A helping hand for parents and children

The Salvation Army Chatt-a-Box group - just one of the activities on offer in Horsham
The Salvation Army Chatt-a-Box group - just one of the activities on offer in Horsham

CHILDREN can get involved in a range of free and affordable activities run by members of the Horsham Churches Together group.

Part four of the County Times Helping Hand for Horsham Campaign highlights support available to parents and children’s groups in the town.

The Salvation Army runs the Chatt-a-Box parent and toddler group every Thursday and Friday morning. Activities include craft, music, games, singing, puzzles, reading, as well as emotional support if needed.

Captain Ian Woodgate, who leads the church with his wife Susan, said they had people come to them in desperate need.

“We have a lot of young parents with illnesses, like stress and depression, who just don’t know where else to go,” he said.

“On a Thursday and Friday we have about 100 families come every day. Perhaps the dad has lost his job and they don’t know what they are going to do.

“The really interesting thing is that people are asking us to pray for them. It’s like the last resort to them.”

Join them from 10am to 11.30am at the town’s Salvation Army Centre on Booth Way, Horsham, to socialise with other parents and children.

They charge a suggested donation of 75p for babies and £1.50 for older children. Registration is advised due to popularity.

The Salvation Army also runs a free of charge Music, Arts, Dance/Drama ‘MAD’ group, from 6-7pm every Tuesday and Kids Alive every Friday from 6pm-7.30pm for children to enjoy games, craft, music, drama, dance and adventure stories. A donation of £1 is suggested.

Financial help is available for existing children’s groups from Horsham Children Can Do, which Horsham District Council runs in partnership with Horsham Churches Together, West Sussex Council for Voluntary Youth Services (WSCVYS), West Sussex Youth Service and Saxon Weald.

Roffey Children Can Do, which gave out grants to children’s groups in Roffey has expanded and renamed Horsham Children Can Do (HCCD) to benefit groups across the urban area of Horsham.

David Sheldon, the chief executive of Horsham Matters, part of Horsham Churches Together, said: “It has the motto ‘Greater Needs, Fewer Chances’ and it’s about helping children get engaged in their local communities.

“HCCD provides grants for children’s groups, but the application forms have to be completed by children and we have a panel of ten to 13-year-olds to decide who gets what.

“It’s geared towards groups with children aged five to 13. The children see what a difference they can make in their own community.”

A parent of a child involved in the decision-making process at the Roffey group said: “I think Roffey Children Can Do has been great in empowering children to do something positive for the benefit of other children in their community.

“I feel my son has greatly benefited from being involved in this project as it has helped him appreciate how much effort is involved in putting together an application.”

Community and voluntary groups interested in applying for funding from HCCD have to meet the following criteria:

l Have a group of children aged five to 13 who live in the Horsham town area.

l Benefit children with greater needs and fewer chances.

l Have actively involved children and young people in the design, delivery and evaluation of their project.

l Not promote a particular religion or political aim.

For more information about The Salvation Army activities call the centre on 01403 254624.

To find out more about Horsham Children Can Do contact Liz Burt on lizburt@horsham-matters.org.uk or by calling 01403 217381.