Amidst all the Jubilee celebrations there was particular cause for jubilation in Lancing. After several months of enthusiastic campaigning by supporters of Chesham House and constructive engagement with its owners, the charity Royal Voluntary Service announced that they had decided not to close this much valued local community asset.
This is great news after a lot of hard work involving local people and Lancing councillors and in particular Churchill Councillor Steve Neocleous who has organised community minded local firms to contribute to the refurbishment of the 2 flats above the property. They can now be brought back into circulation to rent out and provide a reliable income stream for activities at Chesham House. I would like to single out Greenfields, Vaughan Carpentry, Hopkins, Seaside Developments, Callum Doo and Gardner & Scardifield who have contributed so generously. Gardiner & Scardies is well known for its support of the Lancing community and next month celebrates 100 years as a valued business in the village.
We are still working through the details with RVS but the plan is to re-open Chesham House in August and they are currently recruiting a new full time centre manager. During the campaign many people have come forward interested in renting space at Chesham House or holding additional activities there, especially as it is rarely used at weekends and many evenings. The idea therefore is to make the centre a much busier hub with lots of activities attracting a wide range of local people to help secure its long-term financial sustainability.
At the heart of all this will be the volunteers who have been so committed and refused to take the closure of Chesham House lying down. It will be great to have the café back open again and there is a particular plea for volunteer cakemakers to come forward and offer their services. If you think you can help with any of this, then please do get in touch and I will pass on your details to RVS and look forward to sharing a coffee and a piece of cake with you after the August reopening to celebrate a great example of community campaigning.
If you would like to chat about Chesham House or anything else, then I will be outside the Lancing Family Centre for our street surgery tis Saturday from 10am.