Latest news

Sussex-based iRide wins prestigious sports award

Equestrian training company iRide has won the ‘Best Technology in a Single Sport’ category at the 2014 Sports Technology Awards, held in London on 4 April.

The downloadable ridden audio lessons from iRide beat off tough competition from established worldwide sports brands, including Wilson. Olympic medal-winning athlete Tessa Sanderson, Times Sports Editor Gary Jacob and Sir Clive Woodward CBE were among those on the awards judging panel.

Simon Hughes and Alison Short from Equiweb UK, who founded iRide, were there to collect the title: 'iRide was selected by the judges based on its simple, user-friendly site and its proven effectiveness in allowing riders to train with their horses at home through audio lessons with recognised coaches,' said Simon. 'It was brilliant to see our equestrian product triumph over technical innovations from the worlds of football, golf and tennis'.

iRide has grown from strength to strength since its launch in 2011. Riders can listen to expert tuition through MP3 or iPod headphones as they ride – whatever their budget, location and current level of training. Lessons by top dressage trainers including Isobel Wessels, Amy Stovold and Sarah Millis, are available for instant download, along with sessions on event riding, confidence building and horse-care essentials such as bitting and basic saddle fitting. Prices start at £7.99

To find out more about iRide visit their website

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23 April 2014 06:55

Plumpton Tennis Club takes a giant step forward

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Plumpton Tennis Club's plan for a much needed upgrade to the club's facilities is now beginning to take shape. Last Summer they won a £50,000 Sport England grant to build their new clubhouse, and courts will be upgraded thanks for a further £50,000 grant from BIFFA Award.

Plumpton are promoting tennis in the community through running introductory free lessons in schools including Plumpton, Wivelsfield & Chailey to promote their After School Clubs, and inviting local playgroups for introductory mornings.

They are holding an Open Day on Sunday 4 May from 11am-4pm for members & non-members alike, where there will be free playing sessions, a chance to meet with LTA-approved coaches, and racquet demonstrations & advice. The summer will see free lessons for 14-25 year olds.

For more information visit the Plumpton Tennis Club website.

Pictured is Dave Collett, LTA II coach, giving some playing advice to a young visitor to Open Day 2013. Dave received a bursary through Active Sussex to do his part 2 coaching





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15 April 2014 01:34

Satellite clubs reach 2,000 club milestone

Sport England is celebrating the creation of 2,000 satellite clubs across the country; making it easier for young people to get into and stay in sport once they leave school.

In Sussex, Rye College has partnered with Rye Town Boxing Club to set up a successful satellite club, attracting both boys & girls from the school & local community. In just three weeks, over 30 participants have already enrolled at Rye's satellite club, with six going on to join Rye Town Boxing Club.

Satellite clubs are formed when an existing sports club links with a community hub where young people already meet, bringing new expertise and enthusiasm in the form of experienced coaches, and introducing the young people to a new sport they might not have necessarily have considered otherwise.

'Reaching this milestone only five months after hitting the 1,000 club mark is testament to the demand for a new approach to helping young people transition from school sport into club sport,' said Mike Diaper, Sport England Director of Community Sport.

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14 April 2014 06:34

Have a go at sailing as Sussex prepares to 'Push the Boat Out'

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People of all ages and abilities across Sussex will be invited to ‘have a go’ at sailing and windsurfing when the counties' sailing clubs and watersports centres open their doors for national RYA Push the Boat Out weekend next month.

Whether you’re completely new to the sport or looking to get back on the water after a break away, clubs in Sussex, including Felpham SC, Chichester YC, Bognor Regis YC, Arun YC, Worthing SC, Pevensey Bay SC, and Newhaven and Seaford SC, will be amongst hundreds of sailing clubs and centres nationwide welcoming all-comers as part RYA Push the Boat Out on 17-18 May.

Open days, have-a-go sessions and family fun events are all taking place as part of the Push the Boat Out, with many of the events absolutely FREE! 

Andy Hooper, RYA Regional Development Officer for the South East, said: 'We are delighted clubs in Sussex are taking part in RYA Push the Boat Out. We want the local community to get down to a club, have a go at sailing and windsurfing, see what the club has to offer and get involved. Who knows you might just get hooked!'

Duncan Truswell, RYA Sport Development Manager, said 'This is the perfect chance for people to discover their local sailing club, meet like-minded people, have a go at the sport, find out how much fun it is, and how easy it is to get involved.'

RYA Push the Boat Out coincides with National Watersports Month. To find your nearest RYA Push the Boat Out event, and what activities they are running for Push the Boat Out, visit the RYA website

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08 April 2014 05:23

Freedom Leisure Training launches new Suspended Movement course


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Freedom Leisure Training have announced their course programme for 2014/15. The programme, which is made up of over 200 courses, will include a brand new offering; the ActiveIQ level 2 certificate in Suspended Movement Training. 

Suspended movement training which involves the use of a strap trainer to facilitate a range of bodyweight exercises has become an increasingly popular way to workout.  The course, which is open to qualified fitness instructors, teaches participants everything they need to know to deliver a training session on this functional kit.

'Most gyms now offer suspension training as part of their functional training offering so it’s important for fitness instructors to have a thorough knowledge of this type of training,' says Julia Cooper, Freedom Leisure Training’s Course Manager. 'A suspension trainer is also a fantastic tool for personal trainers working with clients in outdoor locations as it’s easy to transport and can be rigged up just about anywhere.'

The new Suspended Movement course is the latest in a wide range of courses offered by the training organisation which include first aid, lifesaving, swimming teaching and personal training. For a full list of courses and upcoming course dates visit the Freedom Leisure website.


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07 April 2014 11:29

Get into Golf in Sussex

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Leading up to National Golf month in May, golf clubs all across Sussex are running low-cost incentives to get more people into golf: from free taster sessions at Cuckfield Golf Centre & Rustington Golf Centre to an Open Day at Hollingbury Golf Club, and Junior Golf lessons at Mid Sussex Golf Club.

Whether you're completely new to golf or looking to dust off your golf club and return to the sport, there are opportunities from juniors to adults, and from coaching to playing.

National Golf month will see further opportunities & offers - see the Get into Golf website for more details. For more information about Golf in Sussex, email Matt Warwick, Sussex County Development Officer for Golf. 

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07 April 2014 03:00

Community Sport Champion: Councillor Chris Dowling

Active Sussex is pleased to announce that Councillor Chris Dowling has been appointed as a Community Sport Champion for Sussex.

An East Sussex County Council Cabinet member, Councillor Dowling in this voluntary role, will help to raise the profile of the work of Active Sussex through his network of key decision makers and influencers. He will also look to champion sport, as well as the advocating the value of community sport in Sussex to local government, community and business stakeholders.

Councillor Dowling is an active member of the Uckfield and East Sussex Chambers of Commerce, and is the local councillor for Framfield & Horam in East Sussex.

Outside of work, he gets involved with a variety of sporting activity: he is a keen supporter of Brighton & Hove Albion FC and a member of Sussex County Cricket Club. 

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04 April 2014 12:21

Buy a Women's World Cup ticket - Win an England shirt!

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England is taking on Montenegro in a FIFA Women's World Cup Qualifier on Saturday 5 April at Brighton's AMEX Community Centre, with a 12.55pm kick off.

By securing your tickets now, you will be entered into a prize draw to win one of 10 England shirts. Buy your ticket here to be in with a chance.


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03 March 2014 14:17

£5 million flood relief fund for sport

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Sport England is today announcing a special £5 million flood relief fund to help recover pitches and repair sports facilities damaged by the recent floods and storms.  

£5 million of National Lottery funding will be made available to sports clubs, local authorities and other community organisations for emergency repairs to damaged facilities such as football, rugby and cricket pitches, water sports centres, pavilions, changing rooms and floodlights.

From today, organisations that think they may need help to restore sports facilities are being asked to provide details about the extent of the damage at Sport England will then advise whether they are eligible for funding and how to apply.

Those needing funding to clean up and get up and running quickly can request up to £2,000 of emergency funding which could be awarded within three weeks. This would cover minor works such as skip hire to remove sediment and rubbish, minor electrical works to restore power or cleaning work to get showers and changing rooms back up and running.

Those with more extensive damage which will take longer to repair will be invited to apply to the Fund when it opens on 24 March. Organisations that do not qualify for the Fund will be given advice about other sources of funding that could help.

The fund will remain open until the autumn to ensure that those who are currently unable to assess the damage will not lose out.

To register your organisation’s interest, click here

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27 February 2014 11:59

Freedom Leisure cancer recovery programme proves successful

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Photo: Stephanie Wadlow of Freedom Leisure

The Freedom Leisure team at Hailsham Leisure Centre has proved a cancer recovery exercise programme can help patients rebuild their strength and morale as they recover from the disease.

Already adept at delivering GP referral programmes, the Hailsham Leisure Centre team identified that cancer patients could benefit from specific physical and psychological support. The exercise referral team worked closely with Macmillan Nurses to learn more about combining an exercise programme with social time can help restore people’s health and wellbeing.

Its first 10-week course ran last summer and the second course started on January 31, 2014. Each weekly session comprises an hour-long exercise class in the form of a circuit where each person can work to their own capability.  After exercising, the group enjoys social time over tea and coffee, share their experiences and lend emotional support to each other.

'We were aware of the research that shows exercise can help with recovery from cancer and decided to undertake bespoke training funded by Macmillan to ensure we could develop tailor-made programmes to suit people recovering from cancer,' says Stephanie Wadlow, Freedom Leisure GP Referral Coordinator. 

Freedom Leisure worked in close partnership with the cancer ward of Eastbourne District General Hospital and local GP surgeries to find people who could benefit from the course.

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26 February 2014 12:34

Primary Spaces: improving outdoor PE & sport facilities

Sport England's new £18m Lottery-funded Primary Spaces, is giving the chance for primary schools with little or no outside space to apply for up to £30,000 of funding.

The fund will provide outdoor multi-activity areas which can be used both within the curriculum and outside of school hours. Staff & volunteers at the school will also receive information on how best to use the new facilities.

Sport England estimates that funding will be awarded to around 600 schools to help develop the foundations of a sporting habit for life through a great start in PE and sport.

Applications for funding are open until 24th March. For more information see the Sport England website.

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25 February 2014 10:22

'Moving More, Living More': tackling inactivity

The Government and Mayor of London have launched 'Moving More, Living More' - to promote physical activity across the country and ensure it is a lasting legacy of London 2012 and part of a long term vision for a fitter nation.

The campaign builds on learning from the world’s most active countries, that action on physical activity needs to be a long term effort and is best tackled through a team approach across government and all sectors.

By bringing together individuals and key organisations, like local authorities, businesses and employers - this approach will make sure the drive to tackle physical activity has strong leadership & tackles the barriers that stop people being active by providing opportunities that work for people.

Sadie Mason, Active Sussex CEO said:
'Here in Sussex, we welcome this announcement - we are currently doing our bit by supporting primary schools to use funding to increase the quality of PE, providing opportunities to young people through Sportivate and Satellite Clubs, supporting local coaches & running a Workplace Health programme.

'Although 38% of our population in Sussex are physically active once a week, it still remains a challenge to change the sporting habits of the remainder and we look forward to galvanising our local public, private and voluntary sector partners to collectively rise to this challenge'.

See the 'Moving More, Living More' document at


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14 February 2014 12:40

Sussex athlete on Road to Sochi

Crawley-born Craig Pickering has been selected for TeamGB's Bobsleigh squad at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

27-year-old Pickering, originally a sprinter, represented Team GB at the Beijing 2008 Summer Games, when he competed in the men’s 100m and 4x100m Relay. Now with a focus on bobsleigh, he has transferred his abilities as a sprinter in order to become one of the top bobsleigh athletes in Great Britain. 

Craig is joining a niche group of athletes that have competed in both a Summer & Winter Olympic Games - he will be only the 8th British athlete to have done this.

Craig Pickering studied Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Bath, where he was able to train alongside his studies at the centre of excellence. He now trains on a full-time basis in Loughborough.

Image: courtesy of TeamGB/Instagram

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06 February 2014 12:47

Brighton & Hove Albion to host Women's World Cup qualifier

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Mark Sampson’s first home game in charge of the England Women’s team will be held at Brighton & Hove Albion’s American Express Community Stadium (Amex Stadium) on Saturday 5 April (1pm kick-off).

The Championship outfit will stage the Three Lions’ fifth World Cup 2015 qualifier, against Montenegro, a match that will be screened live on BBC One.

Former Interim Head Coach Brent Hills led England to victory in their opening four qualifiers last year. Sampson began his reign with a 1-1 draw against Norway in La Manga last month.

He said: 'The Montenegro match is one we are all so excited about - we have been since our first get-together. These are fresh times for our England Women’s team and I hope our supporters are sharing our sense of optimism about the journey we have ahead of us. It starts in earnest in April against Montenegro and if we want our journey to be a fulfilling one, we need to be together from the very start. The Amex is a wonderful stadium and I know it will be a fitting venue for our first match together.'

Brighton chief executive Paul Barber added: 'As a club with our own thriving women's team and academy, we are keen to support and promote the women's game in every way we can. To be hosting a senior international World Cup qualifier is not only a great honour for the club but also a great boost to the profile of the women's game in Brighton and Sussex.'                  

Tickets will go on sale on Friday 7 February – visit or for more info.

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05 February 2014 16:11

Freedom Leisure Joins World’s Biggest Swim

Group poolsideFreedom Leisure Centres in Sussex are urging the local community to get involved in this year’s Swimathon, which is taking place at ten pools across the county on Saturday 22 & Sunday 23 March 2014. The event, which is supported by legendary swimmer Olympian Duncan Goodhew, is raising vital funds for Sport Relief. 

Freedom Leisure is offering a range of distances and challenges to suit swimmers of all fitness levels: individuals can choose from 1.5k, 2.5k or 5k distances, and there are also team challenge distances of 1.5k and 5k. Teams can split the distance however they choose, to cater for the strongest and weakest swimmers in the squad.

Swimmers looking for a helping hand with their swimming technique or with putting together a swimming training plan can enrol on swimming lessons at their local centre ahead of the March event. 

'We are thrilled to be supporting the Swimathon again this year,' says Ivan Horsfall-Turner, Managing Director of Freedom Leisure. 'People of all ages and abilities can take part and it’s a great opportunity to raise money for charity while enjoying a fantastic workout. Sport Relief is a truly worthwhile cause so we’re encouraging as many people as possible to set up a team, take the plunge and join in the fun.'

For further information about the dates and times of your local Swimathon, visit the Freedom Leisure or Swimathon websites.

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05 February 2014 13:54

Swim UK offers free diploma

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Swim UK are offering a new sports diploma for 16-18 year olds starting in Sussex in March, completely free of charge.

The course - a training package worth over £3,000 - will combine a national diploma with a full range of leisure industry skills and qualifications, ranging from swimming teaching, to customer services, underpinned with relevant practical experience.

There will also be the possibility of employment opportunities following the successful completion of the programme.

Ella Scott, Swim UK Manager said: 'We are looking for sporty and enthusiastic young people who perhaps chose not to go on to study A-Levels, or started at college and didn't finish: we want to offer them a truly amazing training opportunity and get them into work!'

For further information email Luke Hardy or visit the Swim UK website.

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04 February 2014 16:30

'Football Therapy' to improve mental wellbeing

Lewes FC FOOTBALL THERAPY poster - Hi resolutionLewes FC has launched 'Football Therapy': the mental wellbeing strategy offering free football sessions.

Backed by Newhaven-based mental health charity, Together, Sussex County FA and Sussex Police - the sessions will run every Monday at 10am from 10 February - 6 May on the all-weather pitch at the Downs Leisure Centre, Seaford. The one-hour sessions are be largely turn-up-and-play, but qualified coaches will be available too.

The idea was the brainchild of Lewes fan Sean Macleod who started volunteering for the Rooks to boost his own mental well-being. It helped him so much that he was inspired to start working for Together: 'I was just stuck in the house a lot of the time because of mental health stuff. But volunteering for the Rooks gave me a real purpose and working with other people really helped to sort me out. I know the importance of just getting out there, however you can.'

Longer-term, there are plans to launch an official Lewes FC MWB (mental wellbeing) team and take part in a national tournament.

For more details, contact Adrian Howell at Lewes FC or Jo Benson at Together.

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27 January 2014 11:03

Paul Bergin: Sportivate Coach of the Quarter

Congratulations to Paul Bergin - who has been named 'Sportivate Coach of the Quarter', through the Active Sussex 'Sportivate Coach Reward & Recognition Scheme' - and wins £250 towards coach education or equipment.

Table tennis coach Paul was put forward by colleague Tim Holtam, for his work in helping to run the 'Sportivate Brighton Table Tennis Club Ping Pong 4 All' project.

Tim said ‘Paul is a truly excellent role model and inspiration to the younger players involved. His dedication is reflected in how many hours he puts in voluntarily. What is most remarkable about Paul’s achievements is that he left Patcham High School without ever really engaging in education. He is fully aware of how transformative Table Tennis has been to his life chances and wants to give this back to the sport- his enthusiasm at the various Primary School and youth centre sessions he runs are what will ensure a legacy to the sport. He is combing excellence with grassroots Table Tennis!’

'Sportivate Coach of the Quarter' runners-up, who win £125, £75 and £50 respectively towards coach development, are:

2nd – Drew Ratcliff (Sportivate Crawley Parkour)
3rd -  Kat Rattle (Sportivate - Paddlesport 2013)
4th – Sarah Fogwell (Sportivate Girls into Cricket)

The Sportivate Coach Reward & Recognition Scheme rewards and raises the profile of coaches who have delivered coaching as part of Sportivate. For more information see Sportivate Coaching or contact Anthony Statham / 01273 644149.

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24 January 2014 16:42

An inspirational swimming pool

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In the last three years the Brighton Swimming Centre has enjoyed a remarkable period of growth – from being tired and faced with closure, to becoming one of the country’s most successful pools.

A huge investment of time, energy and money means that the pool now boasts an extensive programme of children’s & adults swimming lessons and is used by a Muslim swimming group and many local school & community groups. There are more Swimming Teachers trained at the Centre than any other pool in the UK and it’s the only pool where a lifeguard course takes place every week of the year.

The Centre has also helped young unemployed people get back into work including providing leisure industry skills and qualifications to enable 13 people to become lifeguards and swimming teachers at Virgin Active, Brighton.

Moving forward, the Centre has applied for Lottery Funding and a refurbishment plan is in place for its changing rooms.

Managing Director Paul Smith who has been at the Centre from the beginning, said: ‘It’s great to be involved with such a successful project – so much has been achieved through sheer determination – I want to say thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to make this possible.’

To get in contact with the Brighton Swimming Centre or enquire into hiring the pool/training rooms, phone: 01273 434400 / email: 

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22 January 2014 09:09

East Grinstead host EuroHockey 2014

The 2014 Euro Hockey Indoor Club Champions Cup, hosted by East Grinstead Hockey Club and sponsored by Crawley VW, will take place at Crawley's K2 Leisure Centre from 14-16 February 2014. 

This major international hockey event will see the top eight Indoor Club Teams in Europe competing in a total of 20 matches to decide the European Indoor Club Champions 2014 - the first time such an event has been hosted in the UK.

The visiting teams represent Germany, France, Belgium, Spain, Ukraine, Russia & Sweden, with East Grinstead representing England. Players include London 2012 Olympians as well as the up-and-coming stars of Rio 2016: Germany’s Tobias Hauke – two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and World Young Player of 2010 - will play for Harvestehuder. Spain’s Victor Sojo – Beijing Olympic Silver Medallist - will play for Complutense, and Belgian star Tom Boon will play for Bruxelles.

The East Grinstead Hockey Club team will include several British Olympians, as well as the world’s number one indoor goalkeeper - Czech International, Filip Neusser.

For details of how to book tickets for this event, see the East Grinstead Hockey Club website

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15 January 2014 14:21

£2.7m redevelopment at Withdean Sports Complex

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Withdean Sports Complex – operated by Freedom Leisure in partnership with Brighton & Hove City Council – has unveiled a £2.7 million redevelopment.

The complex has been extended to cater for more of the community and the facilities have been brought up to the highest standards. The building has been completely remodelled and a stunning glazed facade at the front offers gym and café users great views across the surrounding area.

The gym has more than doubled in size and now offers 125 exercise stations, including the Synrgy360, a state-of-the-art functional training rig, and ‘Hammer Strength’ weight training kit; the world’s leading plate-loaded equipment. As well as the main gym area, there is now a dedicated personal training studio for one-to-one and small group training sessions. 

Two new exercise studios have been opened, including an indoor cycling studio with Myride+. Myride+ is a virtual ride system, which takes class participants on rides through real locations such as the Alps and the Rocky Mountains.  In addition, six squash courts have been fully refurbished with new sprung floors to offer a top quality playing experience.

The changing rooms have been extended and refurbished to the standard of a private health club and there are new male/female integrated sauna cabins. After their workout, customers can relax in the new cafe and bar area, or make the most of the three new therapy rooms which will offer a wide range of sports, beauty and health treatments.

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09 January 2014 11:00

Leon Carter - new Sussex Primary School Sports Co-ordinator

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Leon says: I am delighted to join Active Sussex as the Sussex Primary School Sports Co-ordinator.  It’s a great opportunity to support primary schools and promote opportunities to those benefitting from the new PE & sport funding.

My main areas of focus will be to:
- Create and maintain an overview of primary schools’ readiness to receive the funding
- Support effective deployment of the funding, if required
- Collect and promote opportunities to schools from National Governing Bodies, private providers, the Youth Sport Trust and other organisations
- Maintain data records related to the funding in order to assess the impact and sustainability of the funding

As a former primary teacher/PE co-ordinator and secondary PE teacher, this is a really exciting time to contribute to the existing Sussex networks and help raise attainment in primary schools.

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06 January 2014 16:15