Hastings hopes to be South East’s first Garden Town

As one of the most under-served communities in the South East, Hastings is no stranger to promises of transformative funding from central government. But campaigners hope the community involvement and strong green element mean the new Hastings Town Deal will be different. This blog by Thalia Griffiths looks at their plans.

Transition Town Hastings (TTH), working collaboratively with both borough and county councils, is working to secure funding from the $25m Hastings Town Deal, for the first phase of a programme to ensure that the town’s economic transformation takes place along sustainable principles, including creating the South East’s first green Garden Town.

Despite its quaint Old Town and seafront attractions, Hastings ranks high on the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s English indices of multiple deprivation. A succession of headline spending packages over the years have failed to deliver lasting change but TTH is hopeful that a renewed focus on valuing community participation may help foster improved wellbeing and civic pride.

“The Garden Town initiative is taking a qualitatively different approach because it’s a community-led idea,” said former TTH chair Sherry Clark. Since the Hastings Town Deal’s initial call for submissions from community projects in 2020, Garden Town team members have worked to create more of an integrated partnership, advocating for local people to contribute as equal participants in the programme development, instead of leaving control in the hands of statutory local authorities.

Past interventions have often overlooked the transformative potential of green surroundings but the new Hastings Town Deal gives a central role to its green element as a means to attract investment and visitors. East Sussex College will create a Green Technology Centre of Excellence providing training and learning programmes focused on the green economy. The overall plan, which includes redeveloping Hastings’ Norman castle as a major visitor attraction, is ambitious, but for their part of it, TTH are starting with small but visible steps to move the focus from vehicles to people and create more green spaces.

Gardening Our Streets is a community-led initiative to plant and tend a series of pop-up “parklets” and garden spaces to show how much difference a little green might make to the busy and car-dominated town centre. Parklets, which have been hugely successfully since lockdown in cities such as Bath, extend and green parking spaces and pavements with planters and features such as seating, proving that urban nature-based initiatives don’t need to take up a lot of space to have an impact.

Gardening Our Streets held two planting workshops on 19 and 21 May, where participants filled 18 hand-made oak planters with hardy seaside plants. A call went out for volunteers, who included A Band of Brothers young men’s group, Holy Trinity Church, Groundwork South and the Hastings Rough Sleepers Initiative. The initiative is being coordinated by TTH, with advice from Great Dixter head gardener Fergus Garrett, local landscape architect Julia Hilton, and local horticulturalists Nicole Collomb and Abby Riddihough.

TTH already has a community garden and wildflower path at St Leonards Warrior Square station, as well as four community composting hubs, but Gardening Our Streets is a much bigger undertaking, one where organisers have found themselves tackling challenges like manoeuvring seven one-tonne bags of soil and £3,000 worth of plants into a narrow alley. The planters are just the first phase of the ambitious Garden Town programme, which takes as its inspiration Sheffield city centre’s transformational Grey to Green scheme.

Hastings Garden Town envisions Havelock Road, which runs from the rail station to the seafront, as a biodiverse greening and flood prevention urban garden, with green arteries that connect the town centre to its parks, seafront and countryside.

Initial funding for the project came from the Trinity Triangle/America Ground Heritage Action Zone, that paid for a community consultation in Trinity Street in June 2021, as well as the 16 wheeled oak planters, emblazoned with ‘Gardening Our Streets’ and ‘We Dig Hastings’. Additional financial support for community participation has come from Sussex Community Development Foundation’s Asset-Based Community Development programme, Making It Happen.

The short-term aim is to extend the greening to join up local spots like pocket parks and community orchards to create greener, safer arteries through the town. The initiative also includes the launch of We Dig Hastings, an innovative gardening ‘time bank’ enabling volunteers to exchange the time they give to Gardening Our Streets for anything from coffee and cake at a local café to trips to inspirational local gardens like Great Dixter.

TTH says time-banking isn’t so much about formal volunteering as about creating connections and caring about common ground. Time-banks are a way to recognise and acknowledge the value of informal caring and community work that might not be possible otherwise. One key feature of a time-bank is that the time-credits participants get for taking part are transferable — they can be gifted so another person can benefit from them.

“It’s not about ‘Build Back Better’, we’re trying to create something completely new,” Sherry said. “It’s about building forward differently, by recognising and valuing the contributions local people are making to improving the town centre.”

Originally posted at https://seclimatealliance.uk/hastings-hopes-to-be-south-easts-first-garden-town/ by Thalia Griffiths, South East Climate Action

The Common Treasury talks lockdown on Hastings Isolation Station.

Claire Doran talks to Rob Hopkins and Maff Potts

The Common Treasury of Adaptable Ideas is running weekly community conversations on Isolation Station Hastings.

Imagining Life Beyond Lockdown are online conversations that include people from many of the projects featured at Common Treasury past events such as Rob Hopkins from the Transition Town Network.

Catch up on the previous conversations on Hastings Isolation Station.

Visit the Common Treasury website to find out more.

SOS festival programme is LIVE!

The printed programme is hot off the press! Look out for it around town over the coming weeks or download a PDF version here. SoS_Programme_digital Download

With more than 60 events and activities across 9 days the festival spans Hastings and Rother, from Winchelsea in the East to Bexhill in the west.

With each event taking a different approach to promoting a sustainable future the programme has something for all ages and many activities are free to attend.

Highlights include the Car Free Day street party (Sunday 22nd September, 12pm until 6pm) as Hastings marks the international event for the first time, turning the seafront road into community space for socialising, alfresco dining, entertainment and play.

The festival culminates in The Big Green Fair at the Stade (Sunday 29th September, 11:00am – 6:00pm) bringing together a wide range of local stallholders in an ethical marketplace, a programme of talks on sustainability issues, craft and culinary workshops, great food, entertainment and info stands for various local environmental campaigns.

Deadline for entry in SOS printed programme August 5th. It’s free!

There is now limited time left to add your project, event, action, offer to our sustainable festival programme for free! Register today at www.sustainabilityonsea.org.uk/register-your-event

Check out events so far at www.sustainabilityonsea.org.uk/events
SOS 2019 takes place Sept 21-29 across Hastings/St Leonards/Rother.
#Hastings #bexhill #stleonards #sustainability #community #actlocal #thinkglobal #climatecrisis #transition #transitiontown #2019 #SOS #festival

Register an event for free for Sustainability on Sea 2019

www.sustainabilityonsea.org.uk/register-your-event/

The time has come for businesses and local groups to get involved with our eco-friendly festival: Sustainability on Sea.The festival will take place between Saturday 21st-Sunday 29th September 2019, culminating in an all-day Big Green Fair with stall holders, information stands, talks, activities for children and entertainment.

The theme this year will be “What we can do” showcasing the meaningful things we can all do to live more sustainably.

Last year we had a whole mix of events from speaker events, beach cleans, walks, bike rides, work- shops and family fun days.

It’s a chance for individuals to share their interests and get others involved, for businesses to organise events to bring new customers through the door and for green organisations to showcase what they do.

We welcome all ideas! Here’s some more inspiration:

  • A day of learning about climate change at a youth group or school.
  • Planting a community space.
  • Walks and cycle rides.
  • Litter picks and tackling plastic waste.
  • A day of sustainable food at your café.
  • Plant based food cookery lessons.
  • Launching a campaign.
  • Eco fashion show.

What people thought of last year’s Sustainability on Sea Festival:

“Well organised lots of information” “Great! Lots of useful info, goodies and optimism”  “All  stalls very interesting – not too texty or selling”  “Loads for kids, very interested in electricity and bikes” “Really useful – good to see a very diverse range of groups” “Absolutely excellent! Lovely to see the level of optimism” “10/10 would come again”

We’ve had an extremely positive response to our call out already. Local people are very aware of the issues around climate change and are keen to get involved in the festival.

Read the FAQs for more info.

To get involved please email: info@sustainabilityonsea.org.uk or call Kate on 07840 485344. Or simply sign up today:

www.sustainabilityonsea.org.uk/register-your-event/

Deadline for inclusion: 20th July 2019

Call out for participation in Sustainability on Sea Festival 2019

The Sustainability on Sea (SOS) festival acts as a showcase for local projects inspiring local residents, young and old, to learn, explore and try the latest in all things environmentally friendly, whilst also having fun.

After a successful pilot of SOS Festival in September 2018, Transition Town Hastings, along with other local partners, have started planning for this year.

The festival will take place between Saturday 21st–Sunday 29th September 2019, tying in nicely with World Car Free Day (Sep 22) and culminating with an all-day Big Green Fair on the 29th. The Green Fair will have stall holders, information stands, talks, activities for children and entertainment.

The theme this year will be What we can do, encouraging everyone to live more sustainably, in small or big ways.

We invite you to take part in one or all of the following ways:

  • Volunteer your time to help the festival team plan and run the festival.
  • Take part as an organisation, school, community group, church group, local project or business. Plan an activity that we can add to our programme.
  • Add an event or activity to the programme that you know is already happening.
  • Sign up as a stallholder, information stand or activity for the Big Green Fair.
  • Let us know of any burning ideas that you would like to try out as part of the festival.

How to get in touch

info@sustainabilityonsea.org.uk

SOS is a Transition Town Hastings project in partnership with Hastings Furniture Service, Energise Sussex Coast and the Bexhill and Hastings United Nations Association.

Visit the website to see last year’s programme and to find out more.www.sustainabilityonsea.org.uk

Sign a Declaration of Climate Emergency!

Hastings Green Party have drafted a declaration endorsement, a letter that tells the Hastings Borough Council we support them in declaring a state of Climate Emergency.

The endorsement seeks to acknowledge Climate Breakdown as the biggest challenge we all face and lays out practical steps the council could take to begin to mitigate our dreadful situation. You don’t have to a be Green Party supporter, just someone who wants a planet that can support us for generations to come.

The only way to tackle this issue is to work together which is why the letter itself doesn’t contain any mention of the Green Party because this needs to be a cross party declaration.

The council are already having a meeting next Wednesday 19th at 6pm to discuss a declaration of Climate Emergency and a decision will be made in February, so the more people support this the better!
Please sign and share!

Refill Hastings has over 50 venues!

Being a seaside town, Refill Hastings is very conscious of the issue of single use plastic. It washes up on our beaches on a daily basis.

In the past Hastings has had a reputation for being a down and out seaside town but it is now experiencing a bit of a resurgence. It is a very creative and somewhat eccentric place and also has a very socially and environmentally aware and active community.

The Refill scheme was initiated by Transition Town Hastings and the local Green Party along with support from Surfers Against Sewage. These local groups (as well as the Marine Conservation Society) carry out beach and street cleans and often collect a lot of plastic waste.

Launch of Hastings Refill at the Ocean Symposium, September 2018.

We’re a small group of volunteers and, so far, we have signed up over 50 venues in the local area to be Refill Stations.

We launched the scheme at the Ocean Symposium at St Mary in the Castle in September 2018.

Julia Hilton of Hastings Green party said:

“The UK currently uses 13 billion plastic bottles every year, but only 7.5 billion of these are recycled with the remaining 5.5 billion either landfilled, littered, or incinerated but we are also lucky enough to have some of the best quality tap water in the world — and with the Refill app it’s easier and cheaper to carry a bottle and refill it than to constantly buy new bottles. We can help make carrying a bottle the norm and make sure people know how easy it is to find their refill.”

Visit our facebook page or join the facebook group to get involved.

Hastings first community energy investment offer!

Energise Sussex Coast (ESC) have announced the launch of the 1066 community energy offer.

You are invited to join them for the launch event on 13 December 2018, 5:30–7:30pm at East Sussex College, Station Plaza.

This is the first community energy investment offer in Hastings. ESC, in partnership with Brighton Energy Coop, are raising £180,000 through community shares to fund 250 kilowatts of solar panels (roughly 1066 panels as it happens) on East Sussex College. The college will save roughly £4250 per year on its energy bills.

Living in a solar town was something I dreamed of when co-founding Energise Sussex Coast in 2012. And here, hopefully, is the beginning of it.
Richard Watson, ESC director

The offer is open to anyone but they are especially keen to invite as many local residents, local businesses and community organisations as possible to invest in the future of the college and Hastings.

With the transformation of the energy market underway ESC hope that excess power generated during weekends and holiday periods can be sold to local residents in the Ore Valley at affordable prices.

By investing in 1066 community energy you are supporting the transition to low carbon energy and a fairer energy future and will receive a reasonable return on your investment.

Celebrating sustainable practices at The Big Green Fair

Transition Town Hastings will be exhibiting at the Big Green Fair this Sunday.

We have been working on a new festival launched this month called Sustainability on Sea bringing together local groups and initiatives working to make Hastings and St Leonards a more sustainable place to live. They are tackling important issues like single use plastic, a need for affordable housing and cheaper energy bills, healthy eating habits and growing our own food and using cleaner forms of transport.

The festival closes with The Big Green Fair, an all day event at the Stade in Hastings Old Town which takes place this Sunday, 30 Sept between 11-4. Entry is free.

Expect a variety of stall holders selling eco wares as well as information stalls and activities for families from Source BMX, Bike Lab Hastings, Co-wheels car sharing scheme, Refill Hastings, Plastic Free Hastings, Hastings Furniture Service, Hastings Fermentory, Hastings and Rother Beekeepers Association. Energise Sussex Coast, the organisers of the fair, will have information about how to save energy and money on your energy bills.

Bring along your bicycle to get a free bike check from Bike Lab Hastings. Kids can try out BMX bikes from Source BMX, play solar powered retro arcade games, make pompoms with plastic bags, plant seeds and have a go on bikes that generate electricity. There will be information about ways to make electricity from sunlight, wind, flowing water as well as some unusual ways such as used on Mars, electrostatically, from bent crystals and from lemons (yes, lemons!). The East Hill Sunshine Band and comedian Helen Keen will provide entertainment alongside a solar powered cinema.

Drop by for the programme of talks and demos on composting, plastic recycling, sustainable housing, Alexander Technique, Transition Town movement and permaculture in the garden.

Something for everyone young and old!

Visit the website for more details: http://www.sustainabilityonsea.org.uk