Chichester Cathedral to host Smile Support & Care fund-raiser

RESIDENTS are being urged to get involved with a campaign to raise £3.2 million for a short break respite care centre for severely-disabled children and their families.

On Thursday, March 22, Chichester Cathedral will host a reception and presentation about the charity Smile Support & Care and its 18th-anniversary appeal for the centre, which is to be built in Waterlooville, Hampshire.

From humble beginnings of a £6,000 budget and three carers in 1994, the charity now gives more than 1,300 hours of care each week, thanks to a team of more than 161 staff.

Among the charity’s many patrons are the Bishop of Chichester, Reverend John Hind.

Chairman Steven Clarke said despite a significant reduction in government grants the charity had been able to improve its services and expand into areas including West Sussex.

Speaking about the new centre Mr Clarke said: “This is part of a new strategy to provide short respite breaks in modern facilities, and is designed to be complimentary to existing provision whilst widening access to this type of support.

“This short break and community facility will be entirely self-funding once it is built and become a model for others that follow.”

Mr Clarke said it had faced problems like most charities, but had successfully re-organised which had enabled it to grow and the increase the number of hours of care it provided to the community it serves.

The reception will take place in the Vicars’ Hall from 6pm until 8pm.

The evening will include presentations from charity representatives about the project while architects practice Studio Four – which has designed the bespoke facility – will present the latest drawings and visuals for the project.

There will also be an update about how much money needs to be raised.

Mr Clarke said the charity had identified 156 special schools which would be able to use the centre, once it was up and running.

Anyone who would like to find out more can attend the reception by emailing appeals@smilesupport.org.uk to apply for tickets.

See www.smilesupport.org.uk or call the West Sussex office on 01903 723333 for more details about to get involved.