Pier share fund shatters £500k target

Celebration photo after Hastings pier charity reaches its�500,000 target. SUS-141004-094144001
Celebration photo after Hastings pier charity reaches its�500,000 target. SUS-141004-094144001

THE Hastings Pier Charity is celebrating after its community share scheme offer shattered the £500,000 target last Saturday.

To the charity’s amazement thousands of pounds poured into the share fund in the run up to its deadline on April 5.

Almost 3,000 investors made pledges totalling £590,000 before the scheme closed at midnight.

The scheme was launched last October with a minimum share purchase of £100 and in the first six months it attracted £350,000

Simon Opie, the charity’s chief executive officer, said: “It’s an amazing outcome and shows the depth of feeling in the town and elsewhere for the pier itself and its story. Over half of the investors are local to Hastings. Many people, at whatever level they have invested, have dug extremely deep in the current economic climate to support the project and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude.

“The local economy will benefit considerably from the project itself as well as the economic uplift from bringing the Pier back to life.

“Evidently a great many people really do want to see the Pier saved for future generations.”

Mr Opie said the first £200,000 raised through the share scheme will close the funding gap on the building project and the rest is vital to support commercial activity on the pier and help sustain it as a business.

The main engineering work needed on the pier will cost close to £14m with more than £11m funded through a substantial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Due to be completed in Spring 2015, work on the pier started in January this year and Mr Opie told the Observer that it is progressing well. He said: “We have been very fortunate to attract a tremendous team to work on the project.”

In March, the charity launched a webcam which takes a picture 60 seconds, day and night, to document the progress of the pier’s restoration work. Visit the website at www.hpcharity.co.uk/media-centre/pier-webcam/