Crawley and Horsham

Category Archives: General

Are your child’s spots just itchy and sore or a symptom of something more sinister? Here, midwife and nurse, Jackie Hall, who leads our team of Health at Hand nurses gives you the lowdown on which spots to worry about.

“Any new parent will tell you that spots can make them anxious, and even the more experienced ones can still have sleepless nights over unusual rashes.

It’s not easy for parents to know whether a rash or skin changes indicate a serious medical problem and whether further medical assessment is needed,” says Jackie. “A rash can give a clue to the type of illness but other signs/symptoms are just as important in determining how serious an illness may be.”

What are viral rashes?

Watch for tiny, pinprick, red spots on the chest, abdomen and limbs which disappear easily when you press on them (or glass test negative). They can accompany common cough/cold/sore throat /tummy bug illnesses.

Many viral infections that cause rashes are self-limiting i.e. they resolve themselves within several days without the need for treatment. Nevertheless, though there aren’t any cures, symptoms can be managed from home with help of your pharmacist. For example, encouraging fluid intake to prevent dehydration and paracetamol to aid pain relief and fever control.

Always consult a doctor if you are worried about a rash on your child or complications that follow, such as ear infections. This is especially important with children who are under 12 months old, who have very high fevers or who are refusing to take fluids.

Viral rashes are the result of an underlying infection and their duration is only a period of the total duration of infection. Furthermore, it is this underlying viral infection that can be transmitted between children and not the rash itself. The “incubation period” – the time between contracting the virus, to developing the symptoms – will vary between viruses. As a general rule, people are most infectious in the days prior to rash outbreak, continuing until a few days post-rash outbreak.

If spots are accompanied by any of the following symptoms and your child appears to be more unwell then seek urgent medical attention.

  • Drowsiness
  • Unresolving high temperature/fever
  • Floppy body tone (your child looks and feels like a rag doll when you pick them up)
  • Confusion/difficulty awakening
  • Severe/worsening headaches
  • Very pale skin
  • Seizures, fits (convulsions)
  • Shortness of breath
  • A sharp chest pain that feels worse with breathing
  • Coughing up blood

Go to your nearest accident and emergency department or call 999 for an ambulance if you or your child develops any of these symptoms.

Here Jackie lists some of the most common spots and rashes to watch out for:

1. Meningitis

This is the scary one every parent dreads. Remember though, a rash is often one of the last signs of meningitis or septicaemia, so do see a doctor if you are concerned about any of these symptoms:

What to look for

“A child with meningitis would normally be very unwell with reddish/purple spots which look a little like tiny fresh bruises on the skin – the key is that these do not blanch in colour when you press on them. The glass test is a very useful way to check,” explains Jackie. “This is if you press the side of a clear glass firmly against the skin and the rash doesn’t fade, it’s a sign of blood poisoning (septicaemia) and you should seek medical attention immediately. The rash may be harder to see on darker skin so check for spots on the paler areas, such as the palms of the hands, soles of the feet or the abdomen.”

How to treat it

If meningitis is suspected then the child must go immediately to an Accident and Emergency Department.

Is it contagious?

Bacterial meningitis can be contagious and you will be advised by the professionals looking after your child of actions that need to be taken.

2. Slapped cheek syndrome

What to look for

This is caused by parvovirus and causes a bright red rash on the cheeks. It is accompanied by slight fever and the child will feel mild/moderately unwell but get better after a few days.

How to treat it

Slapped cheek syndrome is usually mild and should clear up without specific treatment. If you or your child is feeling unwell, you can try the following to ease the symptoms:

  • Rest and drink plenty of fluids – babies should continue their normal feeds. Dehydration poses the greater risk, particularly in the young.
  • For a fever, headaches or joint pain you can take painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Aspirin should not be given to children under 16 years old.
  • To reduce itchiness, oral antihistamines can be taken and/or emollients used – some antihistamines are not suitable for young children, so check with your pharmacist first.
  • Those who should contact a GP include: pregnant women exposed to anyone with slapped cheek syndrome or who have symptoms of the infection, those who have a blood disorder, a weakened immune system or those with symptoms of severe anaemia, such as very pale skin, shortness of breath, extreme tiredness or fainting.

Is it contagious?

The virus is spread by inhaling droplets that are sneezed or coughed out by someone infected or by touching a contaminated surface or object and then touching your mouth or nose. It’s very difficult to prevent slapped cheek syndrome because people who have the infection are most contagious before they develop any obvious symptoms. However, making sure that everyone in the household washes their hands frequently may help stop the infection from spreading.

Someone with slap cheek syndrome is infectious during the period before the rash develops. Once the rash appears, the condition can no longer be passed on. Unless you or your child is feeling unwell, there’s no need to stay away from school or work once the rash has developed. It is however a good idea to notify your child’s school about the infection, so children who develop early symptoms can be spotted quickly and vulnerable people can be made aware that they may need to get medical advice.

3. Chicken pox

What to look for

At first your child will seem a bit off-colour, they may be off their food and quite lethargic for a few days. Then a few, itchy, red, raised spots on the neck, face, chest or back or other body parts will start to appear. These turn into little fluid-filled blisters, which can be itchy and painful. The child can be infectious for several days before spots appear and for 5 days or more after spots become visible. forming .

How to treat it

Chickenpox is usually mild and can be self-managed from home. Most people feel better within a week or so. But some people can become more seriously ill and need to see a doctor. There’s no cure but the treatment below can help relieve the symptoms while the body fights the infection.

  • Rest and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
  • For a fever, painkillers can help, such as paracetamol. Ibuprofen shouldn’t be given to children with chickenpox as it can make them very ill and do not give aspirin to children under 16.

IMPORTANT: Always read the packet or leaflet that comes with the medicine to check it’s suitable and how much to take. Speak to a pharmacist or your GP if you’re unsure.

You can buy topical preparations to apply directly onto the rash or administer an oral antihistamine to help reduce itching and soothe the skin– some antihistamines are not suitable for young children, so check with your pharmacist first.

An antiviral medicine called Aciclovir may be recommended if there is a risk of severe chickenpox and you already have symptoms. It ideally needs to be started within 24 hours of the rash appearing.

Is it contagious?

Chickenpox is highly contagious and can make some people very ill, so it’s important to try and avoid spreading it to others. If you or your child has chickenpox, stay away from nursery, school or work until all of the blisters have dried up and scabbed over. This usually happens five or six days after the rash first appears. You may continue to have spots on your skin for another week or two, but you’re no longer contagious if the spots are dry and scabby.

Certain people are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if they become infected with chickenpox. These include:

  • Pregnant women
  • Newborn babies
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • People in these groups should avoid contact with people with chickenpox and consult their GP if there is a risk that they have become infected.

Chicken pox can be spread through contact with objects that have been contaminated with the virus, such as toys, bedding or clothing. You can prevent it spreading by cleaning any objects or surfaces with a disinfectant and wash any infected clothing or bedding regularly.

4. Measles

Measles is a highly infectious, unpleasant viral illness that has some characteristic features to distinguish it from other viruses. Furthermore, it has the potential to cause serious complications.

What to look for

A mass of red spots break out around the neck, behind the ears and face but can appear elsewhere too, including the inside of the mouth. Measles can result in serious complications but, thanks to vaccination programmes, the incidence of outbreaks is low.

Initial symptoms of measles can include:

  • A runny or blocked nose
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Sore, red eyes that may be sensitive to light
  • A fever
  • Small greyish white spots in the mouth
  • Aches and pains
  • Cough
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness, irritability and a general lack of energy

How to treat it

You should contact your GP as soon as possible if you suspect that you or your child has measles. Its best to phone before your visit as your GP surgery may need to make some arrangements to reduce the risk of spreading the infection to others. There’s no specific treatment for measles, but the condition usually improves within 7 to 10 days. If the symptoms of measles are causing discomfort for you or your child, there are some things you can do to treat these while you wait for your body to fight off the virus.

  • Rest and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
  • Paracetamol or ibuprofen can be used to reduce a fever and relieve any aches or pains if you or your child is uncomfortable. (Aspirin should not be given to children under 16). Speak to your pharmacist if you are not sure which medications are suitable for you child.

Is it contagious?

Stay away from work or school for at least four days from when the measles rash first appears to reduce the risk of spreading the infection. It’s important to avoid contact with people who are more vulnerable to the infection, such as young children and pregnant women.

You can avoid catching measles by having the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Measles is unlikely in people who are fully immunised or who have previously contracted the infection. Vaccination with one dose of the combined measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine should provide about 90% immunity. However, vaccination with two doses of the MMR vaccine, as indicated by the UK Childhood Immunisation Programme, is thought to provide close to 100% lifelong immunity.

Data suggests that the people most likely to present with measles are younger people who have not received the MMR vaccine and who have not been previously exposed to the virus. In the past, there has been measles endemic, but since the introduction of the MMR vaccination, this has become relatively rare. However, in recent years, the infection has become more prevalent due to a failure of uptake of vaccination.

5. German measles (rubella)

What to look for

This is usually a mild illness with small red spots appearing on the face at first and then spreading to other parts of the body. Other symptoms include swollen glands and a cold-like illness. It’s rarely seen nowadays in the UK, thanks to routine vaccination. It is, however, of serious concern if a pregnant woman catches the virus in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy because it can cause birth defects in her baby.

Both measles and rubella are viral, however, the infection with rubella is usually mild by comparison, (symptoms include a rash and swollen lymph glands) but the likelihood of developing complications is rare. The main risk is contracting rubella in pregnancy.

How to treat it

You should always contact your GP if you suspect rubella. It’s best to phone before your visit as your GP surgery may need to make some arrangements to reduce the risk of spreading the infection to others. There’s no specific treatment for rubella. The condition is usually mild and improves without treatment within 7 to 10 days. If the symptoms of rubella are causing discomfort for you or your child, there are some things you can do while you wait for the infection to pass.

  • Rest and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
  • Paracetamol or ibuprofen can be used to reduce a fever and relieve any aches or pain. (Aspirin should not be given to children under 16). Speak to your pharmacist if you are not sure which medications are suitable for you child.

Is it contagious?

While you have rubella, it’s important to reduce the risk of spreading the infection to others. If you or your child has the condition, you should avoid work or school for four days from when you first develop the rubella rash.

In rare cases, rubella can cause serious problems in an unborn baby, so you should also try to avoid contact with pregnant women for four days from the start of the rash. If your pregnant and develop a rash or have been in contact with someone who has a rash, contact you GP or midwife immediately.

6. Impetigo

What to look for

This often begins as a red patch of skin often around the nose or mouth but can occur anywhere on the body. The red patches then become a crusty/brownish colour after a few days.

It is caused by overgrowth of skin bacteria and can easily be cleared by antibiotics, although spreads easily if left untreated.

Speak to your GP if you think you or your child may have symptoms of impetigo. Impetigo isn’t usually serious, but it can sometimes have similar symptoms to more serious conditions such as cellulitis so it’s important to get the correct diagnosis.

How to treat it

Impetigo usually gets better without treatment in a few weeks. However, treatment is often recommended because it can reduce the length of the illness to around 7 to 10 days and can reduce the risk of spreading the infection to others.

Hygiene measures alone even for small, localised lesions are not recommended. The main treatments prescribed are antibiotic creams or oral antibiotics and duration of treatment is usually one week.

Is it contagious?

During treatment it’s important to take precautions to minimise the risk of impetigo spreading to other people or to other areas of the body. Most people are no longer contagious after 48 hours of treatment or once their sores have dried and healed. It’s important to stay away from school or work until then.

To help prevent the risk of infection spreading:

  • Don’t share flannels, bedding or towels with anyone who has impetigo.
  • Wash and loosely cover the sores.
  • Avoid touching or scratching the sores.
  • Avoid contact with new born babies, preparing food, playing contact sports, or going to the gym – until the risk of infection has passed.
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Washable toys should be washed – thoroughly wipe no washable toys.

7. Eczema

What to look for

Dry /inflamed patches of skin typically form on creases of elbows and behind knees, but can occur anywhere on the body.

How to treat it

Treating eczema fundamentally involves breaking the scratch-itch cycle and replenishing the moisture content of the skin. It will normally respond well to the regular use of emollients/moisturisers and topical steroid preparations for flare ups. It is not possible to “overdose” on moisturisers and what may work for one person, may not for another. Steroid preparations are useful in managing flare-ups but should be used as prescribed. There are also specific bath additives/shower gels/soaps that are targeted to help manage eczema.

Is it contagious?

Eczema is not contagious. It is a chronic skin condition, most prevalent in childhood.

8. Molluscum

What to look for

Little crops of raised, fluid-filled blisters can occur anywhere on the body or limbs. These spots are harmless and the child will not be unwell but they are contagious and spread by person to person contact.

How to treat it

It can take up to 18 months for these to clear. Usually no treatment is needed as they clear on their own.

Is it contagious?

Resolution is spontaneous but it is contagious. It can be spread through close direct contact. If you become infected by the virus and spots appear on your skin, the virus can also spread to other areas. It is not known how long someone with molluscum is contagious for, but it is thought the contagious period may last up until the last spot has completely healed.

9. Allergic wheals

What to look for

These are blistery, reddish, raised blotches to the skin which can appear rapidly on different parts of the body. They tend to be itchy and are usually due to exposure to an allergen e.g. animal hair/dander, grasses or foods/additives.

How to treat it

Antihistamines such as Piriton can be helpful in reducing symptoms and progression. Most often the rash settles quickly over 24 hours but if there is associated swelling of the face, lips or any breathing problems, call 999.

Is it contagious?

Allergic wheals are not contagious. This is because allergic reactions are a result of the unique response of each individual’s immune system to certain triggers. Substances that cause a reaction in one person may not cause a reaction in someone else.

10. Neonatal heat spots

What to look for

These small red spots with a tiny white pimple on top appear on the face, neck and upper chest. They are the result of immature sweat glands becoming blocked when the baby gets hot. They are very common and usually of no concern and will disappear after a few months.

Find out more about the child health care options available to your family. You can also discover more information in our pregnancy and childcare centre or if you have a specific question, you can ask our experts. 

Over the next few weeks, hundreds of thousands of teenagers across the UK will be feeling the pressure as they sit their final GCSE and A-Level exams. It can be an extremely tense period. A recent poll carried out by the National Education Union found more than two thirds of teachers say their school or college is having to provide significantly more support to students due to mental health issue than five years ago, with 81 percent blaming this increase on the pressure of tests and exams.

So, for parents worried about the impact this stress will be having on their own child, what can they do to help relieve the tension? Here are my five tips for bringing harmony to the exam period.

Is your child getting enough sleep?

The temptation for young people fretting over upcoming exams is to stay up late every night revising. This is entirely counter-productive and could be harming your child’s mental health. Simple steps to help your child get enough sleep are cutting out caffeinated drinks in the evening, eating a healthy dinner before 7pm and stopping all revising two hours before going to bed. If possible, studying should also be avoided in your child’s bedroom – a place that should be exclusively for relaxation and sleep.

Don’t forget the fun

As the old saying goes, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy so make sure your child gets regular opportunities to switch off and relax. You could even splash out on a spa day mid-way through exams and pay for your child to have a massage as a reward. If that’s out of your price range, then why not just go swimming together for a couple of hours each weekend, one of the best exercises there is for controlling anxiety.

Are you being too pushy?

Most parents want their child to do the very best they can but it’s important that you don’t push them too hard and pile on more pressure at this late stage. Be available and be helpful but, ultimately, revising for exams and getting a good grade is your child’s responsibility. GCSEs and A-Levels are a perfect opportunity for young people to learn the value of self-reliance and hard work. Getting through exams on their own merits will also do wonders for your child’s self-esteem.

Consider mindfulness

Stress is a fact of life but that doesn’t mean we can’t offer our children ways to better control it. Mindfulness meditation is a brilliant way to relieve anxiety and has been proven to be particularly effective during exam times. There are countless resources online to show you the basics of this type of meditation, something which can be picked up almost immediately and takes as little as 15 minutes per day. Best of all, it can be done together so both you and your child share in the relaxation. It will also give your child a valuable tool for self-calming in other stressful situations.

Don’t make exams the be all and end all

Encourage your child to talk openly about the stress their feeling and remind them that, whilst it’s important they do the best they can, exams aren’t the be all and end all. They help us to understand what we’re good at and what we aren’t. If you get a disappointing grade for maths, well, you might not be destined to be a mathematician, and that’s not the end of the world. It’s a process of self-discovery and it helps us to understand both our strengths and our weaknesses.

By Helen Lami director of Academic Summer

babytodd’s Bump, Baby & Toddler Show is returning to The South of England Showground on 9th March.

We heard from the Show Organiser, Sarah O’Connell, who is super passionate about spreading word of the show and just how it all came about…

“We are a Sussex family who decided to take the bull by the horns after a reflective afternoon reminiscing about our parenthood journey. With 8-year-old twin girls, our experience had helped us realise and appreciate the need for offering a platform so that local families can meet their local and national suppliers and services. You don’t know what you don’t know, so by offering the show to Sussex and surrounding families they can become better informed about what is on offer to them and actually meet and connect with the people behind the businesses and websites. We now have some big names joining us too.

With so much on offer, the online options can be overwhelming. High Street store closures mean that families’ options for where they can see, touch and feel are limited when buying in Sussex. At such a special time in the family’s journey, we were keen to share everything under one roof and with a range to choose from. So, babytodd was born!

Life as parents can be really busy, we certainly didn’t come up for air, and we hadn’t appreciated just how much was available to us until much later into parenthood. We are super passionate about sharing an occasion where businesses, who are often otherwise based online, can engage with their customers and for everyone to understand the quality and passion that the exhibitors put into what they offer.”


What can people expect?

“A day, an occasion, an experience to enjoy with family and friends. 3 floors of everything for bump, baby, toddler and more. From prams to nappies, weaning to teethers, nursery & playroom furniture, slings to skincare, toys to classes and so much more. The show offers:

• A unique blend of exhibitors sharing their products and services – Local & national suppliers
• Show buggy park and sling library, so families can enjoy the show with their little ones
• Informative workshops, including Paediatric First Aid and Sleep Support
• Fun Taster Sessions for the little ones including Baby Yoga and Story Time
• Fully stocked baby change facilities and quiet feeding area
• Refreshment hub for a yummy lunch and treats
• A Goodie Bag for the first 100 pre-registered families to check in on show day

A perfect excuse to hit the pause button, and enjoy a relaxing day where you can submerge yourself in your family and savour the special moment.”

What feedback have you had from previous shows?

“95%* of families attending would recommend the show and 100%* of the exhibitors taking part would do the same. Families loved the show’s blend and quality of local and national exhibitors. When asked at our Sept 18 show, families were very positive about what they saw and asked for ‘more’ of the same, so we are adding an extra floor and exhibitors are expanding their stand spaces.

The family friendly facilities are a big hit too! Workshops with insightful and important information sharing. Fully stocked baby changing areas throughout the venue are a great way to share exhibitor’s products. Families love sharing time in the Taster Sessions and activities for little ones.

As the Show Organiser, we live and learn with each show and develop the show every time to improve and cater for the needs of the families and exhibitors taking part. The show has grown each time and has therefore relocated with each show, but we are very pleased to have found a long-term home at The South of England Showground. We can’t wait to welcome the families back and meet new show visitors too.”

How can people book?

Simply visit our website to Pre-Register.
Pre-Reg Price: £5
On the Door Price: £7.50
Under 16’s free
Facebook @babytoddshows – Insta @babytoddshows – Twitter @babytoddshows

*of those interviewed.

  • National midwife shortage leaves 2 in 3 mums feeling under-supported
  • Half of pregnant women consult the internet for advice
  • 36% want additional breastfeeding support

 New mums are the latest demographic to feel the sting of a stretched NHS, as research reveals overstretched resources have left 66% of mums wishing they’d been given more time with their midwife during pregnancy.

The survey of 300 mums who have given birth in the UK in past five years, published in the UK Maternity Report by the UK’s leading private midwifery services provider, Private Midwives, has revealed that throughout their pregnancies only 1 in 3 felt they had enough time with their midwife.

And more than 1 in 10 (13%) went as far as to say they received nowhere near enough contact time.

The study highlighted the need for additional midwifery funding to ease the strain on the UK’s hardworking midwives and enable them to execute the desired level of care.

Midwives are now being faced with a higher volume of work than ever with additional responsibilities including antibiotic administration, clinical observations on high risk babies, post-operative care and increasing demands for documentation. As such, giving their patients the time and support they deserve proves to be a daily struggle.

The research also revealed that more than half (51%) resorted to consulting the internet for advice when their midwife was not on-hand. Yet, understandably, 38% of women admitted to then feeling anxious about trusting information supplied via a search engine.

The need for being able to ask a midwife for professional advice is further evidenced by the fact that more than 1 in 3 mums (34%) woke in the night with pregnancy-related worries.

Linda Bryceland, head of midwifery at Private Midwives, said: “Unfortunately, budget cuts and a fast-growing list of duties means the UK’s extremely hardworking NHS midwives are under more strain than ever. Sadly, despite NHS midwives working tirelessly to ensure a high level of care is delivered, it is still common for women to feel under-supported during their birthing journey.

“It is important for women and their families to consult a medical professional with any pregnancy-related concerns so that proper support can be offered. Whilst the internet now offers a wealth of information on pregnancy, an online search should never replace medically sound advice from a trained midwife. Our aim is to provide women and their families with all the support they need to make their pregnancy a positive experience.”

Highlighting the importance of having support from a professional during the pregnancy journey, 24% of UK mums admitted to finding breastfeeding difficult and more than 1 in 3 (36%) believe they would have benefitted from additional support when learning to breastfeed.

Almost 1 in 5 (19%) mums believe that with more support from medical professionals, they could have possibly breastfed for longer.

Sadly, 18% of mums confessed to feeling like a bad mother as a result of not being able to breastfeed, further highlighting the need for additional medical advice and the importance of one-to-one support from a midwife.

Private Midwives is the UK’s leading provider of private midwifery services, which connects expectant parents with expert private midwives who provide antenatal care, birth care, birth support, and postnatal care at times and locations that work best for parents-to-be.

 Founded in 2012, the Cheshire-based business has a network of midwives across the UK and Ireland, who are available to provide treatment and advice during appointments arranged at a time to suit mothers-to-be. In-between scheduled appointments, expectant parents can also contact their 24 hours, 365 days per year for urgent advice.

All midwives are registered and regulated by either the Nursing and Midwifery Council (UK) or the Nursing and Midwifery Board for Ireland, and the service is Care Quality Commission registered and regulated.

For more information, visit

Ariel Company Theatre is delighted to announce that it is opening a new drama academy on Saturday 28th April based at the Roffey Millennium Hall.  Ariel is a family theatre company and a leading light in all aspects of theatrical training including dance, drama and singing, with established academies in Crawley, East Grinstead, Burgess Hill, Haywards Heath and Steyning.  The new academy will run every Saturday afternoon from 2.15pm to 5.00pm welcoming students aged 5 -19.

Ariel’s award winning academies strive to provide much more than just out of school activities to keep young people occupied.  Run by a team of dedicated tutors who enthuse the students with a love of performing, Ariel helps to develop skills for life such as confident public speaking, collaboration skills and teamwork.  Students have the opportunity to make new friends and perform in a variety of events including plays, musicals and community events and on the professional stages of the Capitol Theatre, The Hawth and Brighton Fringe Festival. Everyone is welcome to come along and there is no audition process.  Free taster sessions are available so bring along your friends!

Ariel’s top team for new Horsham Academy: Beth Gavin, Chelsea Hennessey, Ben Simpson and Kyle Brown.

The Horsham team is headed up by Principal Ben Simpson who brings with him a wealth of knowledge having trained at the London School of Musical Theatre.  Ben is an experienced producer and actor whose credits include shows at the Theatre Royal Brighton, Chichester Festival Theatre, The Brighton Fringe, The National Theatre and The Royal College of Music. Ben headed up the Ariel team when the Haywards Heath Academy opened in 2014 and this year will be bringing his expertise to Ariel’s debut at the Brighton Fringe, when he directs a double bill of plays; Bassett and The Grandfathers.

Ben said ‘I am very excited about the opening of the Horsham Academy. The students can develop their performance skills across all three disciplines with experienced teachers.  We are a very inclusive school, so whether you have heaps of experience or are a total novice you will be made welcome. 

We will be working on a wide range of material from great classic musicals to contemporary plays and current chart hits.  Whether you aspire to be a professional performer or just want some fun and to make new friends, come along for a taster session’.

Ben will be joined by a very experienced team compiling of Dance Tutor, Beth Gavin who graduated from Roehampton University with a First Class Honours degree in Drama, Theatre and Performance studies in 2014 and is an Associate Member of the British Ballet Organisation (BBO). Beth also works as a Theatre Agent, representing actors in theatre, television and film and enjoys sharing her professional working knowledge of the industry with her students

Drama will be taught by Kyle Brown who started his acting career at the age of 15 after being scouted by an agent during a drama workshop. Since then he’s appeared in a range of productions both on stage and screen. Stage credits include Carmen and original musical ‘Secrets’ at the Leicester Square Theatre plus TV work and commercials for Newsround, Disney, Virgin Airlines and Morrisons. Over the last few years Kyle has turned his focus on song writing and has been featured on BBC introducing.  Kyle has also been helping Ariel launch a new ‘Theatre in Education’ initiative.

Teaching singing skills will be tutor Chelsea Hennessey who has been with Ariel since its inception in 2004.  Starting as a student on Ariel’s very first day, eventually Chelsea moved on to teaching and has been working at the Burgess Hill Academy for four years. In addition Chelsea also teaches and works with Ariel’s special needs groups, the Othello’s and Othello’s Plus.  She has worked as Musical Director on a number of Ariel workshops and projects, including Annie, Junior Musicality and a performance at Her Majesty’s Theatre in the West End.

Ensuring the smooth running of the academy and providing a very warm welcome to students will be Administrator Becky Gallagher. Becky has lived in Horsham all her life and has grown up surrounded by Amateur Dramatics as her parents were founding members of HAODS. She grew up watching and performing in shows and her first part was as a Munchkin in The Wizard of Oz! Becky went on to do a number of shows with HAODS. Becky is really excited about the opening of the Horsham Academy and is hoping that in time her young daughter will follow her on to the stage!

With many productions and projects in the pipeline, now is a great time for students to join Ariel. Rehearsals for Ariel’s main musical productions ‘Les Misérables’ will soon be starting and the show will play at the Capitol Theatre, Horsham from

11th – 17th November. 

For more information on Ariel’s new Horsham  Academy or visit 

To register for a free trial contact Nicci Hopson on 01444 250407


Tuesday 27 February, 7.30pm, The Hawth Crawley

Come and join the celebration as Chinese New Year lands in Crawley with a unique and exciting show of cultural spectacle.

Coming to The Hawth on Tuesday 27 February to celebrate the biggest festive event of the Chinese calendar, the Extravaganza features a team of performers showcasing amazing Chinese performing arts. From the cheerful spirit of the auspicious Lion Dance, to the majestic and awe-inspiring contortionists, the show is a colourful display of Chinese cultural tradition.

Witness the daring stunts of Chinese acrobatics alongside energetic kung fu performance, the ancient magic of Face Changing and more.

This colourful and action-packed show is the perfect entertainment for all ages to enjoy on this auspicious occasion. Do not miss!

Tickets priced £24 (over 60: £22, child: £18) are available from The Hawth Box Office on 01293 553636 and




For further information, interviews or further images please contact 01293 859953 or email [email protected].

The Panto Season is back! Don’t miss the spectacular, fun-packed, family pantomime, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs starring the hugely popular TV star Stephen Mulhern.

Stephen Mulhern is one of the most in demand television presenters around today with a string of smash hit television shows including Catchphrase and Britain’s Got More Talent. This will be his third time starring in The Hawth pantomime.

Michael J Batchelor is back as Crawley’s favourite dame. He (or should that be she?) first appeared at The Hawth in 2013 as one half of two truly ugly sisters and has returned as Nurse Nellie in Sleeping Beauty (2014/15) and Mrs Smee in last year’s record breaking Peter Pan.

Crawley-born Lauren Cocoracchio first performed in The Hawth pantomime in 2014, when she won the title role in Sleeping Beauty after attending an open audition at the theatre. This year, Lauren is back as the eponymous Snow White and will no doubt delight audiences once again.

From the same producers that brought you last year’s Box Office smash-hit Peter Pan, Snow White promises to be wonderful entertainment with stunning costumes and scenery and a genuinely funny script. Last year’s pantomime broke all box office records and was seen by over 32000 people and tickets are already selling fast, so book now for the funniest and most spectacular show of the year!

Book your tickers now: 01293 553636 and

So, what are Complementary Therapies, Alternative Therapies, Holistic Therapies, Conventional, Orthodox, Western and Allopathic medicine?

Orthodox Medicine is the treatment we receive at the GP surgery and hospital where symptoms and diseases are treated using drugs, radiation, or surgery. Also called allopathic, biomedicine, conventional, mainstream, and western medicine.

All orthodox treatments go through rigorous testing by law to prove that they work and are safe such as chemotherapy, heart surgery, cataract operations, medication. Some complementary and alternative therapies may not have been so rigorously tested.

Complementary Therapy is a term given to therapies that are complementary to orthodox medicine and can be used alongside orthodox medicine to help support the body’s natural self-healing mechanisms; to help with pain and discomfort and to support you through times of fear and anxiety. (see list below)

Alternative Medicine is a term given to therapies which are used as an alternative to orthodox medicine. Some are the same therapies used as complementary but are used in place of orthodox medicine.

Your therapist

Recommendation is always a good choice if someone has had a good experience with a friendly, professional therapist that made them feel welcome and safe. Remember that everyone is unique and a therapy a friend has recommended may not be suitable for your specific needs or effective for a specific problem you may have.

Contact a therapist by phone or email before making an appointment and ask them questions about any concerns you have.

A therapist should be able to show you their training certificates and current insurance certificate. Membership of an association is not a sign of a good therapist as most do not check qualifications and competence. There are some exceptions; Osteopaths must be registered with The General Osteopath Council; Chiropractics must be registered with the General Chiropractic Council (GCC; Physiotherapists must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HPCP).

Your appointment

A good therapist will always take your medical history before starting any work to ensure you receive a safe and effective treatment for your specific needs. Therefore, please be truthful about your current and previous health especially if you have allergies are currently on medication, having tests or are receiving other orthodox or complementary treatments.

Conditions that may affect your suitability for a specific treatment would include: medication, recent surgery, heart conditions, thrombosis, cancer, epilepsy, diabetes, osteoporosis, pregnancy, arthritis, skin conditions, chronic illness such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s and Fibromyalgia.

Conditions that would prevent you from having a treatment would include: fever, contagious or infectious disease, under the influence of recreational drugs or alcohol.

Children aged 16 and under and adults who have learning difficulties or are deemed vulnerable must be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times.

Your treatment

If you are looking for a quick fix you will likely be disappointed. Acute conditions, problems that you have only had for a couple of days may be improved in one or two treatments. The longer you have had the problem, the longer it will likely take to see improvement as there will be more than just the initial injury to heal.

If you have a chronic injury/condition, then between 3 – 6 treatments over 4 – 12 weeks will allow you and the therapist to see how effective the treatment is. In many cases, 3 treatments will see a change in your condition with regards to; flexibility, mobility, balance and pain. Please note that some diseases/conditions cannot be improved through therapy but will improve your general health and comfort.

Quick reference to Complementary Therapies (this list is not exhaustive)

Acupuncture – use of fine needles on energy lines – most injuries and conditions.

Bowen – relaxing – small gentle movements on specific body areas – muscular and soft tissue injuries/conditions.

Chiropractic – manual manipulation – structural, joints and spine injuries/conditions.

CranioSacral Therapy – relaxing, remain dressed – gentle touch on body areas – most injuries and conditions.

Herbal medicine – advice and use of plants to help improve health.

Homeopathy – advice and use of plants to help improve health.

Hypnotherapy – talking therapy – mental and emotional issues – fears and habits.

Kinesiology – relaxing, remain dressed – muscle testing – most injuries and conditions.

Manual lymphatic drainage massage – relaxing – light massage of lymphatic system – overall good health, specifically water retention, oedema, inflammation, scarring, detox.

Massage – Face – relaxing, remain dressed – improve skin tone/condition, slows ageing process.

Massage – Foot/hand – relaxing/invigorating, remain dressed – massage feet and calves/hand and arm – muscular/soft tissue, overall good health.

Massage – Holistic/swedish/aromatherapy – relaxing – muscular and soft tissue injuries/conditions, during pregnancy.

Massage – Sports/deep tissue – can cause discomfort – sports injuries, chronic and acute pain, reduced flexibility and mobility.

Myofascial Release – relaxing – gentle pressure on specific body areas – muscular and soft tissue injuries/conditions.

Nutrition – advice on diet for weight control, chronic and acute illness, general good health.

Osteopathy – manual manipulation, massage and stretching – muscular and skeletal injuries/conditions.

Reflexology – relaxing, remain dressed – massage of reflex points on the feet – most injuries and conditions

Reiki – relaxing, remain dressed – gentle hands on energy healing – supports the body’s natural healing process.

Shiatsu – invigorating, remain dressed – massage energy points – acute and chronic injuries, aches and pains.

Tai chi/qi gong – relaxing, remain dressed – gentle exercise for good overall health and relaxation.

Yoga – relaxing, remain dressed – gentle exercise for good overall health and relaxation.

Dawn Bradley – Holistic Complementary Therapist Copthorne Therapies –

The Brighton Centre is delighted to announce that the world-renowned show, Holiday on Ice, which has been running for over 73 years, will be returning to Brighton in January 2018 with new spectacular production, TIME.

Celebrating ‘the best and most memorable times of our lives’, the show is described as a photo album filled with ‘snapshots’ of memories we all share in common – falling in love, a first kiss, dancing ‘til dawn, a memorable night on the town, a great vacation, a thrilling adventure, and everyone’s wish to slow down time as it goes by too fast!

Directed and choreographed by David Liu, who is renowned for his innovative and exciting choreography, TIME will open at The Brighton Centre on Friday 5 January and run until 14 January 2018.

Costume designer, Michael Sharpe joins the Holiday on Ice team for this production bringing with him his iconic style after designing for famous stars including Annie Lennox, The Pet Shop Boys, Jessie J, Russell Brand, Vogue UK, Darcey Bussell, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Lopez, Keira Knightley and The Spice Girls, to name but a few.

For the first time ever, the music, an essential element in the show, will feature well-known songs from the Universal Music Publishing catalogue – a unique and exciting collaboration between companies – as well as the traditional ‘familiar’ tunes that Holiday on Ice fans know and love.
Holiday on Ice has become the most famous brand of entertainment on ice for over seven decades with a record number of 328 hundred million visitors. The well-established production guarantees quality performances from Olympic skaters.

Tickets can be purchased from or by contacting the box office on 0844 847 1538. Family and group discounts available.

In these cash-strapped times of austerity, we parents fret about providing extravagant gifts for our darling offspring in order for them to have the ultimate festive experience. But zip up your wallet just for a minute and have a think back. How many presents do you actually remember receiving as a child compared to all the wonderful memories of your own family’s Christmas traditions? Did your Auntie Daphne always hang a Cadbury’s Chocolate Orange on your tree? Did your Father make you eat pickled eggs for Christmas breakfast? Or did Santa come on St Nicholas’s Day instead of Christmas Day? It’s not the extravagant gifts that we remember about family Christmas’s past, it’s those strange little rituals and traditions that we look back upon with nostalgia.

In our house some traditions have been introduced, some adopted. Christmas Eve brings a very structured chain of events. The annual 4 o’clock Crib Service is followed by the boys ‘Special Tea’ – a meal of their choosing. Then we’re off outside to scatter ‘reindeer food’ (kindly supplied by Turners Hill Tots) of glitter and oats onto the drive to light the way. Then it’s in to jim-jams – not new ones as seems popular in a lot of households on Christmas eve – before the writing of the Christmas lists. A bit late you might think, but luckily up to now FC and his elves have been fairly accurate. These are then burnt and despatched up the chimney before leaving a little tipple and nibble for FC for when he lands in the grate. In recent years, because I have a household of techy heads we have used NASA’s internet Santa tracking system to see where he is at various stages throughout the evening.

One of his family Christmas traditions that my husband was keen to continue was for our boys to choose one of MY stockings to be hung at the end of their beds. He recalled how he always chose his mother’s black fishnets because they stretched better! I admit we haven’t adopted this one as I spend my life in socks, the only tights I do possess are usually full of holes and there would be a rebellion if they didn’t have the nice big red stockings from the Pound Shop!

Food figures big in family traditions. Here’s a Christmas Eve recipe for those of you with a wicked sense of humour; ‘Rudolph Pie’, a shepherds pie with venison mince (don’t tell the kids) topped with potato and a cherry tomato for full effect. Waffles and squirty cream in bed with hot chocolate is the perfect Christmas breakfast for some, although in Belgium you might eat a sweet bread in the shape of the baby Jesus – Aahhh. I met a lady the other day who barbeques her turkey outside every year – and she doesn’t even have any Antipodean roots. I suppose that’s a rather canny way of getting the man of the house involved in the catering, note Girls! A mate of mine remembers her mother buying packets of dates with the plastic fork every year that were never ever eaten – and yet she herself continues the tradition because it wouldn’t be the same without them.

Father Christmas has some strange traditions in some households. He has been known to wrap up the doorway to the room where he leaves the presents or occasionally leave the odd potato in a stocking with a note to remind people of when they were naughty! Always having had a chimney, it never occurred to me how FC would get in without one, but then I heard about the large ‘magic key’ that is left hanging on the front door for him.
But of course, some of the strangest traditions come from abroad. In Greenland you would eat seagull wrapped in seal blubber for your Christmas dinner. The Ukranians don’t do tinsel, they do cobwebs, as legend has it that spiders used to decorate the trees for the poor. Scandinavian countries celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, often taking candles for a visit to the local graveyard. The Latvians really know how to milk it as they believe Father Christmas brings a gift every day of the 12 days of Christmas starting from Christmas Eve. In Norway brooms are hidden on Christmas Eve to prevent the evil spirits and witches from stealing them. The most popular place to have your Christmas lunch in Japan is – no kidding – Kentucky Fried Chicken with reservations now essential. And in Spain, not only do they dress up a wooden ‘pooping log’ to put on the fire to bring luck, on New Year’s Eve it is customary to wear red underwear. There, and you thought us Brits were bonkers!

So whatever strange rituals you and your offspring get up to this yuletide, keep them going because Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without them. Have yourselves a very merry one!