Part two of an exploration of Hastings online communities that have one foot securely planted in actual geography, unscientifically chosen by Ben Bruges (HIP Features Editor) and members of the HIP family. 

We have had a look at the sharks, why not have a look in the weeds where the minnows lurk and huddle in perhaps more interest-ing, smaller, shinier online communities? Same drill, mostly FB (Facebook) then number of followers; ‘private’ usually simply means you have to apply to join before reading or posting; or IG (Instagram), and, again, let’s ignore Twitter, because why not.  

Let us start with the shinier end of the visual. 

IG: Niall_StLeonards (10.1k)

Garry James, HIP Social Media Editor says “Niall shows off interesting local areas with nice pictures. That’s an exact description. He makes the magic. You appreciate it.” Quite. 

IG: #hastings #stleonards #stleonardsonsea (950k posts)

Using these hashtags brings you all manner of glories, and it is a good way to see the sheer range of life that is here. (If you don’t know how to use a hashtag, ask a child.) 

IG: XRHastingsStLeonards (1.2K)

If XR need introducing then you haven’t been paying attention. They can also be found on FB, their own website and lining up shoes on the Pier. We either start doing something about the climate or we accept that Hastings will end up in the sea. Your choice.

PICTURE: Ben Bruges

FB: Historical Hastings (3.5k)

More foot in the past stuff. Random shares, oddities and interests, but also a collective project to transcribe Thomas Brandon Brett’s manuscript history of Hastings from 1828 to 1864. 

FB: The Hastings Area Music Scene (3.4k)

Hasting is buzzing! Or it should be if it were not for a certain virus. But performances have gone online and here’s where to start to check them out and find your next bassist.

FB: HEART Hastings Emergency Action Resilience Team (3.2k private)

Of course Hastings has a heart! A big one. This group shot up to 2k in a matter of days in response to the hardship caused by the lockdown. We aint out of the woods yet, so if you have a heart sign up here. 

IG: Hastings Memes (2.8k)

Exactly what it says on the tin. A friend runs this but just will not let me tell you who they are. Shame! (What’s a meme? Ask a child.)

Web: (2.6k)

This feels very old-school but is still a thing. Useful forums lurk behind a tourist-facing website: from recommending a trader, to sharing complaints about dog mess. It may be that NextDoor (see below) will be stealing its thunder. 

FB: St Leonards SOBS (Save Our Bathing Site) (1.9k)

They came for the activism and stayed for the community. They praised one of HIPs articles, so maybe we are biased? Set up in the wake of some strange proposals for the development of the old bathing site. 

FB: Hastings Creatives Original (1.2k private)

As Jon Dunham, HIP Commercial Director, says: “Great space for local creatives to share ideas, events and have positive discussions that benefit the creative community.” Exactly that.  Get inspiring. 

PICTURE: Ben Bruges

FB: Hastings Jack in the Green (3.8k)

Hastings wouldn’t be Hastings without Jack in the Green, even if it had to go ‘virtual’ this year. You simply cannot stop a member of the ‘followers of Haesta’ from dressing up as a sexy pagan beast, and the men are pretty cool also. Fingers crossed for the full JITG next year. 

IG: Hastings Independent (1.2k)

We made it onto the social media map! Obviously also check out our website and FB presence but follow our IG account for all things beautiful (and often tasty). 

PICTURE: Ben Bruges

FB: Where do we go from Pier? (1.1k)

Pier management probably HATE this group who have provided a sterling and possibly overly judgemental watch on the pier… but now peace seems to have broken out over the new team running events. 

IG: StLeonardsandHastingsFashions (1k)

You know those Hastings people who seem to live in 40s and 50s dress? Yes, that. Beautiful. The sheer number of followers shows how many appreciate the style. 

FB: Arts on Prescription (800) 

Rod Webb, HIP Community Editor, explains: “It is a wonderful free service set up in June 2019 to reduce loneliness and isolation for those who face challenges accessing activities in the community; set up by the indefatigable Tara Reddy, it made a seamless switch to an online community as soon as lockdown hit Hastings.”

IG: @bricksandmortarshops (800) 

A colourful account showcasing all the independent shops in Hastings (and surrounding areas), recommends Pasha Milburn, HIP co-editor for Food: “Follow for inspiration and to learn about a unique shop you may have forgotten about!”

FB: Hastings and Bexhill Small Business (627)

Steve Brown, HIP Business Editor says this creates “a great opportunity for small businesses to share their offerings and their news”. 

FB: BlueGreenEarth / Bookbuster (603)

Theoretically a ‘commercial’ entry, but owner Tim Barton is a long-term HIP friend and runs this community as much for the politics and the giggles as to actually sell anything. Anyway – books, who buys books these days! You do! Head on over! 

FB: Hastings Parent Community (500)

Another ‘what it says on the tin’ group. Useful. 

FB: A Town Explores a Book (421)

One of those great Hastings creative events that spreads into arts, music, literature, crafts that has had to find an online home. Dave Young, HIP Health & Environment Editor, is grateful that they “managed to transfer so much of the innovation, energy and enthusiasm of the event online during difficult times.” Currently exploring Edward Lear. 

FB: Hastings Astronomy Club (245)

Star gazers of Hastings unite! You have nothing to lose but sleep! Weather and celestial event news. Advice about how to watch meteor showers. Meetups. 

FB: Hastings Against War (109)

Helen Drake, HIP co-Features Editor, says that this group is all about “promoting peace and the abolition of nuclear weapons, good to start locally.” A small but dedicated group of people. If you believe in peace consider joining. Hang on, does anybody NOT believe in peace?  

WEB: (unknown followers)

Ultra-local, neighbourhood-based recommendations and advice site. It uses real names, real addresses (verified by a postcard) – good for local recommendations, and therefore safer than a lot of other systems. In 2015 the US company was involved in a scandal over racial profiling. Previously called ‘Streetlife’, which was anonymous and didn’t work out so well. 

WEB: (unknown)

Mindfulness courses, retreats and weekly meetings run by Janine Cording. Fiona McGarry, HIP sub-editor says: “At 7.45 most mornings all through the lockdown Janine led different types of meditations and Qi Gong sessions. They kept me calm and grounded through the pandemic and the shared experience really helped when I was feeling isolated.”

WEB: (unknown)

Project Art Works have been running various online groups to help support and engage with neurodivergent artists and makers during lockdown. “I think some of these groups are still continuing virtually, alongside a new, socially distanced approach to their more normative programme,” says Mia L., HIP co-editor Arts. 

Send your agreements, disagreements, suggestions, and howls of rage at the Twitter exclusion to Ben at [email protected] 

Read Delving into hastingsdotconnected part one here

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