Lord-Lieutenant of East Sussex opens Tackling Poverty event

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Sussex Community Foundation was delighted to welcome Andrew Blackman, the Lord-Lieutenant of East Sussex, to open their event at Hastings Museum to discuss their Tackling Poverty report. The panel discussion event took a deep dive into the key challenges people in East Sussex face and highlighted the vital role of charities in providing support.

The panel had speakers from local charities, Vicky Cheeseman from Rotherfield St Martin, Steve Manwaring from Hastings Voluntary Action (HVA) and Senay Smallwood from the Down Syndrome Development Trust (DSDT). Each panellist shared insights and first-hand experiences from the front line of the voluntary sector, emphasising the key challenges found in the report.

The Tackling Poverty report presents data on poverty within Sussex. It identified four key challenges in the county, including an aging population, high levels of long-term illness and poor outcomes for individuals with disabilities, inflationary pressures contributing to financial hardship, and multiple deprivation challenges in coastal communities.

Kevin Richmond, CEO of Sussex Community Foundation said:

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Panel (left to right) Kevin Richmond, Senay Smallwood, Steve Manwaring, Vicky CheesemanPanel (left to right) Kevin Richmond, Senay Smallwood, Steve Manwaring, Vicky Cheeseman
Panel (left to right) Kevin Richmond, Senay Smallwood, Steve Manwaring, Vicky Cheeseman

"While there is a lot of stark data and worrying information in this report, we do not despair. We see hope every day in the amazing charities that we support and the dedicated and inspiring staff and volunteers that work with them to make Sussex a better place to live for everyone."

During the panel discussion, Senay Smallwood provided insights into the challenges facing young people with disabilities and their families, including around mental health. She stressed the importance of believing in young people's aspirations and not closing doors. Vicky Cheeseman highlighted the shame many older people experience in seeking help and explained one solution Rotherfield St Martin found is by first inviting someone to volunteer. Steve Manwaring outlined the increasing volume and complexity of cases charities are supporting, particularly with debt advice. He emphasised the importance of the voluntary sector, how many think of the services they provide as part of the infrastructure, yet these are charities and need financial support themselves.

Sussex Community Foundation is a local funder, making grants to small charities and voluntary groups working in communities across Sussex.

Kevin Richmond, CEO of the Foundation, concluded the Q&A session:

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"Sometimes I get asked what difference can a £5,000 grant make? And I respond, it may not change the world, but it will change some people’s worlds."

Read the full Tackling Poverty report here.

For more information about Sussex Community Foundation, visit their website.

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