Residents praised for ‘inspiring community spirit’ during water outages

Residents used the Downs Farm Community Centre as a hub to help out residents affected by the water outages
Residents used the Downs Farm Community Centre as a hub to help out residents affected by the water outages

Residents in Ore have been praised for their ‘inspiring community spirit’ in the face of persistent water outages over the past week.

On Friday night (March 2), a burst water pipe flooded four flats opposite the Downs Farm Community Centre, in Crowborough Road, Hastings, and led to a shortage of water for the remaining 260 properties.

The Downs Farm Community Centre became a hub for those needing water

The Downs Farm Community Centre became a hub for those needing water

The water returned on Saturday for a few hours before the flats flooded for a second time on Sunday, which caused another water shortage across the estate.

Following the second outage in as many days, community centre manager Sarah Stone decided something needed to be done.

She said: “For the first few days people were quite angry and blaming Southern Water for the problems but the community quickly realised there were people who needed help.

“Since Monday, we have had about ten people working voluntarily from 9am to 9pm taking water to the most vulnerable residents on the estate.

“I have been so inspired by the community spirit on display.”

The community centre never lost water throughout the outages and Sarah and other community centre colleagues spent days inviting residents to collect water – in buckets, saucepans or bottles – to take back home.

They also asked people to provide clothing to help those whose flats were flooded before the outages.

Before too long, the word had spread and the community centre became the hub for essential needs for residents as far away as Winchelsea and Icklesham.

Sarah added: “The community spirit has just blown us all away.

“We have been able to help hundreds of families since the second water outage.

“It was just a major positive to see everyone helping out on the back of something so negative.”

The water returned to the Downs Farm estate on Tuesday afternoon (March 6).