Grant awarded to help create space

Birling Gap Café is a step closer to getting a new community space thanks to the Veolia Environmental Trust.

The trust has awarded the National Trust a £27,725 grant towards the creation of a community learning space within the former hotel.

The building has been owned and run by the National Trust since 2010 and much of its space has been left unused.

Currently, around 300,000 people visit Birling Gap each year, of which 100,000 use the existing facilities.

Liz Lowery, of the National Trust, said: “We are delighted the Veolia Environmental Trust has awarded this grant and we are looking forward to getting started with this project. The new space will attract a diverse range of groups to our facility, engaging them with the local environment and enhancing community cohesion.”

There is currently no indoor space for community or education groups, or for visitors to learn about the area’s unique heritage and magnificent countryside.

The project aims to make use of redundant space to create and expand the facilities, enabling the trust to meet the high demand for meeting spaces for groups, and creating new and diverse volunteering opportunities.

The new learning space will be available for use by groups including the East Dean History Society, local geology groups and local schools, as well as for events, fairs, clubs and private hire.

The Veolia Environmental Trust awards grants to community and environmental projects through the Landfill Communities Fund.

The trust projects team will now start the process of working with the National Trust to develop final plans and get the project off the ground.

Executive Director of the Veolia Environmental Trust, McNabb Laurie, said, “Projects like this one make a real difference to our communities and our board awarded this grant on its merits. We will now start working with the National Trust to develop a project that will boost community use of the space provided by the Birling Gap Café.”