In the Beginning
The Children’s Respite Trust was founded in 2010 on the simple premise that far too many families face unbearable pressures because of the strain of living with the care needs of a child with a significant disability. There seemed to be far fewer places in statutory respite centres than there were disabled children and yet it was widely recognised that the chances of marital break-up were much higher among these families. Siblings getting into trouble at school or with the authorities was also more likely and even the risk of suicide was higher among these families.
What began as a campaign to help a few local people soon grew to become a wider cause and by November 2010 the Trust was formed as a company limited by guarantee and in February 2011, the Trust finally achieved charitable status. Governed by a voluntary Board of Trustees, the charity appointed a Chief Executive to develop services and began to recruit volunteer Caseworkers. At the same time fundraising began in earnest and the charity moved on from providing advocacy services to being able to provide respite privately.
By the end of 2012 the Trust had enabled several families to enjoy respite breaks. This was where the family’s child would stay in a privately run respite centre funded by the Trust, while their family got a few days break. The Trust still does this on occasions when a child’s needs are too complex for home-care, but in early 2013 the Trust began commissioning care staff to work directly with families in their own homes and in the community.
Slowly the Trust built up a community-based care team to support families throughout Sussex, parts of Surrey and into Kent and they’re still working hard for disabled children and their families today.
By the end of 2013 the Trust needed some premises. This would be somewhere that families could visit when it wasn’t appropriate to be going to their home, so that our case-workers can understand their full situation and know best how to advise them going forward.
The Trust took up residence at Crouch’s Farm, an idyllic converted Oast House in East Hoathly, which would provide the Trust with a base for the next four years.
Century of Care
Early in 2017 the Children’s Respite Trust had the proud moment of having helped its 100th family. The ongoing advocacy work, along with placing carers in homes and those early breaks in privately-run respite centres had all added up to 100 children and their families. All of them having had their lives made that little bit easier as a consequence of the Trust’s work.
At the end of 2017 the Children’s Respite Trust moved into a 2,000ft2 building in Uckfield from where the Trust is based and can host a variety of events for the families to enjoy. Ultimately, the Trust wants to be able to use the Centre as a dedicated day-care facility. The covid-19 pandemic has slowed down our ambitions, but not haulted them and this year we aim to be finally providing this service for the children whom we serve. In the meantime, the Trust has worked tirelessly to turn this former printworks into a warm welcoming and homely environment for the children to enjoy.