The High Sheriff of East Sussex recently visited Crowborough to see the work of three local charities – the Crowborough Community Association, Friends of Crowborough Hospital and the local branch of the Citizens Advice Bureau.
I learned so much about Crowborough and the significant difference the numerous volunteers in the town make to the way in which the town is able to operate as a community.
The Crowborough Community Centre is remarkable, combining a pleasing architectural experience with a really functional facility – but one with a heart. You sense the atmosphere and the warmth; it is truly a centre for the community.
On the Pine Grove building next door to the centre, which the Town Council is in the final stages of purchasing from Wealden District Council to create an Enterprise and Community Hub, she added that it makes “absolute sense” that such facilities can feed off each another:
The resources that one supplies can reinforce the other to their mutual benefit. It seems very exciting.
Dating back centuries, the High Sheriff is historically the Sovereign’s judicial representative in the County, and was responsible for the maintenance of law and order and for the collection of taxes due to the Crown. The role has evolved over time. These days High Sheriffs actively support crime prevention agencies, the emergency services and the voluntary sector.
Following her visit to the Day Centre at Crowborough War Memorial Hospital on Monday 18th January, Mrs Smith reported:
The Day Care Centre is just amazing and, like the community centre, has a warm and welcoming atmosphere. It is far removed from your usual old folks’ centre; there was a wide range of age groups present, with wonderful volunteers working in a lovely and productive atmosphere.
Her third port of call on her tour was Wealden Citizens Advice’s Bureau on Croham Road. For many people however, the first point of contact with CAB is the telephone Adviceline. The High Sheriff saw this in operation and tried out the web-based Adviceguide for herself. She was impressed by the breadth and complexity of the problems that the trained advisers deal with in scheduled face-to-face interviews and the specialist help available to clients. Afterwards she said:
It was wonderful to meet them in their offices and learn much more about the very real help they offer to those who, without the CAB’s help, would be in a parlous state.