Hello Friends, 

As next week is refugee week and there’s been so much going on with the South Downs Refugee Project (and it being June….), it seemed apt that we publish our June newsletter.

Our project is now on the cusp of our new phase – actually welcoming a family to the village, to the house which we have, as a community, funded and furnished in such a short space of time. So, strap in as we share with you all the news of what’s happened since we last updated you just 8 weeks ago. 


We announced just 8 weeks ago that we’d found and signed contracts for our house and since then so many generous people have stepped forward with donations to fill it with love ahead of our families’ arrival. Many thanks to Jermayne and Richard from our project team who have coordinated everything from sofas through to first aid kits – to date we’ve not had to buy anything, and our house awaits its new tenants….

Our family support worker network has continued to grow and be trained and vetted. We now have over 25 people who have undertaken Safeguarding training, a CRB check and we have teams covering medical needs, teams supporting English language acquisition, employment, benefits  and general family supporters who will help with everything from attending appointments with the family through to helping the transition to a new, independent life here. 

And the good news is that financially, we are there too. We’ve met our target of £25,000 thanks to many events (more details below), fundraising activities, and donations where your support has been invaluable. 

With everything now ready, the final piece of the jigsaw of course is the family. The process essentially requires a proposal from the Home Office to us of a family unit who, along with WSCC, we determine if we can help and support.

The really great news is that things are progressing well now with a potential family match and we hope to have a family with us soon. There is still a long way to go and the experience of other project groups is that this isn’t straightforward –  but we wait in a state of readiness and enthusiasm to welcome, settle and support our new neighbours.


A Weaving of Jazz Jewels and Poetry
Saturday 18th June, 6 – 7.30pm

SDRP’s own Lou Beckerman is following up on last years fantastic Raise the Roof concert with a more intimate performance of poetry and songs with pianist Joss Peach. 

The concert is a benefit for the Holy Trinity Church in Hurstpierpoint and SDRP, and tickets are avilable via:

01273 835113

It’s a grand night for singing

Friday 1st July at 7.30pm

Hurst, Hassocks and Ditchling u3a have been great supporters of the South Downs Refugee Project and the u3a singers present a programme of light, classical and popular music on 1st July in Keymer. Admission is free, no ticket is required and there will be a retiring collection.


Hassocks Village Ceilidh – Many thanks to EVERYONE who came along to the Hassocks Village Ceilidh last month. It was fantastic to see Adastra Hall full of people dancing to music from the Black Cat Ceilidh Band and we raised just over £2,000 for our cause. 

Special thanks to Sally and the volunteer SDRP event team who ran the door, served at the bar,sold raffle tickets, prepared the hall and cleared up again afterwards! And thanks to the many businesses who donated raffle prizes.

We are looking forward to the 2023 Hassocks Village Ceilidh already. Who knows, at some point I may even be able to stop having to look up how it’s spelt.

Photo: Chris Hobbs

Guides & Scouts – 2 Hills & 3 Mills Sponsored Walk – Our huge thanks to Amanda and her team, and all the Guide and Scout Units in Ditchling, Hassocks and Hurstpierpoint who collaborated in support of SDRP and took part in the “2hills3mills” sponsored walk on Sunday 22 May. So far, over £1200 has been raised! 

The weather was fantastic and different groups took on either the whole route or sections of the 12-mile circular which takes in Jack & Jill & Oldlands windmills, Ditchling Beacon and Wolstonbury Hill. 

More groups will participate in the walk in the summer term programme. Our fingers are crossed on the weather for you.

Jane, Malc, Liz and Julian’s Long Walk Home – huge thanks and congratulations to Jane & Malcolm Roweth, and Liz and Julian Hollingdale who managed to walk “home” from Winchester along the South Downs Way – in a day –  all in support of SDRP and raised over £1800 in the process.

Our volunteer Heike’s Clayton Plant Sale continues to trade (having made over £500 for the project so far this year) If you would like to pick up some bargains and help our cause, park in the Clayton Recreation Ground car park and follow the signs 250m down Underhill Lane.

In May, local potters organised by Chris Hesketh ran a pottery auction of donated pieces. £961 was raised. 

This month, we were very grateful to receive a fabulous donation of £3,000 from the charity Humanity at Heart, who many people will know for their shop in Keymer Road, but who are a very active charity helping  combat child poverty, help vulnerable and poor communities, improve the lives of elderly people living in poverty, and help those with special needs live full and happy lives.

I told you it’d been a busy few weeks! Thank you all SO MUCH for practical and financial support, kind words and encouragement, and for attending our events that’s helped to get us to the great place we are in today. 

If you’re reading this and are not registered for the newsletter, please do sign up to the ‘Supporters Mailing List’ on the SDRP homepage here for future updates, or get in touch on the links below.