24 July 2017
The Chequer Mead Community Arts Centre in East Grinstead has secured a £53,500 grant from Mid Sussex District Council for building refurbishments and improvements.
The arts and entertainment venue has undergone a number of significant upgrades over the past nine months, which include new accommodation for East Grinstead Police, a new box-office area, office space and the conversion of the old gallery into two new studios. The renovation works have transformed these areas of Chequer Mead but they have also highlighted the need to bring other areas of the centre up to the same standard.
The Chequer Mead Arts and Community Trust aim to continue with the modernisation of the 150-year-old venue and applied to Mid Sussex District Council for a grant to support the work. The £53,500 funding, 50% of the total cost of the project, was formally confirmed by Mid Sussex District Council on Thursday 13th July.
Solar panels will be installed on the roof to provide Chequer Mead with a cleaner, greener and more sustainable source of energy. The panels will have a significant impact on energy bills, saving the centre around £3,000 per year on electricity costs.
A glass porch has been added to the entrance to provide the new open plan box-office area with greater protection from the weather. The previous single door entrance offered little defence against the cold, wind and rain but the new porch will create a much warmer interior during the cold winter months.
The dance and music rehearsal room, which is one of the most well used areas of Chequer Mead, is desperately in need of refurbishment so it will be fully upgraded to the same standard as the new studios. The sandstone brickwork at the front of the building has also become dirty and weathered over the past 150 years so it will undergo a thorough clean and repointing to repair the damaged mortar.
Rex Whittaker, Chairman of the Chequer Mead Arts and Community Trust said:
“We’re absolutely thrilled to have secured this funding from Mid Sussex District Council and we can’t wait to get started on the next phase of our improvement works.
“These renovations will enable us to dramatically improve the quality of rooms for local people to hire, enable us to generate our own sustainable energy and make the building much more attractive.
“Chequer Mead is an important part of the East Grinstead community and I’m sure everyone around the town will be delighted to hear about this investment.”
Councillor Jonathan Ash-Edwards, Mid Sussex District Council Cabinet Member for Resources and Economic Growth added:
“The Chequer Mead Arts and Community Trust staff and volunteers work so hard to provide local people with access to quality live performances, meeting spaces and other social events.
“It’s community groups like these that make Mid Sussex such a fantastic place to live and I’m proud that we are able to support Chequer Mead with this grant funding. I hope this financial support will help them to continue all the excellent work they are doing and assist Chequer Mead to become more financially sustainable for the long term.”