Older residents of north Haywards Heath are calling on the community to help them get a new building off the ground for the benefit of all the surrounding area.
Kathy Shirley represents residents of Mill Hill Close, who live in the rental properties owned and managed for older people by Hanover Housing. The 28 occupants of the one-bedroomed flats live adjacent to 20 leasehold properties for the same age group that are also managed by Hanover in Barnard Gate.
A former communal drying area was recently resurfaced and allocated by Hanover to the Mill Hill Close residents’ association to help it provide a communal building where all the occupants can meet for coffee and activities.
Kathy, chair of the association, said the two neighbouring housing developments, which are home to more than 50 older residents, currently lacked a communal meeting room and there was a dearth of such facilities for all residents of north Haywards Heath.
She said: “There isn’t really anywhere this side of Clair Hall, so if we can raise the money for a building, which we can then make available to others as well, it would benefit the whole wider community.”
Kathy added that she was hoping the facility, if realised, would provide a base for activities such as hairdressing, chiropody, talks and clinics for flu jabs.
She said: “There are a lot of residents living here and in the surrounding areas who find it difficult to get out, especially as we are on a hill, and they are often lonely and isolated. What we are trying to provide would give them somewhere to go to meet and socialise. I’ve had 20 in my flat for coffee mornings, and that’s a squash, so I know there is a need.”
Kathy has recruited district councillor Jonathan Ash-Edwards and MP Nicholas Soames to try to source grants, while the residents have so far raised £800 and identified a wooden garden-style building, which would cost £17,000 including construction and fitting.
They are appealing for donations or help and asking people to come up with a name for the building. The winning name will win a hamper donated by Southern Co-operative in South Road, Haywards Heath. Suggestions, with a donation, can be put in an envelope and handed in at the store or its sister branches in Lindfield and Cuckfield by Good Friday, March 29. For donations or more info, contact Kathy on 01444 454532.