This is how a Sussex charity is making a big difference by re-opening day care services after lockdown

A woman who suffered a malignant brain tumour aged just 12 is thrilled a Sussex charity has reopened some of its day services.

Before Lockdown, Kathryn went to The Leisure and Skills Centre at Chailey Heritage Foundation three days a week.

It was crucial both in terms of the physical exercise she was able to do in the gym, and also for social interaction.

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The Covid pandemic meant that the charity was forced to close the Centre to visitors.

Chailey Heritage Kathryn's story SUS-211207-131145001

Now it has reopened and people like Kathryn, now aged 29 and from Nutley, are over the moon.

She said: “Chailey helps me so much to strengthen my arm and leg. It was six years ago that mum found out about the great work that the charity does, and it does mean so much to me.

“The gym there is so important to me. It really helps me and I saw the benefits immediately.

“We did use WhatsApp to connect with gym staff once or twice during Lockdown but I have really missed it. I love the staff and people who go there, it’s really nice to all be able to get together again.

“I was using the cross trainer at home but I am so grateful now to be back. It is making a real positive difference to me once again.”

Jo Butterworth manages The LSC and she is ‘absolutely buzzing’ that it has reopened.

Jo said: “It has felt very special reopening the facilities and we have been very busy with enquiries. It was so lovely seeing the smile on people’s faces when they came back through the door for the first time after Lockdown.

“When Lockdown came, our doors shut overnight. It was heart-breaking, knowing how much our services mean to our customers. It was very sad.

“We’re proud that we were able to stay open just for those people who live on site here but it was a limited service.”

The LSC is open to those aged 16 plus living in the community and prior to Covid, was busy with customers who came from Sussex Surrey and Kent on a regular basis.

Jo said “The accessible gym and spa are hugely important. Other offers include massage, art, drama, music therapy, immersive services, wheelchair football, table top cricket, and we also have the amazing Patchwork Farm.

“We have noticed a huge difference in some of our people who have not been able to come here. Some had diminished muscle flexibility, and of course we have also had to consider the mental health aspect.

“Many were stuck at home shielding. I know from conversations with them though, that they, and their families and carers, feel safe at Chailey Heritage.”

Chailey Heritage Foundation is a charity providing education, care and transition services to children and young adults with complex physical disabilities. Their mission is to give disabled children and young adults every opportunity to pursue their fullest potential.