LOCAL PROJECTS

Club members serve as volunteers, mentors and committee members on a number of different local groups in and around East Grinstead - Oxfam, Care in East Grinstead and Lingfield, the East Grinstead Music Festival, East Grinstead Talking News for the visually handicapped, the East Grinstead Museum, Fairtrade, and supporting Rotary with a Christmas street collection.
East Grinstead Mental Health Association
East Grinstead Mental Health Association approached us for assistance with providing outlets and activities for clients in addition to support with fundraising. Each Friday a group of clients comes to one of 3 conservation sites: Chequer Mead and the Town Hall public grounds in East Grinstead and the Field Centre run by one of our members. The group undertakes a variety of tasks from planting & growing their own vegetables, tidying flower beds, working in the greenhouse, to ditch digging, bramble pulling, taking part in environmental surveys, and bird box and feeder maintenance. These conservation mornings provide companionship, helps to develop new outdoor environment skills, and increases confidence. Other work done by club members in support of East Grinstead Mental Health Association includes: committee work and raising funds to support the Association's activities
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Environment
One of our members manages a local 26 acre Nature Reserve in Lingfield which provides educational visits for children and disadvantaged people, giving recreation and fun whilst benefitting the environment. As part of National Tree Week we've planted a hornbeam in the Community Orchard at the Reserve and we also helped local MP Sam Gyimah plant the 4,500th tree at the Reserve. Another member runs a Field Centre which hosts visits from schools and other youth groups to give children experience of natural rural areas and educates them about the need for care and to protect and sustain the environment. Club members often help with visits and conservation activities at both centres.
We've also been involved in a Community Art Project in East Grinstead to improve an area where construction work was taking place. Jessops Construction invited local community groups to create and submit pieces of eye-catching artwork based around the town's culture and heritage in order to brighten up their construction site on King Street. The entries were judged and the best submissions were reproduced by a local sign company and mounted on the hoardings surrounding the site. We were delighted when our artwork was one of the chosen designs. Members from our Club's Art Group were invited by Jessops to attend the official unveiling of the panels.

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Planting trees with local MP Sam Gyimah
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East Grinstead SI Members guide a children’s group at the Briars Field Centre.
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Lingfield Nature Reserve - tree planting.
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Jessops

Practical Support for Local Charities

Crawley Open House
We have regularly donated resources to Crawley Open House (
www.crawleyopenhouse.co.uk) a local charity which provides support and services for those suffering the effects of homelessness, unemployment, loneliness, discrimination, or other forms of social exclusion. Items have included sheets, blankets, toiletries, shoes, clothes, tinned food and coffee and tea.

Safe in Sussex
A few years ago we forged a link with Safe in Sussex with a view to providing essential toiletry items for women and children staying in their refuge accommodation. This relationship developed so that in 2016 we decided to prepare and pack shoes boxes for those spending Christmas in the refuge. This was such a success that we repeated the initiative for Christmas 2017 and 2018. Boxes were filled with toiletries, small gifts and treats for the women and bags of gifts for boys and girls of differing ages were donated to the refuge along with wrapped boxes so that the contents could be tailored to individual children in their care at Christmas. The charity continues to expand and is now providing not only safe refuge accommodation but also drop in facilities and training programmes to help women gain self confidence and move on with their lives. We are hoping to identify other ways of assisting Safe in Sussex with its valuable work.
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Tadpoles Swimming Club
Founded in 1982 East Grinstead Tadpoles provides recreational swimming facilities, in a safe environment, for people of all ages with disabilities who could benefit from swimming and water therapy. Our club has been involved with Tadpoles for many years through paying for some of the evenings in the local swimming pool ensuring exclusive use where participants can enjoy a relaxed hour of water therapy. We also provide in-water and pool side assistance as well as changing supervision as well as helping to fund hoists, chair lifts and swimming awards.
World Book Day
Last year to mark World Book Day we collected new and pre-loved books to donate to local charity Delight which supports children who have limited access to books at home. It aims to give children physical access to books and to fill them with a desire to read. It has been shown that twenty books in a child's home can increase that child's education attainment.
When she visited us the charity's founder, Kathryn Mills, told us that the books would be sorted by volunteers and then passed onto the children they support through book fairs held at schools. Delight also arranges other interactive arts experiences such as theatre programmes and visits to art galleries. The photo shows Kathryn being presented with the books we collected.
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Working with our local Brownies and Guides

We have had a number of very successful projects with Brownie and Guide groups in East Grinstead which started back in 2011/12 when we produced dresses for children in Africa. These dresses were fashioned out of ordinary domestic pillow cases with girls from all age groups in every pack in the town assisting with making and sewing the dresses. In total around 500 dresses were sent to various parts of Africa. Before shipping the dresses, the groups held a fashion show to raise awareness of the project. We were thrilled to be invited to present the project at the annual Soroptimist Conference in 2012.
We also worked with the girls on a Bee project, the aim of which was to make the children aware of the drastically reducing number of bees and its implication on the environment. Quizzes and a variety of bee-related arts and crafts helped to raise awareness.
Following on from this we created a knitting badge for the girls to work towards. Altogether there were around 60 girls involved. We provided the wool and the needles, buying everything from local charity shops. The younger girls knitted squares and we used a pattern for baby tops and hats for the older guides. Over a 4 month period all those involved learned to knit. We took the knitted squares and sewed them together to produce a full size jacket and lots of scarves. We donated all the knitting to the Queen Mothers Clothing Guild for onward distribution to charities.

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Presenting our project at the 2012 conference

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