Local residents made it very clear how much they care about their neighbourhood…
Working towards a better future for west St Leonards is the key theme of a campaign that has got off to a flying start.
The West St Leonards Forum has received funding support from Common Treasury and Locality, launched its campaign to encourage residents and local amenity groups to work together for a better future for West St Leonards.
The Forum distributed paper questionnaires around the West St Leonards area and also created an online version. They followed this up with a doorstep canvass and held three open forums.
More than 2,000 doors were knocked on and already more than 200 surveys have been returned. In addition more than 70 people attended the Open Forums held at the Comet, the Marina Fountain and the Discovery Centre.
Local residents made it very clear how much they care about their neighbourhood and say they want to work together to support their neighbourhood. Many of the strengths of the area were identified; and residents drew attention to the opportunities that exist for improvement, and highlighted problems that need to be solved.
The West St Leonards Forum will now absorb all these ideas and the information they have gathered. The Forum will also be getting in touch with businesses and schools in the area, along with the many sports and amenity groups who come to the beach or the Countryside Park.
Virginia Vilela, a member of the Forum, said: “The initial response appears very positive and the Open Forums brought forward many interesting ideas. The overall feeling was a strong desire for a group to work together in the neighbourhood. It is an exciting start!”
In the next few weeks the Forum will provide online and leaflet form feedback to local residents, as well as setting out a course for future work.
The West St Leonards Forum is also planning to meet politicians from all parties, both in relation to the Bathing Pool site and about the progress of the Neighbourhood Forum. The first of these meetings has already been held with Forum members meeting Sally Ann Hart, MP for Hastings & Rye, and the Conservative councillors on Hastings Borough Council. The meeting was considered both positive and encouraging by the West St Leonards Forum attendees.
One man’s view of proceedings
One cold Thursday evening in February I went along to an ‘Open Forum’ organised by the fledgling West St Leonards Forum writes Bryan Fisher.
This was the second of three such events that followed the distribution of over 2,000 questionnaires to local residents
Each of the Open Forums was as well attended and each had a facilitator at the meeting I attended that was Jess Steele, who did a great job of organising the activities that established the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the West St Leonards area.
All the points raised by each group were discussed as a forum. Local residents were often vocal and always passionate about wanting to work together to support their neighbourhood.
I left there feeling very positive about our ability to help shape our neighbourhood.
I have also joined other Forum members at a meeting with Sally Ann Hart, MP for Hastings & Rye, and the Conservative councillors on Hastings Borough Council. We all felt the meeting was both positive and encouraging, with our MP equally contributing and listening. We now want to be invited to meet the other parties too.
Photos courtesy of Chris Lewcock.
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