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Charity: Age Concern Hassocks

Fancy a new place for lunch, meeting new friends in a fun and welcoming atmosphere, or a spot of volunteering? Look no further than Age Concern Hassocks, says Sara Whatley

A genuine warm and caring welcome awaited me when I visited Age Concern Hassocks recently. A sprightly chap who was enjoying his coffee immediately confirmed this by saying, “The staff here are so caring, and it’s a great place to come for older, or younger people, like us,” he smiled, gesturing round to his group of friends.

John Rose, one of the six trustees, told me that when he got involved 15 years ago the average age of people coming to them was in the 90s, “but now we have lots of couples in their 60s or 70s who come here for lunch, as well as older people.”

With a minibus service available for lifts, people come from all surrounding villages to enjoy what Age Concern Hassocks has to offer. Every weekday they open from 9am until 4pm; the coffee shop serves delicious refreshments, and a freshly cooked and locally sourced three-course lunch is served at 12.30pm with a daily changing menu, which only costs £7. Needless to say, lunch gets very busy! On Saturdays the centre and café is open from 9am to 12 noon.   

In the building there is a resident hairdresser, manicurist, reflexologist, and chiropodist, all of which can be booked in advance. There is also an art club, table tennis (they have their own table), knit and natter which meets in the lovely bright and warm conservatory, and exercise groups.  

John also showed me their gardens, where a gardening club has been working on various projects such as building a shelter, some vegetable beds, and a lovely patio with benches and potted plants all around.

“We are a day centre for the over 55s,” John told me. “We like to go on outings in the minibus and enjoy social times together.”

Making this all happen is a band of 50 or so volunteers and 11 part-time staff. “But we always welcome new volunteers, especially drivers and escorts at the moment,” said John.

Fundraising is a crucial part of John’s role, and is what keeps them afloat, along with people leaving them legacies. “Mid Sussex Voluntary Action in Burgess Hill, which is a charity supporting other charities, give us advice and support. We do as many fundraising events as we dare!” he said.

Look out for their Summer Fair, and also the monthly Hassocks Saturday Market is held in their large car park. “We open our café for drinks and bacon and sausage rolls, and there are all the usual local traders at the market. Repair Café Hassocks also set up in our conservatory; it’s a vibrant buzzing day,” John said.  

Their charity shop is also a vital part of the centre, bringing yet another social space as well as a brilliant resources and avenue of income.

From its humble beginnings serving starving widows after World War II, to its well-established and much frequented status today, Age Concern Hassocks is a vital part of this community.

 

AGE CONCERN HASSOCKS

Dale Avenue, Hassocks BN6 8LW

01273 844461

www.achassocks.co.uk

enquiries@achassocks.co.uk

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