Pelham Hotel will be a community asset

Work will start on the Pelham Hotel transformation this Monday.

This will be the second phase of the project to turn the former pub into a fully-equipped and welcoming community hub for people of living in Sidley and North Bexhill.

Once complete, the hub will still be called The Pelham. It will offer support, advice, counselling and training will be provided by a wide range of organisations. It will also be a space where local social enterprises can operate on a cheap and ad-hoc basis.

The £600,000 project is being led by the Pelham Trust. The first phase of work, undertaken over the past 12 months saw repairs to the building’s roof, valleys, chimneys, pointing, and bay windows. The building’s interior was also cleared, wooden floors reinstated, and the ground floor windows replaced for insulation and security.

This second phase, which will cost £120,000, will involve fitting out the majority of the ground floor to create a hospitality room, a café, a kitchen, a servery, and toilets for all visitors. The building’s basement will also be converted to provide space possibly for a food bank or youth work provision.

Funding for this is coming from the Trust’s own funds and The Veolia Environmental Trust which awarded a grant of £60,000 through the Landfill Communities Fund.

The third phase will create a large function-room on the first floor, as well as office areas for local enterprise projects.

The Trust initiated the project to counter the decline in provision for people in the local community and there was a vision to create a place of welcome, hospitality, listening, counsel and mentoring to help people move into employment and enterprise.

This vision has been recognised and supported by local community groups and churches, Rother District Council, and a host of social agencies including Christians Against Poverty (CAP), Street Pastors, The Citizens Advice Bureau, local schools and children’s service providers.

Speaking about the start of work, Chair of the Pelham Trust, Richard Mayhew, “We are so happy that work on the next phase of our project is finally starting, and we are looking forward to opening our doors in September this year.

“As a Trust made up of local people, we have a good understanding of the needs of the community and we found that the main need is for care with a human face, and especially that which leads to an active change in the way people are able to live their lives.

“This comfortable and sociable environment will be accessible to all and will provide a focus for all that is good in the community. The Executive Director of The Veolia Environmental Trust, Paul Taylor, adds, “Over the last five years we have awarded £964,779 to community and environmental projects...I look forward to hearing about this unique project’s development.”