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Forward Facing supports families in Sussex whose children are living with long-term or life-limiting conditions, complex disabilities. terminal illness or bereavement.

Welcome to Forward Facing, a charity based in Sussex that supports families whose children are living with long-term or life-limiting conditions or those who have suffered bereavement or hardship.

We help families by putting on free special events where they can forget their daily struggles, have fun, express their personalities and most importantly, make lasting memories. We support not only the children, but also their parents, carers, siblings and extended families.

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of our supported families struggle to access activities due to their child's complex needs
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supported parents reported experiencing stress, anxiety and depression
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of parents rarely or never get time away for themselves
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children and their families helped so far
The what, the how and the why! Click to find out more

For 2024-2027 we want to sustain and develop our existing services and increase our capacity to support another 100 children and their families experiencing life-limiting conditions and disabilities.

Forward Facing was established in 2011. Tragically, our founder died in 2014, and her best friend, Forward Facing’s CEO Candice, promised to keep the charity running. 12 years later, we have created an amazing network of families and volunteers and have supported over 160 children and their families through the most difficult life circumstances.

Our steering group of 19 volunteer Ambassadors, who all have lived experience of caring for loved ones with disabilities or life limiting conditions, help us to keep our services relevant and focussed on what families need.

We are unique in providing support at all stages of a family’s journey, from diagnosis or referral to us, right through to bereavement support if a child tragically dies.

With our focus on creating lasting memories and improving the lives of children and their families, Forward Facing has emerged as a beacon of hope and support in the Sussex community.

Forward Facing’s commitment is to helping families make lifelong memories. We curate a range of experiences, events, and trips that cater for the specific needs of the child and their family.

Our programme of 50 specially designed, free and inclusive events throughout the year supports families in creating cherished memories and forging bonds with other families facing similar challenges. Events range from adapted sporting activities, trips to farms, pamper days, virtual reality days and our unique Memory Making and Oscar days at the Brighton Dome.

These experiences not only offer respite from the daily challenges of living with an illness or disability, but also serve as a source of hope, joy, fun and inspiration, sustaining children and their families during difficult times.

Crisis support

 

Forward Facing provides support that fills the gaps in social, medical and statutory services. Our barrier-free crisis support includes signposting, advice, and practical and emotional support for families in times of urgent need.

 

Our CEO and team of compassionate, skilled and knowledgeable volunteers has lived experience of the issues our families are facing.  They are uniquely placed to identify and meet the individual needs of each family, ensuring that they receive timely and effective support for their specific circumstances. Crisis support includes sending personalised food

packages or household necessities when there is a medical emergency or bereavement, arranging photoshoots for families about to lose a loved one or a compassionate and friendly ear in times of need

 

 

 

Counselling and bereavement support

Forward Facing adopts a holistic approach, encompassing emotional and practical support which enables families to focus on healing, creating memories, and embracing hope.

Our free-to-access counselling service is a lifeline for some of our families. They may be experiencing trauma from caring for their child. They may be dealing with grief from the loss of their child or sibling. We offer a range of services, including one-to-one counselling and support groups for adults and children to help families navigate their difficult journey. Through counselling individuals can share their experiences, reflect on their journey and start to make sense of what they have been through.

We regularly receive referral requests from families, social workers and hospices. With only one full time staff member, supported by a wonderful team of volunteers, the need for our services is outstripping our capacity.

How you can help

Supporting Forward Facing is an investment in the well-being and resilience of our community. By empowering families facing serious illness and bereavement, Forward Facing contributes to building a more compassionate and inclusive society where no family feels alone in their struggle.

  • £5 would pay for a treat for a child in hospital or a coffee voucher for their parent/ carer
  • £20 would pay for a child to have an adaptive sports lesson
  • £30 would pay for a parent or carer to get a pamper treat at MAC or LUSH
  • £100 would pay for 2 sessions of counselling or play therapy
  • £250 would pay for 10 children and their families to enjoy an animal encounter day out

Candice and Forward facing have allowed us to make so many beautiful memories. Their events cater for so many and everyone comes together. At the events it doesn’t matter how hard times have been as everyone understand each other and no one is judged- everyone is just able to be themselves and have so so much fun. The events are relaxed and families like ours have had so many special times. Candice and her team put alot of much effort into creating an environment that takes you away from the stresses of hospital stays and appointments and let’s the child just be children in a world they sometimes can’t be. Our Sebastian is constantly talking about Forward Facing events and so many happy memories have been made. Thank you all for allowing us to be part of this extra special charity Forward Facing we love you guys and can’t thank you enough.

Sebastian said “I love Forward facing I get to have fun days out and go on stage”
He loves you as much as we do xx

Natasha, Luke and Sebastian from Burgess Hill

Forward Facing provide fun days out for me and my family. Our life is quite difficult due to our daughter’s disability and our income is low as I work as as her full time unpaid carer. Forward Facing organises fun excursions and days for us to enjoy as a family where we are always thoroughly spoilt. We’ve groomed donkeys and performed choreographed dances onstage. I’ve even sipped Prosecco whilst getting expert advice on applying make-up. How lovely it is to have a charity which recognises the hardship disability and illness brings to the whole family. Plus it’s always nice to be spoilt once in a while. Thank you Forward Facing for the good times you give us.

Love Aly, Gracie and Edie

“We recently lost our young daughter Alena and don’t know what we would have done without the amazing things that Forward Facing have done for our two boys and us as a family. Forward Facing have helped them with the grief of losing their sister by creating fun times with memory making days and days out. Forward Facing is such an amazing charity as they do so much for bereaved families and those with seriously ill children. It makes such a difference to all our lives so big massive thank you to Forward Facing.”

Clair, mother

“Forward Facing has provided some wonderful experiences for my family and I, including an amazing spa day for myself. We have been given the opportunity to enjoy days at an adventure park and to watch Brighton play at the Amex. These experiences would not have been possible without Forward Facing and the wonderful Candice. I just wanted you to know that both my grandsons deserve nice experiences, which we could never afford as a family. Anything that puts a smile on their faces means the world, thank you so much”

Geraldine, grandmother

“Thank you for such a wonderful day yesterday – it was absolutely amazing. All your volunteers made us as a family feel special and made sure we all enjoyed ourselves. You included Connie in everything, which I know is sometimes difficult, but all your volunteers, face painters and choreography team treated her with so much respect and made sure she had a great day – which means a lot to us. Seeing Connie have her face painted was, in particular, very emotional for me.

The whole day was so well organised and everyone you could see was having so much fun. I think it’s one of the best charity events I’ve personally been to. The day was truly a “memory making” one, so thank you.”

Stephen, father

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