Crowdfunder… making it easier for you to help save Hastings Pier

Earlier this evening the crowdfunding account that many people hope will be the key building block that helps keep Hastings Pier in community ownership was launched.

If you want to contribute then follow this link

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/fohp2018

It was also revealed tonight that the appeal launched by Friends of Hastings Pier has already secured pledges of cash support of more than £100,000. The new online Crowdfunding account will make pledging money a much more simple and straightforward process.

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The newly launched page outlines the background to the current predicament and says: “Hastings Pier Charity has gone into administration and this has put under threat the community ownership that makes Hastings Pier unique.  Friends of Hastings Pier (FOHP) has created a business plan that will keep the freehold of the pier community-owned while transforming it into a profitable and sustainable business.

“The plan for Hastings Pier always involved two phases. Phase 1, mainly funded by Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), created a stable platform, in stable ownership (we thought), and an interim business plan that would keep the pier ticking over until Phase 2 which would attract further investment to build infrastructure and a major events programme to make the pier profitable long-term. Sadly, Phase 2 was neglected, possibly even forgotten, which is why the pier went into administration.

“Our proposals show how we would take the pier from the current position to a very exciting destination attraction. But to be able to implement these plans, FOHP needs to show the administrators that we have available funds of at least £1million to be able to sustain the pier for two years.  Otherwise it will be sold to a private owner.

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The cover of the document that sets out the commercial future for Hastings Pier

“Raising half a million pounds now from individuals and organisations will keep us in the game and encourage other funders to invest alongside you to make our pier a success. Our business plan is solid, we have a great team of talented people with knowledge and experience of running piers and entertainment venues, we have the original designer of the pier and RIBA award-winning architect, dRMM, donating their time for free. We know we can make the pier profitable, we just need the chance to prove it.

“Every effort is currently being made to reach out to corporate partners, charities, trusts and funds, but we need your help too. The more that we can show financial backing for our community bid, the easier the conversations become with bigger corporations and the lighter the weight on the shoulders of our volunteers having those conversations.”

In the document Friends of Hastings Pier also sets out its fundamental principles, they were approved by the 600 people who attended the special public meeting in the White Rock Theatre on Monday night. Those fundamental principles are:

People get a say in what happens next –  This community rescued the pier and has demonstrated a commitment to it through investing and donating as shareholders, volunteering, visiting and otherwise supporting the pier. The community should be involved in deciding what happens next.

The community’s asset should not be sold off into private hands – While financial support might be needed again in the short term, we believe that the pier can be financially viable, indeed profitable, in the medium to long term. Selling off the pier into private hands would be risky, irreversible, and will result in the loss of community control of a valuable and strategic local asset.

A partnership approach to ownership and operation is the way forward – We support an approach based on partnership between the community and a commercial operator. Ownership of the pier’s freehold remains protected in perpetuity, fulfilling HLF’s desire to see the heritage managed, while a private sector operator develops its commercial success above deck, making annual payments that cover maintenance and insurance. We would expect to support the early years of the operation through a rent-free period which would require grants and community investment to fill the short-term gap.

Good results are underpinned by good governance – Decision making, transparency and governance of the pier must improve as an important part of making a community partnership work. Financial transparency, an improved governance structure and improved communications are all needed to underpin community engagement.

The pier should remain a space that everyone can enjoy and take pride in – We know that some kind of shelter, new building or other development is necessary as part of an ambitious business plan for a 21st century pier. We believe this can be done in a way that complements and does not compromise the wonderful space that won the RIBA Stirling Prize.

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The open space which is such a popular feature of Hastings Pier

For the future Friends of Hastings Pier say its aims are to:

  • Invest in a new building for the pier, designed by our RIBA Prize winning architects,  which is true to the spirit of our award-winning pier, but which increases its financial sustainability.
  • Make ours a 21st century pleasure pier – the centre of a year-round programme of events and entertainment to attract visitors to Hastings and appeal to locals too.
  • Change the way decisions about the pier are made so that it is more transparent and responsive to its stakeholders.

If you want to be part of the ‘people’s pier’ then follow this link and contribute to the development of Hastings Pier

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/fohp2018

While Friends of Hastings Pier continue to work hard towards finding a community based solution the administrators of the pier are still talking to other interested parties, thought to include the owners of Eastbourne Pier and Brighton Palace Pier an it remains feasible that administrators could, at any time, make a decision to sell the pier which is thought to be losing £50,000 every month to a commercial operator

This morning, FoHp issued the following statement: “We understand that some of you are having trouble with CrowdFunder.co.uk or are unsure what to do if you already pledged before we started using CrowdFunder, so here are a few clarifications.

“Crowdfunding operates by taking money from your account and securely holding on to it until the target is reached.  If we don’t reach our £500K target by May 31 2018, CrowdFunder.co.uk will return your money to you in full within five days.

“If you made a paper or email pledge, then please convert this to a CrowdFunder.co.uk pledge. If you haven’t pledged yet, please do so via

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk

“If you already pledged a sum in cash or by cheque, only pledge through CrowdFunder.co.uk if you wish to give more.

“If you have any concerns about using CrowdFunder.co.uk then please get in touch. We are here to help, after all, we are Friends of Hastings Pier.”STORY UPDATED

To see the full details, in words and pictures, of the commercial future that Friends of Hastings Pier has mapped out for the iconic victorian structure follow this link…

https://hastingsinfocus.co.uk/2018/04/24/in-words-and-pictures-the-21st-century-vision-for-hastings-pier/

 

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