A group of councillors have teamed up with residents in the hope of taking responsibility for this year’s Bexhill Christmas lights.
The group started the community interest company Light Up Bexhill after the Chamber of Commerce’s decision not to take charge of the town centre’s lights this year.
Rother District Council is asking organisations to express interest for the contract by September 13 (see below), as it could not fund the lights in-house.
Light Up Bexhill said it formally expressed interest and has started preparations should it be awarded the contract.
Councillor Hazel Timpe, one of those involved in Light Up Bexhill said: “As a council, we were really concerned at the possibility
Bexhill might not have a Christmas lights display and so a group of us got together with some residents
who had expressed interest and set up Light Up Bexhill.”
Claire Baldry, one of the residents, said: “I felt it was really important to ensure Bexhill town centre had a festive light display and so this initiative by some of the councillors, to set up a company is fantastic. It’s a community interest company which means it is non-profit making and all funds raised will go towards making Bexhill ‘light up’ this Christmas and hopefully many Christmases to come.”
The group will be sharing a stall with Friends of Bexhill Events at the Continental market on September 14 and 15, in Devonshire Square, to answer questions.
The group has secured donations and funding promises from local businesses but will need to fundraise for donations in order to ensure it can deliver a switch on event, festive lights and a Christmas tree for the town. Information on how to donate will be available once the bidding process is finished, should they be successful.
Other organisations interested in taking on responsibility for Bexhill town centre’s Christmas lights are also being urged to contact Rother District Council.
The council is seeking interest from groups by the deadline of Friday, September 13.
The partnership with the previous contractor Shining Lights ended last month and a potential tie-up with Bexhill Chamber of Commerce and Tourism fell through, leaving a vacancy for a new contractor, which would receive annual funding of up to £13,500 from the council.
Councillor Deirdre Earl-Williams, cabinet member for tourism, said: “Bexhill deserves to have a high-quality Christmas lights display, to encourage people into the town centre and boost trade.
“Unfortunately, the council doesn’t currently have capacity to deliver the lights itself, and a tie-up with a third party organisation is a solution which has worked very effectively for many years in towns such as Rye and Battle.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for a local organisation or community group to really make their mark and to get involved in something which will benefit the whole town.
“I’d encourage anyone who thinks they might be able to take on this challenge to get in touch with us to talk through their plans and how we could support them.”
Anyone interested is asked to contact Graham Burgess, the council’s property investment and regeneration manager, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01414 787831.