House to Home with Amber Rudd MP - May 2011

SURELY Hastings is on its way to becoming the creative centre of the south east. There is so much creative output going on all around us in our town.

Did you see some of the phenomenal outfits for Jack-in-the-Green? Not just the odd green t-shirt or flowery tiara (guilty) but full face and body paint and intricate and elaborate head-pieces.

This was another remarkable weekend of excitement and talented participation.

Then last weekend I attend two art shows in Hastings by local arts groups. Now, I may not be an art critic but I can recognise the enthusiasm and ability artists of a huge variety of ages, put into their shows.

One was put on by the East Sussex Arts Club at the glorious venue of St-Mary-in- the-Castle.

The second was at the slightly less glamorous but still perfectly workable, Southwater Community Centre.

Here students from Sussex Coast College Hastings exhibited - some for the first time. Both were wonderful examples of local talent and creativity.

I also enjoyed a talk from the new director of the Jerwood Gallery, Liz Gilmore, at Hastings Old Town Residents Association AGM in the new Stade Hall.

It was fantastic to go into the new building for the first time and hear about the works of art planned for our Jerwood Gallery later in the year.

We are very fortunate to have secured their investment and commitment to our town.

And of course this week’s major news further confirms our town’s role as the cultural and creative centre of the south east. Our pier is coming back.

After five years of being derelict and the disaster of the fire last year, the pier had become a symbol for decay in the middle of our town.

That is all over now. It is now going to be a symbol for optimism and achievement. We are getting the People’s Pier.

And it has been put together by local residents who have given their time, energy and enthusiasm to make it possible. It was an exceptional bid.

That is why it succeeded. Hastings is full of creative talent and we are reaping the rewards of that rich reservoir.