His Royal Highness Prince Charles, December 2021 visit to Poundbury.
Picture: Finnbarr Webster/Duchy of Cornwall

On the 6th December His Royal Highness Prince Charles, Duke of Cornwall formally opened Pavilion in The Park (PiP), built and run by us.

Before raising the funds to build PiP, we ran our operations from a garden garage in Frampton, so the move to a purpose-built premises with an office, community/training room and revenue-generating café has been transformative.

Helena Conibear CEO of the AET commented, “We now have a wonderful building, designed for us by The Prince’s Foundation, that fits so perfectly on The Great Field. It enables us as a charity to host diversionary activities for young people, to be a community hub, raise much needed funds for our work and gives us a permanent home at last. We are so grateful to the amazing funders that made our dream come true from individuals, crowd funders, Sport England, The Town and Dorset Councils, Low Carbon Dorset and The Duchy of Cornwall.”

PiP is very eco-friendly with solar panels, air source heating, reclaimed tiles, paving and pallets/scaffolding boards used in the interior. Visitors to the café can borrow books from the community book swap or support under 25’s by buying their artwork. When the play equipment opens in the New Year, the café will also have an outside ping pong table, raised beds and a bird feeding station, as well as more picnic tables.

Jason Bowerman, Duchy of Cornwall Estate Development Manager, stated, “The Duchy of Cornwall is delighted to see the new headquarters of the AET, with associated café, established. The Pavilion (PiP), is the result of a major planning and fundraising exercise by the Trust. Construction was undertaken during a time of quite unforeseeable restrictions and it is a credit to both the Trustees and CG Fry and Son, that such a high quality and valuable resource has been delivered during the pandemic. PiP will complement the major works undertaken by the Duchy on The Great Field, especially the play equipment currently being installed. The result is a wonderfully diverse area for both visitors and residents of Dorchester. The Duchy is pleased to have been able to support the project and welcomes the AET to their new home”.

Philip Fry Managing Director of CG Fry commented, “We have very much enjoyed working on this project with Helena and the team. We have carried out the building and design work on this project on a no profit basis, as we felt that it would provide a valuable asset for the community as well as supporting a charity doing great work within the community. It is good to see how well the finished building looks in The Great Field.”

Les Fry Dorset Councillor and Dorchester Town Councillor commented,“ This building is a significant asset for Dorchester and users of The Great Field; the café is very well used by a wide range of people of all ages, it is good to see the meeting room being utilised by local organisations too. As a member of Rotary, we have taken the opportunity to hold meetings here and the staff and atmosphere have been excellent. For me personally the café is a great location for small one to one or event planning meetings and enables me to support a very worthwhile cause by sampling the excellent cakes!”