Eastbourne & District Mencap has created a wonderful new and exciting home for its residents at 4 Mill Road. This has been a long-term project for the charity, which supports people with learning disabilities.

The original building was outdated, so our aim was to ensure that the refurbished building created a modern and unique environment for people to lead more independent lives.

The charity has three homes in Eastbourne and also runs The Hive day centre in Pevensey Road.

Natalie Harding as the CEO of Eastbourne & District Mencap is extremely proud of what we have achieved following the downsize of two homes and reduction in capacity, splitting a larger building into two to provide a more stimulating environment and encourage more independence for our residents.

She said we want everyone to feel that they are living in their own home and to feel empowered. The refurbished building now promotes more independent living over three floors with every room having its own en suite facilities. It has exceptionally modern décor and a very light, bright and welcoming ambience. There is also a large garden for everyone to enjoy and it’s a very welcoming place. Natalie said we are very proud that we can make a real positive difference to our service users’ lives.

Jacqui White is the manager and feels this is a very exciting time for Eastbourne & District Mencap. She said since the move to 4 Mill Road, she has seen a considerable difference in the way residents go about their daily lives, wanting to look after their new rooms and taking pride in their home. Jacqui said that 4 Mill Road no longer feels like a care home, but now feels like a home belonging to our ten residents. Everyone has said how much they love their new home.

RP said “I absolutely love it and I enjoy everything about it. It feels very homely; it feels like my home”.

The biggest change moving back into 4 Mill Road, has been the empowerment it gives to our people, and that is so important to Eastbourne & District Mencap.

Since the Coronavirus outbreak and the imposed lockdowns, it has been difficult for us all, but the residents have been working hard on a new Exhibition called ‘EASTBOURNE SNAPSHOT 2020’, which will hopefully be staged later this year at The VOLT GALLERY in Seaside Road, Eastbourne from 27 May to 13 June 2021.

The project includes arts, crafts, pottery, written and spoken word, multiple visual arts, including films and photography. The Exhibition wants to create an overview of Eastbourne, the people who live here and some of its interesting and captivating places. It is an ongoing collection of evidences taking you on a journey through a collective and/or personal diary made in different forms and materials, or as a collection of individual and communal statements and poems.

There will also be a special launch screening at Cineworld in The Beacon shopping centre in May, once we come out of this current lockdown, of a documentary entitled ‘Beyond the Disco’. This documentary illustrates the journey showing the making of a musical, which was performed with great success at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre in November 2019.

The Hive, based in Pevensey Road, Eastbourne, provides a day service for around 60 people each week, from the community as well as residents in our homes, although it is currently closed due to Lockdown.

Domenico Della Valle is The Hive’manager and he is delighted the daily centre offers a variety of workshops, enabling service users to engage in lots of different activities, ranging from pottery and craft to learning life skills and taking qualifications. Performing arts is also a strong feature with drama, karaoke and Swoove Dance. And Photography is also very popular. Once we are able to re-open, we are planning to start some new courses, including swimming and horse grooming, which regrettably had to be put on hold in December.