The Trustees of the Children's Country Holidays Fund have announced their plans to sell the Stafford House site and have issued the following statement.
'At a meeting with members of the Hassocks Community CCHF confirmed that Stafford House was no longer suitable for their purposes.
The Stafford House site was purchased by Edward Stafford from Annie Ferguson in 1944 and simultaneously given by him to East Sussex County Council.
In 1982 a formal Scheme for administering the Charity (which included a power of sale) was approved by the Charity Commission and the site was vested in the official Custodian for Charities.
In 2000 the Charity Commission approved a Scheme appointing CCHF as trustee of the Stafford House Trust.
At that time, The Stafford House Trustees could no longer afford the upkeep of the property and as CCHF continued to provide residential holidays for disadvantaged London children together with training and residential facilities for organisations associated with children and youth it was hoped the broad purposes of both charities could continue to be achieved.
It was hoped that these external bookings would provide funds for the ever increasing costs associated with Stafford House but this has not proved to be the case as Stafford House could not attract the volume of bookings required due to the increasingly out of date accommodation and facilities at Stafford House.
Thus for a number of years CCHF has been financially supporting the Stafford House deficit situation – a situation which is no longer viable, as the Trustees believe they should expend their resources on benefiting the children.
The safety and protection of the children we support is paramount in everything we do and is increasingly more expensive to provide, but public access to the Public Library which is situated on the Stafford House site seriously threatens to compromise our Child Protection policies.
The sale of the site and the acquisition of another tailored to our specific requirements will enable CCHF to provide its much needed services in a safe and more up to date environment.'
For more on this story see this week's Mid Sussex Times.