Olive Tree Cottage is staying put and is open for any families who need extra help.
That is after the community open house in Felpham was granted an unexpected reprieve from Arun District Council.
In August last year, there was heartache when Samantha Stanisforth’s change of use planning application was rejected, leaving the not-for-profit venture deeply uncertain.
However, a letter from Arun’s planning department states: “After careful consideration, your family home which is also in use as a ‘community open house’, is not considered to warrant a planning application at this time.”
It will be reviewed after six months.
Samantha said: “We are obviously delighted after what seems a long and stressful time, to know we can carry on helping and supporting local families.
“We know we’ve sadly lost some families along the way that were concerned about visiting us during all the problems. Also, some thought we had shut down.
“Now we have the go ahead we need to let people know we are still here, happy and keen to help.
“Be that a listening ear, in times of need and a friendly face, or some much needed pre-loved clothing and food parcels when in crisis.
“Please come and talk with us. We support families with special needs children, and support the local community.”
Samantha and husband Robert decided to open their Links Avenue home last summer because of the difficulty going places with their two disabled children.
“We know how stressful things can be,” she said.
“We have four boys ourselves and one of whom we are fighting for at tribunal, for the correct school placement currently.
“It’s tough, and knowing there is someone out there that understands can make all the difference.”
Samantha also hands out food to struggling families, and recently children at Happytime Pre-school donated two huge boxes.
With the help of a local builder, Olive Tree Cottage built a garden path at the home of a child with a life-limiting condition so he can now go outside.
Olive Tree Cottage is open Thursdays and Fridays, 10am to 4pm, and Saturdays 10am to 2pm.
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