Deputy Lieutenant for East Sussex Deborah Bedford JP officially opened the East Sussex Children’s Respite Centre in Uckfield on Thursday.
The Charity behind the project is the Children’s Respite Trust and guests at the ceremony heard how the Centre will provide day-care for disabled children in East Sussex and beyond. The Trust’s Chief Executive and Founder, Gavin Fisher, explained to a packed room how their work began eight years ago and includes support-work throughout the community as well as advocacy work and now day-care.
The building which began life as the Uckfield Press in the 1800s and was the birth place of the Friday Advertiser 40 years ago had become derelict in recent years and the Children’s Respite Trust has worked tirelessly over the past year to sympathetically restore it and turn it into a fun children’s environment.
Mr Fisher thanked staff, volunteers and supporters and said of the occasion: “I’m enormously proud that we have managed to help so many families who are struggling to cope with the 24 / 7 demands of caring for a child with a disability. It has been a privilege to have worked alongside the team who have made this possible and I greatly look forward to us being able to help many more children and families at this very special new Centre.”
The Centre looks set to undergo further developments as Holmewood House School in Tunbridge Wells pledged to fund the installation of a lift along with fellow funders, the Uckfield Lions Club and the DM Thomas Foundation.
In opening the Centre Mrs Bedford JP cut the ribbon to the soft play area along with Mr Fisher and Trustee, Kate Davies.
Mrs Bedford JP congratulated Mr Fisher and his staff, volunteers and supporters on their achievement and said of the Centre:“It is indeed an amazingly fun, colourful and caring place. The children can expect to have a wonderful time and everyone involved can be rightly proud to have stepped up to the plate and fulfilled such a much-needed service.”
The event finished with a plea for supporters not to stop now, as the Trust must continue to raise funds to ensure the centre and all of the Trust’s services continue to run for generations to come.
Michelle Hulse, Centre Manager explained at whom the Children Respite Trust is aimed and why the Trust has created this environment.
And then went on to tell Uckfield FM of the plans for the future.
ALL IMAGES by Ron Hill (HillPhotographic)