On the 26th July, HRH The Duke of Gloucester was invited to visit the Aldingbourne Country Centre, to see first-hand how award winning charity Aldingbourne Trust supports adults with learning disabilities and/or autism to live an independent life and learn skills within a variety of social enterprises to develop into paid or voluntary employment.
On arrival to the Country Centre, HRH The Duke of Gloucester was received by Mr John Shippam, Deputy Lieutenant of West Sussex and a Trustee of the Aldingbourne Trust; Mrs Davina Irwin-Clark High Sheriff of West Sussex; Cllr. Janet Duncton, Chairman at West Sussex County Council and Miss Frances Russell, Chair of the Trustees of the Aldingbourne Trust.
Mr Peter Stanley, General Manager of the Aldingbourne Country Centre, welcomed HRH The Duke of Gloucester and presented a tour of the newly opened Quarry Building; highlighting the facilities and specially designed features of the new venue, HRH was shown how the new Quarry Building had been designed to promote sustainability and reduce its future environmental impact.
After meeting some of the Country Centre staff, HRH was then given an escorted tour of the outdoor facilities, including the sand and water play area, and the new indoor soft play area. Visiting the wood recycling enterprise and furniture restoration project, he was greeted by Brian Alden the Wood Recycling Enterprise Lead and took pleasure in meeting some of the people the Trust supports.
To commemorate his visit to the Country Centre, HRH The Duke of Gloucester planted an Alder tree near the Country Centre orchard. The tree was grown from a seedling by one of the people they support and has been planted to eventually grow and create a sheltered resting area for future visitors.
HRH The Duke of Gloucester completed his visit to the centre by meeting some of the Trustees, volunteers and people the Trust support over a light lunch in the Quarry conference room.
Peter Stanley said – “It was an honour to provide a guided tour of our facilities and introduce HRH The Duke of Gloucester to the people we support. He appeared very interested in our charity and took the time to engage in conversation with staff and the people we support.”
We are pleased to announce that we will be running Pre-School activities from September in our newly decorated soft play area. Our dedicated pre-school activities room will provide a range of sessions four days a week during the West Sussex school term time. Activities will include: Art and craft, messy play, music and movement, woodland explorers and story time activities.
These sessions will be around an hour long, running in both the morning and afternoon, and will be specially created for 0-5 years. They will be inspired by different themes, such as shapes, seasons, cultural festivals and favourite characters/books. Each session will aim to promote children’s physical, communication and social skills, and will be fun, educational, interactive and inclusive.
The focus of each session will be “together time” for parents/guardians and their child/children, with the opportunity to explore, learn and develop together. Children will take part in play experiences provided by a fully qualified childcare practitioner, who will be on hand to chat to parents and build children’s confidence, imagination and concentration skills.
More information on our new pre-school sessions is available on our website www.aldingbournetrust.org/pre-school-activities. Spaces are pre-book only, so please visit our website to secure your space today. Each pre-school session is priced at £6 per child, (£5.50 for members). If you wish to explore the rest of the Country Centre on your visit, you can purchase a wrist band to visit our onsite activities.
The Aldingbourne Country Centre is open everyday from 10am until 4.30pm. With a woodland walk and playground, open farm, ride-on tractors, maze, mini golf, soft play, sand and water play, wooden train and castle play area, and delicious locally sourced and home-cooked food in our own onsite café which features an indoor slide.
The Duke of Richmond, Patron of the Aldingbourne Trust, declared the Trust’s Quarry Building officially open at a celebration and ceremony at the Aldingbourne Country Centre on Thursday. The Duke’s family have supported the Aldingbourne Trust for many years - the Duke’s father had opened the Centre’s wood recycling project in 2006 - some of this wood is now powering the Quarry Building.
The Duke said, “The Quarry Building is the culmination of 10 years of designing, securing support, funding and construction. It offers a new vision for social care – where local businesses, the community and people who have learning disabilities and/or autism can learn, work and prosper. It’s a model which is attracting international attention. The impressive building is a new West Sussex gem which I would encourage everyone to visit”.
The Aldingbourne Trust took the opportunity to thank everyone involved in supporting them to raise the funds to develop and improve the facilities at the Country Centre. This included people who had jumped out of planes, scaled the Spinnaker Tower, cycled across the UK and Europe, and run marathons. Special thanks were also due to the Coast to Capital Local Economic Partnership. Tony Middleton, Chief Operating Officer said “We are delighted to support the Aldingbourne Trust, the space here is truly inspiring”.
Two of the Centre’s members, Sean Simmonds & James Weller, spoke about how much they enjoy being involved with all of the opportunities on offer at the Centre and their pride in the new Quarry Building. James said “The new building means a lot to me, it is a place to chat to the public, a place to work, have fun and learn new skills”.
James and Sean look forward to welcoming more visitors, to the impressive building, (which has an indoor slide, café, meeting rooms, shop), & the other enterprises on the site - wood, furniture restoration, horticulture, horse rug washing/repair, open farm and new children’s play areas.
Recently the farm group from the Aldingbourne Country Centre enjoyed a wonderful day out at the New Forest Wildlife Park. They saw lots of exotic animals, including deer, wolves, otters, owls, wild boars, ferrets and a lynx.
They had a guided tour from the lovely guides Laura and Vicky and were told all about the habits and behaviour of the different animals in the park. It was fun and interesting and everyone had a great time!
We have had a fabulous week of fun at the Aldingbourne Country Centre over the May half term holiday. With thousands of visitors attending over the five event days, families enjoyed many activities, including jumping around on the bouncy castles, and taking part in a great big water fight on splash about day in our Woodland Walk. “We visited today for the first time with my Mum and three children aged 11, 5 and 4. We had the most amazing day, so relaxed and lots to do” said Sammie from Worthing.
On Thursday 30th May, families enjoyed birds of prey displays throughout the day with First Class Falconry. Children also enjoyed the opportunity to take part, by lying on the ground as Elmo the Owl flew across them. Children were also able to ask questions, and even hold some of the birds.
Then on Friday 31st it was Reptile day with ‘Toms Talking Reptiles’. “We had a brilliant day today at the Aldingbourne Country Centre, I thought Toms Talking Reptiles were great, and so patient with the children” commented Sally from Brighton. Children learnt all about the reptiles, and those that were brave enough, even held some of the snakes.
Visitors also enjoyed visiting our open farm, sand and water play area, and our new ride on tractors which were open in time for the half term fun. With so much to do, families enjoyed another great day out at the Aldingbourne Country Centre.
If you like the idea of supporting a local charity by having fun, the Aldingbourne Country Centre is well worth a visit. Open everyday from 10am until 4.30pm. With a woodland walk, open farm, mini golf, ride on tractors, sand and water play area, wooden train and castle play area, and delicious locally sourced and home-cooked food in our own onsite café which features an indoor slide.
As a Trust that supports adults with learning disabilities – we know how important it is for all families to be able to enjoy a great day out.
Over a 1/4 million people need “Changing Places” toilets to enable them to get out and about and enjoy the day-to-day activities many of us take for granted so in the new building there are changing facilities that anyone with a disability can use.
Changing Places toilets provide:
• A height adjustable changing bench
• A tracking hoist system• Adequate space in the changing area for the disabled person and up to two carers
• A centrally placed toilet with room either side for the carers
• A non-slip floor
Mum, Sarah Gooderham told us “ we are so excited to be able to visit as a family. In the past we have only been able to spend a morning in certain places because of lack of changing facilities making us feel rather guilty when it comes to having to refuse my able bodied son to stay and enjoy the rest of the day. This is a huge thing many people just don’t understand.”
For more information on Changing Places please visit
Looking for a great day out this May half term? Join us at the Aldingbourne Country Centre where we have a fun packed week of events, with something for the whole family to enjoy.
On Bank Holiday Monday 27th May, we are hosting our ever popular splash about day. It’s all about ‘Kid’s revenge’, and a chance for you, your friends and our staff to have a huge water fight!
For Tuesday 28th and Wednesday 29th, get ready to jump around with bounce about day. Children can have fun bouncing around on a variety of different bouncy castles, tailored to different age groups, with one especially for children with disabilities.
Falconry day on Thursday 30th will be hosted by First Class Falconry, as they present displays of their birds of prey at selected times throughout the day. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions and even hold some of the birds.
Then on Friday 31st it’s Reptile day with Tom’s Talking Reptiles, an opportunity to learn about reptiles, and experience handling spiders, lizards and snakes.
Also, new for 2019 we have our ‘Sand and Water’ play area, where our younger visitors can have fun whilst learning within a variety of sand pits and water zones all located in a safe play area. We have a few buckets and spades available to use it is advisable for children to bring their own.
If you like the idea of supporting a local charity by having fun, the Aldingbourne Country Centre is well worth a visit. Open everyday from 10am until 4.30pm. With a woodland walk, open farm, mini golf, sand and water play area, wooden train and castle play area, and delicious locally sourced and home-cooked food in our own onsite café which features an indoor slide.
We were excited to welcome the South East Region Morris Reg Club to the Aldingbourne Trust today, 14th May. Visiting for their annual Spring Run and lunch, there was much excitement from our visitors and clients to see the vintage cars arrive. Showcasing a selection of their club cars, which are mostly pre-1940s, in our car park situated outside our new building at the Aldingbourne Country Centre.
If you are a member of a local car club, and you are looking for the perfect place for your annual meet up, lunch or afternoon tea, please contact us email@example.com.
BAGS of help for the environment is being achieved with a Fontwell charity’s new venture.
The Aldingbourne Trust has its own reusable bags to raise funds for its work with adults with learning disabilities and autism, thanks to the mother of a volunteer at its country centre.
Cathy Tiley ensures empty hessian bags are no has-beens by using her sewing skills to create the long-lasting goods. She is working with the earthworks project at the centre, just north of the A27, to print and sew on the trust’s logo.
Gill Nudds, the earthworks project lead, said: “This is such a fantastic opportunity for the people we are supporting in our department. It is a completely new set of skills they will gain.”
The wood team has also got involved. Its project lead, Brian Alden, was given an old leather sofa which Cathy stripped for the bag handles. She came back to the UK after 30 years abroad when her husband started a job in London. Their four children had grown up and she wanted to make good use of her time.
Two of her children work at a coffee roasters and tea merchant and Cathy noticed piles of coffee sacks made out of hessian. With the 5p levy on plastic bags, Cathy realised the unwanted items could become sturdy and practical shopping bags. One of her sons, Ed, had begun to volunteer at the country centre and Cathy wanted to offer help. She said: “We all have a connection to someone with a learning disability in some way. The difference in Ed has been remarkable and he is in such a better place now, which is fantastic. It is now my turn to give something back.”