PEOPLE from Horsham’s Strawford Centre shared their passions and concerns when they visited the County Times offices last week. The Strawford Centre is a county council run facility based at Blatchford Road for disabled people and people with learning difficulties.
Visitors there can take part in activities such as sewing, cooking and making friends and recently they have been meeting in Horsham town.
On Tuesday news editor Theo Cronin welcomed nine of them to the newspaper’s offices and then gave them a tour of the rabbit warren that is the nerve centre Sussex Newspapers North where titles such as the Sussex Express, West Sussex Gazette and Mid Sussex Times and Crawley Observer are also designed.
First stop was the County Times newsroom where they met some of the reporters and content editors before going to the advertising offices.
We explained to them all the steps which go into producing a newspaper and then in a question and answer session with senior reporter Anna Coe they told us how much they love their time at the Strawford Centre.
Bill said: “I’ve been going to the centre for about 20 years. I went when it first opened and I used to get paid.
“In a way it shows people what we can do to help others.
“I used to do packing and carpentry and now I like to draw pictures of Canada with lakes and mountains.”
Simon added: “We’re best friends with the staff.”
They also shared what they love about Horsham town.
Paul said: “The shops are good and the places there are lots of good places to eat.”
David added: “There’s a new coffee shop opening at the bus station.”
Bill added: “Horsham is fourth century. It’s got some great history.”
However they have their concerns too.
Simon said he was upset the cost of parking had gone up and Wayne said how he was disappointed about the district council’s decision to not have Christmas lights in recent years.
He said: “They were pretty lights. There were some in Swan Walk and some in the town.”
Diane raised concerns about binge drinking. “It’s a really serious problem and they need to do something about it,” she said.
Jill Hardie, from the Strawford Centre, said they really enjoyed their trip to the County Times offices.
“They’ll be talking about this visit for months,” she said.
Elsewhere in Horsham customers from The Strawford Centre are involved in The Horizons Project, and take responsibility for upkeep and maintenance of the Maze Garden in Horsham Park.
They are hoping to make this an integrated community project and are trying to recruit some local volunteers who have an interest in horticulture.
If anyone wishes to know more they should call Sam at The Strawford Centre on 01403 261488.