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

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.

Come and celebrate the ‘opening’ of the community mosaic

We’re celebrating the completion and final installation of the seaside themed mosaic created by the community.
We are having a little celebration on Saturday 24th Aug from 3-5pm in front of Warrior Square Station, come with your smiles and we will supply refreshments. If it’s raining we will be in Zoom Arts.

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

Mosaic building this week!

We’ve made a start on the community mosaic, involving local school children, Gizmos children’s club, clients from the Seaview Centre and volunteer local residents. Here are some photos to give you a flavour of how it’s looking.

There is still a lot to do! Please help us complete this lovely piece of community artwork – lots of times you can pop into Zoom Arts this week:
Mon 15 July 2.30–4.30pm
Tue 16 July 1.30–4.00pm
Wed 17 July 2.30–4.30pm
Thu 18 July 2.30–4.30pm
Fri 19 July 10.00–12.30pm and 1.30–4.00pm

Mosaic beach walk

We had some great feedback on the beach walk on June 3rd where locals looked for things to draw for the mosaic design.

Here are a few photos and a poster with the times and dates of the mosaic making workshops.

We hope to publish the design developed by Emma Harding very soon.

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

Mosaic project underway!

Things are getting exciting now that we have collected all the drawings from the community. They will be the foundation for the design created by Emma Harding, the mosaic artist. Watch this space…

Volunteer to help with mosaic workshops

We’ve been working hard fundraising and we are very happy to say we (that’s the community/public/everyone!) are going to create the Mosaic at Warrior Square Station this summer.

This will consist of 11 days of workshops from 10th-19th July at Zoom Arts (right by the station and the mosaic site).

We would love your help at the workshops.

It would be easy things like:
Getting room ready
Doing some of the mosaic- most important!
Watching that people don’t put their grubby hands on the artwork!!!
Keep an eye on things not getting too messy in general
Sweeping floor occasionally
Keeping table and work area clean & regularly wiped
Showing people where toilets are
Equipping people with aprons/shirts etc
Giving out refreshments

Also there is a Beach Walk early June to help with the design.

We are having a prep & training session for volunteers on Thurs 11th July from 7-9pm– can you come along?
Email info@transitiontownhastings.org.uk.

(Illustration of mosaic is not final design)

Volunteer at our community garden!

The new growing season is upon us and we are looking for keen volunteers to help the team at the community garden in St Leonards Warrior Square train station.

The garden has raised beds for vegetables and lots of fruit tress and bushes where we are growing food that the public can help themselves to. We want to improve the area around the station as well as show how you can eat more sustainably by growing organic foods collectively in the local area.

Generally, we alternate weekly between Saturday (10-1) and Sunday (3-6) but always check the events page before coming to a session!

Or email info@transitiontownhastings.org.uk if you have any queries.