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The audience at the public meeting in the White Rock theatre on 23 April was enthusiastic about saving the pier for the community (photo: Sid Saunders).

The audience at the public meeting in the White Rock theatre on 23 April was enthusiastic about saving the pier for the community (photo: Sid Saunders).

Pier friends’ bank holiday fundraising stymied

The Friends of Hastings Pier have been given more time to demonstrate their ability to fund their bid but plans to use one of the kiosks on the pier as a base for publicising the fundraising campaign over the bank holiday weekend have been rejected. Nick Terdre reports.

The race to save the pier for the community is still on – but plans to publicise the fundraising campaign among visitors to the pier over the coming bank holiday weekend have had to be dropped.

After initially being given permission to hire one of the kiosks as a base for this activity, the Friends of Hastings Pier have now been told that the Heritage Lottery Fund has decided “it is not appropriate in relation to the other bidders.” Even distributing flyers on the pier has been banned.

Lesley Davis, one of the moving forces behind the re-emergence of the Friends to save the pier once again, told HOT she had made purchases for the event and ordered thousands of flyers to hand out promoting the fundraising appeal.

“If the other bidders wanted to be on the pier I’m sure they would have asked, but as we have no idea who the other bidders are, we cannot even ask them if they mind,” she said. “I’d even invite them to come along to the pier and talk to us – we might even be able to work with one of them.

“We just want to make sure the substructure is safe for the next 100 years or so and not allowed to rot and fall into the sea like under the last couple of private owners.

Jim Breeds, one of five elected spokespeople for FoHP, is interviewed for ITV's local news programme Meridien.

Jim Breeds, one of five elected spokespeople for FoHP, is interviewed for ITV’s local news programme Meridian.

Looking stupid

“The stupid thing is, how does it look when a community owned Pier (not sold yet) will not allow the community on it to promote a fundraising activity potentially to buy it and save it for perpetuity? It just does not make sense.”

Instead the plan B is to hand out leaflets elsewhere – in the town centre, the Old Town, St Leonards and anywhere else where there is good footfall. And of course neither the administrators nor HLF can stop the Friends handing out leaflets on the pavement at the pier entrance.

The Friends have been given more time to demonstrate their fundraising capacity, though not the 30 days they wanted. A meeting has been arranged with the administrators for Friday 11 May when the latter will probably want to see concrete proof of FoHP’s ability to raise funds.

Crowdfunding under way

A crowdfunding page has now been opened. The aim is to raise around £1 million, half from individual donations and half from other funders.

“The people of Hastings worked hard to raise over £14.2 million to rebuild the Pier after it burned down in 2010, we think they should keep it,” said James Chang, a spokesman for the Friends.

“We have put together a 21st century business plan with a bold and dynamic entertainment programme for the Pier; very much a new take on an old tradition. With an exciting new building by our award-winning architect, this will sustain the Pier into the future. But we need cash now to make this a reality.”

All those who previously made email pledges are asked to convert them into donations on the crowdfunding page. If the bid doesn’t succeed, the donations will be returned.

So far just under £34,000 has been donated through the crowdfunder, but given that paper pledges of some £41,000 were made at the public meeting on 23 April, it is clear that not everybody has yet converted their pledge into a donation.

Community shareholders wanted

If FoHP could reach more supporters, including the bulk of the nearly 5,000 community shareholders, donations would probably shoot up. But access to the list of shareholders is being withheld by the administrators on the grounds that to make it available to the Friends would be showing favouritism. Local MP Amber Rudd had agreed to take up this matter with the administrators but as far as is known, she has yet to speak to them.

Neptune's Lair - one of the ideas for new activities on the pier which was presented at the public meeting (photo: Sid Saunders).

Neptune’s Lair – one of the ideas for new activities on the pier which was presented at the public meeting (photo: Sid Saunders).

The public meeting drew an audience of over 500. It was a very enthusiastic gathering, and the turnout was very pleasing, Jim Breeds tells HOT.

A series of presentations was given to bring the audience up to date with events and familiarise them with the Friends’ business plan. Stakeholders were conspicuous by their absence. Cllrs Peter Chowney and Judy Rogers reportedly attended, both it is understood in a private capacity.

Five spokespeople were elected to represent the Friends’ campaign in the media: Jim Breeds, James Chang, Lesley Davis, Jess Steele and Adam Wide.

 

Donate to the crowdfunder campaign here.

If you wish to help by handing out flyers over the bank holiday weekend, contact Lesley on friendsofhastingspier@gmail.com or find her in the vicinity of the pier between 11am and 4pm on Saturday, Sunday and Monday with supplies at hand.

The writer is also a member of FoHP.

Posted 16:00 Thursday, May 3, 2018 In: Campaigns

5 Comments


Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT
  1. Bruce Nicol

    LINCOLINGO FUNDRAISING GAMES AVAILABLE TO THE FRIENDS OF HASTINGS PIER
    Hastings Old Town
    Fish & Seafood of Hastings
    Piers of the World
    Famous Hastings Residents and Visitors of the Past
    British Lifeboat Stations
    Top Football Teams
    Dogs of the World
    Tourist London 2000
    The Greatest Films ever Made
    Great Golf Courses of the World
    Olympic Games
    French Menu
    Tourist German

    Comment by Bruce Nicol — Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 18:17

  2. GeneralLee

    Hi, although it does not include contact details, there is a list of shareholders at the back of the hardback version of Steve Peek’s book Pier Without a Peer. Could this be a starting point for some research? Not all will be local, but it might help.

    Comment by GeneralLee — Wednesday, May 9, 2018 @ 20:53

  3. Eye on the ball

    She may have spoken to them but it would seem that she didn’t actually say anything on behalf of the friends of Hastings pier – who also happen to be her constituents.

    Comment by Eye on the ball — Monday, May 7, 2018 @ 08:09

  4. Spiny Norman

    Amber Rudd has now spoken to the pier administrators, see: https://www.amberrudd.co.uk/news/amber-ensures-no-pier-pressure-bidding-war

    Comment by Spiny Norman — Thursday, May 3, 2018 @ 18:43

  5. Ms.Doubtfire

    Methinks the administrators are wielding a very large whip here – are they legally permitted to behave in this draconian manner?
    Such a shame when it is the people of Hastings who were responsible for the restoration of our pier.

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Thursday, May 3, 2018 @ 16:41

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