Sussex Charity Profiles

Sussex is a very giving county, evidenced by the fact that there are so many Sussex-based charities. Each one offers something different, whether it’s for the countryside, for the wildlife, or for those who live and work in the area. We spoke to a number of Sussex charities and asked them to tell us about what they do, and let us know how people can help.

The Sussex Wildlife Trust // 

Who do you help?

Sussex Wildlife Trust is a conservation charity for everyone who cares about nature in Sussex. It believes that nature is too important to lose and focuses on protecting the wonderfully rich natural life that is found throughout our towns, countryside, on our coastline and under the seas off Sussex.

Sussex Wildlife Trust works alongside local people to create opportunities for them to connect with nature, and for nature to thrive in even the most unlikely places. By working with our members and supporters, including local businesses, its aim is to ensure future generations living in Sussex will be able to enjoy the sense of wonder and wellbeing that nature offers.

What services do you provide?

We care for more than 30 nature reserves in Sussex, and protect rare species such as the water vole, nightingale and Adonis blue butterfly. We inspire thousands of schoolchildren to experience and appreciate nature, and we work with preschool children through our very successful Nature Tots programme. We also work to protect places where wildlife is threatened by development, run community projects that give more people the chance to connect with nature, and support local landowners and farmers in managing their land to benefit wildlife.

We take action to protect the wildlife and the natural environment across Sussex. We create opportunities for people of all ages to learn about nature and connect with it. We inspire people through our events, publications and courses to care for nature. We conduct research that supports the conservation of nature in Sussex, and we engage with policy makers and other organisations to encourage positive change.

Our numbers include:

  • Over 30,000 people are members of the Sussex Wildlife Trust
  • Over 4,800 children are members of Wildlife Watch, our junior branch
  • Over 500 dedicated volunteers work 6,500 days a year for the Trust
  • Over 5,000 acres of land are managed for nature
  • Over 10,000 children visit our environmental education centres every year — we’re inspiring the next generation
  • Over 5,000 people get closer to nature by attending our wildlife events and courses each year
  • Over five million local wildlife records are held by the Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre which is housed at the Sussex Wildlife Trust headquarters in Henfield, West Sussex.

How do you receive your funding?

Our success depends upon the generosity of our supporters, and the more members we have, the more we can do to protect the Sussex coast and countryside.

Do you have any upcoming events?

Please visit – this will give details of all our events.

How can people help?

You can support all aspects of our work by becoming a member of the Sussex Wildlife Trust. Just visit our website:

Or maybe you would like to offer practical help by volunteering on one of our nature reserves or as part of our education volunteer team.

Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society // 

Who do you help?

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society was founded in 1839, and for 176 years has provided financial help to merchant seafarers, fishermen and their dependants who are in need.

What services do you provide?

We pay an immediate grant to the widow of a serving seafarer who dies, whether death occurs at sea or ashore. Regular grants are paid to former seafarers, their widows and partners, whose circumstances justify our ongoing support. Special grants are made to meet particular needs in crisis situations. Practical assistance is given to seafarers of any nationality shipwrecked on the coast of the British Isles. In the last year we made grants totalling £1.4million in 2,252 cases, and received 612 new applications for assistance.

How do you receive your funding?

The Society generates its funds from investments, grants from seafaring organisations – in particular Seafarers UK and Trinity House, most importantly from supporter donations and legacies, and from the Charity’s trading company which sells its own range of primarily maritime-themed greetings cards and gift items.

Do you have any upcoming events?

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society has recently launched its annual Christmas Card Appeal. This year’s collection of Christmas cards features many attractive maritime scenes, along with more traditional and contemporary festive images, together with other gift items including a maritime-themed calendar. The profit generated through the sale of cards will go directly to help those who have spent their lives at sea or who suffer the consequences of shipwreck – usually single-manned fishing vessels – and face difficult financial circumstances in retirement or as a result of accident or ill-health.

Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society’s chief executive, commodore Malcolm Williams, said: “This is the Society’s major annual fundraising campaign and the support we receive from people both locally and across the country enables us to continue helping those from the seafaring community who are desperately in need. All cards purchased and donations received will make a vital contribution towards our often life-changing work.” 

How can people help?

Donations are gratefully received either directly to the Society’s head office in Chichester, or online via its website: The Society’s Christmas and everyday greetings cards, as well as interesting and useful gift items, can be purchased in person from the Charity’s head office at 1 North Pallant, Chichester PO19 1TL. Opening Times: 10am-4pm Monday to Friday and 10am-1pm Saturday (from 14th November). Cards can also be purchased online from the Society’s website

To request a mail order catalogue featuring all the Society’s greetings cards and gift items, or for information about the grants we provide or any other aspect of the Charity’s work, please contact us.

Rockinghorse Children’s Charity // 

Who do you help?

Here at Rockinghorse Children’s Charity our aim is to improve the lives of sick children throughout Sussex. We raise money for life-saving and cutting-edge medical equipment whilst ensuring that children are treated in an environment better suited to their needs.

What services do you provide?

Working in partnership with the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (the Alex) in Brighton, the Trevor Mann Baby Unit (TMBU) also in Brighton, and the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) in Haywards Heath, we strive to make services stimulating, cutting-edge and accessible for the many babies, children and teenagers who need them. Rockinghorse was founded back in 1967 by Dr Trevor Mann who recognised there was a real need for additional resources to improve healthcare services for sick children and babies, and this continues to be relevant today — in 2017 we’ll be 50 years old!

How do you receive your funding?

We don’t receive any government funding, and so rely on the generous support of local businesses, schools, community groups and individuals. We hold a number of key fundraising events throughout the year which supporters can get involved in, and many local businesses and schools choose to hold their own charity events of which we are a beneficiary.

Do you have any upcoming events?

With Christmas just around the corner, we have lots of exciting events supporters can get involved in. Our big event this Christmas is the ‘Dress as an Elf’ dress-down day on Friday 11th December, where schools and businesses across Sussex are encouraged to wear red and green (or a full elf outfit) and donate £1 to help us support sick children in Sussex. All money raised from Dress as an Elf will be donated towards our Toy Box Appeal 2015 to provide poorly youngsters in hospital with presents this Christmas. Supporters can sign up by calling us on 01273 330044 or visiting our website for more information. Continuing with the Christmas theme, we’re looking for supporters to join us for the annual Santa Dash in Brighton on Saturday 12th December. Taking place on Hove Lawns at 10am, supporters can sign-up for £20 (which includes a Santa suit) to take part in the 5k fun run, helping us to raise money for sick children and babies this Christmas. Those interested can register by calling us on 01273 330044 or contacting our fundraising assistant Hannah via email at

How can people help?

Those wishing to support us can take a look at the events section of our website,, where they can find out more about our upcoming charity events. We’re especially looking for supporters to dust off their running shoes and sign up to take part in a marathon challenge in 2016. Our places for the Brighton Half Marathon in February and the full Brighton Marathon in April are open and we’re currently taking registrations for both events. By visiting our events section, supporters can also gain advice on how to hold their own fundraising event. For those wishing to make a one-off donation this Christmas, or those planning to set up a Direct Debit monthly donation, can also do so via our website or by calling the Rockinghorse office on 01273 330044. People can also help us by giving up a couple of hours of their time and volunteering at one of our charity events. Those interested can find out more by visiting or calling our office number.

Chailey Heritage Foundation // 

Who do you help?

Our mission is to give disabled children and young people every opportunity to pursue their potential, no matter what the challenges. Chailey Heritage Foundation has roots in a charity founded in Sussex in 1903, teaching crafts to disabled boys and girls from the East End of London. Over the years, the Charity has changed considerably in response to the changing needs of our young people. Today, Chailey Heritage Foundation provides education and care for children and young people with complex physical disabilities and associated health needs.

What services do you provide?

Our residential special school continues to be at the very heart of our work. Using the skills and expertise learned in the school, we have now expanded our facilities to provide much-needed services for young disabled adults, including a residential home and a modern and vibrant Life Skills Centre and Hub, offering leisure and life skills activities to disabled people from the local community. Next year, we will be opening our new community-based service, Chailey Heritage Pathways, in response to requests from families.

How do you receive your funding?

Although we receive fees from statutory bodies for the basics, we rely on the generosity of many individuals and organisations to ensure we can provide our young people with the specialist equipment and facilities to help them learn and thrive. We are incredibly grateful to receive support from many individuals; local and national companies; community groups and clubs; charitable trusts and foundations; and local schools, but there are always new projects on the horizon! We are currently working on some very exciting projects including:

  • Accessible IT equipment to help our young people to access a wide range of learning and communication opportunities;
  • A wheelchair driving circuit, where our young people can learn to ‘drive’ their powered wheelchair;
  • And we need to raise more than £40,000 every year for our therapeutic horse riding provision.

Do you have any upcoming events?

In January 2016, we will be opening our doors to the local community and will be providing an opportunity to see what we do. On 17th September 2016 we are holding a charity ball at Glyndebourne. If you are interested in finding out more about either of these events, please email Jenny at

How can people help?

There are so many ways that people can get involved and support Chailey Heritage Foundation, and all support, no matter how big or small, makes a difference to the lives of our young people. You can:

  • Make a one-off or regular donation via
  • Take part in one of our running and other sponsored events
  • Organise a fundraising event
  • Volunteer your time
  • Nominate us as your employer’s Charity of the Year
  • Remember us in your will

Find out more about us on and help us spread the word about our work via:




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