A derelict building transformed back into a thriving Club

After more than 30 years of trading, the business was badly neglected and the fabric of the building and its facilities were all but derelict. The recession compounded Wickwoods’ decline and it looked unlikely that the business could be resurrected.

In early 2010 the party was over. Wickwoods had closed its doors forever it seemed and, aside from the loss of a great venue and club, locals lost their jobs and local suppliers lost an important client.

In March 2010, Lee Goossens, who was the owner between 2000 and 2005 and had run the business relatively successfully during that time, bought the business back with the support of an established group of like-minded investors.

Against all odds and in the depth of the recession, Wickwoods began to give back to the local community and economy again. First to benefit were local builders and tradesman involved in the extensive, four -year initial refurbishment. This provided vital work at a time when there was very little. The business then re-opened in June 2010 with the help of some original staff, while other local people were hired as receptionists, chefs, restaurant staff and therapists. Today over 50 jobs have been created. Local suppliers were contracted to supply the business again and now over £1 million is spent annually with local firms who supply everything from wine and produce through to stationery and printing. Even the electricity is purchased through a local firm in Worthing.

Lee Goossens, the company’s Managing Director says: “Wickwoods had been at the heart of the local community for over 30 years and I always felt that, with the right level of investment, Wickwoods could be developed into a leading lifestyle venue. It is a special place and holds fond memories for a lot of local people. Many families have enjoyed the facilities over the years, and Wickwoods has hosted hundreds of weddings and other family celebrations. I must have been mad! It’s been really tough but I’m incredibly proud of what the team at and behind Wickwoods have achieved”.

Wickwoods-2015

Lee, with support from investors, undertook a major refurbishment and development programme. New, modern facilities were built to complement the refurbished facilities and with the help of a dedicated team, Wickwoods is now recognised as Sussex’s leading lifestyle venue.

The facilities are comprehensive and membership of the Club includes a gym, swimming pool, hydrotherapy pool, exercise classes, both indoor and outdoor tennis courts, a beauty treatment suite known as Your Spa, an exceptional restaurant (The Glass House), as well as a function suite and hotel rooms.

Your Spa at Wickwoods has received Guinot’s Gold Crown status and The Glass House Restaurant was awarded Best New Eatery by Bright FM when it opened in 2014.

Wickwoods hosts numerous events; live music, tribute night, murder mysteries, discos, parties, weddings and numerous other family celebrations. It is a popular Christmas party venue for local businesses and also hosts ladies’ nights for a number of Masonic Lodges. Heart FM’s ‘Jack The Lad’ even hosts a regular quiz night.

Aside from being an amazing entertainment venue and leading lifestyle club, Wickwoods Country Club & Spa deserves recognition for its ongoing contribution to and impact on the local community, particularly during the recession.

Wickwoods remains a truly local, Downland village business in every sense, providing a service for it’s valued Members, employment and business opportunities for locals.