MP visits Henfield day centre saved by community

Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert visited The Haven in Henfield on Friday (30 October) to see how a community initiative has secured the future of the village’s day centre.

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Mr Herbert was invited to see the transformation of the day centre by a newly formed Community Interest Company, Henfield Social Enterprise, chaired by local resident Digby Stephenson.

The Community Interest Company is a voluntary organisation set up to manage local assets on behalf of the Henfield community.  Their first project has been to support the efforts of the local Community Partnership which stepped in to save Henfield’s day centre after it was due to be closed.

The day centre, located just behind the High Street in Henfield, had been providing care and activities for people with high level care needs, such as dementia.  West Sussex County Council undertook a consultation in March 2014 to review the best outcome for the centre following declining demand.

After a year of negotiations, the Henfield Community Partnership, led by Tony Jackson, and West Sussex County Council, reached an agreement that has since delivered the centre into community ownership.  It was agreed to change the name of the centre to 'The Haven'.

The Community Partnership has received a number of grants to help them deliver the project to create a centre for wellbeing.  Work is underway so that the centre can open its doors to the first visitors at the end of November.

More than 80 local volunteers have also signed up to support the centre, and many have already been assisting with tidying up the grounds and building.

The official opening of The Haven will take place on Friday 4 December, and Mr Herbert will be among those planning to attend the event.

The Haven will open five days a week and will offer a wide range of activities to help people live well.  Services will include support for carers, a hearing clinic and therapies such as osteopathy.  Sussex charity Impact Initiatives will take the lead in providing services, including a continuation of the current dementia service. 

Digby Stephenson said: “The Haven couldn’t have happened without an amazing level of cooperation from all the parties concerned. WSCC, both at Cabinet and Operational levels, have been most supportive, and quickly realised just how important this project is, with a view to similar services being delivered by local communities across the County. Impact Initiatives have also played their part, taking risks and providing funding. But if I had to single out anyone for praise, it would be collectively the fantastic band of Henfield Haven Helpers, who have tirelessly and freely given of their time, initiative and energy in order to make this dream become a reality.”

Nick Herbert said: “It was great to see the rather tired former day centre being saved and then transformed by community effort.  The formation of a Community Interest Company to take on this project is a very interesting venture, and I wish Henfield Social Enterprise great success.

“I look forward to returning in December for the official opening and to meet the volunteers who have made The Haven possible.”




   1.    Photograph – Left to right – Tony Jackson, Henfield Social Enterprise, Nick Herbert, Digby Stephenson, Chairman Henfield Social Enterprise.

   2.    For more information about The Haven see

   3.    A Community Interest Company is a not-for-profit, limited company, with special additional protections for the community. This form of company was created for the use of people who want to conduct a business or other activity for community benefit, and not for private advantage. It affords many of the advantages of charitable status, without many of the operating restrictions with which a charity has to conform.   For more information about Henfield Social Enterprise see