BEACH House Park could soon become home to a thriving chess scene if a charity secures £50,000 of funding later this month.
Worthing Churches Homeless Projects is hoping the public will get behind its plans to build five concrete chess boards in the park and secure the services of a mentor to work alongside the charity’s clients and members of the public to improve the park’s flower beds and borders.
Sue Stevens, Worthing Churches Homeless Projects’ PR and fundraising manager came up with the idea following a trip to a chess park in Geneva, Switzerland.
She said: “For a while I was wanting to do something that can give back to Worthing.
“I thought it was such a brilliant thing. It was all ages playing and I thought that’s something Worthing could have. I don’t think there’s anything around here quite like it. It’s a unique idea.
“It will give our members the opportunity to mix with the public, learn skills and give something back to the community.”
The money for the project would be provided by the People’s Millions – a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund and ITV, where the public help decide which local community projects get up to £50,000 of National Lottery funding.
WCHP has been shortlisted for the grant and will now go head-to-head with a project from Eastleigh in a public vote on Tuesday, November 25.
Bryan Turner, Worthing Borough Council’s cabinet member for regeneration, said: “I think as a council we would love that project to succeed. It would be another facility to enjoy in Worthing.
“It’s getting more and more difficult for councils to find that sum of money. Projects where people offer money are becoming more and more important. Beach House Park is an area full of character and it will add to that.”
Dave Bradley, a member of Worthing Chess Club and a WCHP volunteer, said: “I think it will be really good for the game. It will make people more aware of what chess is and will make it available to anyone.”
The number needed to vote will be released on Tuesday, November 25, on ITV Meridian and in the Daily Mirror. Calls will cost 15p and a maximum of ten votes can be made from one device.