This year the service is celebrating 50 years of providing day services for people with learning disabilities.
Over the last half century Beeching Park, which is the home of Hastings and Rother Day Service, has seen two monarchs, 12 Prime Ministers and delivered over 12,000 days of service.
Clients, their families and carers joined staff to celebrate the last five decades with games, a DJ and afternoon tea. Clients were also given special celebratory mugs to mark the occasion.
The site has the latest facilities and equipment for clients’ use which includes training kitchens, activity rooms, a computer suite, Sensory Guru and a large garden for relaxation, gardening, and sports.
The service opened on the Bexhill industrial estate in 1973 as a sheltered workshop where adults took on therapeutic work provided by local business. It became a day service, providing activities and support to adults with learning disabilities, in the late 1990s.
Cllr Carl Maynard, lead member for adult social care and health at East Sussex County Council, said: “I am delighted Beeching Park is celebrating its Golden Jubilee and I would like to congratulate the staff, clients and carers, both past and present, for the wonderful opportunities and vital support this service has provided over the years.
“Beeching Park is a very special place and its longevity can be put down to the affection and value clients, carers and staff all place on this service which is born out of a collective desire to do the very best for the people who use it.”
Lisa Ennis is a Shared Lives provider and has been involved with Beeching Park since 1987. She said: “The service is just amazing, and I can say for certain that I wouldn’t have been a carer for as I long as I have without the support provided by the service. The staff are wonderful and they are so dedicated.”
The service offers a wide range of in-house sessions including health and wellbeing, baking, art and creativity, multimedia, gardening, photography, nature and wildlife and music.
Twilight sessions with a more social focus are also available and include supper club, film club and games and disco nights.
Alison, one of the service’s longest standing clients, has been attending since 1979. She comes three days a week and particularly enjoys the textiles sessions: “Textiles is lovely and I enjoy tie dying. The staff are lovely.”
Another client, Stephen, used to do voluntary work when he first came to the service in the 1980s. Now he enjoys the nature study sessions: “We make things – we made a hornets’ nest out of a balloon. One of my best friends comes on Fridays and I like the staff.”
The service provides clients with a safe, social environment where they can learn and develop daily living skills and build important supportive relationships.
Lee is a Team Leader at Beeching Park and has worked at the service for 10 years. Lee said: “Beeching Park is a fun place to work, nothing’s more enjoyable than coming to work and seeing the clients we support and the reactions we get. It’s such a creative environment and we’re able to give people the chance to try new things.
“All the staff bring experiences and opportunities to the service. They are a great team and it’s a great place to work.”
Sue, who managed the service in the early 2000s, commented: “I had the most amazing welcome from staff and clients and it was, and still is, a very happy place. Beeching Park always empowered clients to be as independent as possible and to build strong friendships with each other. For the clients, the service was everything to them.”
Deanna has been working as a support worker at Beeching Park for 23 years. She said: “Beeching Park is such a happy place. For clients, it’s a place to see their friends and to be involved in activities of their choosing. In all the time I’ve been here, there hasn’t been a day when I haven’t wanted to come in.”
Cllr Ian Hollidge, county councillor for Bexhill South, who also attended the event said: “The work here is absolutely vital and is much appreciated by everyone who uses the service.”
Beeching Park operates four days a week, (Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri). As well as in-house sessions, the service also supports individuals in the community with visits to Bexhill Gym, Hastings and Bexhill libraries and the Horntye and Summerfields Leisure Centres.
More information on Beeching Park is available on the 1 Space website at https://1space.eastsussex.gov.uk/Services/1534/Hastings-Rother-Da