Seagull Weekly Briefing 03/07

Bus livery update, Homes Not Hotels demonstrate, parking fees escalate and more

Seagull Weekly Briefing 03/07
Source: The Brighton Seagull

Good morning, and welcome to the Brighton Seagull's Weekly Briefing. Team Seagull spent a thoroughly enjoyable Saturday evening at the world’s only live-action text-based adventure game, The Dark Room, which we mentioned in last week's Recommends, so in tribute the rest of the briefing will be in the form of a text adventure.

You awake to find yourself in a dark room, do you:

  1. Catch up on this week's Feature
  2. Read the main news
  3. Check in on the Dog of the Week
  4. Read the Big One

You chose 1. Catch up on this week's Feature. In a departure from our normal content, this week's feature is an interview with Caroline Calloway:

‘Brighton is in my top three places to visit’: In Conversation With Caroline Calloway
What if we told you she’s a mastermind? Caroline Calloway on going viral, being the author of her own story, and what comes next.

You awake to find yourself in a dark room, do you:

  1. Catch up on this week's Feature
  2. Read the main news
  3. Check in on the Dog of the Week
  4. Read the Big One

You chose 2. Read the main news:

News This Week

Council responds to increase in parking fees and charges

Residents were shocked last week to see a huge increase in parking fees and charges.

Some areas, like Queen's Park, were facing a 400% increase in the price of parking. Parking there for one hour, as of Monday 17th July, would set you back £5.70.

Councillors were quick to reply to concerned constituents: Councillor Tristram Burden, who represents Queen's Park, said they were 'not alone' in their alarm, calling the increase 'absurdly high'.

Councillor Burden said:

Understandably, the sudden hike in parking charges was alarming to many residents in Queen's Park and beyond. We are reviewing them, and particularly want to ensure affordable access to our hospitals and other important services within the city.

The council met that day, and quickly put out a statement announcing a review of 'all planned changes to parking fees and charges', which is set to be announced next month.

Leader of the council, Bella Sankey, said:

While we need to work carefully to balance the council’s budget, we must also recognise people’s concerns about price rises during this cost of living crisis.

In particular we want to ensure patients, carers and staff have affordable access to our hospitals and other important services within the city.

The changes had been agreed by the previous administration at a budget meeting in February, as part of the council's annual review of fees and charges.

Grant scheme introduces new support services for Ukrainian refugees

Eleven organisations in the city have been given funding from a grant scheme that was introduced earlier this year to support Ukrainian refugees.

Using funds from the Homes for Ukraine programme, the aim of the grants is to back projects supporting the independence and integration of Ukrainian guests, enabling them to fulfil their potential and contribute to the city.

The organisations include:

  • Refugee Radio, who will be endorsing Ukrainian music, setting up events and providing therapy, advice and guidance,
  • Conversation Over Borders CIC, who will be offering integrated wellbeing support and conversational English classes for Ukrainians,
  • Brighton & Hove LGBT Switchboard, who will be providing help and support for LGBT Ukrainian refugees,
  • University of Sussex, who will be introducing an English language scheme for refugees,
  • And Brighton Swimming Centre Ltd, who will be supporting integration through 'Pool to Pier' swimming, swimming and water safety sessions, and language and culture classes for Ukrainian refugee children.

Councillor Leslie Pumm, chair of the Equalities, Community Safety & Human Rights Committee, said:

I’d like to thank all the local organisations who came forward with so many innovative projects to support people needing a safe haven, and also everyone who has already been working hard to lend a helping hand to those in need.

It’s fantastic to see smaller organisations led by refugees themselves running some of the projects, who will now be able to help others thanks to their courage and initiative.

I’m looking forward to seeing the projects provide new opportunities for Ukrainians who found their home in our city.

Brighton & Hove Buses livery to change

Source: Brighton & Hove Buses

The red, cream and black of Brighton & Hove buses is set to change 'over the coming months and years' to a teal and aqua livery.

The first of the new bus designs, with colours chosen to 'better reflect the Brighton & Hove geography with the colours of the sky and the sea', are currently set to arrive this autumn, with more being rolled out over the next few years.

Ed Wills, Managing Director at Brighton & Hove Buses, said:

Our brand livery has not changed much since the 90s, but we, and our city, have changed hugely in that time. That’s why we’re transforming our brand to more accurately represent the spirit of who we are today and the unique, vibrant city that we serve.

If Team Seagull were redesigning the livery (and you can have this one for free, Ed Wills), we'd create something to reflect the greenery of the Downs, the turquoise of the balustrades, and the blue of the sea.

We just think this would be cooler.

Montpelier Villa AFC looking for sponsors

A Falmer football club is looking for support from Sussex businesses to help them keep growing.

Montpelier Villa AFC, who play at Culver Road, Lancing, formed back in 1991. Their first team currently plays in the Southern Combinations Football League Division 1, and their women's play in the London & South East regional league Division 1. They have eight youth sides (boys and girls), and the biggest veterans setup in Sussex as well as a walking football side.

David Baker, Director of Football Operations, said:

Since Covid, grassroots football has really struggled with many clubs no longer in existence. We are unique in that we are an AFC club owned by our players, coaches, parents and our fans but we need more support to reach our ambitious plans.

Last year saw the biggest change to our board so we can work towards becoming a sustainable football club. Our senior setup rent from Sussex FA using their fantastic facilities at Culver Road, Lancing whilst our youth resides at Sussex University.

They hope to move into their own home over the next few years, something they say will help them increase revenue, reduce overheads, and 'become the heartbeat of our community away from Brighton & Hove Albion'.

To find out more, click here.

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🖋 News in Brief 🖋

  • Single bus fares will be continue to be capped at £2 until the end of October—so still time to enjoy the Number 12 for cheap!
  • Big toilet news: The Seagull can confirm that the following toilets are now open again, from 9am to 4pm: Queen's Park, Blakers Park, Easthill Park, Greenleas, Hove Cemetery South, Stanmer Village, Vale Park, and Wild Park.
  • Trans Pride are looking for volunteers to help out on the day of their march and event (Saturday 15th July). They said: "Whether you are trans or an ally, it’s a great way of contributing to a grass roots cause. If you can’t volunteer yourself, please share and spread the joy!"
  • The Volk's Electric Railway has made it to the top twenty 'Best Seasider Experiences in the UK', according to Seaside Heritage Network. Here's the full list; don't forget to vote for the railway to feature in the top ten shortlist!
  • The cost of electric vehicle charging in the city is going up today because of the increase in the price of electricity. The operator, Blink Charging, say that in some cases, they are paying more for electricity than they are charging users, and that if electricity prices fall, charges will change again to reflect this. Free parking while charging and 50% discounts on resident permits to vehicles deemed low emission will continue. The new prices are as follows:

Charger type

Previous cost 

New cost

Lamppost charger

39p per kwh

61p per kwh

Fast charger

39p per kwh

61p per kwh

Rapid charger

44p per kwh

79p per kwh

  • Work has finished now on part one of a Mural Project in Hollingdean funded by the Estate Development Budget, which provides money for ideas that can make a positive difference to people's neighbourhoods. The fund is set each year by councillors as part of the annual budget. Last year, they had £320,000 to fund community projects. The budget is split between Central, North, East and West, and the amount each area receives is based on the number of council houses in that area. Click here to find out more about making a bid: you can make a bid as a residents' association or as a group of council residents.
Source: Brighton & Hove City Council
If you have a story for Seagull, please get in touch with our editor at [email protected].

You awake to find yourself in a dark room, do you:

  1. Catch up on this week's Feature
  2. Read the main news
  3. Check in on the Dog of the Week
  4. Read the Big One

You chose 3. Check in on the Dog of the Week:

Dog of the Week

It's just a bit of fun!


This week's Dog of the Week is ace Seagull contributor Lydia Wilkins' (read her latest for us here) lovely dog Bailey, a three-year-old talented singer full of musical ability! The face he's pulling above is his 'feed me human, RIGHT NOW' face, before a trip to a pub garden. What a lucky boy! Someone get him a sausage right now please, but do blow on it so it's not too hot for his little mouth.

You awake to find yourself in a dark room, do you:

  1. Catch up on this week's Feature
  2. Read the main news
  3. Check in on the Dog of the Week
  4. Read the Big One

You chose 4: Read the Big One:

The Big One

More than 100 people protest outside Brighton Town Hall to condemn the re-opening of hotel for unaccompanied asylum seeking children

Source: Homes Not Hotels

What's happening? More than 100 people from across the city gathered outside Brighton Town Hall last Tuesday to condemn the Home Office’s decision to re-open the hotel where over 136 unaccompanied asylum seeking children went missing.

Again?! Unfortunately, yes. The demonstration was organised after news broke that the Home Office plans to re-open the hotel for unaccompanied asylum seeking children in Hove.

Have any of the missing children been found? Of the 136 that went missing, 55 remain missing. The Guardian recently reported that:

Officers had found 12 children from Brighton who had been arrested for offences including working on cannabis farms. There were signs that some had been trafficked. One child, a victim of assault, had allegedly been forced into slavery.

What have the council said? Bella Sankey, leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, has publicly stated that the council will consider legal action against the reopening of the hotel.

Who was at the protest? Speakers from local campaign and solidarity groups Homes Not Hotels, Care4Calais, Radio Calais and Free Iran took to the stage to hold Brighton and Hove City Council to their commitments to take the Home Office to court and ensure the safety of asylum seeking children in the city—and to condemn the Home Office’s decision. Bella Sankey, leader of Brighton and Hove City Council also spoke.

The demonstration runs alongside an open letter to Brighton and Hove City Council which has been signed by 16 local community (and counting) groups and organisations that work with people seeking asylum in the city.

What was said at the protest? Lauren Starkey, a social worker and anti-trafficking campaigner who resides in Brighton, said:

We are heartened by Brighton and Hove City Council's public condemnation of the Home Office’s plans to re-open this hotel. We are particularly encouraged by the Council Leader suggesting they will consider legal action if the Home Office goes ahead with their plans. However, we as a community must make sure that the City Council turns these words into action, accepts its responsibility for the children and does everything in its power to welcome and protect them.

Brighton and Hove is proud to be a City of Sanctuary and tonight's demonstration shows that our community demands that our City Council keeps all asylum seeking children in our city safe.

Hermione Berendt, a member of Homes Not Hotels and a lead volunteer in Brighton for refugee charity Care4Calais added:

It is horrifying that 50 children are still missing yet the government plans to reopen the very same hotel.

Tonight shows that the people of Brighton and Hove will not stand for this continued disregard for the safety and protection of asylum seeking children. The evidence is there: leaving these children in limbo in hotels, without adequate support and protection, puts them at risk. The government needs to abandon this plan but if they don’t then Brighton and Hove Council needs to step up and start a legal challenge against it.

Any recent updates since? Last week, the council sought an injunction at the High Court to stop unaccompanied asylum-seeking children being kept in hotels again. Bella Sankey revealed that the case will be heard next month, and that the Home Office's lawyer said up to 40% of those being kept in hotels are under 16, and one is 9.

That's all for this week—please subscribe, and forward to friends who might be interested!

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