Free Activities and more – HOA’s Autumn Update

Sep 16, 2019

Following a busy summer which saw hundreds of free activities made available to children and young people, the Hastings Opportunity Area is announcing their plans for the upcoming 2019 / 20 academic year. You can download the guide to free activities and more below.

Their £75,000 summer programme included over 20 sessions with Kicks Free Football by Brighton & Hove Albion’s Albion in the Community, Active Hastings’ Fitness Rave on the Pier, Go Wild’s Outdoor Forest School, the GAP Project’s drumming, woodwork, ceramics, arts & bike workshops, and Sensory Soft Play. 


One of the summer sessions was run by Source Park, who brought their pop up BMX ramps to 10 communities in town, along with bikes, helmets and expert coaches to give children their first taste of riding. Source are also running sessions after school and on weekends from October as part of the HOA’s Autumn Activities Programme. 

In addition to Source, the HOA are running a number of sports activities including Kicks Free Football, Active Hastings’ weekly multi sports sessions ‘Street Sports’ and ‘Street Bite’, and ‘Team4Life’ taking place every Wednesday at The Firs. 

For children who like arts & crafts, the GAP Project are running a variety of workshops, and Eggtooth are launching ‘Incubate Visual Arts’ where 12 – 16 year olds are trained by leading local artists before exhibiting their work in June 2020. Young performers also have a lot to choose from with Gizmo running three weekly sessions in St Leonards and the ROAR programme of drama, film and music launching in November; a collaboration between Eggtooth and Proact. Following an inspiring series of workshops earlier this year, which saw secondary students from Hastings & St Leonards choreograph and perform their own dance performance, Hofesh Shechter are due to return in November with their highly acclaimed and innovative programme. 

“We were thrilled to see so many children, young people and families benefiting from the activities which so many fantastic organisations worked hard to provide over the summer,” said Graham Peters, chair of the HOA’s Broadening Horizons Working Group. “And we are delighted  that we are able to fund so many more free activities in schools and communities this academic year, kicking off with the Autumn Term Time Activities.”


The Hastings Opportunity Area is a three year programme funded by the Department of Education and delivered by a local team, to support a wide range of projects to improve social mobility for children & young people in Hastings and St Leonards. Their work includes:


Intensive training to support the teaching of Maths in 12 schools and the college & a  town wide series of Hastings Maths Challenges


Intensive training to support the teaching of literacy for staff and teachers in schools and early years settings; as well as Get Hastings Reading – a campaign running a number of initiatives across the town.

Mental Health

Funding the award winning drop in service i-Rock to extend its opening hours, Open for Parents’ training and support for parents & carers; developing a Key Worker Service for 9 – 14 year olds in schools; and extensive training and support for all schools and their staff. 

Enrichment Activities

Thousands of hours of free arts, sports and outdoor activities; and Badge Bonanza an online activities programme for year 6s. 


Supporting hundreds of careers encounters; the second Hastings Career Opportunity Day which will take place on 25th October where over 400 year 10 & 11s can spend half a day with one of over 50 local work-place settings; school trips to London such as Canary Wharf and careers theme park Kidzania. 

Young Ambassadors

A committee of young people who consult the HOA, and are leading a programme to support children and young people develop their own projects. 


The Hastings Attendance Charter launched in June, bringing all schools in the town together to adopt a unified approach to promoting good attendance alongside funding  projects to improve attendance in 11 schools. 

Secondary Support

Working with all three secondary schools to improve teaching and reduce exclusions, including training for staff and the development of provision in schools to support those pupils  most at risk. 

“Hastings is an extraordinary town with so much on offer,” said Richard Meddings chair of the HOA’s Board. “It’s our continued priority to ensure that all children and young people who live in Hastings  have the opportunity to realise their potential academically and in later life. We are delighted that so many schools and organisations across the town are actively engaged in the programme; whether through training staff, implementing new programmes or delivering enrichment activities. We are looking forward to continuing our work  over the next year, with schools, colleges, local organisations, parents, carers and young people themselves to ensure that the programme reaches all those children and young people who would benefit from it.”

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