‘We’ve created a Thing!’
By Chana James
18th January 2016
This is our first blog post about how we created Champing™ and made it into an actual Thing! I thought Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) South East Regional Director, Peter Aiers, was joking when he asked me to look into how we can make camping in churches into something that people will do! After I’d finished laughing, I began to think that it was quite a cool idea, but I still had no idea where to start.
Watch the video below to see Peter, the bearded Champing™ Supremo himself, talking about how the idea evolved and demonstrating some of the boundless enthusiasm that made Champing™ a reality!
In the beginning
Back in 2014, we came across the Wonderful Canoe2 at a local tourism event. They really liked our idea and between us we thought we could put together a package. Canoe2 operate along the River Nene, which flows near to All Saints’ Church, Aldwincle in a beautiful part of rural Northamptonshire and we found that outdoor activities, good local food and a sense of adventure are perfect partners when it comes to Champing™. And so our first Champing™ Church was born. From this model, we branched out to three, four and now ten churches across the estate of The Churches Conservation Trust.
Champing™ has been great at capturing people’s imaginations and sparking debate about the modern use of historic buildings. We’ve had really great feedback from people who’ve stayed and also some incredible media coverage from all over the world, including National Geographic Traveller and The New York Times! We’ve arrived!
It’s easy being green
People love that Champing™ is innovative and can demonstrate green credentials such as Eco Toilets and sustainable tourism. Champing™ supports the local economy and champions local businesses and other tourist attractions. Funds generated by Champing™ supports The Churches Conservation Trust, who in turn support these lovely buildings (you could say it’s a win-win situation).
Champing™ is the ultimate in pop-up accomodation and everything is put away again at the end of the champ by our lovely Champing™ Crew ready for regular visitors, as demonstrated by our time-lapse video which was filmed in the chilly depths of winter, see below!