Wetherdown Lodge will never win any architectural awards. Indeed this ex-naval accommodation is typical of many utilitarian buildings of the 1960s which have since been torn down and rebuilt.
However, it's fundamental to our ethos that we first try to work with resources, rather than dispose of them. We also saw the potential for creating excellent new accommodation for people visiting the Centre, enabling them to spend longer with us. We therefore took the decision to embark on a total refurbishment, and create a model of sustainability in the process.
Features of the Refurbished Wetherdown Lodge
What We Have Achieved
The project has given an existing resource a new lease of life, as well as provided the Centre with an important asset. Crucially, our sustainable energy solutions have reduced energy consumption by a remarkable 80%. Much of the lodge's remaining energy needs are supplied by renewable energy.
Equally important is that Wetherdown Lodge shows what could be achieved with thousands of other schools, community centres, public buildings and housing. We have proved that it is more cost-effective, and clearly more sustainable, to improve rather than demolish.
This project has received support from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund.
South Downs Eco Lodge
As many of our regular visitors will know, one wing of our eco-hostel (formerly an accommodation block for HMS Mercury) has been awaiting transformation since 1995. We have decided that it deserves to take priority in our building transformation programme, so that more school children can come and stay here.
We have been working on detailed plans for the past few months and hope to start early in 2020.
This new wing will have 12 new ensuite rooms; a specially fitted room for wheelchair users; a ‘changing places’ toilet; a kitchen, a common room and a staff flat.
The outside will be clad with western red cedar from a local plantation and a new ground-source heat pump will contribute to an overall carbon saving of over 50%.
Our programme of ‘learning alongside the build’ will create opportunities for training in eco-build techniques for many, including young people as part of their apprenticeship.
Thank you to all those who have contributed to our fundraising. We have already raised an amazing £682,000 and have a few funding bids under consideration. With the help of our supporters we are confident of reaching our total of £925,000 in time.