Lessons in setting up a community project

Justine Clement
8 min readNov 4, 2019

I’ve always loved the sea. I grew up in Cornwall and my grandparents, who we’d stay with several times a year, lived along the coast of the Gower peninsula, in Wales. I felt lucky, spending summer weekends by the beach and winter months on coastal walks along some of the most awe-inspiring scenery in Britain.

But I didn’t just love looking out to sea, I loved being in it too. I didn’t think about it too much back then, it was just the way it was and I assumed everyone felt the same. My Dad would take me to the beach and teach me how to dive into the oncoming waves, respecting but enjoying the power of the ocean along Cornwall’s Atlantic coast. And as I grew older, I continued to gravitate to the coast. My university choice was Bournemouth, lying on the equally beautiful, but rather busier, Dorset coastline. And then a few years later, life led me to live on a big freshwater lake — Garda, in Northern Italy.

Water is in my blood, there’s no doubt about it. Anything to do with swimming in the sea, lake, or a river excites me. I love vintage sea bathing scenes depicted in posters and photography. I love the recent surge in refurbing old worn out lidos. Locations which tap into this culture call out to me. Margate is one, playing host to a beautiful brand called Haekels which uses sustainable methods to gather seaweed to produce wonderful natural skincare. I adored their Kickstarter campaign to build an old-fashioned sea bathing machine –those incredible looking huts-on-wheels that Victorian ladies used to get changed in. Haekels is the perfect example of a beautiful business built on ethics and driven by a passion for the sea.

Selsey comes a-calling

For the past 17 years, despite spending much of my time in, or just outside London in nearby Surrey, I’ve had my sea fixes from Selsey, a little seaside town near Chichester, West Sussex. Selsey is often overlooked by its neighbours, which I’m quite pleased about in a way. Crowds queue for hours to get to nearby West Wittering and pass by this little gem of a place without a second glance. Yet not only does Selsey have a rich fishing heritage, described…