The Graylingwell Chapel steering group are on a mission! They are crossing the counties looking at examples of chapels, churches and repurposed buildings that have been transformed into working, successful and profitable community hubs. The aim: to enable the group to make the best-informed decisions when looking at the repurposing of Graylingwell Chapel into a new community venue for Chichester.
Later on this week they visit London, but in the meantime, the group gave some feedback on its trip to East Sussex to visit two fantastic venues.
If you want to see a thriving community centre, Cornerstone in Hove is a fantastic example. It was clear to the steering group that it is a popular, thriving, booked-up community venue. Cornerstone is located in part of the still-active St John the Baptist Church. It is a big church in comparison to Graylingwell Chapel and despite only converting half the church, there are four hireable rooms on three levels for the community hub. Some 80 groups use Cornerstone as well as a pre-school, which fills a big local gap in childcare provision.
Back on the bus and off our group went to Worthing to see St Paul’s, a grade II listed building (previously a church) that is a café, bar, events venue and community venue. Alongside the café tables, which saw a steady stream of locals popping in for a coffee, there is an exhibition space for a local artist. In terms of rooms, there is a glass cubical next to the café that can be hired, and a back room for events that can double up as a meeting space. The steering group didn’t stay for an evening gig (!) but appreciated seeing the stage and lighting, and getting a feel for the size and scale. St Paul’s was beautifully refurbished and this venue gave the steering group lots to reflect on.
Next up is London and four fantastic venues:
– The Sherriff Centre
– Bedlam Exhibition
– Coin Street Community Development Trust
– St Mellitus College
We’ll keep you posted!
Once again, we would like to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for enabling us to take these visits.