Hastings has welcomed the announcement that it is to receive £1,244, 931 from the Coastal Communities Fund. A total of £18m was available nationally for coastal communities to bid for, and Hastings received one of the largest grants in the country. Applications were received for more than ten times the money available.
Hastings Borough Council submitted the successful bid, and deputy council leader and lead member for regeneration, Cllr Peter Chowney, was overjoyed at the announcement. He said "This is tremendous news for Hastings, and will benefit Hastings Pier, Sussex Coast College Hastings ('SCCH'), and, of course, the wider community and the town's visitor economy.
"The £750,000 for the Pier will be a capital investment and will be used to set up the 'Pavilion Restaurant' bistro, cafe and bar. This will be a money-making business run by the pier charity which we hope will open in 2014 :- the Heritage Lottery Fund grant requires a further £2.5m in additional funding to be raised. It should help sustain the long-term future of the Pier, and will employ apprentices coming through from SCCH, similar to Jamie Oliver's '15' restaurants.
"In addition to this, another £443 000 will be used for the college to establish a Coastal Industries Academy. This will provide specialist skills-related training for people who wouldn't normally attend a college, and will be available in units which can lead to a formal qualification. The emphasis will be on teaching skills that will directly help people to get a job, and will be designed with employers to provide the skills they need.
"These two initiatives are complementary, of course. The restaurant will play a key role in the revival of the Pier as a major visitor attraction here in Hastings, so helping to boost the vital visitor economy. The skills academy will help more local people to get the new jobs being created in this growing sector."
Clive Cooke, Principal of Sussex Coast College Hastings, said "This is excellent news for us, for our students, and those who would like to study more. It puts the college at the very heart of the town's regeneration, right where it should be. I am looking forward to seeing our students working in the restaurant on the pier on its reopening day."
And Simon Opie, Chief Executive of the Hastings Pier & White Rock Trust, added :- "This is a massive step forward for the Pier, and will help us meet our funding target and finally start work on the rebuilding project. It is a tremendous endorsement of our plans from central government and reinforces our commitment to making the Pier a gateway to employability for the local community. I really look forward to the amazing training opportunities that our Pier restaurant will offer, in particular to local young people. Our thanks are due to Hastings Borough Council for leading this innovative bid and to Amber Rudd MP, for lobbying so tirelessly on our behalf."
Find out more about this exciting project on the Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust's website