Hastings Culture Strategy 2023-28 (draft)

Hastings Culture Strategy 2023-28 (draft)

The Hastings Borough Council’s Cultural Strategy 2023-2028 outlines a vision to make Hastings a leading destination for inclusive and accessible cultural activities, enhancing the town’s economy and quality of life for its residents. The strategy is structured around several key ambitions:

  1. Culture for Everyone:
  • This ambition aims to ensure that Hastings’ cultural offerings are inclusive and accessible. The focus is on increasing opportunities for participation in cultural activities within the community. By fostering an inclusive cultural environment, the strategy seeks to break down barriers that might prevent individuals from engaging with cultural activities and to ensure a broad participation across different demographics.
  1. Proud to Live in Hastings:
  • This section emphasizes embedding culture throughout the town to build community connections and improve residents’ quality of life. The strategy recognizes Hastings’ rich history and unique character, aiming to grow pride in the town through community-led programming and the celebration of local identity. This includes ensuring that cultural events and activities reflect the diverse experiences of Hastings’ residents.
  1. Creative Businesses Succeed Here:
  • The goal here is to support Hastings’ creative economy, fostering an environment where creative businesses can thrive. This involves creating opportunities for local people to gain skills and employment in the creative sector. The strategy highlights the importance of a supportive infrastructure for creative businesses, including networking opportunities, skill-sharing platforms, and potential funding sources.
  1. Open for Tourism:
  • This ambition focuses on promoting cultural tourism to benefit local people and businesses. By enhancing Hastings’ appeal as a cultural destination, the strategy aims to attract more visitors, which in turn can boost the local economy. Efforts will be made to market Hastings’ cultural assets effectively and to develop new cultural attractions and events that draw tourists to the area.
  1. Carbon Neutral:
  • Recognizing the urgent need to address the climate crisis, the strategy includes a commitment to culture-led environmental action. The cultural sector in Hastings is seen as having the creativity and capability to lead initiatives that improve environmental and community wellbeing. This involves not only reducing the environmental impact of cultural activities but also using culture as a platform to promote sustainability and climate awareness among residents and visitors.

Council’s Role:
The Hastings Borough Council will play a facilitating role in achieving these ambitions. This includes working with various stakeholders, from local cultural organizations to regional and national bodies, to support networking, skill-sharing, and investment in the town’s cultural sector. Despite budget constraints limiting direct funding, the council will focus on strategic partnerships and leveraging external funding to support cultural initiatives.

Key Challenges and Opportunities:
The strategy acknowledges several challenges, including economic pressures on creative businesses, the need for greater inclusion and accessibility, and the environmental impact of cultural activities. However, it also identifies numerous opportunities, such as the growth of the cultural sector, increasing interest in Hastings as a place to live and work, and the potential for culture to drive both social and environmental change.

In conclusion, the Hastings Borough Council’s Cultural Strategy 2023-2028 aims to harness the power of culture to enrich the town’s economy, enhance the quality of life for residents, support creative businesses, promote cultural tourism, and lead on environmental sustainability. By fostering a vibrant and inclusive cultural scene, the strategy seeks to make Hastings a proud, dynamic, and sustainable community.


The Hastings Borough Council Cultural Strategy 2023-2028 outlines several recommended actions aimed at enhancing the town’s cultural and environmental landscape. These actions are categorized into different sections addressing various areas of improvement and opportunity.

Environmental Sustainability

  1. Work with Communities on Climate and Sustainability: Engage with local communities to promote climate-conscious and sustainable practices in cultural activities.
  2. Support Environmental Action Plans: Aid local organizations and groups in developing and implementing environmental action plans.
  3. Include Climate Considerations in Planning: Ensure that environmental and climate factors are integrated into the planning and execution of cultural projects.

Community Involvement and Inclusivity

  1. Promote Inclusive Cultural Activities: Expand the reach of cultural activities to include more diverse and marginalized communities, particularly in less active areas such as Tressell, Ore, and Hollington.
  2. Support Schools and Family Programs: Encourage cultural activities in schools and family hubs to increase participation from children and young people.
  3. Enhance Co-Production Efforts: Invest more time and resources into co-production methods, working directly with community members to design and deliver cultural activities.
  4. Build Stronger Networks: Strengthen existing networks to foster collaboration between cultural organizations and communities.

Cultural and Economic Development

  1. Develop Marketing Strategies: Collaborate with partners to create a unified marketing strategy that highlights the town’s unique cultural and heritage offerings.
  2. Improve Infrastructure: Support the development of transportation, accommodation, and regeneration activities to enhance access to cultural sites.
  3. Leverage Digital Technology: Utilize digital platforms to promote Hastings’ cultural events and attractions, thereby increasing audience reach.

Ambitions and Long-Term Goals

  1. Achieve Carbon Neutrality by 2030: Lead the cultural sector towards making Hastings carbon neutral by the target year.
  2. Foster Community-Led Sustainable Projects: Encourage and support projects that are led by local communities and have a positive environmental impact.
  3. Embed Inclusive Practices: Ensure that inclusive and accessible practices are a standard part of the town’s cultural offerings.
  4. Increase Cultural Activities Town-Wide: Expand the range and frequency of cultural events across all areas of Hastings, ensuring equitable access for all residents.

Addressing Key Challenges

  1. Combat Climate Change Skepticism: Address the barriers posed by climate change denial and promote the importance of collective environmental action.
  2. Improve Heritage Buildings’ Efficiency: Seek large-scale funding and time investments to enhance the environmental performance of the town’s historic buildings.
  3. Overcome Deep-Rooted Exclusion: Work to change long-standing perceptions that cultural activities are not inclusive, particularly among marginalized groups.
  4. Ensure Long-Term Impact of Projects: Develop strategies to ensure that cultural projects have lasting benefits beyond short-term funding cycles.

These actions and opportunities, along with the outlined ambitions and responses to key challenges, form the core of the Hastings Borough Council’s strategy to enrich the town’s cultural environment, promote sustainability, and foster a more inclusive and engaged community.