HIV charity saved from closure after huge public support boost

HIV charity The Sussex Beacon has been saved from closure after a huge public effort to save it.

Situated just outside of Brighton, The Beacon has been operating for 25 years, providing crucial services for those with HIV which has been complicated by other health conditions.

The charity, which provided over 2000 beds to patients last year, say their service costs more than £2m a year to run.

It was forced to set up a petition, which has since received thousands of signatures, after it suffered cuts earlier this year.

It received an outpouring of generosity from the local community as politicians, businesses, other charities and the general public all worked to create a series of sponsored events which can help the Charity survive.

Simon Dowe, the CEO of the charity said the action “brought a lump to my throat”.

He told BuzzFeed News that they never usually received “one-off” donations, and were overjoyed at the prospect of community fundraising.

“Generally our target population are quite poor, so we don’t get a lot of one-off donations, but there’s been a lot of community fundraising going on, which is brilliant: people doing things in bars, putting £5 in a bucket. We went to a cabaret night that was put on for the Beacon last night,” he said.

Dowe added that his own staff were contributing to the fundraising.

He said: “It speaks volumes about everyone’s feelings and how everyone wants to be together and fundraise for the organisation that they work for.”

As well as local MP’s Peter Kyle and Caroline Lucas extending their help, the Terrence Higgins Trust and The Roddick Foundation are both set to provide grants to the charity.

Dowe feels “relieved that the staff are no longer at risk of redundancy” and described the looming cuts as a “horrible pressure”.

As well as the staff, Dowe was worried about how current patients would handle the news.

“It was a huge thing because I knew it would cause service users anxiety, so we tried to handle that as well as possible,” he explained.