COPES Service

Action in rural Sussex recently carried out a review into the COPES service offered to schools and it is with regret that we will be closing the service, in its current form, at the end of the summer term this year.

Until April 2016, the AirS’ COPES service not only provided a package that could be bought-in by schools, but was also contracted by ESCC to provide Family Keywork up to Level 3. This enabled us to keep the costs of delivering the service to a manageable level as we were able to minimise the travel and ‘downtime’ of each family outreach worker by each having a relatively small cluster of schools.  Since 2016, AirS has sought to continue to offer a service to schools and many have continued to buy this in for specific families.  Unfortunately, the change in economics of the service over the last two years has meant that AirS has had to subsidise it from our reserves whilst also seeking other charitable funding.  It is not possible for the charity to continue to do this and other charitable funding has been insufficient to make up the difference.

AirS is very proud of our COPES team and what they have achieved since 2003 and the charity is still very concerned to find more economical ways of supporting rural children and families and will be exploring ways in which this can be made possible.

If this announcement is of some concern to you, please telephone us on 01273 473422




COPES began as a simple telephone support line for parents in 2003, and developed over subsequent years with funding largely from the local authority. Further to a successful tender in 2013, COPES was one of the family support key work services commissioned by East Sussex County Council, which continued until December 2015.

In January 2016, the local authority took the countywide family support key work service in-house so some staff previously with COPES are now employed by East Sussex County Council working alongside Targeted Youth Support as the newly formed Early Help Key Work service.  This team supports families with high level needs (level 3 on the continuum of need) described as ‘multiple and complex’, assessing the needs of all family members and working with them to bring about required changes to improve whole family life.

What professional colleagues say about us

“I am so glad we have got this support for our children, we seem to have more and more emotional problems! I will tell my cluster group of SENCO on Weds how helpful you have been as I am sure they would appreciate support with their children!”

(Senco, rural Lewes district school)

“I love COPES!”

(Senco, Eastbourne school)

“X [school child]* is responding really well to the direct work, and the school have noticed an improvement in that she is less needy in school, and also becoming more confident.”

(Social worker)

“We find the service invaluable, and cannot praise X [COPES Worker]  highly enough.”

(Head Teacher, rural Rother district school)


“Supporting rural communities in Sussex to be vibrant and diverse places in which to live and work.”