Chance to look around new community arts centre

A NEW community arts centre in Bognor Regis will be open for the first time next week.

Owners Barry and Jenny Jones are hosting an open weekend at the building, the former United Reformed Church, to allow potential users to look around.

The couple are willing to allow the facility, with its four halls around the church, to be used for a wide range of social and creative purposes.

Mr Jones said: “It could be a whist drive, a dance group or an art show.”

The open days at the building on Linden Road will be held from 9am-6pm on July 21 and 22.

The Observer revealed the intention of Victoria Drive couple Mr and Mrs Jones to buy the one-time church last February.

It has taken them almost six months to complete the difficult and prolonged negotiations with the religion’s Southern Synod to finally take ownership.

This was achieved yesterday. The couple want to enable as many people as possible to benefit from the facilities quickly.

Mr Jones said: “The open weekend will provide an opportunity for interested people to record their ideas as to how the complex can be used and, hopefully, offer their desire to help in the future running and maintenance of the complex.

“We are anxious to get the complex used as soon as possible and see no reason why events could not be organised on most weekends.”

Mrs Jones said: “We want to provide an assembly and arts centre both for the younger and older people of Bognor,”

“The complex will initially be known as Jeneses. Hopefully, a more suitable name will be chosen in the future by users.”

The church hosted its last service in July 2010. Mr and Mrs Jones have used some of their savings to pay for the building. Its sale price was £600,000 but the couple have not said how much they paid.