Chichester Community Development Trust has received £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund which marks the start of an exciting project: the renovation and repurposing of Graylingwell Chapel into a warm, inviting, multi-purpose space that will serve the community both at Graylingwell Park and Chichester for decades to come.
Thanks to the initial start-up grant from Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), this project can now begin. With the HLF funds CCDT:
– Has established a chapel steering group to take this project forward. The group is made up of volunteers from the community and is designed to represent the wider Chichester community’s interests.
– Will engage and consult with residents, young people, partners, future funders and those currently or intending to use the building to get their views on what the building will look and feel like.
– Is organising visits for the steering group to similar projects in order to learn from them.
– Will develop a management and maintenance plan for the chapel.
– Will give training to staff, volunteers and board in the management of a heritage building.
Graylingwell Chapel, as part of Graylingwell Hospital, has a fascinating history. Graylingwell Hospital, formerly known as the West Sussex County Asylum, has had a significant impact upon Chichester’s local community throughout the last century. In its day, as a medical institution, Graylingwell Hospital was at the forefront of mental health treatment in the UK and the development of psychiatry in the 20th century. Graylingwell Chapel played an important role for the community at Graylingwell, not only spiritually, but as a performance space for community singers and the percussion band.
The architect of Graylingwell Chapel, Sir Arthur Blomfield, was a prolific church architect and the chapel has the feel of a parish church. However, the chapel was never consecrated but designed to be a place of reflection and safety for staff and patients of all faiths. It is not hard to imagine that patients who attended chapel services welcomed a different experience to daily life on the ward.
Commenting on the award, Clare de Bathe, director of CCDT, said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the start-up fund from the Heritage Lottery Fund. We are going to make the most of this amazing opportunity; we want to save the building and heritage of Graylingwell Chapel for future generations. Graylingwell Chapel will not only be a wonderful community venue for Chichester, but will also be a fascinating place to visit.”
Explaining the importance of the HLF support, Stuart McLeod, the head of the HLF in the South East, said: “We’re delighted to award this National Lottery grant to help the Chichester Community Development Trust take the first steps towards bringing the Graylingwell Chapel back into use for the community and we look forward to seeing how the plans develop.”