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Crawley play marks Breast Cancer Awareness month

Crowdfunding for the play has almost reached its target and closes at the end of the day today (8 October).



Bodies' Nicholas Owen; Mayor Carlos Castro; Rebecca Dorkins, Olive Tree Trustee; Henry Smith MP; Alyson Smith, Olive Tree Fundraising Manager; Mukul Ahmed Director.

Emerging from Blood Cancer Awareness month into the pink focus surrounding Breast Cancer Awareness some of the realities of having a cancer diagnosis were highlighted upon with a newly written play ‘Bodies’ at The Hawth on Monday October 1st with donations taken and raffle tickets sold for the Olive Tree Cancer support centre on the night.

The evening was attended by many Olive Tree supporters, those who have links in supporting those with cancer in the Crawley and wider Sussex community.

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It included dignitaries such as the Mayor of Crawley Carlos Castro, BBC News reader and Olive Tree President Nicholas Owen and Crawley MP Henry Smith who also chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group for Blood Cancer awareness and is an active Olive Tree supporter.

Written by Raminder Kaur, the Crawley-based artistic company Sohaya Visions and collaborated with the Mukul and Ghetto Tigers with funding from the Arts Council to allow the team to research, focus, develop, perform, and expand the script.

When one in two people are likely to get cancer in their lifetime knowing what to do and how to deal with it becomes more important. Bodies is an experimental, multi-media show that combines tragedy with comedy, weaving ancient Indian and contemporary stories about dilemmas of the body, mind and people’s experiences with cancer.

A Question and Answer session took place after the play which was chaired by Nicholas Owen and brought the team of performers and creatives some great feedback.

Kusum Chaplain manager of the Cancer Research UK Windsor shop said, “the play should be taken to more locations to improve the conversation around cancer” and, “the performance was awesome” MP Henry Smith thought: “It has been a very moving performance which goes across the spectrum of peoples experience of cancer….a remarkable show” and has shown his support on Twitter for the project.

Shine member Craig Bakin said, “the music, acting and effects and characters were very interesting and inspirational, it was wonderful”.

Shine is a unique charity which supports young adults from ages 20-50 with all cancers across the UK including Shine Sussex that hosts local meet ups.

Nicholas Owen reflected: “From personal experience-I recognise so many bits. I think you did a difficult job in a fascinating way with some marvellous comedic moments”.

Bodies is a new Spacehive crowdfunded initiative backed by Crawley Borough Council with a fantastic £800 pledge. The Crowdfunding page really needs some more pledges- £5, £10 and upwards would be very helpful as the crowdfunding closes at the end of the day today (October 8th). At the time of publication, the crowdfunding page has reached £1,680 out of its £1,808 target.

“Spacehive crowdfunding is an all or nothing model and we will only receive the total money including the pledge from Crawley Council if we reach the target. This will allow us to provide funds for: videography and Crawley photographer David Dawes to make the parts of the play available for all to view online, improve educational awareness and community engagement and based on feedback to develop Bodies to perform again to widen, share and improve the cancer conversation with this new artistic artform.”


Crawley’s first ever ‘Free Supermarket’ opens in Three Bridges to support community



On Sunday (8th November} Crawley’s first ever ‘free supermarket’ opened its doors to the local community.

The Free Shop Crawley is a store run by volunteers with the sole purpose of providing locals with food, toiletries and baby essentials without any associated cost.

Inspired by Marcus Rashford and his campaign to have school meals funded year-round, the stores inception came about when four local women shared a common desire to create a safe place for people in need to come and receive help without fear or shame.

Laura-Jane Wainwright, one of the founders of Free Shop Crawley said:

“Having used food banks in the past, I know first-hand how degrading it can feel.  We wanted to create a dignified space where anyone in need could come and access essentials in a friendly and inclusive environment. The thought of children going to bed hungry and adults losing sleep over financial anxiety broke our hearts and we knew we had to use our skills and resources to help”

Shoppers are encouraged to take up to 10 items from the shop each visit giving them a full basket of daily necessities. Anyone is eligible to visit the store and although there is a ticketing system in place the team are ready to welcome anyone who is in need.

The shop offers a fresh produce section, toiletries and sanitary care, tinned and dried goods, nappies and formula and even children’s clothing and toys.

In week one alone, over 100 people have been fed by the shops offering, showing just how big a need there is for support in not just this area but country wide.

Local businesses have been quick to support the store donating essentials by the van load, even down to kitting out the shop with shelving, tables and hanging racks. Companies including Asda, Co-op and Tilgate Bakery have committed to donate to the store each week.

Free Shop Crawley can be found at CJ’s café, Kingsland Court, Three Bridges, Crawley, RH10 1HL, on Sundays from 2pm-4pm.

Anyone wishing to donate or find out more can visit the Free Shop Crawley Facebook page  or contact the team direct on

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