OCTOBER is Spina Bifida Awareness Month.

This month we turn the spotlight on a charity which supports people in Eastbourne and East Sussex who have the condition

What is spina bifida?

Typically, the spinal cord is formed and completely closed by the end of the first month of pregnancy.

Spina bifida occurs when the spinal cord is not completely formed, with possible protrusion of the cord outside the spinal column.

The cause is unknown, but there are several suspected factors, such as insufficient folic acid prior to conception, genetics, and environmental factors.


Spina Bifida affects up to 2,000 out of 4 million births each year. There are about 166,000 people living in the US with Spina Bifida today.

What is SASBAH?

It is the Sussex Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus.

It is based at Gun Hill, Chiddingly, and has around 500 members, many of whom live local.

SASBAH supports all people in Sussex affected by spina bifida, hydrocephalus and other related conditions to achieve their potential, whilst promoting understanding of, and respect for, those with these conditions.

· As well as giving our service users the skills and opportunities to find employment we provide job opportunities through our unique Saspire service.

· In supporting people with these life-challenging conditions, we help them participate fully in community life through networks, events and social activities.

· We don’t take a ‘one size fits all’ approach. We consider each case individually, offering high quality options that fully meet our service users’ needs.

· By understanding the conditions, we can offer expert advice and experience responding to needs and working and interacting with people with spina bifida, hydrocephalus and other related conditions.

· Strong involvement within communities assists our work to increase their knowledge and awareness of these conditions and their respect for people living with them.


Saspire is a work experience service that SASBAH has established.

It is designed to give people with disabilities the opportunity to gain experience of a structured work place but with support.

It is based at the head office and some assistance is provided with transport.

The feeling of achievement is key to those that are involved.

The charity encourages people to come and have a taster session to see if it suits them.

Lockdown has had a large impact on all charities.

Chief Executive Rom Sanglaji, who lives in Eastbourne, said: “We have been looking at ways to adapt our services in these challenging times.

“We have continued to offer support, advice and social interaction through social media, email and telephone.

“These range from swoove to bingo, art lessons to quizzes. We want to be there for people who need us.”

SASBAH runs a fortnightly activity evening at Ratton School, although that is on hold due to Lockdown.

It also has a very close working relationship with Brewers. Rom says that relationship has been invaluable.

Donate Today

If you believe in what we do, and in the value of supporting those with Spina Bifida and/or Hydrocephalus, please choose the way that suits you best and donate today.

Donate in Memory

If you would like to, you can make a donation to SASBAH in memory of a loved one. Your donation will mean your loved one’s memory will live on in helping to change the life of someone with a disability.

Leave a Gift in your Will

With a gift to SASBAH in your Will you have the power to change the world for people with a disability in Sussex. Log onto https://sasbah.org.uk