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Olympic Champion announced as ambassador for Age UK in Vélo South event

Sally Gunnell OBE has been announced as Age UK West Sussex’s official ambassador for the Vélo South 100-mile cycle.



Sally Gunnell OBE remains the only woman ever to hold four major track titles concurrently – Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth. Following her retirement from international athletics, Sally developed a new career as a television presenter and motivational speaker. She has written four books on fitness, health, self-fulfilment and wellbeing.

Vélo South is one of only two fully closed road 100-mile sportives this year and Age UK West Sussex is pleased to announce Olympic Champion Sally Gunnell as its official ambassador for West Sussex’s exciting new challenge in support of older people across the county at the cycling event of the year on Sunday 23rd September 2018.

More news: Crawley community group shortlisted to receive £4000 grant

Taking in the gorgeous surroundings of her home county of West Sussex, Sally will be tackling this special 100-mile fully closed road sportive with other riders supporting Age UK West Sussex. After her professional success on the track Sally has maintained her healthy lifestyle by taking on a number of amateur challenges.

Sally says:

“I love keeping my mind and body active. To sustain motivation I always recommend individuals link it to goals throughout the year. One of my goals this year is to raise money for a fantastic local, community-minded cause. Both my parents and in-laws are in their 80s and it is important to me that they are looked after. With the ageing population, I know the importance of looking after ourselves and those around us, so come and join me for Vélo South, and cycle around West Sussex to help raise funds for Age UK West Sussex and older people in our county.”

Sally Gunnell OBE

So if you’re feeling ready to mix things up and take on the green, traffic-free roads of West Sussex, Vélo South offers the perfect setting to get the girls together, challenge the boys or cycle the roads of the South Downs with your family. Celebrate your community and ride this one together for Age UK West Sussex. No one should have no one and Age UK West Sussex’s services are here to bring older people together.

Places are extremely limited and will sell out fast, so to be part of something really special, visit

“Entry costs just £40 per person with a commitment to raising only £400 for our very local charity. Every penny of which will go to help older people in West Sussex enjoy later life and live independently for longer:

  • £5 funds a home cooked 2-course lunch at one of our lunch clubs or a weekly trip to one of our social events
  • £10 funds an hour’s tea and chat from one of our home visitors or two keep fit classes
  • £40 funds an activity day for someone with dementia – giving much needed respite to their often older carer and stimulating and warm support to those living with this dreadful condition
  • £95 funds a six week course of support for someone just home from hospital – they can be discharged sooner knowing there is help at hand to get them back onto their feet and into the community
  • £700 funds one of our social activity centres for a day enabling hundreds of older people to socialise, keep fit and warm and eat well”

Vélo South will take 15,000 riders of all ability levels on a truly unforgettable journey through the stunning West Sussex countryside. Enjoying the lush scenery of the South Downs National Park as you start and finishing the amazing cycling journey at the iconic Goodwood Motor Racing Circuit.

The route starts trackside on the iconic Goodwood Motor Circuit, where riders will cycle east towards Horsham, before heading towards the Downs. Riders will enter through quintessential West Sussex countryside with its short ups and downs, passing many pretty villages and Hamlets in the process.

Staying South West of Horsham riders start to head back along the South Downs National Park passing South Harting to a gradual descent back toward Chichester and onto a grandstand finish on the track of Goodwood Motor Circuit.

To keep up to date with the latest news from Age UK West Sussex you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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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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