An eco-friendly building which will be used to help teach youngsters about the environment is flourishing.
The straw-build roundhouse at Tuppenny Barn Organics in Southbourne is the vision of founder Maggie Haynes.
She set up an organic smallholding on land along Main Road six years ago and always had the intention of creating a facility which could be used to hold classes for schoolchildren to teach them about gardening and food and the natural world.
Work on the building started in May, with the laying of tyres to form the foundations. The project has received several grants, including from Chichester District Council and the harbour conservancy.
Mrs Haynes said they had raised just over £59,000 so far, with another £170,000 needed, and that they were trying to achieve this.
Last week Julia and Lawrence Murphy, who run Fat Olives brasserie in Emsworth, presented a cheque for £400 to the Tuppenny Barn team, which they raised by holding a wine tasting evening with food.
“We actually supply them with produce so we have a link with them; they are very good at cooking with and promoting local producers so it’s wonderful they did this for us,” said Mrs Haynes.
“We are still applying for grants. It is obviously a difficult time for everybody. We have been successful with some grants and not others and it’s because there are so many more people applying.
“We would really like to try and get this finished by next summer so we can be up and running and operate as a business – that is the important thing.”
Mrs Haynes said she was very pleased with the progress of the building. So far, the foundation ground works and the structural frame have been completed, and the Chidham straw bales have been reserved ready for installation next year. It is hoped this phase will be run as a course, and then the lime rendering will be done.
When finished it will feature a living green wall and roof, solar panels, ground source heating, a rainwater harvesting system and permanent toilet facilities.
“I think it’s beginning to look good,” said Mrs Haynes. “It’s been a really nice working relationship with the people involved. They are both local people and that has been part of what we want from the project, to be giving the work to local people.”
Following the success of the community day this year, Mrs Haynes said she wanted to hold a similar event during the next phase of work.
During the year more volunteers have come on board, plus a marketing expert to assist with fundraising, and there are also plans to tweak the project’s website.
n For details about Tuppenny see www.tuppennybarn.com or call 07977 536 684.