Six months on from opening, the Co-op Community Space in Shoreham is absolutely thriving.
Several groups have firmly established bookings during the week and others have used it for one-off occasions.
Adrienne Lowe, chairman of the management committee, said it has gone even better than she expected when she first asked The Co-op if the former coffee shop could be taken over for the community.
“We thought we would start small!” she smiled.
“I have really enjoyed being involved and I was so pleased when it was approved. It has brought the community together.
“It fits in really well with the Co-op strategy of working in the community. One of the big projects has been tackling loneliness and the coffee mornings help with that.
“The Co-op has been really supportive, they take care of the maintenance and supply the drinks.”
Adrienne, the south east representative on The Co-operative Group National Members’ Council, has been involved with business since she was a child, as both her grandfathers worked for Co-op Insurance, her grandmother was in the Co-operative Women’s Guild and she was in the Woodcraft Folk, a co-operative movement for children.
The coffee shop in Ham Road closed four years ago and Adrienne, who lives in Lancing, approached The Co-op to see if it could be taken over as a community space.
Last summer, Adur Voluntary Action, Adur East Lions, The Co-op and Adur Woodcraft Folk worked together to prepare the space for opening on September 2.
The Lions Club loaned tables and chairs to start with but West Sussex County Council’s Small Grants Fund has just given £4,000 to furnish the space.
The space is now run by Adur Woodcraft Folk and there are coffee mornings every Saturday, 10am to 12pm, which different charities organise to raise money for their own causes.
Apron, a not-for-profit community art project, runs a craft workshop for children aged up to five on Monday mornings.
On Tuesdays, Adur Voluntary Action runs a drop-in centre with board games, cards and knitting, from 10.30am to 12.30pm. Once a month, on the second Tuesday, it is aimed at carers, a new group they have not been able to run before due to lack of space.
The Corner House in Southwick uses it on Tuesday afternoons and on Wednesday mornings, Shoreham Home Education meets up.
Adur Woodcraft Folk runs its Elfins group on Wednesdays from 5pm to 6.30pm, for children aged three and under, and Fridays, 10am to 11am, for children aged three to five.
Other groups have booked for one-off meetings, like the Shoreham Society Christmas party.
The space has a large room with tea and coffee making facilities and a toilet. Contact project manager Rosie Denham on 07758947445 for more information.