A NEW idea has emerged for the Fort Fun site on Eastbourne.

Here is Kate Daly – Turn Fort Fun into ‘the world’s first and only Mr Men and Little Miss land’

“So our expression of interest is in!

As residents of Eastbourne for over 25 years and having used and watched Fort Fun during that time we are of the strong belief that the only way to keep this a children’s entertainment facility and make it successful in the long term is by involving the community.

Our town’s demographics have and are changing, we need more facilities for young families and children, not less. For this reason we have expressed our interest in running the facility as a community interest company, run for and by the people of Eastbourne.

It is time to consider local people more interested in improving the area, helping the community and focused on the long term success of the facility rather than an outside company.

To this end we would like to change Fort Fun to become the world’s first and only Mr Men and Little Miss land, complete with museum, interactive model village, mini cinema, café, gift shop, sensory room, free children’s library and of course indoor and outdoor play areas.

As a unique one of a kind museum for a well loved worldwide brand now 50 years old this will also attract more tourists to Eastbourne all year round which benefits everyone. Our son who has aspergers (high functioning autism) is quite well known for his Mr Men collection having featured on ITV’s This Morning and in local and national press. He has been collecting over 25 years now and it has long been his ambition to open something like this within Eastbourne.

His collection rivals the current Guiness world record and we intend to break this. Ben has recently been filmed for a new channel 4 internet series; in the meantime you can see a video of Ben and his collection here: https://youtu.be/DxdAiEKRpOo or look for ‘Ben Daly, Mr Men’ on google.

We also have TV companies interested in televising the whole process.We will be having a sensory room and special hours and activities for the SEN community and further offering work experience for young people with SEN, Ben remembers how wonderful it was to complete his work experience at How we Lived Then in Eastbourne and is determined to help others just like him.

There will be themed annual events and the museum area fits key stage 1&2 for school visits.Part of the planned outside area will focus on imaginative role play offering a mini Mr Men and Little Miss themed town with play houses to include matching props and toys, a school type house, Mr Greedy’s café, shops and Mr Men character houses. Imaginative role play is vital during children’s development, we have seen how well loved these type of play areas are. We already run and manage multi award winning Old Town Community Library and since 2016 have refurbished it and taken it from debt to a self funding charity library with the help of 20 wonderful volunteers.

We are experienced in fund raising and grant applications having won two awards for ‘fundraiser of the year’ among others and have volunteered, been involved in and run various successful Charities and associations in Eastbourne since 2006. To our family this is about a number of things, yes, making our son’s dream a reality but also about saving the old Fort Fun area as a children’s attraction, involving the community and bringing tourists to Eastbourne.

We have provided a sound business plan that has previously been scrutinized and approved by Theo Paphitis’s (Dragons Den) P.A.We know we will be up against others, not all of which will be children’s facilities as the council EOI states it does not have to be; no doubt some of these will have great ideas and/or very deep pockets. So what will it become? Hotel? Flats? Who knows?

It is now up to the council officers and borough councillors to decide. We welcome your positive thoughts and ideas, support and shares. If you feel ours is a good idea and choice for the old Fort Fun why not let the council know this, every little helps.”