‘What’s it all about Alfie ?
When 11 year old Alfie, who lives in the High Street, wanted to take his new puppy for a walk on the East Hill he had to cross The Bourne on a zebra crossing. He waited by the roadside but no vehicles stopped. When a break in the vehicles came he ran across. This was the starting point for HOTRA’s first campaigning project.
Project 1 – 3 crossings on the A259 a partnership with East Sussex County Council.
- Crossing 1 by Bourne Hall/ Courthouse Street heavily used by everyone.
- Crossing 2 by Roebuck Street for accessing Roebuck Surgery.
- Crossing 3 at the bottom of Old London Road – especially for children going to and from Dudley Infants, All Saints Juniors and Sacred Heart School.
Project 2 Making the Chess square in Butlers gap more attractive
In partnership with Hastings Council this was an Arts project funded by Awards for All. Children from Torfield Special Needs School worked with artist Sarah Evans. They visited the beach, aquarium and looked at Chess pieces. Their ideas are featured on the stainless discs on the wall to the left. Then Leigh Dyer worked on the pieces of sculpture. He also designed the railings at the back. Can you see the wave ?
If you want to play with the giant chess pieces the keys to the cupboard (next to Butlers Emporium) are kept at the bottom station of the West Hill railway. Did you know that Hastings Chess Congress is the oldest annual tournament in the world ?
Project 3 Bored children playing football in Hill Street and Swan Gardens
Clearly squabbles would keep happening if there was no safe place for young people to play. We worked with the Foreshore Trust to build a multi- use games area on Pelham Beach. The Pelham Playa is floodlit until 9.00 pm so that it can be used all year round for soccer and basketball.
Always busy and a cool meeting point for foreign language school students.
Project 4 Somewhere else to play
We were offered 2 outdoor table tennis tables but they had to be sheltered from the wind. This proved impossible but it resulted in the identification of a site for a FREE childrens playground. The Foreshore Trust generously agreed to fund this. It has proved immensely popular. The mini golf course operators also kindly agreed to fund a beach Volleyball court. This was then followed by a large sandpit.
Project 5 -Putting the magic back – Hastings Storytelling Festival
In 2011 HOTRA organised the first ever Storytelling Festival. 30 events over 2 weeks in November for people of all ages in locations across the town. This was funded by the Arts Council England and proved a great success. In 2012 events were held for under-5’s, primary and secondary school pupils, students at the university and for adults. It was so successful that we realised it should graduate to a ‘not-for-profit’ independent body as a company limited by guarantee.
By 2013 the festival was the largest in the South East. 2014 saw its best range of events yet.
A huge part of the success of the Festival is due to the generous support of Sir Quentin Blake as Patron. His popularity is world wide and he brings a magic to the event.
Look at www.hastingsstoryfest.org.uk for more details.
Project 5 In partnership with the Winkle Club – improving Winkle Island.
Together over £50,000 was raised from East Sussex County Council, Hastings Council and the Veolia Environmental Trust together with money raised from local people. The upgrade has created a focal point for visitors and residents and helps to tell the wonderful story of the Winkle Club and its work for over 100 years.
AND WHAT NEXT ?
There is a clear need for a play area for older young people that offers more challenging activities. Perhaps a zip wire, trendy swings and ideas from the young people themselves.
What do you think ? What ideas do you have ?