This has been a special year for the Sussex Beacon, with it being 30 years since the foundation stone was laid at the Brighton-based HIV charity’s main centre. The Sussex Beacon was established in 1992, by the communities of Brighton and Sussex in partnership with the NHS, in response to the AIDS pandemic of the 1980s and ’90s. The nature of care and support required has changed over the years, but the need to provide support to people living with HIV remains as vital as ever.
Originally functioning as a hospice to care for people at the end of their lives, the Sussex Beacon is now a place where those living with HIV come to receive support to regain their independence and improve their health & wellbeing, via both inpatient & community resources.
Numerous community and fundraising activities have taken place this year, with the #BeMoreJill campaign being the focus. Having raised more than £7,000 to date, the campaign centres on Jill Nalder from It’s A Sin, a caring, compassionate campaigner and a patron of the Sussex Beacon. Jill thrilled the crowds at this year’s Brighton & Hove Pride, from onboard the Sussex Beacon’s #BeMoreJill Pride bus.
September saw The WestEnders make a rare visit to Brighton for An Evening Of Musical Splendour. Under the musical supervision of leading Musical Director Jae Alexander, five renowned West End theatre personalities, including Jill Nalder, performed major West End and Broadway hits, with the evening raising almost £6,000.
Very recently, the Sussex Beacon’s Women and Families Service was the beneficiary of a comedy night hosted by Zoe Lyons. Raising more than £5,000 and funding a baby feeding choices project for an entire year (run by the Sussex Beacon, alongside the Lawson Unit’s Sunflower Clinic), the evening was introduced by Professor Yvonne Gilleece, Consultant in HIV & Sexual Health at Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust.
This year our Community Services team have run or been associated with a number of key activities for services users. The Women and Families Group received a visit from Professor Gilleece to discuss HIV and women’s health, they enjoyed a film presentation by Angelica Cabezas Pino, filmmaker and researcher at the University of Brighton; a floral wreath and headpiece workshop was run by local artist Becky Jones; and a summer social meet took place in Pavilion Gardens.
Brighton & Hove Food Partnership’s Community Kitchen hosted our Day Service in May, with many signing up for additional classes as a result.
Bill Puddicombe, Executive Director of the Sussex Beacon said: “Most services like the Sussex Beacon have gone in the last 10 years, due to cuts in public funding. We are proud that we have been able to continue our model of care, combining inpatient and community services, a range of interventions that are necessary for many people living with HIV. These include peer support, a positive living programme, day service, women and families group and casework service, mindfulness courses, mental health support, a drug and alcohol detox programme, as well as palliative care.
“As a result of our work across Sussex, the Sussex Beacon has become a much loved and respected part of the community. Our fundraising team have commented how members of the public continue to approach them at events, relating anecdotes and situations where the Beacon has helped loved ones in the past. These are very personal, sometimes very emotional stories, which remind us just how valued the Sussex Beacon is.”
For more info on the Sussex Beacon, CLICK HERE