GATHER is the latest concept to be launched in The Beacon, Eastbourne, as the shopping centre continues its journey to reimagine its customer retail experience.  

The dedicated community space is located in the unit formerly known as The Hut and is now available for local community groups and charities to gather free of charge for a variety of events and activities.  

More than 60 people, representing a wide range of organisations and charities, attended the launch event with Eastbourne Gilbert & Sullivan Society providing entertainment for the evening.  

James Roberts, director of The Beacon, said: “GATHER is part of our strategy at The Beacon to reimagine space in the shopping centre so that we offer a much wider experience to our customers than just shopping. This is a dedicated space that is inclusive for all groups in the community, where we want to encourage innovative and creative thinking.   

“Our strategy to build a community in the centre through play, work and events for local people, began with our mall enlivenment, continues with GATHER and we will have more exciting announcements to make very soon.”  

Hend Moussa, community manager at The Beacon, said: “This space will be a real community hub and I’m so pleased that we already have bookings from a diverse range of organisations for some exciting activities including a rap skills and circus skills workshop, a chair yoga session and a session on CV building and interview prepping for people getting back into the workplace. We really want people to see this as their space and to use it in as creative way as possible.”  

One of the organisations that has booked several sessions in GATHER for June is 3VA, the voluntary action organisation for the districts of Eastbourne, Wealden and Lewes.  

Emma Millar, Community Development Officer, 3VA, said: “Gather is set to be a great platform for local charities to meet up with clients, engage with shoppers and promote their services to the wider public. 3VA is delighted to be one of the first charities to take advantage of this facility in The Beacon.”  

Hansa Raja-Jones, founder of Holding Space, said: “This will prove to be a great space for charities, right at the heart of the community. We can meet clients there, hold workshops and promote our services to a wider audience. I am very excited about the arrival of Gather and I look forward to making use of it over the coming months.”  

Bookings will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis and the idea is that the space will evolve to the needs of organisations using it.   

There will soon be a dedicated section on The Beacon’s website where enquiries to book GATHER can be made. Visit thebeaconeastbourne.com