The De La Warr Pavilion is very interested in the House of Lords report regarding seaside towns, released today.

Stewart Drew, director and CEO of the De La Warr Pavilion says :
“Some seaside towns have been reinventing themselves for decades including the town in which we sit, Bexhill- on- Sea. The De La Warr Pavilion has been at the forefront of culture led regeneration since the 1930s, with a Bauhaus style approach to looking after and developing mind, body and soul. It is interesting that the Ministry of Health were major funders back in 1935; you need to look no further than the De La Warr Pavilion for a plan to help address challenges around wellbeing and mental health, with a model that continues to evolve today. The progressive partnership between our local authority, Rother District Council and  Arts Council England, with support from East Sussex County Council should not be overlooked – it has continued with bold investment in the challenging times of austerity.

The Pavilion now sets itself a refreshed vision as a flagship cultural and social hub. With our partners Beaming, we provide free high speed broadband to our 400k + (per year) audiences, are active in our Local Enterprise Partnership, and work closely with community partners and networks to create social cohesion and confidence. We are proud to play a leadership role within the local and regional visitor and tourism economy. We present challenging visual arts (including tours to the Grundy Art Gallery in Blackpool) and music programmes including the national experimental music network,; 55% of our audiences say they visit us to be intellectually stimulated, 52% to learn something and 40% to be inspired.

There is still lots to do, and one shouldn’t be fooled by the South East England location – some of our communities are in the top 10-20% indices of deprivation and we continue respond to the challenges of a post 2008 era. However Bexhill is also a tight, entrepreneurial community with a strong heart and sense of civic pride. Tomorrow, we run our fourth annual Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair as a community led, not for profit event – working with the Coastal Community Team, Chamber of Commerce, local authority, Hastings Direct, Bexhill College and Huw Merriman MP. Exhibitors range from Rotary and Lions clubs, to National Rail and Bovis homes. It’s a jobs fair where you can actually get a job (or apprenticeship, training opportunities or just advice) and over 120 people have taken up employed positions since we started the event with hundreds of young (and older) people being introduced to new possibilities in our local area.”

Huw Merriman, Member of Parliament for Bexhill and Battle says:
“I fully welcome this report by the House of Lords. There is no one size fits all model for regenerating coastal towns as each town is different. What works in Blackpool is not necessarily going to work in Bexhill on Sea.
Bexhill on Sea has its own unique set of assets and challenges. We therefore need to look carefully at these to decide how we can make our town work for its residents and visitors for generations to come. There is already a lot of great work and regeneration happening in the town including the north Bexhill housing and commercial area development as well as the new link roads and the seafront. We now need to focus on the needs of the town centre and the high streets to make it a more attractive place to visit, work and enjoy leisure time. That is why I am working closely with local stakeholders including Rother District Council, East Sussex County Council, Transport for the South East and our iconic De La Warr Pavilion along with the business, tourism and voluntary sectors to make our case for improvements in local A roads, rail services and mobile/broadband networks that will incentivise growth. I’m pleased that Rother Council is looking towards the future in developing a new town centre strategy for Bexhill. I hope that local residents will get fully involved in the consultation process”

Tomorrow we have our fourth annual Bexhill Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair at the De La Warr Pavilion. This is a great example of a successful community-led initiative of which I’m very proud to be closely involved. I’m looking forward to meeting the wide range of exhibitors who are taking part and highlighting that Bexhill is full of exciting opportunities and ready for growth.”

For further Press information please contact Sally Ann Lycett on 07889730733

Notes to Editors:
1. The De La Warr Pavilion is a National Portfolio Organisation funded by a partnership between Rother District Council and Arts Council England as well as support from Trusts, Foundations and individuals.

In 2013 Rother District Council, in a challenging economic climate, took the bold step to confirm their core revenue funding for seven years (until 2020/21). This commitment reinforces the Pavilion’s ongoing role in culture-led regeneration for the region and place-making for Bexhill.

2. The De La Warr Pavilion is a pioneering centre for the arts where everyone can experience contemporary exhibitions, events and entertainment in an iconic Modernist building on England’s south coast. Conceived in 1935 as a democratic space for art, culture and recreation, its unique, purposeful and progressive design became the original model for London’s south bank and remains a vibrant hub for creativity, opportunity and community today. Run by a Charitable Trust, we provide integrated cultural programmes that are accessible and relevant and which encourage exploration, collaboration and innovation as well as spaces where artists and audiences can meet, engage and share their thinking and ideas. Offering free access to exhibitions all year round, plus live performances, a dynamic learning and participation programme, indoor and outdoor events, and bespoke venue hire, we aim to live up to the name given to us by our audiences when we first opened – the People’s Pavilion.

3. Read the House of Lords report on the future of seaside towns here

Posted by sally on Thursday 4 April 2019