A bit of community magic… the creation of The Lodge

A bit of community magic… the creation of The Lodge

  • Post category:Blog

The community spirit was palpable as 33 residents and volunteers got together to finish The Lodge, a community building for Graylingwell Park.

“For me the arrival of the Lodge and the Graylingwell community coming together to complete the fitting out in April was the most rewarding and memorable moment of 2015.” Tony French, resident

Here’s the story of how it happened…

One of Chichester Community Development Trust’s objectives for 2014/15was to give the Graylingwell Park community the shared space for events and activities it desperately needed. Up until this point, the community’s only space was a porta cabin that didn’t have running water or much heating!

First and foremost: funding was needed…

In October 2013 CCDT submitted a successful bid with Chichester City Council to Chichester District Council for funding to purchase a modular building. It also secured much-needed funding from West Sussex County Council and also Affinity Sutton to complete works to the exterior and green space.

Whilst searching for a suitable modular building, CCDT was offered a redundant sales and marketing building from Lindens Homes that was located in Woking. Planning was submitted and granted in August 2014 and contractors were appointed in October 2014 to move the building. By early December 2014, the groundworks were finished and The Lodge was transported in four pieces and bolted back together in position.

[blockquote text=”Getting our first real community resource was critical to the development of Graylingwell Park and the usage since opening reflects its true importance. Great credit goes to CCDT for seeing a difficult project through and bringing residents’ efforts into its completion, which has made it a facility in which everyone has a sense of ownership. True community at work.” text_color=”” width=”” line_height=”undefined” background_color=”” border_color=”” show_quote_icon=”yes” quote_icon_color=””]

Giving local students real-life experience on the building site

The next stage of the project was run by David Ellis, who heads up the Construction Community Works Projects, a social enterprise that carries out local, small building projects using teams of construction students from Chichester College and individuals on Back to Work Schemes. David said, “This project was a real challenge; it was the biggest build we had tackled so far and we had training plumbers, electricians, carpenters and joiners in different groups working on every aspect of the build.”

He added, “This project gave 87 full time students and 19 unemployed people work experience over five weeks. Everyone had the chance to experience a real building site and the students faced challenges they simply wouldn’t come across in the classroom, such as working in the cold and at awkward angles.”

Then community answered our call for help…

CCDT needed help from the community to complete the outstanding works. After we put out a call for help, a troupe of 33 residents and volunteers descended on The Lodge over two days with the challenge of getting it ready for the Ofsted inspection four days later! They hammered, drilled, painted, cleaned, put up signs and guttering, finished flooring, painted raised bed and shovelled gravel. It was a fantastic example of successful community action.

[blockquote text=”The opening of the Lodge was a wonderful achievement after months of blood, sweat and tears, and I’m sure that’s no exaggeration! Well done everyone and congratulations.” text_color=”” width=”” line_height=”undefined” background_color=”” border_color=”” show_quote_icon=”yes” quote_icon_color=””]

The future…

A whole variety of users are set to hire the venue over the coming months including Little Leaners Preschool, the Saturday café, Sunday school, youth club, internet café, homework café, Yoga and Alpha courses and we cannot wait to watch the activity and programmes develop.

[blockquote text=”I have felt supported and encouraged by everyone in establishing Little Learners Pre-school, which is already proving to be a valuable service the local community.” text_color=”” width=”” line_height=”undefined” background_color=”” border_color=”” show_quote_icon=”yes” quote_icon_color=””]