Rarely can people remember a time in recent history where sanctuary and nourishment of the body and mind was more needed than this period as we ease our way out of lockdown, making Chichester Community Development Trust’s (CCDT’s) announcement of a new space for mind, body wellness to be developed on Havenstoke Park, at Graylingwell, particularly appropriate.
The building that has been Linden Homes’ Marketing Suite for many years, nestled within a serene corner of the 100-year-old park, framed by a range of beautiful old trees is soon to be transferred to CCDT for development into a community building. Following months of direct consultation with residents in the immediate area, and wider residents of the city on their hopes for the site, the building will deliver on the strongest calls – for a space where passers-by might stop and enjoy the moment in a pop-in café; and a space to support the health of body and mind.
“One of the greatest assets of the building, to be known as The Pavilion, will be its location,” comments Clare de Bathe, CCDT Director. “It is instantly calming and creates such a sense of peace that we wanted to harness that incredible natural asset. We also wanted to make sure we offer what people really want, so we undertook a three-month campaign to knock on all the doors around Graylingwell Park and Roussillon Park speaking with households that were available, and surveying those not met with directly.”
The floor-to-ceiling glass-walled room facing the park will become a stunning studio for exercise classes supporting body and mind including yoga, tai-chi and aerobics, and classes for all ages. Evenings and weekends provide the opportunity for events that further connect people with their mental and physical health. Behind the studio will sit a number of therapy rooms to host therapies, such as acupuncture, massage, reike, coaching, hypnotherapy and nutritional coaching.
On entering the Pavilion, there will also be a space for people to sit and connect, either those passing the site whilst walking in the park, or those waiting for or leaving classes and therapy sessions. It will become a custom designed area for a drink and healthy snack, focusing around a bespoke coffee cart where locally roasted beans are served. To provide this service early on in the project CCDT is collaborating with local craftsmen to complete work on the cart as soon as possible, with hopes of an outdoor café, coffee cart services commencing whilst the building development takes place. It will offer people a chance to connect with others, following social distancing rules, once outdoor meetings are again permitted.
A key aspects to the site’s development will be accessibility – all ages and circumstances, drawn from the communities of Chichester and surrounding areas. It will ensure those who face financial challenges, many as a direct result from Covid-19’s impact, still receive the support and treatment required to build and develop positive programmes that will safeguard a healthier body, heart and mind. This will be achieved through community programmes devised and agreed between practitioners and the Trust to support those referred to the space via local community partners.
CCDT is now running a call to action to find people, practitioners and groups who might be interested in running classes, sessions and treatments at The Pavilion. The open call runs until 8th of June. Those wanting to participate can find out more information at https://chichestercdt.org.uk/our-work/the-pavilion/open-call/.