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Over 100 successful community projects funded by the West Sussex Crowd

A crowdfunding programme launched in May 2018 has seen more than 100 community-led projects in West Sussex hit their target and the window is now open until Thursday 13 February for community groups to put forward new initiatives and projects they would like to receive funding for

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The West Sussex Crowd, run in partnership by West Sussex County Council and civic crowdfunding website Spacehive, invites communities to come together and propose ideas to regenerate their local areas.

Since its launch, more than 2,800 local people, businesses, district/borough and town/parish councils have backed projects across the county, collectively raising over £750,000 and showing the strength of community buy-in for their ideas.

Duncan Crow, Cabinet Member for Fire & Rescue and Communities, said: “This grant funding is all about supporting community projects, strengthening communities and our councillors working with their communities to help generate support for key projects. 

“We are thrilled that 107 successful projects have hit their target with many more on the way. These diverse and extraordinary projects will strengthen local places and make West Sussex an even greater place to live, work and enjoy.”

Alongside money raised by outside donations through the West Sussex Crowd, the county council can also pledge to crowdfunding campaigns for projects which will have real impact in their local area. Typically, pledges range from £1000 – £5000.

Previous projects which have received funding include:

  • Friends of Downsbrook Forest School raised over £12,000, including a £6,000 county council pledge, from 51 backers to develop a community cabin to allow more people to engage with nature.
  • The Apuldram Centre near Chichester raised over £10,000, of which £2,500 was pledged by the county council, from 75 backers for a new transit van so they can support more adults with learning disabilities to participate in real life work experience.
  • Grandads Front Room in Bognor Regis raised over £9,000, including a county council pledge of £2,053, from 123 backers for a new allotment space, equipment and tools, bringing more local people together. 

Chris Gourlay, Founder and CEO of Spacehive, said: “Spacehive are delighted to be working in partnership with West Sussex County Council on this exciting initiative which has already inspired hundreds of people and groups from West Sussex to engage in transforming local places. 

“Our shared mission is to empower as many people as possible to shape their local area. We believe that if we can achieve that, people will feel a stronger sense of local belonging, and that the places we create together will better serve the needs and aspirations of local people.” 

To see the campaigns currently live and to make a pledge, visit www.westsussexcrowd.org.uk

If you’re a community group who wants to find out more about this round of crowdfunding, Spacehive will be running free workshops on 15 January at Worthing and Haywards Heath to help guide interested parties through the process. 

To register for a workshop, email info@spacehive.com

Charity

Crawley boy receives pioneering kit to help with his disabilities

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Eleven-year-old Theakston Lee-Watson is among the first recipients of innovative new equipment to provide disabled children with sensory activities in their own home.

Theakston, from Crawley in Sussex, received the equipment from Caudwell Children as part of a UK-first charity campaign to deliver sensory equipment and support to disabled children across the country.

The sensory pack will provide a range of therapeutic benefits for Theakston, who has autism and sensory processing disorder, helping him regulate his emotions and develop his motor skills. 

Theakston’s mum, Kitty Lee-Watson, has already noticed the benefits the equipment brings.

Kitty said:

“He has a lot of anxiety at the moment, I now have the sensory pack out on his bedroom floor so when he has a meltdown it’s easy to guide him to something or distract him. This has been a real help.

“Theakston’s favourite part of the Get Sensory pack is the Fibre Optic Light as it’s both visual and tactile. He likes touching the fibres.”

Caudwell Children has pledged to provide thousands of families with essential sensory equipment during the Covid-19 pandemic – with each family receiving a pack of appropriate and safe toys to support children living with a wide range of disabilities. 

Trudi Beswick, CEO of Caudwell Children, said:

“Our Get Sensory Packs are designed to support children who are likely to benefit from sensory resources – it’s so encouraging to hear that Theakston is enjoying using the equipment and his family can see the benefits already.”

“We’ve committed to provide thousands of families with a pack, because we know it’s difficult to access resources at the moment.

“To deliver on that we’re now calling for anyone who can to make a difference to the life of a disabled child by donating to our Get Sensory Packs campaign – you can make a life-changing difference from just £5.”

Caudwell Children launched its Get Sensory Packs campaign following consultation with parents to find the most appropriate and safe sensory items – selected by the charity’s Occupational Therapists.

The packs include:

  • A Liquid Cell Timer,
  • Scented Bubbles,
  • A BoBo Massager,
  • Sissle Brush,
  • 4 Ball Massager,
  • Weighted Cushion,
  • Spikey Domes,
  • Space Blanket, and
  • A Fibre Optic Lamp.

Packs are available to children who have a confirmed disability or chronic illness. Families can apply directly to Caudwell Children for support, with the charity providing 80% of the cost of each pack.

Families will be asked to contribute 20% of the cost, which is £20, and to confirm their financial status and their child’s diagnosis. More information is available at getsensorypacks.com.

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