Chichester’s Graylingwell Chapel conversion project to be celebrated at open evening

An artists' impression of the Graylingwell Chapel conversion
An artists' impression of the Graylingwell Chapel conversion

An open evening will celebrate the transformation of Graylingwell Chapel in Chichester into a community heritage building.

The celebrations on Thursday (July 4) will mark the start of the Heritage at the Heart of Graylingwell project, which is led by Chichester Community Development Trust (CCDT).

All members of the Chichester community, both within Graylingwell Park and the wider area, are invited to the open evening from 5pm to 8pm to find out more about the project.

There will also be a free barbecue and entertainment, including music from the Chichester Music Academy, a bouncy castle and a chance to enjoy the spring-like fun of KTroo’s exercise activities.

Earlier this year, the National Lottery Heritage Fund granted £1.3 million towards the project, which will see the chapel become a community venue where events, exhibitions, performances and film screenings will be hosted.

The history of the chapel, which was originally used by people with mental health conditions from the West Sussex County Lunatic Asylum and as a place of refuge by soldiers from both world wars, will also be celebrated with a heritage exhibition at the site.

A café, to be built as a modern extension to the western side of the building, will serve food sourced from local producers and will be available for local events.

Clare de Bathe, the director of the Chichester Community Development Trust, said the open evening would be ‘the perfect opportunity’ to see the chapel and the trust’s vision for its future,

She said: “They will see how we will combine the pioneering history of mental health work that was delivered at Graylingwell Hospital as a living, interactive exhibition and simultaneously provide a warm, welcoming community space for people to rest in and enjoy, or more actively take part in events as they wish.

“We are so very grateful to the many and varied partnership organisations that we are working with to deliver on both the build, and the services that we will provide within it.

“This event will be our opportunity to further voice that thanks, and welcome additional comment and engagement from the Chichester community regarding their hopes and needs for such a facility. “

The renovations to the chapel will begin in early spring 2020, with a completion date in the summer of 2021.

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