Sue retires after playing "crucial part" of charity's success in West Sussex

Sue Quinn and the mayor of Crawley, Cllr Raj Sharma and the Lady Mayoress, Bhavna Sharma
Sue Quinn and the mayor of Crawley, Cllr Raj Sharma and the Lady Mayoress, Bhavna Sharma

A long-serving member of the charity Relate has retired after 36 years of service.

Sue Quinn bid farewell to Relate North and South West Sussex after playing a “crucial part” of the charity’s success in the county.

Christine Mortimer, outgoing chairperson of Relate North and South West Sussex, said: “Sue has been a crucial part of Relate’s success in Sussex over the last 36 years. “Her energy, ability to connect with people and management skills are phenomenal. Without her and her dedicated team we would not be able to provide the service to the community that we do today. We wish her every happiness in her retirement.”

Relate is now a thriving organisation with centres in Crawley, Horsham, East Grinstead and Chichester and offers, family, relationship and young people’s counselling as well as psycho sexual therapy. Things have changed since 1983 when Sue joined the charity as administration secretary, then in a two up two down cottage in Station Way, next to the old police station in Crawley.

When Sue started out the charity had 5 counsellors who carried out 950 interviews a year, now the charity has 23 counsellors who carry out a huge, 3,868 interviews this year. The work that the charity does and the type of people it supports has expanded too with the introduction of family, and young people’s counselling. People can access Relate’s services by themselves or with their partner or family. In the community Relate now works closely with local services Prescription Plus and Young Crawley Family Credits, where referrals are accepted from West Sussex County Council. Sue has seen Society’s attitudes shift since 1983.

The charity realised that more and more people had relationships outside of the traditional married couple framework and the number of blended families were growing. Importantly the charity acknowledged that keeping couples together is not necessarily the best or only way forward and also recognised the importance of being inclusive and accessible to all. Sue, supported by her husband, well known former Crawley Mayor, Brian, and their two daughters, oversaw the opening of centres in East Grinstead and Horsham and the merger with Relate Chichester and the establishment of a very successful charity shop which helps to fund the charity’s work.

Sue said: “I feel that I have grown up in Relate and it’s been like working in a large family. I am very proud of what has been achieved in the last 36 years, especially our work with children and young people. I am particularly pleased that the community can use Relate as a preventative service so that even if there is relationship break up, relationships do not break down completely, which is so important for everyone, particularly any children. I must thank our staff, volunteers, Relate National staff, trustees, Crawley Borough Council, Horsham District Council, Mid Sussex District Council, Chichester City Council and West Sussex District Council and all those who have helped over the years for all their support, and last but not least, my family.” Relate said goodbye to Sue at a retirement party at the Black Swan in Pease Pottage attended by the Mayor of Crawley, Cllr Raj Sharma and his wife Bhavna Sharma, VIPS, staff volunteers and colleagues.

Richard Curtis, manager of the Black Swan, a supporter of many local charities, kindly hosted the farewell party. For more information about Relate North and South West Sussex and the services it offers please see www.relate.org.uk/sussex or ring 01293 657 055