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Beginnings

The idea for the project came to its founder, Jo Evans, in 2001 through her concern for the elderly in the village and particularly for the circumstances of a Mr Harry Martin who had lived and worked in the village all of his life. From this seed came the formation of a committee in June 2004 and the Rotherfield St Martin Project was launched in September 2005.
From small beginnings - six people at a tea-and-cakes afternoon – the Project has grown to become a strong, supportive and caring facility for senior citizens in Rotherfield.  By 2010 numbers had grown with around sixty people attending each Monday session, enjoying a range of speakers, entertainment and activities that include local businessmen, musicians and artists, in a relaxed and happy atmosphere. This is supported by a band of volunteers, business and local organisations, groups and individuals.

The next exciting stage of the Project, to provide more comprehensive services, required a permanent base from which to operate, and a full-time project co-ordinator. This was a giant step that required substantial on-going funding which was beyond the Project to raise.   An application was made to the Big Lottery Fund - Reaching Communities, and we were delighted to learn that the Project had been awarded £77,151 to cover substantially three years’ salary, rent and overheads for its operation, starting in January 2008.

Since then we have also been greatly supported in our endeavours by grants and other assistance from a number of organisations including Rotherfield Parish Council, Sussex Community Foundation, St Denys’ Church, Lloyds TSB, the Mercers Company, Comic Relief, Awards for All, The Tudor Trust and numerous local organisations & individuals.

SAGA Magazine wrote an article about us in their August 2012 edition. We get a lot of people contacting us for information about how we started. We have complied a guide, which you can find on our Make A Difference page.