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Summer Sunshine Brings a Garden Party Growing Hope

Bouncy activities!

It was incredible to see the return of the Summer Garden Party to Havenstoke Park on 16th July, co-funded by Chichester District Council, after its extended absence due to Covid.  A chance to see members of the wider Chichester community coming back together in this beautiful setting to enjoy all that was on offer, reconnect, and find ways to feel regenerated.  Better yet, the funds raised through sales of barbecue food and drinks at the bar raised a staggering £3,000 that will now fund important youth work projects at Graylingwell Chapel to support Chichester’s young people in the future, coordinated by Chichester Community Development Trust (CCDT). 

Soaring heat didn’t deter almost two thousand visitors from coming, with slip and slides and ice creams for the little ones, and refreshing Pimms and a drinks tent for the older visitors.  Whilst the temperatures proved just too much for us to be able to proceed with the ever-popular dog show, the team were able to reschedule that element to the 18th September leaving something still to look forward to!

Stalls at the Summer Garden Party

As part of this year’s Culture Spark, there was a theme running throughout the event that looked at how we can feel better again after such a challenging time.  The Pavilion provided the perfect centrepiece for the event with its trial classes of wellbeing sessions that are designed to support body and mind through a recovery, including a sound bath, and POWER Fitness’ spin class with a difference integrating empowering messaging to the physical training.  Not far from the Pavilion the incredible communities’ team at Everyone Active also encouraged families to ‘get active’ with their own games, and local companies offering fitness support including Goodwood Golf’s perfect putting challenge. 

Live music and performance was a central element to this year’s event.  Beginning with two performances of the inspiring family musical of The Adventures of Florence and the Mermaid’s Tears inspiring young people towards a future of caring for our oceans and reducing plastic waste. The crowds not only enjoyed but for a while were part of the flash mob choir that brought together over 60 voices to perform some beautiful songs at lunchtime.  The day was completed with two hours of live performances from the incredibly talented bands made up of 11-18 year olds from Ovation Music, with a further hour of Ovation’s musical workshops where visiting young people could try their talents as the next drummer, singer or guitarist of the future. 

Art also featured for the younger members of the Summer Garden Party in a wonderful celebration of ‘junk art’ organised by local sculptor Helen Solly.  Young people were invited to rummage through disposed of items to see what they could create under the theme of nature.  The two winning juniors secured their primary schools £100 each to go towards art supplies ensuring ample inspiration for future years to come. 

CCDT’s youth projects were not the only important causes to raise vital funds.  Other organisations ran wonderful stands that generated positive support for the future.  Graylingwell Park Residents Association managed to raise an important £150 through the sales made at their Bric a Brac stand; Roussillon Park Residents Association raised £180 through their second hand book sale; the newly formed Chichester Shed raised £105 through sales of their early creations, with other organisations raising awareness including Cancerwise and Think18.

The Summer Garden Party of 2022 was a great success and we look forward to this returning to the park each year to come.  Please do put the fantastic dog show from 10am-2pm in your diaries for the 18th September where there will be more fun and activities, along with a dog agility to challenge your own furry friends and two dog shows to ensure they get the fame that they deserve!  Thanks to all who took part, visited, ran stalls, workshops or simply ate a hot dog that will fund a better future for Chichester’s young people!  Particular thanks go to Chichester District Council for their support and funding without which this event would not have been possible – we are so thankful for the partnership work and support they provide CCDT.