Eastbourne, Wealden & Lewes

Category Archives: General

Schools are out for the summer leaving children across the UK overjoyed at the prospect of a summer of fun. But while the kids get to play, lots of us parents are still away working through the hot summer months, so summer holiday clubs can be an ideal way to keep children occupied.

We entrust our precious children to the staff of holiday clubs and often expect a high level of care, professionalism and supervision – similar to what they receive when they are in school – but this may not always be the case.

What can you do if your child is being bullied while attending a summer holiday club?

Can you request a refund if your child falls ill and has to leave early?

And if your child gets injured while under the watchful eye of the staff, what legal action can you take?

Hannah Parsons, a solicitor at DAS Law explains your rights when it comes to summer holiday clubs…

Can I get a refund or partial refund if my child has to leave a summer club early due to sickness?

Whether you can get a refund will generally depend on the terms and conditions of the contract that you signed when you booked your child’s place at the club. It is not unusual that a cancellation by the parents for any reason will not result in a refund, as the club has had to organise staff, premises and activities based on the number of children who are booked in.

My child was injured whilst at a summer holiday club, what action can I take?

One of the biggest concerns for all parents is their child being injured. If this happens to you, the holiday club could be liable if there has been negligence on their part – for example from lack of supervision or a dangerous venue. Any injury could result in a personal injury claim that the parent or guardian could look to pursue through legal proceedings. If the club is regulated by OFSTED / Estyn, you could report the incident to them to investigate. Depending on the circumstances you may also be able to get a refund.

My child is being bullied at a summer holiday club. I have raised this with the staff but they have not helped; what can I do?

If the staff are not being supportive of your/your children’s concerns then the first step is to use the club’s formal grievance procedure and escalate your concerns to someone more senior.

Ultimately if the club fails to deal with any issues that you raise, then you can report any concerns to OFSTED/Estyn if it is regulated. You may also be able to argue that the club is in breach of any contractual promise that they have made to ensure your child’s physical and mental wellbeing and potentially withdraw your child from the club and pursue a legal claim.

The club has overbooked spaces so they have cancelled my child’s place at the last minute and I can’t make any alternative arrangements. What can I do?

If the holiday club is cancelled then generally a full refund should be given as the service you have paid for cannot be supplied. Be aware though that some clubs may have a clause within their terms which exclude refunds for cancellations for reasons beyond the club’s control.

If my child refuses to go to the summer holiday club, what can I do?

If your child decides he or she simply does not like the summer club you’ve paid for or agreed to pay for, you are not automatically entitled to a refund.  You should first check the terms and conditions the club has. However, if you can show there has been negligence or breach of contract, you may be eligible for a refund.

If the holiday club is cancelled then generally a full refund should be given as the service you have paid for cannot be supplied. Be aware though that some clubs may have a clause within their terms which exclude refunds for cancellations for reasons beyond the club’s control.

The summer holiday club hasn’t provided the activities they advertised, can I get a refund?

If a holiday club does not live up to you or your child’s expectations, then getting a refund may be difficult. If however, there were elements not provided or totally different from what was advertised, then you could argue misrepresentation or breach of contract and seek a refund or partial refund. Misrepresentation would occur if a person is told something factual or there is something factual advertised, and that fact induced you to enter into the contract with the holiday club, and it then later turns out to be untrue.  If the club then refuses the refund you could look to pursue legal action through the small claims court if the value is under £10,000.



Swimming is undoubtedly a great activity for babies and children, and can be an exciting and enriching experience for everyone involved.



Here, we’ve listed some of the many benefits of childhood swimming and reasons why you should add swimming lessons to yours and your child’s schedule…



1) Physical

Swimming engages all 5 senses: sight, sound, touch, taste and smell, and therefore the swimming pool is a fantastic sensory playground for children to enjoy. Swimming provides a gentle all bodywork-out for children and parents alike, and allows babies free movement a long time before they can walk. It also helps to develop children’s core muscles, co-ordination and balance.

boy swimming

2) Emotional

Learning to swim at an early age reduces the chance of a child fearing the water later on in life. Fear of the water usually stems from a negative experience, so well structured lessons will introduce the pool and the idea of swimming gently and allow swimming to become a enjoyable activity. Swimming is also an amazing skin-to-skin bonding activity for parents with babies.

baby swimming

3) Social

Above all – swimming is fun! It will become an activity that both parents and children will enjoy. Children can enjoy playing and learning with others, and well structured lessons will develop children’s trust as well as listening skills. Later in life, children can enjoy attending swimming parties with their friends, and the ability to swim can increase a child’s level of self esteem.

thumbs up

For local swimming schools in the area –

Small Splashes – located in Wilmington
Aquability – Pools in Horam and Isfield (near Uckfield)
The Little Swim School – Pools in Brighton, Hove and Lewes
The Swim Skills School – Located in Eastbourne
Freedom Leisure – Centre in Hailsham


The Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers are quite unlike anything you’ve seen or heard before.  The Family Grapevine has a family ticket (2 adults + 2 children) to give away for the performance on 13th October at 7.30pm at the Congress Theatre, Eastbourne.

Simply answer this question:  What is a taiko?
a) Drum
b) Dustbin lid
either email me your answer at [email protected]
or click this link: https://thefamilygrapevine.co.uk/eastbourne-wealden-lewes/competition-entries/
(put Online in the box asking you where you picked up your magazine)


This stunning concert of thundering rhythms on huge taiko drums, featuring mysterious masked choreography with inventive lighting, muscular synchronisation timed to perfection, is coupled with post-apocalyptic imagery and infectious humour to create a spellbinding display of pure energy and sheer athleticism.

In 2015 the group celebrate 21 years at the forefront of this exciting and visual art-form in Europe. Based in a purpose built centre in Scotland the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers have performed at theatres, concert halls and festivals all over the country and now they bring their rhythmic joy to Eastbourne for the first time.

This concert is a must for rhythm junkies of all ages, described as ‘an invigorating life-enriching experience’ it’s sure to be an exhilarating evening unlike anything you’ve seen, or heard before.

 Taiko is a Japanese percussion instrument with a mystical heritage in Japanese folklore, with archaeological evidence suggesting that taiko’s were present in Japan in the 6th Century. The instruments function has varied through history; ranging from communication, military action, theatrical accompaniment and religious ceremony to festival and concert performances.

 ‘Mugenkyo’ means limitless reverberation; expressing the troupe’s belief that taiko has no limitations, no musical or geographical boundaries. Mugenkyo’s aim is to develop taiko drumming as a contemporary European performing art, both in its pure form, and in collaboration with other artists and disciplines.

 Experience the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers at the Congress Theatre, Eastbourne on Tuesday 13 October, 7.30pm. Tickets are priced at £23 with concessions available to book for this unique performance call the box office on 01323 412000 or see www.eastbournetheatres.co.uk

AN 11-year-old from East Sussex will be flying high after becoming the 1,000th person to sign up to a scheme for young people with disabilities.

Ella Hibling received a special golden i-go card and her pick of prizes donated by partners of the scheme, which provides special offers at leisure venues across East Sussex and neighbouring areas.

The youngster, from Seaford, who has a visual impairment, selected as her prize a ride on the Brighton Wheel.

Her mother, Alix Collins said: “It was lovely to hear the news – it’s a really good scheme and Ella being the 1,000th member makes it quite special.

“Having the card means we can both go to Ella’s favourite places more often. It will encourage us to try new things, and we will have more choice of places to visit.”

Launched two years ago by East Sussex County Council and the Rockinghorse Children’s Charity, the i-go card provides offers from venues and information to help ensure a hassle-free visit.

The scheme now boasts more than 80 partners, including leisure centres, attractions, activities and clubs, which have taken positive steps to improve their accessibility.

Cllr Sylvia Tidy, East Sussex County Council lead member for children and families, said: “The signing up of the 1,000th member is an ideal opportunity to celebrate the success of i-go in opening up new opportunities for disabled youngsters.

“I’d also like to give a big thank you to all the partners who have helped to make i-go such a success.”

The scheme is open to children and young people aged 25 and under who have disabilities or special needs and live or study in East Sussex.

More prizes are on offer for scheme members, with a winner selected at random for every 100 applications received.

People can download an i-go application form online at www.parentlinksussex.org.uk/i-go or request one by calling Information for Families on 0345 60 80 192. A list of attractions on offer is available at www.escis.org.uk

RobWithOllie&PollyHiResRob Johnson is an Airline Captain, husband, proud father, school governor and the author of a new series of children’s books based on the characters Pilot Ollie, Pilot Polly and their amazing adventures.

As a pilot Rob spends time away from his family. Upon his return from his trips his children were always curious about where he had been, what he had seen and what he’d eaten?

Rob, Alfie age 7 and Woody age 5 would sit on the end of the bed at bed time and invent stories about the places he had been to. They created the characters Pilot Ollie and Pilot Polly along with other characters based on people they knew which included Alfie Engineer, Woody Weatherman and Chris Controller.

Earlier this year Rob decided to share his stories with the aim of trying to inspire children to travel, educate them on international cultures, food, weather, flags and maybe even inspire some of them to become pilots.

Hence Plane Characters Ltd was founded using local illustrators, printers and suppliers.

The Pilot Ollie and Pilot Polly’s amazing adventure books, aimed at 3- 8 year old’s now feature books about London, Rome, Madrid, Guide to the Airport and Come Fly With Us ( explaining what a pilot does to fly a plane) and are available from www.planecharacters.com and www.amazon.co.uk

Families in the South East are being encouraged to step out for a stroll this summer and help protect the places they love to walk along the way as part of the Ramblers’ Big Pathwatch.

The Ramblers is asking families to head out and walk their favourite paths in the South East and report back on what they find using a smartphone app. To make this fun for children, the walking experts have created fun, free activity sheets that families can download and take out on their ramble. Not only is walking good exercise for all the family, it’s also a great way to tempt children away from the Xbox or TV and help them learn all about the great outdoors. The Big Pathwatch activity sheets are the perfect way to turn a normal walk around the local area into a fun family adventure.

Ramblers’ chief executive Benedict Southworth said: “The summer holidays are the perfect time to step out for a walk with your family and spend some quality time together, as well as a great way to help everyone stay healthy. “As part of the Big Pathwatch we’re helping families to turn their walk into an adventure. We’ve created fun, free downloadable activity sheets for youngsters to complete while they’re out walking. From a game of walking bingo to a creative rainbow ramble, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. “For older children we’ve even got an activity sheet with top tips on being a walk leader. Let them lead the way on your Big Pathwatch walk, draw a map and sketch anything interesting they see along the way. “We need as many people as possible in the South East to step up and help us protect our paths. The Big Pathwatch is the perfect way to help inspire our next generation of walkers, who will play a key role in protecting our paths for generations to come.”

Families can download the Big Pathwatch app and share their experiences as they walk every right of way within a specific grid square. They’ll be asked to share the positive features of the walk, the beautiful views, any wildlife and interesting landscapes they see, as well as noting any problems they encounter.

The Big Pathwatch activity sheets will be available from www.Ramblers.org.uk/bigpathwatch For more information call the Ramblers press office 0207 339 8531 or 07584 848083 (out of hours) [email protected] Follow The Rambler: Facebook www.facebook.com/ramblers and Twitter twitter.com/RamblersGB

Alexander Boxall, from Eastbourne, has been crowned Winner of the National Young Writers’ Award.  The 12 year old beat almost 15,000 entries from children all over the country to be named the best young writer in the UK in a ceremony at his school, Battle Abbey.

The hugely popular competition, run by tuition provider, Explore Learning, was judged by best-selling author of The World of Norm series of books, Jonathan Meres, and this year’s theme was ‘Strange Events & Peculiar Happenings’.  Alexander walks away with an incredible prize of a family trip to Disneyland Paris and £500 worth of books for his school.

His story That’s a Wrap tells the tale of Danny who, together with his family, moves into an isolated mill cottage only to experience an eventful night of something more than just a ‘a bad storm’.

Judge Jonathan Meres said:  “I know you’re probably all expecting me to say something about how incredibly high the standard of entries was and how impressed I’ve been with the quality of the writing.  Because that’s the kind of stuff that judges always say.  But I’m afraid that’s exactly what I am going to say.  Well, I’m not afraid to say it.  I’ve got to say it.  Because it’s absolutely true.  The standard of stories really has been exceptionally good, which on the one hand has made for some very entertaining reading for me, but on the other hand has made the task of choosing just one overall winner extremely difficult and frankly, almost impossible.  But there can, as they say, only be one winner and that was Alexander.

 “Using some wonderfully descriptive and spine-tingling language, Alexander manages to convey a feeling of foreboding and suspense in a remarkably short space of time and still manages to pull off a cracking and most unexpected twist at the very end, that I doubt anyone will see coming.  I certainly didn’t.  So congratulations, Alexander.  And well done to everyone else who entered, too.  Whatever you do, keep on writing!”

Alexander has been obsessed with reading and writing ever since he was small and this is the first competition he has won.

His mum, Dominique Holliman said: “I’m tremendously proud of Alexander.  He’s always had a creative flair for writing but to be acknowledged in a national competition by a world famous author is a wonderful achievement and will no doubt spur him on to write more and more!  Our house is just full of books that he’s constantly reading, he’s got a fantastic imagination so I’m just incredibly happy for him!”

Since launching seven years ago the competition has encouraged hundreds of thousands of children to put pen to paper, overwhelming the team at Explore Learning with their creativity, imagination and fascinating stories.

Carey Ann Dodah, Head of Curriculum at Explore Learning says: “This year’s National Young Writers’ Awards attracted more entries than ever before so Alexander should be very proud of his success.  Yet again we have been blown away with the amazingly creative, funny and astonishing stories.  I can’t emphasise enough the benefits of writing for children; it gives them an outlet to escape into a whole new world, one where anything goes and they are boss!  We’re thrilled to see so many children enter this year.”

Explore Learning has 113 centres located across the country providing English and maths tuition to children aged five to 14.

The team at Explore Learning looked at 1000 of the stories, looking at certain trends and found that Jack was the most popular name for a male character, closely followed by Tom, John, Ben and Sam.  For female characters, Lily was the favourite, proceeded by Emily, Lucy, Anna and Alice.  Mums featured in a quarter of the stories, while Dads starred in a sixth.  The witch was the most popular mystical character, followed by a ghost, monster, fairy and dragon.

For more information on Explore Learning and the National Young Writers’ Awards please visit www.explorelearning.co.uk/youngwriters

The largest Solar Eclipse in Europe since 1999 will block out up to 86% of our sunlight on Fri 20 March. Eastbourne and the surrounding areas will lose up to as much as 86% of their sunlight while the moon passes in front of the sun. The eclipse will be noticeable from 8.25am and will last approximately two hours, with the darkest phase occurring around 09.30am. While it will not go completely dark, it will certainly be very dim.

The Observatory Science Centre at Herstmonceux, near Hailsham, will be opening its doors from 7.30am to enable you to come along and view this solar phenomenon safely through their Solar Telescopes. Normal admission prices apply. A tasty breakfast including a choice of bacon rolls, or scrambled eggs with beans, bacon and toast will also be available.

Dr Sandra Voss, Science Director at the Observatory, said: “It is going to be a spectacular event, especially as the next eclipse of this magnitude is not going to occur in the UK again until 2081. But people must not look directly at the Sun, as this will damage your eyes; we will be hosting activities and offering specialist equipment to enable people to observe this event safely.”

For further details, please visit www.the-observatory.org or call 01323 832731.