🏠Council home vacancies, new hubs for families, swimming pool closures due to chlorine delivery latency and more🏊‍♂️

plus football club diversity, wellness festival in the community and editorial team exhaustion.

🏠Council home vacancies, new hubs for families, swimming pool closures due to chlorine delivery latency and more🏊‍♂️
Source: The Brighton Seagull

Good morning, and welcome to this week's Seagull briefing! We hope you're all looking forward to the four-day Bank Holiday; if you're at a loose end, though the Fringe ends on Sunday there's still plenty to be getting up to (for more, see our previews at the end). On with the news!‌

Please share this with anyone you think would be interested, and if you think you've got a story to tell about our city, consider signing up to contribute here.‌‌‌‌‌

🗞News This Week🗞

Swimming pool closures, family hubs, wellness festival.

In The Seagull this week:

  • Following our Covid isolation ending (finally!), we were able to go to some more Fringe shows: comedy from Alice India, Hannah Fairweather, Dharmander Singh and more, plus sketches from Biscuit Barrel, improvised Twilight Zone, plays and a ghost tour!
Fringe Friday: Weeks Two and Three
Comedy from Alice India, Hannah Fairweather, Dharmander Singh and more, plus sketches from Biscuit Barrel, improvised Twilight Zone, plays and a ghost tour!

Money awarded to help disadvantaged families across the city

Up to £1 million has been awarded to the council from the government to help those in need.

The money will go to developing 'family hubs', designed to integrate services for children of all ages and their families.

It will mean those in need of support won't have to reapply for different means of help—they'll 'only have to tell their story once' as services will work together.

Green councillor Hannah Clare, chair of the Children, Young People and Skills Committee, said:

I’m delighted we have been successful in our bid to government.

We will be using the grant to further boost and transform the services we provide for children and families.

Brighton and Hove has many strengths when it comes to supporting children and families. However, too many families still face barriers and do not have equal and fair access to the same opportunities as others.

The funding will help further our commitment to making Brighton and Hove a fairer city.

Brighton and Hove is one of seven authorities across the country to receive the money, after bidding against 84 local authorities.

Swimming pools across the city at risk of temporary closure

Water fountains at The Level
Source: Paul Gillett

Seven swimming pools, paddling pools and water fountains in Brighton and Hove may be forced to temporarily close due to a national chlorine shortage.

Global production issues and a temporary closure of a factory that produces 80% of the UK’s chlorine mean no deliveries are due for the next three weeks, with no return to normal likely until at least July.

The places affected are:

  • Prince Regent Swimming Complex
  • King Alfred Leisure Centre
  • St Luke’s Swimming Pool
  • Saunders Park Paddling Pool
  • King’s Road Paddling Pool
  • Hove Lagoon Paddling Pool
  • The Level Water Fountains

The pools at the Prince Regent and King Alfred will be prioritised to enable swimming lessons and school swims to continue for as long as possible.

Swimmers are encouraged to help keep the water as clean as possible by showering before swimming, which helps to remove a lot of pollutants and so requires less chlorine to be used in the pool.

🖋 NIBS 🖋

  • Brighton & Hove Albion won the Diversity and Inclusion Award at last week's Football Business Awards, in part due to their 'zero-tolerance policy with homophobia treated on a equal level as all other acts/forms of abuse'. They also came fourth place in a global list of football clubs and their sustainability and green credentials, due to their use of renewable power, local refreshments and cutting down on single-use plastic.
  • In collaboration with Plumpton College, the council is giving away £200 worth of plants to community groups who want to take part in wildlife-friendly schemes. To find out more, click here.
  • A 'wellness festival' is being held today at Moulsecoomb Community Leisure Centre. The event is designed to give local families an idea of available support, including money management, CV help, mental health support and accessible sport, as well as demos, workshops and food.
  • Figures from the Department for Transport show casualties caused by the most annoying new mode of transport since hoverboards, e-scooters, are on the rise. The scooters have had 39 accidents recorded by Sussex Police in 2021, up from 17 in 2020, though when looking at all traffic accidents across Sussex, they made up less than 1% of all road casualties in 2021. The government has said it's considering legalising the scooters on roads in its upcoming Transport Bill, likely due to the increase in trials of rental scooters in 30 places across the country.

This edition of The Brighton Seagull is sponsored by Cybersyn, a friendly digital analytics consultancy based right here in Brighton. ‌‌‌‌‌‌

💥The Big One💥

Hundreds of council houses empty for half a year

Council houses in Moulsecoomb, Brighton
Source: Nicobobinus licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

What's happening? More than 250 council houses across the city have been left standing empty for an average of six months each.

Why? Various reasons, including struggling to catch up post-pandemic, a lack of specialist contractors to refurbish properties in need of repairs, and struggles with filling maintenance and repair vacancies.

Do we know how many homes the council let a year? According to Martin Reid, assistant director for housing:

What we’ve been trying to do is relet more homes. Yes, there are too many homes remaining empty, but we are seeing very high levels of relets.

Last year, we relet 472 homes. That’s higher than we relet in 2019. There is an element of catching up but there is lots of activity.

You said six months is the average? According to Roy Crowhurst, residents' rep for Woods House in Sackville Road, Hove, the average let time is more like a year.

He said:

An empty property here has been empty since December – decorated, done up and still empty six months after completed.

Even in sheltered housing, the turnaround is incredible. I know there’s a limit on age, but the turnaround is ridiculous.

👉Finger On The Pulse👈

Previews for things that we may or may not go to depending on our exhaustion levels 😴

🤣Fringe and Festival Preview: Coming up this week, we're trying an outdoor escape game, tarot reading from past favourite Carly Smallman, some Amazing Tree Walks, plus comedy from Ted Hill, Joe Wells, Katharyn Henson and Richard Pulsford (plus guests). After that, it's all done! No more Fringe for another year! Not sure what we're going to do with all that time. Sleep, probably.

Swoop in

If you have a story for Seagull, please get in touch with our editor at [email protected]. And if you want to contribute:‌‌‌‌‌

☕️ Where to eat? 🥪

Coffee: Twin Pines Coffee, on St James's Street, is a delightful little coffee shop with bags of atmosphere and a yen for interesting blends. We'd recommend the affogato (which you can get veganised!)

🥙Lunch: We Love Falafel,  on Sydney Street, is a simple place: they do delicious wraps, (mostly featuring falafel, and maybe a salad box if you ask nicely) for absolute bargain prices. We love the basic falafel salad wrap; every mouthful has a splendid balance of falafel, veg and sauce.

🍱Dinner: Purezza, with locations in both Hove and Kemptown, was the UK's first vegan pizzaria, and it's definitely still one of Brighton's best. All the pizzas are cracking but the real prize is the dough balls: you'll burn your mouth on the melty cheese but it's worth it.

🔜 Next Time 🔜

We want to know: what explainers would you like to see from us? Is there anything about the city that you've always thought 'why is that the way it is?' Email us here!

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