Second Chance Chichester first anniversary

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On March 14, 2023, in a storage unit just off Terminus Road, the then Mayor, Cllr Julian Joy, declared open the headquarters of Second Chance Chichester. In the 12 months since then, this modest concern has helped to make life a little easier for more than 50 people suffering severe hardship.

It had taken more than a year to find the right premises and to complete the complex work on tenancy, insurance and setting up a Community Interest Company (CIC). But it paid off. SCC has enabled its clients to start making an empty house a home.

At the same time some 1,000 items of quality office and domestic furniture, as well as white and electrical goods, have been given a second life rather than ending up in a skip. By reusing a sofa instead of producing a replacement, about 90kg of carbon is saved; if recycled, half that amount.

Opening of Second Chance Chichester.Opening of Second Chance Chichester.
Opening of Second Chance Chichester.

All this has been achieved by a dedicated band of volunteers, with our strategic partners doing the voucher verification.

Business2Schools, run by Lindsey Parslow, has helped with a supply of sofas, tables, chairs, microwaves and fridges from office refurbishments, which are surplus to the requirements of her schools. Members of the public have donated high-quality furniture and household items. Panther Van Hire have been generous in providing transport at no cost for collection and delivery. Recently we took in the Chichester Crafters, who had been made homeless from Graylingwell. They have added a new dimension to our purpose by repairing, restoring and upcycling furniture.

To all those involved, my grateful and heartfelt thanks. Your reward is that by allowing clients who have no resources to choose the items they so desperately need, you have added to their self-esteem and wellbeing. In doing so you are also helping the environment by reducing waste.

The mother of one client said it was the first time she had seen her daughter smile in a very long while.

Premises in Leigh Road.Premises in Leigh Road.
Premises in Leigh Road.

Finance was always the issue. The main asset and expenditure are the building, utilities and rates. SCC has no sales income.

The people we help have no money to buy even essential items. Cost-of-living increases, higher rents and mortgages mean that the need is greater, than ever, with one in five families in poverty and the Foodbank doubling its numbers. Local authorities now rely on charities and organisations like ours to help these people.

We were lucky to receive a private donation to cover the first-year expenditure. Other donations from sponsors and members of the public have been vital.

Being a new start-up, we were turned down three times by the Charity Commission[2], which requires evidence of a track record. Hence our establishment as a Community Interest Company (CIC).

Unfortunately, fundraising is more difficult for a CIC because it is in competition with existing charities and does not have access to many possible sources, nor to tax relief on business rates. We did manage to secure some of the latter, but the business plan depended on our having funding from the District Council[3] to cover second-year expenditure until SCC became a charity.

We were encouraged to apply for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, part of the Levelling Up monies that are so prominent in the national and local news. We were shocked that the new LibDem-run Council turned down a grant, saying the monies had to be prioritised because its funds are so tight.

It would appear that CDC’s own ‘fun’ projects, such as Culture Spark, a laser light-show at the Canal basin, and the council’s own Cross Market in North and East Streets, have taken precedence. These are hardly what the Levelling Up money was intended for. Why were they given priority over support for people in crisis and desperate need? No wonder central government is questioning how the Levelling Up funds are being used. Ironically, CDC Supporting You is the principal user of Second Chance Chichester.

It is, frankly, uncertain whether SCC will reach its second birthday, but we will carry on as long as we can. The need out there is great.


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  2. ^ Charity Commission (
  3. ^ District Council (