Cutting the ribbon at the official opening ceremony for the Haven

Around 1970, Dr. John Squire of Henfield decided that the health clinic he had operated in his own house was no longer big enough and he built a new medical centre on his own land at the back of his house.  For many people, the new centre became known as “Hewitts” after the name of the road where it stands.

By the early nineties, the population of Henfield had again outgrown the building and a new Medical Centre was needed. It was built in Deer Park where the Parsonage estate was being constructed.  Dr Squire kindly gave the old building to West Sussex County Council for use as a Day Centre.

Henfield Day Centre thrived on Hewitts until 2011, when the Council changed its policy and made the Day Centre a specialist unit caring for people with advanced dementia.

The service received high praise for the level of care provided but despite the growing number of people living with dementia only a small number actually attended and the Day Centre began to lose money heavily.

In February 2014, WSCC announced that it would close the Day Centre unless a rescuer could be found. Henfield Community Partnership put forward a proposal for a community-led solution

The solution was to open the centre to a much wider range of community uses to help people live well in later life. 

WSCC supported the idea, and during 18 months of negotiations agreed to give the community a 25 year lease on the building and to support it with building improvements and a start-up grant.

A new community organisation, Henfield Social Enterprise was set up to develop the centre and partnered with a local charity, Impact Initiatives, to provide the professional staff.

Grant funding was raised from a number of sponsors and the building was totally refurbished. Nigel Parsons Builders carried out the construction work, volunteers from Henfield Theatre Company’s Workshop Group did most of the decorating and another group of volunteers, largely from Henfield Garden Club, landscaped the front garden.

A public consultation was held to find a new name for the centre and “Henfield Haven” was the popular choice. The Haven opened its doors to customers for the first time on 23 November 2015.

Services now on offer include a café serving refreshments and meals, a wide range classes and activities, and support for carers. On three days per week there is specialist high needs care, including dementia care. It is planned to open a hearing clinic in the near future.

Steve Bailey

11 December 2015

Look back at earlier articles about the community efforts that led to the Henfield Haven:

Opening Celebration Dec 2015

Henfield Haven Opens Today!!

Haven Wins Aviva Funding

Haven from the Jungle

First Success for the Haven

Henfield's New Haven

Milestone Event for Community

Singing in the Rain

Naming the New Day Centre

Day Centre Closure Update