£43,000 needed for Horsham Christian Centre to ‘transform’

JPCT 081013 Christian Centre refurbishment. The bookshop and cafe needs to raise �43,000. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 081013 Christian Centre refurbishment. The bookshop and cafe needs to raise �43,000. Photo by Derek Martin

More than £40,000 needs to be raised for refurbishment at one of Horsham’s landmark cafes as part of continuing efforts to save it from closure.

The Horsham Christian Centre is a bookshop and cafe located at the top of the Causeway. It has been operating at a loss, prompting plans to ‘transform’ the shop.

Husband and wife team Paul and Rosemary Couchman are the programme managers on The Centre Transformation Team which is hoping to raise the £43,000 needed for the shop’s redevelopment.

Paul, 54, said: “The plans are necessary to give the centre the appeal they want it to have for the broader community.

“The customers are very loyal. Some people come here regularly so we don’t want to lose that, but we want to get more people.

“But the place has to be different from what it is now so we can get people to come here.”

The plans to ‘transform’ the Centre includes a full refurbishment of the ground floor, a new cafe lounge on the first floor and a prayer room with trained ‘listeners’.

Rosemary, 51, said customers would be ‘devastated’ if the centre closed - which it would have to do if it continued to make a loss.

She said: “People have said they would be devastated if it closed.

“This is a very historic building and ideally positioned at the top of the Causeway. In its redevelopment we want to be sympathetic to the age of the building and bring out its best features.”

Some £2,000 has been raised for the centre so far thanks to a fundraising quiz night and donations received.

The Centre Transformation Team is hopeful that works can begin later this year.

The team has conducted extensive market research, which has revealed that, by their count, there are 26 cafes in Horsham with 1,241 seats.

Paul said: “With the plans we have got, we can turn it from loss making into a modest profit.

“It is a friendly place - our motto is ‘a place to meet friends and make friends’, so we don’t want to lose the essence of that.”

Rosemary added: “It is for people from further afield as well because people come here from Worthing, East Grinstead and Crawley.”

If anyone wishes to donate, email transformation@crownbookshorsham.co.uk, phone 01403 218821.

Or visit the shop at 4/5 South Street, Horsham.