All through the Autumn of 2020, the Hastings Emerging Futures project ran a series of future visioning workshops for individuals and organisations working in the voluntary sector. The aim was to explore new ways of imagining the future, considering how we begin to think and act differently to create a better world for all.

Expanding on the big themes that have arisen from this programme, the project is now opening up for wider participation. All those who are interested in the future of Hastings are invited to three upcoming online events in January and February: Hastings Town Centre – past, present, future? 19th January; Gentrification: What part will you play? 26th January, hosted by Changing Hastings; Sustainable Hastings – Planting the seeds for a better future together, 23rd February.

The pandemic has highlighted the need for communities to work together as well as the importance of collaboration between the various agencies involved. This led to the setting up of the Hastings Community Hub, a loose coalition of disparate organisations from Hastings Food Bank to the NHS. It was this spirit of partnership that inspired the successful National Lottery bid to fund Hastings Emerging Futures to galvanise and coordinate the already existing grassroots organisations working towards a better future for Hastings. 

The bid was led by the charity Leisure & Learning (Hastings) in partnership with Heart of Hastings Community Land Trust, the Common Treasury of Adaptable Ideas, HEART, Isolation Station Hastings, Jericho Road Solutions and White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures.

So what’s in store for the first event on 19th January: Hastings Town Centre – past, present, future? The event will introduce new and visionary projects that are planned for the town and will encourage you to have your say on what matters to you. To make sure the event is not only a productive experience but also an entertaining one, John Knowles, local author/actor/producer/personality will MC for the night, guiding discussions with guests representing independent and creative businesses, visionary projects, planning and local authorities, as well as local historian, Stephen Peake – each with a different perspective on the town, and loads of ideas for its future. 

Audience participation will, of course, be encouraged at all the events, digging into what Hastings means to the community and and how it sees Hastings’ future: how it will benefit the people who live here and those who visit; how we can repurpose tired, derelict, and neglected spaces for the good of our communities; how we can influence the way our town looks and feels; and most importantly, how to make the ideas a reality.

• To book a place for any of the three events, so to 

• For more information on the project, read the next edition of Hastings Independent, out on 19th January.

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