A CRUCIAL fund that gave more than £ 3million to charities last year amid Covid-19 has been relaunched with a £ 10,000 donation from Argus.

The Sussex Crisis Fund was first established by the Sussex Community Foundation in March last year, in response to the growing crisis – just three days before the country was plunged into lockdown for the first time.

The emergency fund was intended to help charities and community groups that are supporting people in different ways across the county in the aftermath of the pandemic.

The fund was launched with donations of £ 50,000 from The Argus Appeal and American Express, and donations quickly poured in to help the most vulnerable.

From charities tackling food poverty to loneliness – fund grants ‘have reached every corner of Sussex and helped people in every way imaginable’ – thanks in part to generous donations from Argus readers .

Now, the Sussex Community Foundation is relaunching the fund into a new phase of support and recovery for charities and community groups working to help people amid the fallout from Covid-19, and are once again welcoming applications.

The Argus Appeal helped kick off the relaunch with a donation of £ 10,000.

Kevin Richmond, Executive Director of the Sussex Community Foundation, said: “We are delighted that the Argus has stepped up to help once again.

“This third lockdown is now starting to subside and we are all delighted to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

“However, for many people the fallout from this pandemic is hitting harder than ever and there is a lot more work for our amazing local charities to do to support these people.”

Mitchie Alexander at Brighton Grub Hub. Photo: Darren Cool

Mitchie Alexander runs Brighton Grub Hub, a community garden and social enterprise that ships fresh fruit and vegetables to low-income families and aims to support food banks with its spring harvest.

A £ 5,000 grant from the Crisis Fund enabled the hub to buy more tools and build a polytunnel on its plot at Stanmer Organics to extend the growing season, so leafy vegetables can be grown during the winter,

Mitchie said, “The need has grown so much worse. There are families who found themselves in financial difficulty as their jobs dried up, and those who were already struggling.

“Some people protect and there are those who have stopped taking the bus to go to the supermarket, and the stores where they live have very little fresh produce.

“We are also responding to a need by providing food banks with fresh, seasonal vegetables.”

Mike Nicholls, chair of the Selsey Community Forum, said the charity would not have survived without help from the Crisis Fund over the past year.

The Argus Community Forum: Selsey.  Photo: Darren CoolSelsey Community Forum. Photo: Darren Cool

The charity operates the Selsey Care Shop on the town’s main street with a range of support services for adults and the elderly.

He received a grant of £ 5,000 to run a buddy system providing practical, emotional and social support.

Mike said, “Our buddy support has 80 volunteers who do things like buying and collecting medicines for the elderly, as well as dementia support and caregiver support.

“We also run a friendship service with a number of social events and the store provides debt counseling and a wellness service.

“The number of people coming to us has increased by 25% last year and we have had to increase our staff and space costs by around 40%.

“Frankly, we would not have survived without the Crisis Fund. They have given us timely resources to meet a growing need.”

Another organization to benefit from the crisis fund is Black Butterfly in Hastings and St Leonards, which received a grant of £ 5,000 to purchase refurbished bikes to support fitness and health during the lockdown, and to refurbish them iPad for young people not eligible for the government’s IT assistance program. .

The Argus: Nichelle Kelleher of Black Butterfly, based out of Hastings & St Leonards.  Photo: Darren CoolNichelle Kelleher of Black Butterfly, based in Hastings & St Leonards. Photo: Darren Cool

Mr Richmond said Sussex counseling agencies are now portraying a new cohort of people through their doors – those who are “new to poverty”.

They say many are reaching a “tipping point” with their finances, having depleted their savings and reaching their credit limits, and are seeking help for the first time, including from food banks.

Young people and older workers have been particularly affected by job losses and reduced employment opportunities due to Covid-19, while many people suffered from their mental health during the crisis.

Women’s shelters are also in high demand – with situations of domestic violence exacerbated by three lockdowns.

Mr Richmond said: ‘Sussex charities continue to face immense pressure in 2021, with some even threatened with closure.

The Argus: Kevin Richmond, Managing Director of the Sussex Crisis FundKevin Richmond, Managing Director of the Sussex Crisis Fund

“The vital services they provide to local people are reaching breaking point, which is why we are relaunching the Sussex Crisis Fund – with what we call the support and recovery phase and, once again more, we ask for your help. ”

The relaunched Crisis Fund will provide grants in four main areas: mental health support, counseling and support services, costs associated with the provision of food and other life-saving supports, and digital inclusion.

In addition to helping tackle extreme poverty and disadvantage, the Sussex Community Foundation encourages applications to support those disproportionately affected by Covid-19, including women, black, Asian and ethnic minority communities ( BAME), children and young people.

Mr. Richmond added: “We would like to thank all Argus readers who have so generously donated last year.

“Please consider giving back, to ensure that our essential local charities can continue to help those who need it most.”

To donate, visit totalgiving.co.uk/appeal/sussexcrisisfund.

Charities wishing to apply for grants can do so online at sussexgiving.org.uk/sussex-crisis-fund-support-and-recovery.

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Source: www.theargus.co.uk
This notice was published: 2021-05-03 04:00:00