Lancing community hub set to reopen

A beloved community hub in Lancing, which faced the threat of closure, is set to reopen later this year.

In February, the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) announced plans to sell the Chesham House Community Centre in South Street — a charity which dates back to the 1950s.

After the decision was met with anger and sadness, RVS made a quick U-turn, suspending proceedings towards the sale of the building.

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In a statement this week, Sam Ward OBE, deputy CEO of Royal Voluntary Service said: “Over the past weeks there has been a collective effort spent looking for solutions to support Chesham House.

A campaign to keep the centre open was supported by East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton and Adur district councillors.

“The support and passion from our volunteers, staff and the wider community has been evident as has their determination to ensure the centre is a success.

“On a practical level, we have had pledges of support for the redevelopment of the flats above Chesham House which will remove a considerable cost-burden.”

Ms Ward said that these reduced costs, ‘alongside a legacy we recently received’ and income from a new service, ‘mean we can reopen the centre’.

Angela Marchant, one of the volunteers at Chesham House, said there is a huge sense of relief after the announcement.

“It’s very good news,” she said. “I’ve spoken to other volunteers and we’re all very pleased

“We can’t wait to get back in there.

“It’s just a case of waiting to see what happens next.

“We are all very positive. We’ve spoken to a lot of our regular customers who are absolutely thrilled.

“We’ve had such support from everybody. People have just been talking about it all the time, which is brilliant.

“That’s all it takes for the word to spread and everyone to realise what’s been taken away from us and how much it’s needed.

“We are very very happy.”

A campaign to keep the centre open was supported by East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton and Adur district councillors.

Steve Neocleous, district councillor for Churchill ward and Lancing said, he was ‘absolutely delighted’ to share the news on social media.

He said Chesham House could reopen by mid-August.

He added: “They are as impressed with the support and passion shown by all concerned as Tim, me and the other local councillors have been. Although we were never surprised by that at all!”

Ms Ward said the RVS hopes the decision will be ‘welcomed by both our team and the local community’, adding: “Over the coming year we will be doing our utmost with others to support Chesham House into a sustainable future.

“I would like to thank everyone who has supported Chesham House and Royal Voluntary Service during this quite challenging period.

“I look forward to visiting the centre once it opens its doors again!”