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Crawley Steps Community Wellbeing Service (CWS) Update

Following consultation with clients and volunteers, the decision has been made to move away from the Crawley Steps CWS base at Perryfield Road. This change is being made to enable us to reach more people that need our services by utilising existing community spaces and by further developing partnerships with a range of organisations. The service will continue to provide one to one sessions, groups and activities but from 4th April 2016 these will now be offered in the community across Crawley.

We would like to reassure you that the service will continue as normal through the change and the updated community programme is available here Steps Spring Community Programme. Staff, volunteers and clients have all been involved in identifying and visiting suitable venues from which to run our groups and 1:1s. All venues are accessible, on local bus routes and above all are welcoming. Staff will continue to have an administrative base in Crawley and our telephone number will remain the same; 01293 534782. You can also contact us via email at

Our open access sessions will continue each week starting on Wednesday 6th April from 11-1 at the Scout Hut, Oak Road, Southgate. The community forum will be held every 8 weeks as a way for people to feedback, get involved and be updated on any service or organisational news. The next Community Forum is being held on Thursday 21st April from 2-3:30 at Crawley Baptist Church, Crabtree Road, West Green.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support and involvement over the last few months.

Funding in East Sussex

We are delighted to advise that we are no longer facing any cuts to our Community Wellbeing Services in East Sussex and that current funding levels have been confirmed for the whole of 2016/17. Our Commissioner stated that this funding was only secured due to the very high esteem that our services are held in, and the demonstrable benefits they provide. This is real testament to clients, staff, and volunteers who provide and contribute to such valued services on a daily basis. We would like to extend a huge thank you to all those who contributed to the consultation process – this first hand evidence was massively important in supporting our claims.

Asda Crawley – Green Token Scheme

Every month each Asda store chooses 3 charities to represent in the Green Token Scheme and Sussex Oakleaf is taking part this month (July 2015) at the Asda store in Crawley! Customers are given tokens at the till that they can put the box of their choice at the front of the store. At the end of the month the tokens are counted up and the winning charity receives a cheque for £200 and the 2 runners up also receive a cheque for £50 each.

Please help us to be the winning charity!

Recovery College Update

It’s been an exciting and busy time over the last couple of months, from holding an open day for potential learners to now running a range of courses in Crawley. Our tutors and Peer Trainers have been receiving good feedback from learners, with people learning from each other in a safe and supportive environment. We’ve run courses focusing on the relationship between mental wellbeing and physical health, and the 5 Ways to Wellbeing. The good news is that we are going to be running courses again in the Summer term (around May/June time) and will be introducing a course on Self Management with Bipolar. Keep a look out for the prospectus and on the website:

Marcella, Peer Trainer with Sussex Oakleaf said ‘I saw first hand the work and commitment that has gone into the planning and delivery of these courses and was then offered a role as a Peer Trainer. By delivering recovery training to clients, handing them the tools of recovery, I have a great sense of personal achievement and trust that I provide a positive mode model for the recovery process.’

The Autumn term evaluation showed 94% of Recovery College students indicated that they would be ‘extremely likely’ or ‘likely’ to recommend the course they attended to friends and family.

Man standing in front of a painting

Artwork Exhibited at Gallery 40

Enrique is pictured below at Gallery 40 In Brighton where his work was exhibited in February 2015. Enrique highly values the support and encouragement he has been offered by Sussex Oakleaf’s West Sussex Community Wellbeing Service. Learning hot wax techniques and monoprinting at 2 of our recent groups has really helped ‘kick start me to produce new artwork again’.

Enrique draws inspiration from ‘street art’ and also from nature, including landscapes and found objects. In the blue painting shown, spray paints and stencils have been used to create the shell image, which is a current theme in his work.

Employability Course with Central Sussex College

We are pleased to say that 5 learners for the West Sussex Community Wellbeing Service completed the NCFE Employability Level 1 earlier this year – well done! The course was organised as a pilot between Sussex Oakleaf and Central Sussex College and was for 10 week. The feedback from the learners was very positive and we hope to run the course again in the Autumn term. More information will follow on this…

Group of people from Barclays Bank decorating

Barclays Decorate Crawley Steps Community Wellbeing Service Building

As part of the Barclays Citizenship & Community Project the team from Barclays Bank in Crawley and Gatwick volunteered their time, and provided materials, to decorate the Crawley Steps Community Wellbeing Service building. The volunteers spent 2 days busy painting and really brightening up the spaced ensuring it is light and welcoming to clients, volunteers and staff. We had great fun over the 2 days with a few floss incidents!! Since the redecoration which took place in October 2014, a client has been busy making some lovely cushions for the new sofa in the welcome area.

Sussex Recovery College – West Sussex Open Days Spring 2015

Northern Campus Open Day – Tuesday 13th January, 1pm – 4pm at Crawley Library, Southgate Avenue, Crawley RH10 6HG

What is the Recovery College? – Sussex Recovery College offers inspiring educational courses about mental health and recovery, designed to increase your knowledge and skills and to promote self-management.

Access – Courses are FREE for adults of all ages with long-standing, moderate or severe mental health challenges, their supporters (relatives, friends and carers), and the staff of Sussex Partnership NHS Trust and other partner organisations.

Course Delivery – All courses are co-produced which means they are planned, designed and delivered by people with lived experience of mental health challenges, and mental health professionals.

How to Apply – Please drop-in at your nearest Open Day to learn more about the courses on offer. If you would like to register, but you are unable to make the Open Day or have any questions please contact us.

Sussex Recovery College – 0300 303 8086 or

Please visit the Sussex Recovery College website for more information about Open Days in your area

New Chief Executive in 2015 for Sussex Oakleaf

Neil Curtis has been appointed as Chief Executive of Sussex Oakleaf. Neil has been Finance Director at the charity at a time when charities are facing many challenges; the Board of Sussex Oakleaf is delighted to have appointed someone with Neil’s financial and commercial expertise. Neil will work closely with Director of Operations, Caspar Murphy (who has many years experience of mental health services), to drive forward Sussex Oakleaf’s ambitions to grow and deliver even more for clients.

Neil brings with him almost 20 years of financial and managerial experience from both media multi-nationals (BBC, Reuters) as well as, more recently, in the technology-led online publishing sector. Neil is a Sussex native, born and raised in East Grinstead, so he is well attuned to the local geography and culture.

Chair of Sussex Oakleaf, Graham Maunders, and the Board warmly welcome Neil’s appointment as Chief Executive of Sussex Oakleaf. Graham commented “Neil has been an exceptional Finance Director, and is hugely committed to driving forward Sussex Oakleaf’s new strategy. Sussex Oakleaf has a special place in the area’s landscape and Neil will, I know, nurture and develop the organisation”.

Neil adds “I am absolutely delighted and extremely proud to be leading Sussex Oakleaf, an organisation whose work supporting people with mental health problems is immensely important. Having previously worked with the organisation, I already appreciate the commitment and contribution of staff across our services. I am looking forward to working with them to strengthen and grow Sussex Oakleaf.

A link can be found below to an article in The Argus: