Press Release: Charities join forces to provide social day care services

Against the background of increasing closures of care facilities for the elderly, nationally and in East Sussex, local people working for their community are forging their own way ahead to meet the needs of a growing elderly population.

Local solution found as central funding for hospital’s day care centre dries up

Social day care at Crowborough Hospital has been assured thanks to the innovative thinking of two local charities and the sympathetic cooperation of East Sussex Healthcare Trust (ESHT).

Until April this year the two-days-a-week service had been paid for by the NHS. However, the Friends of Crowborough Hospital were warned a year ago that funding would cease in April 2014 because NHS funding does not cover social day care.

The Friends – with a healthy reserve fund helped in no small way by the annual Hospital Fete which last year raised more than £16,000 – decided to step in to ensure that social day care continued seamlessly in the hospital’s Day Centre. It is now paying East Sussex Healthcare Trust to run the service but, in the meantime, has been looking to commission an alternative, permanent provider.

Rotherfield St Martin, a local award winning charity set up in Rotherfield, just to the east of Crowborough, has been chosen to run the service when the current arrangement with ESHT winds down in a few months’ time. The Rotherfield St Martin (RSM) organisation, set up by Jo Evans in 2005 has gone from strength to strength and now delivers a wide range of services to elderly residents in their village and surrounding area, including day care, volunteer drivers, classes in arts and crafts, yoga, exercise, bridge and computing. It also provides bereavement counselling and helps people stay in their own homes with services such as befrienders, obtaining tradesmen and small DIY.

Chantal Wilson, Chairman of the Friends, said:

“We are delighted that RSM are keen to take on the social day care needs in Crowborough. They are a very imaginative and caring organisation and will bring experience and new ideas to day care in Crowborough. We are now in a transitional phase which will allow us to work out all the contractual and organisational details between the three parties with a view to starting the new service in the autumn.

The survival of social day care in Crowborough is a powerful and innovative example of the current trend towards ‘localism and empowering communities’. At the heart of its success has been the cooperation of the healthcare trust which manages Crowborough Hospital and ability of one local charity to commission another to provide a much-needed service on an NHS site”.

Jo Evans, BEM, Founder and Charity Manager of Rotherfield St Martin, said:

“We are thrilled that the success of our charity and our recent efforts in successfully publicising the model and mentoring new groups, both locally and elsewhere, have led to this arrangement with Friends of Crowborough Hospital.

Recent awards and recognition from both N.G.O’s and central and local governments have only added to our conviction that our methods and ethos can and should be taken up wherever possible. This latest exciting and innovative opportunity to work in partnership with Friends of Crowborough Hospital form a part of this conviction.”

Note for Editors:

•​ Rotherfield St Martin (RSM – Registered Charity No. 1119458) was launched in September 2005. From small beginnings – six people at a tea-and-cakes afternoon – the registered charity has become a strong, supportive and caring facility for senior citizens in Rotherfield. By 2010 around 60 people were attending each Monday session, enjoying a range of speakers, entertainment and activities and overall membership was 250, now 350. Volunteers now number 140. Provision of more comprehensive services required a permanent base and a full-time project co-ordinator. This came about in 2008 after a successful application to the Big Lottery Fund – Reaching Communities. Since then RSM has been supported by several other organisations including Rotherfield Parish Council, Sussex Community Foundation, St Denys’ Church, Lloyds TSB, the Mercers Company, Comic Relief, Awards for All and The Tudor Trust. And recognition has come locally- Wealden District Council; East Sussex County Council, and nationally from the Centre for Social Justice, and ‘Public Health Hero’ award and ongoing consultations with the Department of Health.

•​The Friends of Crowborough Hospital (FoCH – Registered Charity No. 231379) is a registered charity led by local people who work voluntarily raising funds to support our local hospital and all it has to offer local people. The Friends was originally created in 1948 and has a long and proud history of providing both funds and volunteers for our local hospital. Over the years the Friends have funded several major rebuilding projects at the hospital, including £1.5 million towards its redevelopment in 1999. The Friends support all the departments – the main hospital ward, the outpatients and minor injuries units; the Birthing Centre; the Day Centre; and Grove House. Traditionally facilities and home comforts beyond the basic statutory provisions are provided to all these departments, but more recently the Friends have funded strategically important service provision, such as a local specialist peri-natal mental health service, and now on-site social day care.

For more information contact:
Chantal Wilson, Chairman, Friends of Crowborough Hospital.
Tel: 01892 654033

Jo Evans, Founder & Charity Manager, Rotherfield St Martin
Tel: 01892 853021