How did the charity come about? It was founded in 1999 by Peter and Heather Frost, to help their son Jonathan – so it’s our 20th anniversary this year. A few parents who had children with complex needs at Chailey Heritage realised that, once those children reached a certain age, there was nowhere for them to go. So Peter and Heather decided to do something about it. With the help of donations from about 200 local people, they started to build on donated land in Barcombe. The Bevern stream runs behind the building, which is how the Trust got its name.
What does the Trust do? We provide a home for life for local disabled adults, aged 18 upwards. There are ten residents, most of whom are classed as having ‘profound disabilities’. Most are in wheelchairs and require one-to-one care. As well as rooms for the residents, we offer respite care. We also have a sensory room, an activities room, a lounge, a kitchen and a hydrotherapy pool. And we organise daily trips and activities.
Why are you needed? Without us, many youngsters would be put into residential care homes, or would end up living with parents who would find it difficult to cope with their needs. In East Sussex alone, there are 1,000 profoundly disabled adults and only 100 beds available. In addition, many care homes are being closed, and funding is being cut at an alarming rate. We are offering an alternative, and giving local profoundly disabled adults a real home, where parents can be parents instead of carers.
What is the home like? It’s a happy home, full of smiles, and a great place to work. Everybody’s room is individual. Everybody has their own style, and their own posters up. And everybody gets to take part in different activities each day and to go out on trips. A typical day might involve cookery, art, hydrotherapy, visits from family, or a trip out. We try to make sure everyone has the same opportunities. So, for example, someone more able might go horse riding, while others might not physically be able to do that, but could ride in a horse-drawn carriage instead.
How can people get involved? The Lewes community has been amazing, with businesses sponsoring us, and local schools raising funds through dress-down days and fêtes. Other people set up regular gifts, volunteer at events or donate raffle prizes. We’re the chosen charity for this year’s Late Night Shopping. And on 7 December, it’s our third Lewes Santa Run, when we hope up to 200 people will take part in a 2K or 4K fun run to raise money for the Trust. You don’t have to be a runner – you can walk or push – and you get a free Santa suit! It costs £20 for adults to enter, and we’re asking people to raise at least £20 in sponsorship each. We made about £3,000 last year, so we’re hoping to top that this time.