Hastings hidden heritage will become a little less hidden in the next couple of years thanks to almost £300,000 of National Lottery funding.
Environmental charity Groundwork South, working in partnership with Hastings Borough Council (HBC) has just received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £277,000 to launch a project called Hidden Hastings Heritage. The project will run for two years across the 853 acres of Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve. The project will focus on the hidden stories and physical reminders of the park’s varied and often little known past.
There will be what are described as, ‘exciting new activities and events’ in the park for schools, community groups, local people and visitors and there will be activities taking place across the whole of the park. The funding will also help bring the park’s history to life online.
New signage in key locations, better access through improvements to paths and better information to help visitors interpret and understand what they are seeing will be some of the physical things people will see taking shape.
As part of the project people will be able to find out about the stories that contribute to the park’s rich heritage including its role in the growth of Victorian Hastings; as home to RAF Fairlight; in the development of Radar during World War and links to notable local figures like John Logie Baird and Marianne North.
Groundwork South is an environmental and regeneration charity which says it is focused on, ‘changing places and changing lives across the south of England one green step at a time’.
Ben Coles, Director of Development and Strategic Partnerships at Groundwork South says of the new project: “Working with our partner HBC we are delighted to have been successful in securing this support for the very special place that is Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve. Through the Hidden Hastings project we will be able to make sure that the park’s potential to support the learning, enjoyment and health and wellbeing of as many local people as possible is made a reality.”
An HBC spokesperson added: “This funding investment helps our ongoing commitment to the country park as the largest green space in the borough and it is wonderful for our community. We hope to welcome new visitors, while regular visitors can learn something new about this very special space. We welcome the recognition of the park’s place within our town’s special heritage, and thanks to the National Lottery heritage fund for their support.”
About Groundwork South says it is ‘passionate’ about creating a future where everywhere is vibrant and green and where every community is ‘strong and able to shape its own destiny and where everyone can reach their potential’.
It began with the simple idea that if communities help the environment, the environment will help communities.
“This is still our approach today. By bringing people and the environment together with practical local action, we have an impact that is greater than the sum of its parts,” said Mr Coles.
He added: “Every year we help communities through thousands of these projects across the UK. Projects that include: tackling climate change by helping people out of fuel poverty; bringing out the best in young people by helping them to improve their local area; building stronger communities by improving parks, playgrounds and other shared green spaces and by getting people back into work by creating green jobs.”