Brighton charity helping thousands of vulnerable people losing £50k a month during lockdown

Posted On 28 Apr 2020 at 4:23 pm

A charity which is helping thousands of vulnerable elderly people access food and medication is losing £50,000 a month because of the coronavirus lockdown.

Age UK West Sussex, Brighton and Hove has temporarily closed its centres and has switched to delivering food and medication and making phonecalls to those feeling lonely during isolation.

It is now calling on the Government for a grant to help it keep going.

Helen Rice, Chief Executive at Age UK Brighton & Hove said: “With our centres closed, we’re unable to make money to support ourselves. We’re also unsure how long older people will need to remain in lockdown, which is a real worry. We’re deeply concerned about their wellbeing and the acute loneliness many are feeling. Also, each day that goes by sees our losses mount. What we do know is we’re needed more than ever. We’ve had a number of clients overwhelmed or in tears on the phone as they are so grateful for our help. Our staff and volunteers are working tirelessly, so I can only hope that the Government recognises that and offer us some financial support at this terrible time.”

Peter Kyle, MP for Hove, said “Local charities like Age UK West Sussex, Brighton & Hove are exactly the type of organisations the Government should be financially supporting at the moment. They are on the frontline of the community response to the pandemic, yet losing thousands in vital income each month through no fault of their own. I’ll be doing my bit to ensure their voices are heard when decisions are being made about charity funding.”

Since the lockdown started, the charity has taken more than 3,000 referrals and is now focused primarily on food and medication deliveries. It has also already made over 700 phone calls to those who need a friendly chat and a listening ear.

Members of the public who would like to donate to support Age UK West Sussex, Brighton & Hove can do so by visiting or calling 01903 731800.

If you are self-isolating and need support, or if you’re worried about a friend or family member during this time, please contact 01903 731 800 or email

  1. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    In the week or two before the lockdown, charity shops – such as those run by Age UK – were sometimes closed as, understandably, volunteer staff did not want to risk exposure to the virus. Generally speaking, charities do not make a large proportion of their income from their shops (the Martlets, I learnt at a meeting, is a few per cent) but these provide tangible publicity so that people donate in other ways, notably in their Wills. The Government should look to the future and, with help now, ensure that these charities continue. What’s more, in their variety, these shops are some of the most delightful in the area. During one Election on a sidewalk, I asked a passing woman about the vote, and she replied that she did not live here, “I’ve come down to Hove for the sea and the charity shops!”

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