Volunteers breathe life into Bognor Regis community centre

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COACHLOADS of volunteers have given a Bognor Regis club a makeover.

The 50 members of the Royal Society of Arts put the Big Society idea into action at the Bognor Regis Youth and Community Centre.

They spent last Thursday redecorating the gym of the building on Westloats Lane. Most of those taking part arrived in two coaches from the society’s HQ in central London.

Among those putting in the hard work was the society’s IT manager, Stu Honeysett.

He said the organisation staged an annual day in which it helped a worthwhile group. The centre had been chosen after a suggestion by one of the society’s 27,000 Fellows.

“The work of 50 people can make a difference. We will be doing as much as we can in a day,” he said.

“I voted for us to help the centre. I wanted to make sure whatever we did would make a lasting difference and would still look good in a year or two’s time.”

Carol Fullick, the development manager of the centre’s operator Bognor CAN, said: “We don’t receive any funding from anybody.

“So, we have to get money from fundraising events or low cost rentals. That means we can’t afford to get major jobs done.

“That’s why we are grateful to the royal society for coming down. It must be at least ten years since the gym was last decorated, though the Prince’s Trust did a bit of work in there a few years’ ago.

“Having it repainted will make it a much warmer, nicer and happier place to be in.”

The work saw the gym’s colour scheme of dark red and cream refreshed.

The society decided to volunteer its time in Bognor following its work with the West Sussex Drug and Alcohol Action Team trialling new ways of helping people overcome their addictions.

This included setting up a Crawley-based internet radio station for former drug users and a drop-in centre in Bognor Regis that offers advice and guidance to anyone affected by problem drug and alcohol misuse, including the friends and families of users.

It is in keeping with its role of finding practical solutions to help communities overcome local challenges such as social isolation, unemployment and drug abuse.