CCDT has an ambitious plan to convert Graylingwell Chapel, a significant community asset in terms of space, potential, aesthetic & location, into a vibrant community centre hosting a café extension, multipurpose meeting/ learning/ performance space & interactive play area – all in a stunning building that will engender community pride through the quality of the venue & delivery. The Chapel will nurture social inclusion and integration and provide a welcoming space for everyone, This project will deliver a free of charge interactive soft play area for young children & their families in our community. Aligning with the Chapel’s vision to support mental health and wellbeing, it will offer soft play, ‘empathy lab’ sessions building real-life empathy skills, sensory play & games. Jigsaw puzzles, audio stories, the books and activities will all link back to wellbeing. It removes all financial barriers to access & is within a short walk of 1500 new homes and the adjacent Swanfield estate.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
Since Graylingwell Hospital closed in 2006, the site has been developed apace as mixed social and private housing – while central Chichester thrives, the residents flooding into estates in the north & northeast experience rising tension and a lack of facilities. A 2013 audit of community venues by CDC evidenced the distinct lack of suitable facilities particularly in NE Chichester where 1500 new homes will be built by 2024, with 750 already complete. The community desperately needs more opportunities to find common ground and to integrate. Community consultation evidenced young families on low incomes are keen to use the space for socialising with other parents & engaging their children in affordable activities in their neighbourhood. The Chapel’s interactive play area will engage young people in positive activities, support children & their families through free or low-cost programmes, promote health & well-being courses & activities.
Steps to get it done:
Critical to this project is sustainability. CCDT has developed significant detail regarding the likely activity & costs in the first two years of operation. We forecast that the Chapel, renovated as a community hub, will enable us to increase our self-sustaining funding streams & revenues by approximately £25K p/a in year 1, rising to a surplus of £83k p/a in year 5, covering all project running costs & continuing to fund activities, events & staffing; reducing dependence on external funders. Our business & delivery phase plans clearly identify the mechanisms by which we will achieve this; the three main trading activities will be the new café, venue hire & events. The increased operations of the Chapel will be managed by volunteers to assist in the running of the venue and its activities, and paid staff who will manage the scale up of activities. Income and expenditure figures in the business plan have been scrutinised by the CCDT Board & have been subject to a sensitivity analysis.
About the space
Chichester District Council