LEADERS of the Aldingbourne Trust have set a three-year deadline to raise £4m for their new buildings.
They want to bring in the funds to enable their Aldingbourne Country Centre to be transformed with 21st-century premises.
As reported, planning permission has been granted for its new structures to include conference facilities, a larger cafe and shop.
They will be located in a three-storey building in a former quarry at the heart of the centre looking out over its open farm.
Expansion to the existing client building will enable the centre’s clients of adults with learning disabilities to have more space and provide better chances to develop their skills and maximise their learning in a pleasant environment.
Trust managing director Sue Livett said: “We are delighted that planning has been approved. Now, all that remains is to raise the money to make it happen.
“We welcome members of the public to visit and see for themselves what we are all about and how we support adults with learning disabilities and make a difference to their lives.”
The appeal for the new buildings was launched a few months ago and has reached just under £400,000.
Some of that was spent on the work needed to prepare the planning application.
Abigail Rowe, the trust’s fundraising consultant, said: “Fundraising for £4m won’t be easy, but that won’t stop us.
“We have been deeply moved by the support from people throughout West Sussex who have organised events, taken part in challenges, donating their valuable time and money to this amazing charity.”
The development of the country centre on Blackmill Lane will enable the trust to provide additional job chances for adults with learning disabilities and increase their learning.
The activities in the new venture will also be available for families in the area to enjoy in what the trust hopes will become a local attraction.
Planning approval for the new facilities was given by Arun District Council last month, despite protests from two Blackmill Lane residents. Their concerns chiefly centred around the extra traffic along the rural lane which will be generated by the expected increase in visitors to the centre.
Anyone who wishes to boost the appeal, or has fundraising ideas to help it, should contact Ms Rowe on 07802 783604.
More information about the development can be found on the www.aldingbournetrust.co.uk website or by phoning Michelle McKinley Bell on 07918 058600.