Centre expansion planned after autism service closure

ks171076-1 Bog Ark Project  phot kate Team members from Willow Barn, hoping to have a new Day Centre Facility. From left: Support workers, Jose Ermina, Fiona McCafferty, and Mo  Bah, with day service manager, Alex Fryer,ks171076-1 SUS-170310-213727008
ks171076-1 Bog Ark Project phot kate Team members from Willow Barn, hoping to have a new Day Centre Facility. From left: Support workers, Jose Ermina, Fiona McCafferty, and Mo Bah, with day service manager, Alex Fryer,ks171076-1 SUS-170310-213727008

A new day care facility for those with autism is in the pipeline for the Ark Project in Oving.

The specialist service for people with communication difficulties has been asked to expand by West Sussex County Council after a similar service in Felpham, run by Autism Sussex, closed down earlier this year.

Alex Fryer from the Ark Project said the plan was currently to provide support for the four individuals who previously received a service in Felpham, but the new building could be used to support other individuals with similar needs in the future.

He said: “There are a lot of day care centres that support people with moderate needs but in terms of people in need of additional support there’s not as much as you might think.

“It’s about supporting those individuals, but also their families, because the majority of people we work with live at home, so it’s an important respite service as well.”

The Ark Project focusses on helping build individuals’ communication skills and independence through creative-based therapies and activities and currently caters for around four people.

Plans submitted this week involve demolishing exisiting outbuildings to make way for the day care facility and office.

The centre would include adult changing facilities and space for theraputic sessions and a sensory room.

Alex said the vision was for a dedicated centre for what the Ark Project already did so well.

He said: “We’ve seen some really positive changes, people who were really isolated are now engaging with people, you can see they’re really happy.

“Not every day is plan sailing but I think it makes a huge difference to the quality of their life, whether it’s going out, swimming, or out in the commuity.”

West Sussex County Council’s care, wellbeing and education department, has written a letter endorsing the application.

A decision is expected by October 18.