Our journey has been supported by a wide variety of partners, investors and funders. We work with passionate people and organisations who share our values, and help deliver our pioneering approach to community-led regeneration.
All our work has been funded with nearly 100 separate grant, loan and investment awards from more than 50 funders totalling almost £20 million, the vast majority of which would not have come to Hastings otherwise.
Jericho Road Solutions was set up by Jess Steele to help local leaders make better neighbourhoods. In 2014 it partnered with Meanwhile Space as founder investors in White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures, now Hastings Commons Neighbourhood Ventures.
A founder investor in White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures, Meanwhile Space brings temporarily redundant space into productive use.
Project Art Works
Project Art Works is a collective of neurodiverse artists and activists who are a National Portfolio Organisation for the Arts Council. They support the Hastings Commons to be as inclusive as possible and are partnering with us to develop artist space at 12 Claremont.
CHART: Connecting Hastings and Rother Together (CHART) Community Led Local Development (CLLD) Programme is delivering the CHART CLLD Local Development Strategy to support projects that bring a fresh approach to tackling deep-rooted problems in deprived communities within Hastings and Bexhill. The Programme uses European Structural and Investment Funds.
Community Renewal Fund: We were awarded £636k from the Department for Housing, Levelling Up and Communities to support the development of OBX, our Digital Arts Hub at the Observer Building, as well as supporting exhibitions and events using emerging technology. The fund has laid the foundation for OBX, a hub which will explore how creative technology can strengthen communities.
Architectural Heritage Fund: The AHF helps communities across the UK to find enterprising ways to revitalise the old buildings they love. Commenting on the investment, Matthew McKeague, CEO of the AHF said: “The Observer is a landmark building in Hastings and we were excited by the WRNV vision for both the building itself but also the wider town and the project’s place within it. Despite the undoubted challenge generated by Covid 19, we know projects like this are going to be vital to the future regeneration of towns like Hastings and we are pleased to help it move forward.”
Hastings Town Deal: Hastings is one of 101 towns that has received a share of the UK Governments £3.6bn Towns Fund. The Towns Fund investment for the Hastings Commons will ensure the ongoing community-led regeneration approach is continued and its ambition is achieved with the further refurbishment of three large and vacant buildings around the White Rock Area, bringing them back into use.
Big Issue Invest: “Big Issue Invest (BII) aims to extend The Big Issue’s mission of dismantling poverty by financing the growth of social enterprises and charities across the UK. We were proud to assist White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures with the transformation of Rock House in Hastings four years ago, and we’re delighted to extend our support to this year’s purchase of the Observer Building. Big Issue Invest is committed to using our funds to unlock other sources of funding. By providing a flexible finance solution to drive the early development phase of this project, we hope to attract other much needed investment and thereby enable this iconic space to serve the needs of its community and support the wider regeneration of Hastings.” (Glenn Arradon)
COOP foundation: Jim Cooke, Head of the Co-op Foundation, said: “Places and spaces for people to come together and enjoy shared interests are vitally important for building stronger communities. Our funding for the Observer Building, in Hastings, will help turn a derelict former icon into a vibrant community hub, and put co-operation at the heart of improvements by training local people to build and sustain a community space that works for them.”
Ecology Building Society: “Ecology specialises in supporting community groups with sustainable aims and we are delighted to have helped White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures with a financing solution to meet its ambitions to grow their network of community-led spaces in the White Rock area. This substantial mortgage facility is a key step to enabling the acquisition and development of the iconic Observer Building in Hastings, securing its future with a mix of affordable housing, co-working, leisure and collaborative development space, rooted within and for the community.” (Jon Lee)
SELEP (South East Local Enterprise Partnership): The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) is a partnership for growth between business, government, and education. SELEP has provided more than £3.3m of long-term, low interest loans, alongside grant support through the UK Government’s ‘Getting Building Fund’. This support has been critical in enabling us to reach practical completion of the first phases of the Observer Building.
Historic England (funding the Trinity Triangle Heritage Action Zone, including renovation of the Ob): The Trinity Triangle High Street Heritage Action Zone is a four year regeneration programme to breathe new life into a historic part of Hastings town centre: the Trinity Triangle and America Ground. Find out more about TTHAZ here.
Coastal Communities Fund: We received £408,000 in 2017-18 from the Department for Communities & Local Government to support the redevelopment of Rock House, enabling us to complete the renovation of the building and begin the long process of transforming the Alley.
Power to Change: This grant provided a critically important early grant to Rock House and then acted as ‘more than a funder’ but supporting White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures (now Hastings Commons Neighbourhood Ventures) through difficult conflict, eventually resulting in the transfer of 1/3 of Neighbourhood Ventures shares to Hastings Commons Community Land Trust to hold in perpetuity.
National Lottery Community Fund: With thanks to this fund for providing core funding for three years for the Community Land Trust (2016-19)
ESCC Stalled Sites Fund: The Observer Building was the epitome of a ‘stalled site’ being empty since 1985 and increasingly derelict. With all but some of the 13 owners before 2019 making money on the building without doing any repairs, it was stuck in a vicious cycle of decline. Soon after WRNV’s purchase of the building, ESCC provided £200,000 to get started on the essential concrete repairs.
Thanks to all the rest
We have received nearly 100 separate grant and loan awards since 2014 and would like to thank all those who have funded us on our journey.