Retired Worthing businessman sets sights on new property to help migrants after plans to halt pub demolition fail
A retired Worthing businessman has set his sights on a property, which he wants to use to help refugees and provide a ‘wide range of multicultural cultural activities and events’.
Mike Tyler, 84, who founded the Global Community Development Network charity, initially planned to ‘revitalise’ a long-derelict town-centre pub – The Wheatsheaf in Richmond Road.
However, this attempt to halt the historic pub’s demolition was unsuccessful, with it now set to be transformed into eight contemporary apartments by an independent developer.
Mr Tyler, who wanted the watering hole to be taken into community ownership for redevelopment as an international centre, has now found an ‘excellent alternative premises’ on the same road.
This is 37 Richmond Road, based on the market and near to the library.
Mr Tyler said: “These premises have well maintained open floor areas on two levels with office, internet room and kitchen – all of which could be adopted with very little restructuring cost to provide a One stop resource to help refugees and provide a wide range of multicultural cultural activities and events as well as being available for use by other local charities."
Mr Tyler, with the help of colleague, Phillip Rugg, and a local steering group, established the Worthing International Friendship Network.
This was to help the ‘integration and wellbeing’ of refugees, arriving in Worthing from Afghanistan, Syria, Hong Kong and an ‘increasing number’ of young
Ukrainian refugees – ‘many of whom have had to endure traumatic experiences and conflicts’.
Mr Tyler added: “The network would also support overseas community development through an existing pioneering Worthing charity which has member organisations in 42 countries.”
The network has submitted a formal expression of interest for the Richmond Road property and has invited Adur and Worthing Councils and West Sussex County Council to ‘consider purchasing it as a community asset’ – which ‘might be part funded by a government grant programme’.
“However the agent has advised that there are other offers on the property – believed to be for conversion of the building into to flats – the same sad fate of the former Wheatsheaf pub,” Mr Tyler revealed.
If you can offer support, please contact Mr Tyler via email ([email protected]) or call 01903 242499.