£4.2m confirmed for a new seaside youth hub

A STATE-of-the-art new youth hub has moved a step closer after the Government confirmed the project would be given £4.2million in funding.

The team behind the ambitious plans have waited anxiously to see whether the cash originally earmarked for the scheme would survive the latest bout of cuts.

And, 12 months after initially submitting the plans, staff at local charity Hastings Trust admitted they had been far from hopeful the renovation of St Mary-in-the-Castle would get the go-ahead.

But the charity’s executive director Mel Bonney-Kane was this week told the millions would still be coming – meaning she and her colleagues can now push ahead with plans to completely revamp the seafront venue.

Speaking shortly after the announcement, she said: “We are clearly delighted that the funding has been safeguarded and that the scheme has the opportunity to go forward, despite the odds.”

However, she added that the charity would not count its chickens before they hatched, mindful of the fact a lot had changed since the original business plan.

“The economic and funding climate has significantly changed,” said Ms Bonney-Kane. “The impact of public sector funding cuts on the in-principle commitments which partners made to the scheme must be appreciated.

“We will need to work closely with Hastings Borough Council and East Sussex County Council to re-assess the sustainability of our scheme in the light of this new financial climate.”

Ms Bonney-Kane though, remained as determined as ever to see the new youth hub - which will contain professional recording studios and advice centres - become a reality.

She said: “We are still confident we can find a way in which this ambitious and much-needed development can be taken forward.”