A community celebration and fundraiser was held at Royal Voluntary Service’s Chesham House Community Centre in South Street, on Saturday, September 23 from 10am – 4pm.
The community hub last year overcame the threat of closure. The centre reopened its doors in August 2022, following a campaign, which was supported by East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton and district councillor Steve Neocleous.
Mr Loughton, who attended the celebratory event, said it was ‘absolutely heaving’. So far more than £2,600 has been raised, with all funds put towards the running and care for the ‘crucial community hub’. Click here if you would like to make a donation.
Ahead of the occasion, an RVS spokesperson said: “The much-loved community centre is opening its doors to welcome more people from the community to discover all that Chesham House has to offer, and to support this local hub. Royal Voluntary Service staff and volunteers have arranged a fun-filled day for all.
“Not only will the centre’s vintage tea room be serving cream teas, there will be live entertainment throughout the day from local talent including: Matthew English the violinist; singer of songs to make you laugh and cry, Al Neville; Roger Coughlan playing Jazz; singer and guitarist, Jeff Yerrell; and Chesham House’s own Chrissie and Friends, singing hits from the musicals.
"Chesham’s local creators will also be showcasing their talent with a tabletop sale of unique arts and crafts.
“There will be opportunities to support the centre’s fundraising initiatives by playing a prize raffle for the chance to win a £200 Love To Shop voucher, four tickets to Sussex County Cricket, a steak restaurant voucher and comedy club tickets.
"Those wheelie eager to help raise funds for the beloved centre are being encouraged to join the bikeathon. There will be a fundraising bikeathon taking place for the duration of the event, with locals encouraged to take ten-minute slots on an exercise bike to help rack up the miles, and inspire family and friends to sponsor their efforts.”
The community centre is not only home to the vintage tea room, but also hosts vital dementia support groups, lunch clubs and a companionship service to support those at risk of isolation, and various social groups.
The centre is a comfortable, warm place to meet, eat and have fun in the community. Chesham House is supported by passionate volunteers, who recently won the Lancing Parish Council ‘Volunteer Group of the Year’ Community Award 2023 for their contribution to the local community.
Paul Goff, RVS service manager, said: “Chesham House has become a big part of the lives of the people who visit and volunteer at the centre. We’re holding this event not only to open our doors to even more local people, but also to raise funds to help us make the centre the best it can be for the people who visit.
"We’re grateful to be part of such a close-knit community, and hope to have everyone’s support on the day, hopefully some will join me in the bikeathon.”
Angela Marchant, Chesham House volunteer, said: “We want to raise awareness and get more local people to come along, whether that’s for our dementia support services, or if it’s just to pop in for a tea, coffee and a chat. We’re good at chatting and we have so many laughs, I’m looking forward to meeting more people at the event.”
To find out more or sign up for a slot on the exercise bike for the bikeathon, contact Rachel Coton on 01903 854640 or at [email protected]. Those who would like to sponsor the bikeathon or make a donation to Chesham House can do so at justgiving.com/page/chesham-house.