Duke of Richmond to open renovated parish centre in Chichester

A 'much-loved' church in Chichester is set to reopen its parish centre after the completion of an extensive renovation project.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 11:59 am
Updated Thursday, 27th May 2021, 2:05 pm
Reverend Canon Simon Holland (pictured, left) said the parish centre, which was first opened in 1993, was in 'need of renovation'

St Paul’s Church in Chichester and its neighbouring parish centre are used by a huge range of organisations from youth groups and music concerts to counselling services and help for refugees.

In 2019, the church revealed plans to revamp those facilities and held consultation days for people in the community to have a say on what could be done.

The project is nearing completion, after months of works during the pandemic, and a dedication ceremony with the Duke and Duchess of Richmond and the Bishops has been planned for Sunday, June 13.

The parish centre at St Paul's will be open every day of the week.

Reverend Canon Simon Holland said the parish centre, which was first opened in 1993, was in 'need of renovation'.

He added: "It has been much used and much loved over the years by the church and community groups but was beginning to show signs of wear and needing upgrading and extending.

"That's what we've done. We've been able to completely renovate it.

"We've been able to build a much bigger kitchen which is fit for purpose.

In 2019, the church revealed plans to revamp those facilities and held consultation days for people in the community to have a say on what could be done.

"We've been very fortunate in being able to undertake the work over the last year, during lockdown.

"It has been extraordinary and has been made possible by the generosity of the congregation, our own financial reserves and the result of a number of wonderful grants obtained from various sources.

"The city council have been tremendously supportive, as well as a number of Sussex and national based charities."

The reverend said the renovated parish centre is 'for the whole community'.

The project is nearing completion, after months of works during the pandemic

"Being there for the vulnerable and needy people is very close to our hearts," he said. "It's used regularly by Sanctuary in Chichester, a project which supports refugees locally.

"It is also used by the Four Streets project, which supports the homeless in Chichester.

"It used by the NHS in various ways for support groups. A whole variety of different groups, representing different needs and age groups. These new facilities are going to be very beneficial."

Grant funding has enabled the church to employ a part-time caretaker and kitchen manager.

The Rev Holland said the project was made possible by the generosity of the congregation, the church's own financial reserves and the 'result of a number of wonderful grants obtained from various sources'.

The Rev Holland added: "Our vision is that our parish centre at St Paul's will be open every day of the week. People will be able to pop in at anytime to have a cup of tea or a coffee and just feel part of the place and warmly welcomed.

"We didn't want to seem insensitive to be doing building work whilst people were suffering but, actually, the building industry kept going and it was a very good use of that time.

"We are now looking forward to June 13. The Bishop of Horsham is coming to dedicate it for us and the Duke of Richmond will formally open it by cutting a ribbon.

"That will be very special as the Duke of Richmond's father laid the foundations of the original parish centre when that was first built."

The reverend said the renovated church is 'for the whole community'.