2012 could be the year for a community arts centre to open in Bognor Regis.
The ambitious proposal to provide an artistic venue with the wow factor is on track as the group behind the scheme reaches its second anniversary.
Sculptural ceramist Su Cloud formed Community Arts Bognor Regis with the intention of putting the town’s creativity on show after she had been inspired by a social enterprise course.
Her enthusiasm has been echoed by a recent leisure survey carried out by consultants for Arun District Council.
This confirmed her opinion an ‘Arts Station’ would boost Bognor and its best location would be the railway station’s former booking hall.
She said: “I had a meeting with the council just before Christmas and another one soon and I’m hoping the community space idea will be brought forward as a result of them.
“I’ve got great hopes this is possible, but it needs a partnership. It would be good to get some of the £500,000 Sainsbury’s is giving to the town. That could be used to provide a space where everyone can learn new creative skills and can put their work on show.
“The ‘Arts Station’ will be a real boost to the town. Some people have a negative image of Bognor, but this would show what those who live here are capable of.
“The railway station is the perfect place for it. It has an incredible footfall, it’s centrally located and everyone knows where it is.
“It would also show all those visitors who arrive in the town by train what we have to offer artistically.
“There are a lot of talented people in Bognor but they don’t have anywhere to show their skills at the moment.
“The ‘Arts Station’ would be run as a social enterprise to provide a vibrant and exciting addition to the town centre as well.”
Rose Green resident Su chairs the eight-strong committee of Community Arts Bognor Regis – including Katie Robinson as secretary and Claire Halls as treasurer – to put its ideas into action.
“When I started Community Arts Bognor Regis in 2010, I wanted to get people in the community interested in doing different things artistically,” she said. “We have achieved that by holding a series of workshops linked to events such as the carnival.
“People who have taken part in them had never been involved in the events so we have increased the community’s interaction with them and shown them what is happening in the town.”
Community Arts Bognor Regis holds its sessions in The Lodge in Hotham Park thanks to its links with the Hotham Park Heritage Trust volunteers.
Similar connections have been formed with Greener Bognor and BRighter Bognor to establish a wide-ranging network. This is backed by more than 100 connections made with various other organisations which are involved with the town.