This is the latest on the purchase of the Isabel Blackman Centre in Hastings

A much-loved centre in Hastings Old Town has a new owner.

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 4:45 pm
The Isabel Blackman Centre in Hastings Old Town SUS-210916-121157001

Following a massive community fundraising campaign supported by local charities, the Isabel Blackman Centre, in Winding Street, is now in the hands of a new charity called Isabel Blackman Centre – in Perpetuity (IBC-IP).

Hundreds of people signed a petition as part of a campaign to give the public a chance to buy the centre. This followed the facility closing on March 31, 2019, despite campaigns and several petitions calling for it to remain open.

The completion of the centre was announced this week.

Dick Edwards MBE, chairman of IBC-IP, said: “We’ve been amazed and heartened by the goodwill and support our community has shown. This is the true spirit of people coming together for good. We have managed to raise the required funds to purchase the Isabel Blackman Centre and keep it in use for everyone to enjoy in perpetuity.”

Repairs to the building and daily operations will be managed by Age UK East Sussex.

It previously managed the centre for two years.

Isabel Blackman Centre – in Perpetuity said a major investment has been secured via Hastings Voluntary Action (HVA), which was selected by the Charities Commission to ensure the assets of a former local charity, Friends of the Old People, could be disposed of in a way which achieved effective and long-lasting benefit to older people in the borough.

Mr Edwards added: “Plans for the future are ambitious and include a drive to get Hastings designated as an ‘Age Friendly Community’ within the meaning of the World Health Organisation Framework, alongside developing service opportunities and activities both in the town centre and at Winding Street.

“This work started with a series of meetings convened by HVA which led to the listing of the building as a community asset and the development of a formal partnership consisting of HOTRA, Age UK East Sussex, the Hastings and St Leonards Seniors Forum and HVA. But above all it was the incredible generosity of local people who made this all possible.”

To help shape the future for the Isabel Blackman Centre, Age UK East Sussex is running a public consultation. Visit www.ageuk.org.uk/eastsussex/our-services/ibc or call 01273 476704.