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Connecting the Community Champions

Posted on 2 February 2024

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Guest Author

In November 2023, The Glass-House and our colleague Vera Hale from The Open university went to visit the Chichester Community Development Trust (CCDT), where we did a cross-pollination workshop to help activate cross-sector collaboration across the district. In this piece, Claire Robinson, Head of Partnerships at CCDT , reflects on the day. 

Coretta Scott King said that, “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.”  With that in mind the Chichester district showed itself to be a great community, as was demonstrated by bringing together over 30 of the region’s most active stakeholders at the CCDT hosted Cross-Pollination workshop at the end of November. 

Facilitated and led by the hugely experienced and skilful Glass-House Community Led Design and Open University, the afternoon’s workshop was designed to gauge and map the volume of community assets already in existence – not just buildings, but groups, people and spaces, and then see how we can support each other to raise them up. To enhance reach, delivery, and the user experience. To both celebrate the vast support out there for the community in many areas, as well as to highlight gaps in provision and see what can be done to fill those.

The participants included representatives from Chichester District and City Council, West Sussex County Council, Chichester Festival Theatre, Pathfinder, residents associations, social prescribers, Chichester College and University, Stonepillow, the foodbank and many more vital community organisations.  The magic happens when all those participating share not only their assets and aspirations, but their needs and what they can offer others. 

In a fast-paced process of discussion and ideas generation the event began with an opportunity to learn more about the other individuals in this critical community-led collaboration; to share knowledge of spaces, people, projects and places that were known to bring support to those in need; and then to project each individual and their organisations goals and hurdles. More specifically each participant listed out the projects they were currently working on; the projects they would like to do; and finally the skills, space or anything else they could contribute to others.  

Those involved were asked if such a collaborative event would be worthwhile on a regular basis and a majority felt the value of such meetings could only enhance our collective delivery.  Future workshops are therefore to be scheduled on a quarterly basis.  Those unable to make it who would like to be considered for future events are invited to contact CCDT at to put their names down.

The map of community assets is currently being transferred into a digital format, from the paper copies written on and marked up that will be shared on CCDT’s website early this year.  Supporters of community assets across the district including those unable to attend the event are equally encouraged to submit details of their thoughts on email here, so that this charting of community endeavours can grow and become a source for inspiration and collaboration in the future.

Clare de Bathe, CEO of CCDT commented, “It was humbling and exciting at the same time to be part of this event, seeing the scale of what’s out there, and we are so grateful to Glass-House and Open University for the way they managed to deliver such a professional, whilst also informal event, helping people to connect and talk freely.  As owners and managers of many community spaces across Chichester, we understand the value of quality buildings, aspirational interiors and generous outdoor spaces that people love to be in.  Every space has a clear role, is fit for purpose and is given a sense of place and we so enjoy hearing from others with shared aspirations and spaces.  It’s important to us to work together in partnership with other organisations in and around the Chichester district to help generate employment, opportunities and trial or develop local, purpose-led projects that help to hold up the wider community.”

This blog was written by Claire Robinson, Partnerships Director at Chichester Community Development Trust and was first published on their website in January 2024.

Read our Inspired Blog about Great Design at Chichester Community Development Trust.