Council supports Age UK Burgess Hill expansion

PR2357/EC/MF - 24/05/2021

Mid Sussex District Council is supporting Age UK West Sussex Brighton & Hove’s (Age UK WSBH) plans to expand services for older people in Burgess Hill.

The Council is proposing to lease the newly built Kings Weald community centre on Wyvern Way, Burgess Hill to Age UK WSBH to help them reach more people and offer a wider range of services and activities for people over 50.

The Kings Weald community centre will be a facility for people of all ages. Age UK WSBH has extensive experience of managing civic venues and, if proposals are agreed, could operate the new venue for the benefit of the entire Burgess Hill community.

In addition to the expanded services for older people, the new centre will include a community café, will provide extensive activities for children and families, and the halls and rooms will be available for residents to hire for a variety of events.

As lockdown restrictions are eased, many older people are still coping with frailty, isolation and health concerns. The Kings Weald centre will enable Age UK WSBH to broaden the range of services they provide for older people, but it is also putting plans in place to hold gatherings in venues right across the town, including church halls, cafes, pubs and the existing centre at The Cherry Tree. Age UK WSBH is keen to be there for as many people as possible and having access to a variety of venues will support that ambition.

Housing developer Croudace is currently putting the finishing touches to the new facility, which is located on the Kings Weald development, before handing ownership over to Mid Sussex District Council in the coming weeks. The council aims to support Age UK WSBH to furnish and open the building ready for public use by late summer 2021.

Councillor Norman Webster, Mid Sussex District Council Cabinet Member for Community said:

“This proposal has the potential to be hugely beneficial for Burgess Hill residents of all ages. Age UK WSBH has a wealth of experience when it comes to managing community venues and can call on an established army of volunteers to help run the centre.

“Age UK WSBH will be able to expand and improve the vital services they provide for older people and the wider community will be able to benefit from the experience they have of managing similar facilities across Sussex.

“We’re working with Age UK WSBH on their expansion plans, helping them to find more venues and enabling the charity to continue their much needed work to help older people locally. It’s important we work in partnership with local charities to ensure that people have access to the facilities and services they need to thrive. We’re looking forward to seeing even more on offer for older people locally as the plans are put in place.”

Jo Clarke, Director of Partnerships & Localities at Age UK WSBH said:

“We’ve got big plans for our services in Burgess Hill. The pandemic has been incredibly tough on older people and it’s vital we’re there if they need someone to turn to. We’re beginning to gather community views about existing and potential new services and we’re looking at working from a range of venues, including the Cherry Tree Centre. This should help us reach more people, from the vulnerable in desperate need, to those who want to inject a bit of fun into their social life. It’s exciting to be expanding like this and working with our clients on having a bigger, better presence across Burgess Hill.”

Age UK WSBH is considering offering more social spaces where people can meet and eat locally as well as things like a bereavement support group, new exercise classes, social groups and perhaps a playgroup where grandparents can bring grandchildren.

If you would like to share your thoughts or ideas on services for older people across Burgess Hill then contact Tracey Parle on 01444 236497 or email