In a big boost for local democracy, thousands of people have now logged on to watch Hastings’ top civic leaders being quizzed as part of the first-ever Hastings Question Time.
The hour-long broadcast, which followed the format of the BBC’s popular night-time politics show, saw seven of the town’s leaders come together to answer questions from local people about Covid-19 and how Hastings can recover from the crisis. With more than 100 participating in the audience and 400 more watching it live, the event’s online recording has now been watched by a further 1,000 people, making it one of the most-watched broadcast events in the town’s history.
Hosted by Hastings HEART, the town’s Covid-19 community support group, Hastings Question Time saw local MP Sally-Ann Hart, East Sussex Council leader Keith Glazier and Borough Council Deputy Colin Fitzgerald field a series of burning questions about arrangements being made in the town to help people cope with the pandemic.
Together with HVA Director Steve Manwaring, Team East Sussex Chair Graham Peters, local GP Greg Wilcox and Dawn Dublin from Hastings Urban Enterprises, the seven were quizzed on a host of issues from vaccination roll-out, free school meal parcels to support for local businesses. Live polls of the audience conducted during the event also revealed significant majorities for delaying school reopening, weekly testing for all school teachers and pupils and continued support for lockdown measures despite economic impacts.
Event co-host and HEART co-founder Kim Batty says: “The numbers viewing Hastings Question Time have been amazing. It just shows what a huge appetite there is for being part of discussions – about how we cope with this crisis and find ways to recover from it. HEART is planning more Question Times in the future since we feel they can play a really important part in our local democracy.”
If you didn’t catch Hastings Question Time live, a trailer for the event can be seen in the ‘Latest’ section of HEART’s website at www.hastingsheart.com or click the YouTube link below.