Seaford-based charity closes after 20 years

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A SEAFORD-based charity has closed after more than 20 years supporting people across Sussex with additional needs.

Special Needs Advocates (SNAPPS) was established after a handful of families had been approached by a health visitor to set up a self-help support group.

Seaford resident Rosemary Kemp was key in getting the organisation off the ground. At first she was a joint co-ordinator alongside someone else but when they left she took on the role single-handedly and became chairman.

Advocacy has always been the main focus of SNAPPS which aims to support people of all ages with additional needs – whether this was a disability or illness – as well as their families and carers.

It had its first monthly drop in session at the Seaford Medical Practice and went on to find a permanent home at Seaford Baptist Church.

SNAPPS was given a boost with two lottery grants and along with support from local organisations and charities it created a telephone helpline, held members’ meetings with guest speakers and hosted events for members including garden summer parties and a trip to the pantomime.

The charity, which supported people in East and West Sussex and surrounding areas, gave away thousands of pounds in small grants to members to pay for things including respite care and play schemes.

Another charity – Seaford Down’s Syndrome and Special Needs Support Group – is looking to continue some of the good work of SNAPPS.

Rosemary said, “Although this is the end of an important support network, it is splendid that the Seaford Down’s Syndrome and Special Needs Support Group (SDSSNSG) has taken on the role of advocate and will continue to fight for positive discrimination for this vulnerable group within our community.

“All of the SNAPPS members have been invited to join the SDSSNSG.”

Sen Smallwood from SDSSNSG added, “The loss of such a worthwhile charity is unfortunate however, the wonderful legacy they have left behind in the joyful memories they helped to build for individuals; the huge number of parents they supported so well through hard times.”