What fosters community?

ONE thing that struck me in the letters page (Observer, December 6) was the s**t being thrown back at the council for a campaign that hardly looks likely to encourage behaviour change.

Similarly there was a poignant doubting of the council having undertaken due diligence in relation to the Jerwood Gallery as fostering a sense of (united) community. Thanks to your letters, the over-arching question raised seems to be: “What communications and what art (galleries) foster community?”

Success lies after a number of failures, but only if we as a community can articulate what went wrong. As a critical commentator (on sussexcommunity.blogspot.co.uk etc -as featured in your Tweets of the Week recently) and the main creator of social media about the pier fire (and the subsequent “Pier Fire justice fiasco”), I certainly question time and time again what any of us, in the midst of these disputes, are learning about community development?

Similarly, the Pier Charity Community Shares Scheme only raised a third of the requisite pledges in the first two thirds of the fundraising time.

Failure is looming and the charity is bound by its word in its prospectus to return all money if, as seems all too likely, £500,000 is not raised by January 4, 2014. Can we learn better this time without throwing too much s**t around?

As for the best value for money (community) art in Hastings and St Leonards, I experienced it last Saturday on the Hastings Urban Bikes Illuminated Ride to the North Pole - December 7, 2013 (Google that or find the film on HUB’s Facebook page).

With three interesting locations near the seafront opening their doors and offering drinks to brightly lit cyclists who were following the Christmas Ska coming from a bicycle-trailer-sized sound-system, this co-created community art mobile instalation cost participants nothing and was a joy to behold. Thank you once again to High Tides Cycles, Marine Court for mulled wine and The Admiral Benbow run by Philip Oakley on London Road for all the fun of the fair and Apple Juice, as well as the Rock-a-Nore Pole secret venue.

Peace and goodwill to all men, women and children, whatever role we all take from time to time in fouling or using foul language, blaming or taking responsibility.

And a Happy New Year with the Hastings Pier Fire & Community Development Art Gallery set to open in St Leonards on Saturday, February 1 too.

PAUL CROSLAND

Chairman

St Leonards Sharing Consortium

Southwater Area Community Centre

Stainsby Street

St Leonards