Hastings is set to receive £229,000 in Welcome Back Funding to support the town’s pandemic recovery and encourage people back safely.
It’s Hastings’ share of the government’s £56 million Welcome Back Fund, which has been provided by the European Regional Development Fund. It will allow local authorities to put in place measures to create and promote a safe environment for local trade and tourism, particularly in high streets as their economies reopen.
Following meetings with business leaders, Hastings Borough Council (HBC) plans to use the funding to roll out a programme of cultural and creative events across Hastings’ main shopping areas during the quieter Autumn, Winter and Spring period. Alongside this there will be an introduction of temporary improvements in the less explored areas of the town centre, attracting footfall to these areas to support local businesses, boosting their trade, and helping them to thrive again.
The money will also be used to upgrade public Wi-Fi networks in the town centre. This will create a more digitally connected town, helping local businesses to trade online and providing a better network for visitors and residents.
Additional seasonal seafront staff are being recruited for cleaning, parking and maintenance during what is expected to be a very busy summer. These will be a vital resource in helping to maintain high hygiene standards and ensuring the flow of traffic and people around the town is controlled and safe.
Funding will also be used to develop plans to help Hastings’ long-term recovery from Covid.
Councillor Paul Barnett, lead councillor for regeneration at HBC said: ““This funding offers our town’s economy a huge boost, following many months of limited trade. We hope local businesses will be able to benefit greatly from these plans which help to promote our town and encourage both residents and visitors to safely explore the fantastic attractions, outstanding arts professionals, and unique shops we have to offer.
“Although we are happy to welcome visitors old and new to our beautiful town, we urge everyone to be patient and follow the rules businesses have in place. Remember these are in place to not only help keep their workers protected from COVID-19 but visitors too, so that everyone can enjoy Hastings safely.”