Question: Are the rumours that the Haven is closing true?
Answer: Absolutely not true! The Haven CIO Trustees have met and committed to reopening the Haven as soon as it is safe to do so.

The Haven Café will reopen at 10am on Monday 13th July 2020 and will be serving drinks, cakes and snacks until 3pm on weekdays. Please come and show your support – 2 metre distancing will be observed to ensure maximum safety.

Other services will restart over the coming weeks including high needs support for customers and their carers.

Question: What has changed since lockdown and will this make a difference?
Answer: The service provider Impact Initiatives who were responsible for running the Haven terminated the contract and withdrew all group-based services immediately. To keep the Haven going we will initially rely more on our volunteers and a reduced number of paid staff. There is also a financial challenge.

Question: Why has this happened when you have only just received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service?
Answer: It’s a very good question. Although the implications of Covid-19 are an obvious concern, Impact Initiatives withdrew its service suddenly, without giving us any opportunity to discuss the implications in detail.

Question: Why is it so important to reopen the Haven?
Answer: During lockdown we realised just how important the Haven is as a lifeline to both carers and customers because they kept asking when we would be reopening.

The carers have told us how much they need and value the respite and care the Haven provides. Their loved ones are in a safe and stimulating environment which gives them peace of mind. Other customers miss the social interactions and the excellent food!

It is also very important to remember that because the Haven is situated in a rural community, it provides services to a much wider geographical area which reaches from Steyning (where Impact Initiatives closed the Dingemans Day Centre) to Cowfold and from Partridge Green to Sayers Common.

Question: What is the financial challenge?
Answer: Impact Initiatives have stated they intend to repurpose the grant monies already received from West Sussex County Council and Horsham District Council to support the services which The Haven provided by other means. This means the Haven Trustees have a funding gap of up to £50,000 per annum, which is why we have launched ‘Save Our Haven’ which you can donate to on Go Fund Me, see the link below. The good news is that our running costs will be lower if we remain independent and we are looking to secure alternative grant funding for The Haven as a day centre. The GoFundMe link is: here.

Question: How successful has the fund raising been so far?
Answer: In a very short space of time we have been amazed at the generosity of individuals and local businesses who have heard about our plight and stepped forward to help us with donations of money, time, goods, expertise and encouragement.

Also the community have made it very clear that the Haven is a vital resource and must be saved. This played a big part in the Trustees decision to carry on - Thank you.

Question: How can you run the Haven without staff who know how it works?
Answer: We are delighted that some of the key staff members have agreed to join the new team, initially as volunteers, so there will be lots of familiar faces when we reopen. Our volunteers are also very keen to return to the Haven where they have always made a real difference to the lives of our customers and their carers.

Question: Will there be any changes to how the Haven looks and feels when you reopen?
Answer: Because of the Covid-19 restrictions yes, there will be some changes for a short time, to keep our customers and staff safe. The café will open initially from 10am until 3pm for drinks, cakes and snacks and will be laid out to ensure appropriate social distancing including our beautiful garden. We are negotiating with Impact Initiatives to keep our furniture as we know how important it is for our high needs customers to be in familiar surroundings. We will be introducing all our usual services including high needs support, therapies and our popular Thursday club on a phased basis. The Mini Haven has been repainted and we will welcome our smaller visitors as well.

Question: What can I do to help?
Answer: There are lots of ways for you to help:-

  • As a customer: please come to the cafe. If you are a member of a club or society why not come as a group? We can accommodate up to 30 people whilst maintaining social distancing, but please book ahead. If you have a friend or neighbour who feels a bit lonely why not bring them a long and we promise to help you make them smile!
  • As a friend or supporter: you can make a donation online through Go Fund Me, in cash or by cheque and please Gift Aid it if you are a tax payer, we can give you a form to complete.
  • As a volunteer: our volunteers are what makes the Haven special but make no mistake they get great enjoyment from helping our customers and getting involved.

Question: How can I donate?

Answer: Please click this link.

For more information please email or call 01273 494747.or 07815 048609