Some East Sussex towns have a reputation for just being for the elderly with young people being forced out or unlikely to live there because there’s ‘nothing to do’. But how true a picture is that? We bust some of the myths about Eastbourne and see what’s on offer for the teens and twentysomethings that live there.
Eastbourne is full of old people
Whilst it’s true that the percentage of people over 65s is considerably higher there than inthe UK as a whole (24.5% compared to 17.9% – and 13% in Brighton), the number of 11-24 year olds is on a par (15.3% compared to 16.6%) – East Sussex in Figures
Young people just don’t care
There are many initiatives aimed at getting the opinions of Eastbourne’s teens and Twentysomethings heard.
- The Youth Cabinet lets those in charge what young people want changed. To let the Cabinet know your beef or find out more, including how to stand for election, email firstname.lastname@example.org. In 2013 they campaigned to improve local public transport options for young people. As a result, the 3-iD Card was launched. As well as travel options, it offers discounts in many local shops.
- East Sussex Young Inspectors scheme trains 13-25 year olds to report on local serices and make recommendations and give advice to businesses, agencies and organisations.
- Eastbourne Youth Forum offers 11-19 year olds the chance to have their say on activities and events affecting them. Meetings are held fortnightly on Monday evenings from 6pm to 8pm at Charlie’s Youth Access Centre in Seaside. Contact email@example.com.
- There’s also Initiatives such as Eastbourne Youth Radio (organised by Eastbourne Business Partnership in association with Sussex Downs College) which each year gives young people the chance to present 1 hour programmes they’ve planned themselves (listen on 87.7FM and online, via their website).
- Eastbourne also offers numerous voluntary opportunities to help young people put something back and gain valuable work experience. Check out Eastbourne Volunteers and Do It to see what’s on offer or the East Sussex Community Information Service or to offer your services.
It’s all bandstands and brass bands
Maybe, but haven’t you seen Brassed Off? Seriously, there’s something to suit every musical taste, if you look around. If you love playing music, visit the Area Music Centre, join in a range of activities and hang out with fellow musicians, no matter what level you’re at
If you love the film or musical School of Rock then you may like to know Eastbourne also has its own Rock Choir! It takes place at St Elisabeth’s Church centre, if you’re half way there and living on a prayer.
And if you’re series of making a career in music, The Devonshire Collective’s AudioActive sessions give young people the chance to develop skills in rap, lyric writing and music production.
…and bowls and bridge clubs
The number of young people taking up bowls is on the increase, we’ll have you know! Plus the number of sports clubs and activities for young people make Eastbourne a great place to be. From archery to ballet, from cheerleading to Street Dance there’s something for everyone – even skate parks which can be found on the seafront near the Sovereign Centre and in Manor Park. Check out the East Sussex Connexions 360 or Eastbourne and Wealden YMCA webpages to find out what’s available near you.
There’s nothing for the culture vulture
The Towner Art Gallery houses an internationally renowned collection of around 4,500 works. It’s vest known for its modern British art (including that of Eric Ravilious). The venue also holds events and film screenings.
Check out the Devonshire Collective. It’s a creative and cultural hub with studios, workshops galleries and a café for the benefit of artists, community members and the wider public.
There also groups to help you write prose. Get Writing offers creative writing class for kids and teens. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. Check out the Eastbourne Volunteers site for other groups, including Bourne to Write which offers a series of workshops for aspiring writers of all levels.
Where’s the diversity?
2017 saw Eastbourne held its own LGBT Pride – and it was a great success! Thousands joined in or watched the parade launched by LGBT campaigner Peter Tatchell launched the event.
“Eastbourne Pride exceeded all expectations,” he told the Argus. “I expect it will grow and become a major fixture in the Eastbourne calendar; attracting visitors from all over the south east and boosting the local economy.
“The message of Pride was to celebrate the contribution that LGBT people make to the Eastbourne community and to press for better local support.
There’s also the Allsorts Youth Project supports teenagers and young adults who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or unsure (LGBTU). The project offers a space to be creative or just to hang out and chat. LGBT workers are on hand, if you want someone with a friendly ear. The Towner often has screenings for the LGBT audience.
Bourne Out has details of other places and events for the LGBT community.
The Eastbourne Cultural Communities Network (ECCN) supports and works with local black, ethnic and small minority groups. Sompriti works towards the empowerment of black and minority ethnic people in Lewes, Eastbourne and Wealden and The United Nations Association has a branch in Eastbourne Branch to inform the public its work and that of its worldwide agencies (call 01323 720896).
Where’s the support?
If you find yourself vulnerable or have fallen on hard times, there’s always someone to turn to.
Charlie’s Youth Access Centre, a drop-in service for the most disadvantaged, disengaged and vulnerable young people aged 15-21. The friendly staff are on hand with budgeting advice, college or job applications, and to point you to other relevant services. Contact Ben West, Youth & Communities Coordinator on email@example.com
Wise Up is a project just for girls attending secondary schools and community centres throughout Eastbourne. It offers a programme of activities and information, touching on different aspects of health. The contact there is Chris King on firstname.lastname@example.org.
McKendrick House is a 17 bed Intensively Supported Residential Centre accommodating previously homeless young people aged 16-25, encouraging residents into education, training, employment or voluntary work and giving them life skills
BHT’s Eastbourne Advice Centre offers, amongst other things, free and confidential specialist housing advice on subjects such as homelessness, suitability of accommodation, tenancy rights, disrepair and allocations policies. This service is available to all Eastbourne residents who have a housing issue that requires legal advice.
Doesn’t it all shut up shop after Emmerdale?
With its student population there are a number of nightclubs such as Cameo or Atlantis in the town centre and by the pier. There’s also a pub to suit every pocket and type, from the reliable Weatherspoons to the gastro pubs in the posh bit, The Meads. There’s also a vibrant theatre and music scene.
‘Bourne (new) identity
So, don’t dismiss or diss Eastbourne for being just for the elderly or uncool. With house prices on the rise in trendy, nearby Brighton & Hove, and with its great connections and culture it could offer a brilliant alternative.