Angel of The South

For anyone reading this from another land, you need to know that England has a huge sculpture called the Angel of the North.


Here’s our version, made by Evie when she was in year 3. I’ve started taking photos of stuff the kids make – it lessens the guilt of chucking these precious creations away.

Anyway it got me thinking – who or what would I nominate for an ‘Angel of the South’ award? Without a shadow of a doubt, I immediately chose Guild Care, the local charity for whom I’ve been working this last year. Funnily enough, tomorrow is my last day there so I probably should be making cakes to take in, not blogging.

The summer of 2014 saw me crying quietly through a cinema trip on holiday because it was a dark, safe place to let it out without the children seeing. We were kind of running out of money and I literally had no idea what kind of job I could get, having been out of teaching for too long. I had worked in the family/ church for 13 years but didn’t have much to show for it on paper. It wasn’t that I was worried we’d starve, it was more the crushing lack of confidence and the thought of putting myself ‘out there’ in an interview or even writing a CV! YIKES! And what to wear anyway?! Since then I set up my writing business which has been fun, but also I got in through the back door (Luke) to help the Guild Care fundraising team. Honestly on the first day I could barely swivel my own swively chair without assistance. Pretty much every day since, I’ve needed help of some kind (usually something to do with a password changing on the computer – ha!). I had THE nicest bosses you could possibly imagine though, so it was OK. I started off doing all kinds of admin, and more recently helped write applications for funding and re-wrote bits for the website. ANYway this post isn’t about me it’s about Guild Care – a shiny jewel in Worthing’s crown. I boast about it endlessly – I just think it’s amazing!! Here’s a little glimpse.

Imagine you’re a young boy and you have a sibling with profound disabilities. Guess what – Guild Care put on a club for YOU! You get to go bowling or watch a movie with other kids in the same situation, and they understand you way more than your mates at school, because they know what your life is like.

What do you do if you visit someone who suffers with dementia and she’s in a home? At Haviland House, instead of sitting on the edge of her bed feeling gloomy you can get your hair done together at the ‘Rock n Rollers’ 50’s-style hair salon! That place is fantastic – designed with the benefit of decades of Guid Care’s expertise. There’s all kinds of details to ensure quality of life for dementia sufferers – little potting sheds for the residents, a cafe open to the public, all kinds of therapies… oh and my favourite bit, the red phone box in the garden to help stimulate memories. Colin and I looked around and were both a bit bewildered that all the visitors weren’t weeping along with us…

Underneath my office there’s a club called GOLD – Growing Old with Learning Difficulties. They have a ball – it’s bingo and panto, aerobics and visitors – once I think they even had an Elvis impersonator. He went somewhere anyway, maybe one of the several residential homes. I’ve heard of a ‘Home from Hospital’ scheme too, where Guild Care sends somebody to help you settle back at home, getting bread and milk in or getting the place warmed up again. There’s also ‘Time out for Carers’ and trips together, not to mention the Ashdown Centre….. maybe you should just click on their website! 

If you’re local you’ll have seen the minibuses fetching and carrying people so they don’t get isolated at home. You may have spent a few quid in the charity shops. Maybe you volunteer for them or help raise money, or you’ve benefitted from Guild Care yourself. I had never really clocked them, but I’m so, SO glad I did before I left Worthing. This town has far fewer lonely, struggling people thanks to its Angel of the South. I’ve been really proud to be a teeny part of it and I’ll miss everyone very much ‘cos they’re fab.