What students are saying about Chabad's new Garden Terrace:

"The garden space at Chabad has been a G‑d send. Having a private and outdoor space where you can see your friends and access community while still being able to feel safe is incomparable. After a year of feeling isolated and disconnected from the Brighton and Hove Jewish community apart from a few minutes of contact here and there, the luxury of a safe space like this is not lost on me. I’m so grateful to the Lottery Fund for their support in this, it means the world to this Jewish student." - Talia Fogelman, University of Sussex



"Chabad on Campus in Brighton has brought me so much closer to my Judaism that I could have ever imagined. The Garden Terrace is a great space for us to still connect with one another while still following the rules relating to COVID. This was where I was able to enjoy multiple Shabbat lunches and also where I had my (belated!) Bar Mitzvah." - Leonard 'David Aryeh' Barkley

A COVID-Safe Facility
As the COVID-19 restrictions dragged on, it became obvious to the team at Chabad and to our members and community, that without a COVID-safe facility, we couldn't really support our students and beneficiaries.

The solution?
Transform our tired, dull uneven concrete to a warm, welcoming outdoor space. 



TNL Community Fund
The project, generously funded by TNL (The National Lottery) Community Fund's COVID-19 support, was an ambitious project, carefully designed to restore and enhance the rear outdoor space of Chabad's Grade II listed community centre.

The result?
A fantastic transformation. The pictures and testimonials speak for themselves.




Chabad Garden Terrace
Since the project's completion, Chabad's Garden Terrace has welcomed students and community members to safely meet in person. The inviting space has enabled us to bring our Community Centre back to life.

What's in the Garden Terrace?
The floor has been leveled and paved with 'Raj Green' Indian sandstone, providing 50sq meters of open space.

The pergola occupies the back half of the area, and includes an all-weather retractable awning, lighting and heating.

Matching furniture and planters add further warmth and comfort to the Garden Terrace.

What happens at the Garden Terrace?
Students and community members meet.

For as long as indoor gatherings were unsafe, every Friday afternoon, students popped over to pick up a special Shabbat dinner package to enjoy on Friday night. After the completion of the Garden Terrace in May 2021, instead of having to stand awkwardly on the front garden path, student were able sit safely in the enclosed Garden Terrace out the back, chat and socialise. And that's precisely what they do.

Ironically, while our Friday afternoons changed significantly during COVID, it offered an upside too. We had to plan ahead, knowing that for most of the afternoon, we'd be speaking to and supporting our students outside. No time for last minute Shabbat kitchen preparations.

Students haven't had it easy during COVID. Many have felt very lonely and isolated. Instead of having the opportunities to meet others, make friends, party and hang out, they've been stuck in restrictive university accomodation, which often can hardly be called a real home.

Throughout the week, the Garden Terrace welcomed a steady stream of beneficiaries, who'd pop over for a coffee and a chat. Human interaction is so important - and so greatly appreciated by our members.

As the risks of severe illness lifted, and with it the restrictions, much of our activities moved back indoors. But the Garden Terrace remains a much loved and popular space, where students can hang out and enjoy company. It also serves as a fantastic space for our annual Sukkah, as can be seen on this picture.

What did the works entail?
Sigh. Oh dear. 

As the Chabad House is a Grade II listed building, built in 1818, we put much thought in to how to ensure the works were sympathetic to the character of the property and neighbourhood.

  The project included restoration of the deteriorating garden walls; no small feat when working with Brighton’s signature historic bungaroosh flint walls. The original access to the rear alleyway behind the property was reopened, and now boasts a full height gate, providing secure access for when necessary. 

The area had 3 different levels; the result of dilapidated sheds that were removed some years ago. So those areas had to be filled and leveled, before the paving stones could be laid.

P44 outdoor waterproof electricity was installed, to power the heating and lighting. Finally, the construction of the pergola, and matching fencing, plus the installation of the awning.

All in all, the landscapers were on site for four weeks. We'd be remiss if we did not mention our brilliant and talented landscaper Ben of The little tree co., and of course Tag Tagag, for miraculously turning our dead concrete into the magical space it is now.

The project architect, Dan Press of Purcell Architecture Limited, is a University of Brighton alumni, who regularly attended Shabbat dinners and events at Chabad as a student. Having him guide us with his professional knowledge, and his own firsthand understanding of our work with the students, enabled us to ensure all aspects of the design would be just right.

What else happens in the
Garden Terrace?

Shabbat lunch every Saturday is now a standard provision to our community. A chance to meet, eat and interact, all safely outdoors, come rain or shine.

We've hosted a student's belated Bar Mitzvah and a number of socials, all while conforming to the current guidelines of max 30 outdoors.

It's busy again at Chabad. We're delighted to be active again, and our community are too. 

Here's what the Jewish Chronicle had to say
(Friday, 14th May 2021)