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Case Studies

Finding new ways to include everyone across Hastings

Hastings Commons is one of the first 43 projects across England to be awarded a Youth Investment Fund grant.

Whole Community Approach for the Commons

A Youth Investment Fund grant of £8.6 million will enable Hastings Commons to develop and transform their spaces for young people aged 11-18.

Already rooted in the local community, Hastings Commons will be taking a ‘whole-community’ approach to developing exciting spaces for, with and by local young people (aged 11–18). Alongside new spaces and facilities, there will be many opportunities for young people to become involved in this unique regeneration approach through taking part in a wide range of ‘experiences’- including hospitality and events, construction, caretaking, administration, receiving mentoring from existing tenants, and having their say in shaping the redevelopment of the historic Observer Building.

The approach will draw on young people’s own perspectives, while developing their experience and knowledge through practical action to create and manage long-term community assets.

The Youth Investment Fund comes at an exciting time as it will allow us to expand what we already have on offer for the community by involving younger generations in the Hastings Commons. I'm incredibly excited about working with young people from across the town to shape the spaces and opportunities that they want to see for themselves and their peers.

Tor Evans
Trustee of Hastings Commons

Harper's Caves and Alley Gardens, Hastings Commons

Investing in infrastructure

The Youth Investment Fund grant will be used to support the development of several key buildings and spaces within the Hastings Commons, including:

  • A full renovation of Eagle House to create a range of spaces that benefit young people, including a universal youth club and a youth work hub in partnership with Xtrax Hastings.
  • Redeveloping key spaces within the Observer Building to be enjoyed by all, with young people’s influence and ongoing involvement – including the long-awaited Observer Building roof and the vaults.
  • Offering a wide range of experience opportunities for young people including work placements supported by Hastings Commons staff, tenants and partners.

The project will be delivered by Hastings Commons in partnership with Xtrax (Hastings & Rother) as well as many other local partners. This project is also generously funded by the Hastings Towns Fund and several other funders. Xtrax, located in Hastings town centre, is the central focal point for marginalised young people aged 16-24, offering support where it’s needed. Xtrax can offer a safe space, advice and support on issues such as: employment, housing, benefits, mental health and wellbeing, sexual health and relationships.

Our social mission has always sought to benefit everyone, but especially those who usually miss out. This is a category that teenagers fit in as they have no money, no political power, and often nowhere to go. Teenagers are the future and their involvement will help make sure the Commons lasts, while providing opportunities for them to thrive in Hastings. It’s in the nature of our holistic approach that there will be ‘intergenerational mingling’ – it won’t always be easy but the Commons is a way to find new and better ways to include everyone.

Dr Jess Steele
CEO of Hastings Commons

Eagle House, Hastings Commons

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