Plans to develop disused Hastings football field

The Firs
The Firs

A charity is taking its first steps in turning a former football ground into an outdoor learning centre for vulnerable people.

The Education Futures Trust was given the lease to the Firs, which is based off Elphinstone Road, by Hastings Borough Council in February.

It wants to turn the site into a ‘mixed use village’, which would include a forest school, log cabins and theatre and intends to get planning permission.

The charity has been developing the project behind the scenes for almost two years.

Earlier this year the charity said it intends to create a therapeutic and outdoor learning facility, combined with an area for community access and use.

The charity has appointed Paul Carter to run the Firs Development project.

He has previously worked on developments including the Stade Open Space.

The charity said initial stages of the project will involve clearing the grounds and making good the perimeters. It is also hoped the community and volunteers will be encouraged to get involved.

In particular, Paul is hoping to attract those with a wide range of skill sets, including gardening, landscaping, building, carpentry and groundworks.

The Education Futures Trust does not receive any funding, other than that raised by the charity itself.

Therefore it relies on donations to fund important support programmes designed to help children, families and vulnerable adults in need.

The Education Futures Trust said it is hoped the Firs Development will go on to achieve a sustainable income stream for the charity.

The borough council-owned football ground has not been used since St Leonards FC folded in 2004.

The majority of the structures have been knocked down with access only for parking and the multi-use games area.

The Education Futures Trust has been using the former clubhouse since 2012 for educational purposes, providing support and learning to children, families and vulnerable adults in Hastings and the surrounding area.

If anyone would like to register their interest in the Firs Development project, either to volunteer, provide ideas or to donate, they should contact Paul by email at paulc@educationfuturestrust.org.

For more information about the charity itself, log onto www.educationfuturestrust.org.

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