About Us

The Southend Sunflower Trust, formerly know as the Sunflower Support Group, was first formed in 1996 by the Health Visiting service, supported by the Southend Community Care Trust.
The support group based at Thorpedene Clinic, Maplin Way was developed in response to local need in the area for children and families with special needs.
The main aim of the group then was simply to provide support and information with a sign posting service on to other agencies like social care and education.
The group began with about 12 families and grew from strength to strength, after only a short time the clinic was unable to cope with the large numbers. Sir Teddy Taylor was approached to become a patron and kindly agreed in addition to Miss Hermione Norris highly acclaimed actress from Thorpe Bay.
Little Acorns was its next home where the parents became independent another of the groups aims. Under the leadership of key parents the group was re launched as Moments moving to the Shoebury area where it remains well attended and very active.
It was decided as the Sunflower Support Group no longer had the same function group; it would pursue a fund raising role.
Re launched under the new name of The Southend Sunflower Trust, we were affiliated with the National charity SCOPE and became a registered charity.
Along the way we have raised thousands of pounds to help local children and forged strong partnerships with local businesses and other local charitable organisations.
The committee is small but highly successful and motivated to continue to support local children with special needs.

Fund Raising Achievements:

These have been wide and varied raising thousands of pounds to help and support children and families with special needs. Through the help and generosity of the local community the Trust has made a difference in the lives of many families.

Fundraising events will be held throughout the year. 
Please visit this page regularly for updates. 

If you have a fundraising event and require a registered local charity for donations, please contact Imelda Callowhill

The Lighthouse Child Development Centre:

The Lighthouse Child Development Centre, was opened in June 2005 by HRH The Duchess of Gloucester GCVO.

We are proud that though our fund raising activities, we were able to furnish the sensory unit and continue to help with other projects.

Meet the Team ....

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Imelda Callowhill | Chair MSc, RGN, RHV

Imelda Callowhill is a Registered General Nurse and Health Visitor by profession.
She is the founder of the original Sunflower Support Group set up in 1996 during her role as a Health Visitor under the management of Southend Community Care Trust.
Imelda is passionate about the development of services for children in bringing together education, social and health issues.
She is now employed as the Locality Co-ordinator (Southend Trust) for children services.
A resident of Southend for over 18 years she has 3 children and feels very lucky on many levels "I like to have the opportunity to give something back and my role is a very small contribution to big picture...It has been a real privilege and a very humbling experience my involvement with the trust.
Imelda firmly believes that our children are tomorrow world and that we have to do every thing we can to maximise the quality of life for children with special needs.

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Martin Buckley | Secretary BTh

Martin was introduced to the Southend Sunflower Trust in 2006 having had a life time experience with a brother who is severely disabled.

Martin has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to food having achieved Masterchef status and heading the kitchens of the Ritz no less



Chris Prior | Treasurer

Jan Hooks | Trustee

Sue Free | Trustee


Our Patrons ...

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Hermione Norris| Actor

Hermione Norris, acclaimed actor, has been committed to the Southend Sunflower Trust since 1996. Her mother, Mrs Helen Norris is a local health visitor/practitioner.
Hermione has raised substantial funds through her work in television and film contacts.
Through Helen's involvement with the local community she encouraged her daughter to become one of our patrons.