Four grassroots community projects were featured in a Channel 4 television programme last night.
The makers of Secret Millionaire came to Brighton and Hove with Bradley Reback, 46, a Sussex University graduate and wealthy owner of a care home business.
He came back to the area and posed as homeless for a week, living in a camper van on Hove seafront.
Mr Reback was given a glimpse of the day to day realities of frontline local charities.
Those that he visited included the Towner Club, Safe and Sorted, the Brighton Unemployed Centre Families Project and the Moulsecoomb Forest Garden and Wildlife Project.
The Alzheimer’s Society – which runs the Towner Club with Sussex Partnership NHS Trust – said: “Christmas came early for people with dementia in Brighton when Secret Millionaire visited.”
It described the club as a vital day care service supporting younger people with Alzheimer’s disease – those under 65.
Mr Reback chose to volunteer at the club and was so impressed that he donated £12,500.
Grahame Brown who has dementia said: “We’re really grateful to Bradley.
“It was great to meet him and since then Bradley and I have stayed in contact.
“Thanks to his donation we will now be able to go out a bit more as a club.
“If the club wasn’t here there wouldn’t be anywhere for us.
“It’s a meeting group, you make friends and have a laugh.”
Elisa Vaughan, the Alzheimer’s Society’s locality manager for Sussex, said: “The visit from Bradley truly was a gift.
“The club relies on vital donations to offer a service that transforms the lives of people with dementia.
“The group has already been able to go on a number of outings and everyone is very excited about their going to the pantomime just before Christmas.
“I would like to take this opportunity again to thank Bradley for his support.”
Sofia Ivarsson, professional lead occupational therapist at Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust, said: “It’s a really exciting moment for everyone in involved, for people who use the services including staff who support the Towner Club.
“Bradley’s donation and participation in the programme will support the club members and do a huge amount to help the public understand more about dementia, and how people and their carers cope with the condition – and especially raise awareness of those who get diagnosed at an earlier age.
“Sussex Partnership is extremely proud to have been able to support the Towner Club in what is an exciting time for everyone involved.”
The programme can be seen at http://bit.ly/cq5d2o.