Worthing charity defies odds to open new day centre

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AS many day centres across the country face closure, an independent charity in Worthing has managed to open one.

On Friday, Worthing and District Scope celebrated the official opening of its new centre in Birkdale Road, Durrington.

The ribbon was cut by 90-year-old fund-raiser, MBE JP Dorothy Till and Worthing youth mayor Liam Mills.

Dorothy, of Richmond Road, said: “After 25 years of fund-raising for the group it’s an honour to open such a beautiful building, and it’s so well equipped.

“When we started out we had disabled children sitting in old tyres, and now we have this.”

The Worthing Steyne Rotary Club also attended to donate three cherry blossom trees to the centre, after building work meant some trees had to be cut down.

Having to cut down the trees caused big problems in the planning stages of the development, but Rotary club president Jim Farley said the club was more than happy to help.

He said: “We have had a long association with Scope and that’s why we were there to plant the first tree for them.”

The charity purchased the building for £220,000 in April, 2011, when it realised there was a calling for day centres.

When the charity bought the building it was just one room with no windows and “nowhere to make a cup of tea”.

Vice-president of the board of trustees Valerie Sutton said: “We have been looking to extend as we know social services are closing a lot of these types of things.

“Originally, we were not going to spend more than £200,000, so we knew this was a big gamble, but now it has been a success I suspect we will be looking at the next project, maybe purchasing a shop.”

The centre will cater for up to 20 disabled people, with one member of staff to every four people, but the charity assures it will welcome any volunteers or people looking for work experience.

Worthing and District Scope chief executive Pauline Fox said: “We have opened a service with no support other than our own.

“Worthing Scope has paid for this centre lock, stock and barrel, without having to pay a fund-raiser £40,000 a year.”