On Friday, June 24, I attended the opening of the newly refurbished Jackson Hall in Portland Place, up the hill from Priory Meadow, along a residential street.
This is an old school, with the traditional two entrances, one for girls, the other for boys, that has now been transferred to the public through a Government-backed community asset scheme.
I had visited it in its previous life under council supervision and it had become very run down.
But now the hall represents a successful partnership between Hastings Borough Council (HBC) and the voluntary sector. The background is that HBC and Hastings Voluntary Action gained almost £750,000 of Government funding from the Community Assets Programme, which was set up to specifically support the transfer of buildings from the public sector to the voluntary sector.
With these funds Jackson Hall has now been fully refurbished.
The building will provide high quality affordable accommodation and meeting rooms for community organisations. Critically, it will secure a long term home for Hastings Voluntary Action at a peppercorn rent, as well as offering office space and enhanced facilities to a whole range of other not-for profit groups.
The group of volunteers, local organisations and representatives who met to celebrate its opening were all delighted with the finished product.
This is an exceptional outcome. It is a triumph of the public and voluntary sector working together to achieve a wholly positive outcome for the town.
Now clients who need the services of Hastings Voluntary Action, or any of the other voluntary groups that will soon be resident there, can enter into a first class building, that is comfortable, well preserved and maintained.
It is our voluntary sector, the public, that will now run this building.
It will be managed to provide the best services to the clients in need. I predict a bright future for this newly opened facility. Well done to all involved. making it happen.