What a start to 2017 we have had! We are in our temporary new home at the site office (the first floor steel container) at Graylingwell but in true Dunkirk spirit the team are making good. We even have the luxury now of running water and power!
I find that slowly people are getting to know Chichester Community Development Trust and yet there are still lots of misconceptions. I thought it would be good to introduce some of the members of our small team to give you a flavour of life at CCDT as well as giving you a brief introduction to CCDT’s work…
Firstly, we safeguard buildings and spaces for communities and manage these to ensure that the building is put to good use for the community and that any surplus made from hire goes back into the building and community. It is with this hat on that we are managing the Community Hall at Roussillon Park and The Lodge at Graylingwell Park. We are doing this very successfully and our venues are incredibly busy and host a great number of fantastic classes, events and private parties. We are also going to own and repurpose Graylingwell Chapel (come to the exhibition 13 March and give us your feedback on the plans) and we are the guardians of Graylingwell’s heritage for this too. Further in the future, we will revamp and manage The Studios, which will be a start-up hub for budding businesses, plus community facilities at Lower Graylingwell and Havenstoke Park.
Secondly, we work with the communities at Graylingwell Park and Roussillon Park to build community spirit, and reach out to people across Chichester by creating projects that develop the skills of local people and create opportunities and employment (such as our Youth Work and our free IT tutor groups). We fund this work with grants and also funds raised at the Summer Garden Party. We also work to build mutually beneficial partnerships such as our work with Sarah Hughes, Community Wildlife Officer at Chichester District Council, who brings a wealth of knowledge and some fantastic events to the area.
So here’s a flavour of life right now at CCDT…
Emma, who you would speak to if you are interested in hiring one of our venues, is busier than ever, juggling the diary to make as many of our customers happy! She’s just booked in Diddidance on Thursdays in the morning (another great class for children in Chichester and the surrounding villages) and a Friday night art class for people wanting to welcome in the weekend with a bit of creativity and fun.
Casper and Phil, who run our youth activities, are back with fresh plans for the youth projects and are actively seeking new volunteers to support the youth project. We’d also love to increase the numbers attending all the youth events which are open to all young people in Chichester and create great opportunities.
Angie, our community development officer at Roussillon Park, has had a brilliant start to the year working on a new heritage project idea for Roussillon Park, and is hoping to get that off the ground along with other resident-led ideas including PING.
Lina is working with our newly appointed architect Adam Richards to work up the designs for the Chapel based on feedback from the community at our consultation events. We have a lot to do to get the plans and applications to apply for funding complete by the end of May so we are busy undertaking condition and bat surveys, checking for nasties including asbestos and possibly most importantly getting the design right. We can wait to show you the plans on 13th March!
I am close to the finish line with the Water Tower lease. It’s taken 5 months longer than planned but it’s nearly ready. Once that’s received, we can get the planning finalised and the building alterations can start. We won’t put any deadlines in place as we know what happens but we really hope to have the new hub ready in the spring!
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Clare de Bathe, Trust Director