Mr Herbert met Digby Stephenson and Tony Jackson, two members of the Henfield Community Interest Company which was responsible for bringing the day centre back into use. The original day centre is owned by West Sussex County Council, but when demand for its services fell it was threatened with closure.

A community interest company (CIC) was formed in 2015, made up of volunteers, to deliver the property into a community-run facility, Several grants were won to transform the day centre into a thriving hub of activities to help people live well. Customers include dementia groups, services for carers and therapies.

The Haven also runs a Café serving breakfasts and lunches on weekdays from 10-4pm.. One Sunday a month it hosts a Community Sunday Lunch in
partnership with the local church.

A £65,000 award from the National Lottery Community Fund, the new name for the Big Lottery Fund, was awarded last year. The new extension has been completed two months ahead of schedule by local builders Downs (Southern) and will enable The Haven to offer an expanded range of activities.

Claire Webley, regional Funding Officer from the National Lottery team, was also at The Haven for the MP’s visit. Claire explained the rigorous process that beneficiaries of Lottery funding must go through to demonstrate the benefits that the award will bring to the community. Elly De Decker, Senior Head of Regional Funding at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “We are delighted to fund the expansion of Henfield Haven as it is a fantastic example of people coming together to create something special in their local community. Community centres play a vital role in towns, cities and villages across the UK, bringing people together and helping communities to thrive. It is thanks to National Lottery players that funding for spaces like Henfield Haven can continue.”

Mr Herbert said: “I was delighted to return to The Haven which has developed into a wonderful hub of activities for the whole community. I am grateful to Digby Stephenson and Tony Jackson for inviting me to see the new extension, and for all the work they and their fellow volunteers do to make The Haven such a success.

“I am very pleased that this is the second award from the National Lottery Community Fund made in my constituency in the last six months, the other being to the Mary How Trust for Cancer Prevention. It is a reminder of how much the National Lottery does to help community projects.”

Picture courtesy of Michelle Taylor shows the new extension with, from Left to right, Tony Jackson, Henfield Social Enterprise, Lorette Mackie, Manager of The Haven, Nick Herbert MP, Claire Webley, Funding Officer West Sussex Lottery Community Fund and Digby Stephenson, Chair of Henfield Social Enterprise CIC.