South African memorial omission
The Mayor of Hastings, Cllr Bruce Dowling, and his daughter, Cllr Terri Dowling, have corrected an omission in a South African WWI memorial.
During an annual holiday in France in August 2015, Bruce, Terri and family and friends revisited the stunning South African memorial in Delville Wood. They were delighted to find a new exhibition and memorial list dedicated to the loss of the SS Mendi which was both fascinating and moving.
Bruce and Terri were very disappointed, however, to see that the name of Lance Corporal Jabez Nquza, the only black South African soldier buried in Hastings' cemetery, and who was on the boat when it sank, was not recorded.
They pointed out the omission to Mr Thapedi Masanabo, the Director of the Museum and Memorial, who was very disappointed to learn that the name of one of his fallen countrymen had gone unrecorded. Mr Masanabo is now correcting the omission.
Lance Corporal Jabez Nquza was travelling on board the SS Mendi at 5am on 21 February when it was struck by a much larger ship in thick fog just off the Isle of Wight. 616 South Africans, 607 of them black, died as a result. Some died outright, many died after hours of clinging to wreckage in freezing waters. The ship that had hit them did not stay to assist with the rescue.
Most of the men that died have no known grave, but Lance Corporal Nquza's remains were washed ashore in Hastings some months later. They were buried amongst other fallen servicemen in the military plot in Hastings, where his grave has been tended by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission ever since.
Cllr Bruce Dowling said:
"I am very pleased that Lance Corporal Nquza's name is now being added to the memorial in his home country. The omission appears to have been caused by a simple misspelling, as original papers recorded his name as Lance Corporal Nquza.
"The least we could do on our return was place the modern flag of South Africa on Lance Corporal Nquza's grave in Hastings cemetery, almost 100 years after he died."
Inclusive sport opportunities continue to grow
Since its start at the beginning of the year (January 2015) the Sports for All project delivered by Hastings Borough Council and Rother District Council in partnership with Sussex charity Grace Eyre of Brighton and Hove has supported many local services and individuals who are 16+ with learning difficulties to take part in sport and physical activity.
With its continued success the Sports for All project can now venture from Hastings into neighbouring Rother areas with the first Rother based PODS1066 (Promotion of Disability Sportspeople) pop-up games.
Cllr Dawn Poole, lead member for communities and culture explained:
"PODS1066 are a local charity that support the Sports for All project and their main objective is to enable the non-disabled and the disabled to join together to participate in sport for the disabled.
"We currently have a multi-sport based session running on Wednesdays here in Hastings, 12.30pm to 2pm at Horntye Sports Park, hosting 9 sports. Now, its new twin session in Rother will take place on Mondays 12pm to 1pm at Bexhill Freedom Leisure Centre and will include activities suitable for wheelchair users.
"Although there is still a lot of work to do, the provision of local disability sport is in a better place thanks to the 'Sports for All' project with support from PODS1066. We hope that interest from our local community sports clubs will continue and we can build further on this success."
Cllr Jonathan Johnson, Rother District Council lead member for young people, sport and leisure, said:
"I am delighted that the hard work of Rother officers, and successful partnership working has secured external funding to help boost the opportunities for people to be more active in the district regardless of their ability.
"We are determined to encourage more people to lead a healthier lifestyle and take part in more physical activity, and the Sports for All in Sussex project is a chance for them to do so while having fun."
The Sports for All project has also been working locally with several clubs over the past months to enhance their inclusivity, including Summerfields Gymnastics Club who have sessions running to support all age ranges with disabilities.
For more information on Sports for All sessions and associated clubs or if you are a club/individual interested in getting involved with the project, please contact Martin Eglington, the project lead, on 01424 451441.