Campaign launched for public to buy Hastings’ Isabel Blackman Centre

The Isabel Blackman Centre, Hastings
The Isabel Blackman Centre, Hastings

A campaign has been set up to give the public a chance to buy the Isabel Blackman Centre in the Old Town.

The centre, in Winding Street closed on March 31, despite campaigns and several petitions calling for it to remain open.

It closed as part of a series of cuts by the county council, as the authority said it needed to make savings in its adult social care budget.

Since then, Hastings Old Town Residents’ Association (HOTRA) applied for the centre to be registered as an asset of community value, with the application being accepted by Hastings Borough Council.

Now HOTRA has launched a campaign in the hope the building can be bought so it can continue to serve the community.

Dick Edwards, chairman of HOTRA, said: “There is a working group of five different charities and voluntary groups set up with the aim of getting this building reopened for use by the elderly and the wider community.

“There were more than 100 clients who used the centre before and half of them are very much have nowhere to go now.

“We have set up a petition online to ensure the county council recognises that this building has been doing charitable work for more than 100 years. The group of voluntary bodies should be allowed to make an offer to buy it.”

He said Hastings Voluntary Action (HVA) has taken on lead responsibility for negotiations to buy the building.

Mr Edwards said: “A way must be found to keep this precious building serving the people of Hastings. In 1976 the Isabel Blackman Foundation gave one third of the cost of constructing the existing building and since then they have provided significant grants to help maintain and develop the building. Most recently they funded the installation cost of a lift for £50,000.”

HOTRA met last month to discuss the centre’s future.

An appeal letter will be sent to all households seeking their donations and the group intends to set up a Crowdfunding site seeking promises from people.

All of these will be recorded and people asked to consider agreeing to their money being gift aided so the tax can be reclaimed.

A website will also be launched by HVA as part of the campaign.

To sign the petition, click here. It runs until October 10.

Read more:

New owner sought for Hastings’ Isabel Blackman Centre.

Bid to make Hastings’ Isabel Blackman Centre community asset.

Clients voice anger and disbelief over impending closure of Hastings day centre.

Closure confirmed for day centres for elderly and disabled in Hastings and Bexhill.