The work of Sussex Community Foundation has never been more important than today.
As we stand in the autumn of 2018, it is very hard to predict the future for the economy, or for the voluntary sector, but we can be sure of uncertain times. We do know that local government services, already cut to the bone, face further dramatic reductions in funding and this will only increase the pressure on local charities and community groups.
In this context, the stable and consistent source of funding for local charities which our endowment fund offers is absolutely vital and may make the difference between closure and survival for many small charities.
So much of the money available to support local community action is ‘here today and gone tomorrow’ and charities face having to constantly re-invent themselves, or present their work in different ways, to meet constantly changing patterns of funding. This uncertainty makes it very hard for charities to plan for even the medium term and, for many charities, the biggest challenge is to raise the funds for their core work – the reason they were set up in the first place. The upside is that some voluntary sector organisations are becoming increasingly entrepreneurial and developing innovative and sustainable business ideas to help drive the social change they wish to see.
One example is Little Gate Farm, based in Beckley, East Sussex which received a £5,000 grant from us earlier in March. Little Gate Farm is social enterprise that generates income to sustain their work and has a range of income streams including trading, grants, events and donations. They sell their day care services to East Sussex County Council and also sell goods and services to individuals and businesses. Their work supports learning disabled adults to develop new skills, selling farm produce including fruit and vegetables, meat, charcoal and craft to retail customers at a weekly farmers’ market and to trade customers in the local area. These activities give them the opportunity to practice and build skills that are transferable to other retail and customer service roles, as well as developing their confidence overall.
We are delighted to announce that the 11th Duke of Richmond and Gordon has agreed to become the patron of Sussex Community Foundation. The Duke is well-known for the tremendous success he has made of the Goodwood Estate and especially of the Festival of Speed and Goodwood Revival.
“At Goodwood, we value entrepreneurial spirit, attention to detail and a sheer love of life,” says the Duke. “The amazing diversity of local charities in Sussex is testament to the great vitality of our community and shows that many people share these values. Sussex Community Foundation provides flexible and long-term funding that allows local charities to continue their amazing work. My father showed great entrepreneurial spirit in getting the Foundation started in 2006 and I am delighted to continue our family’s support for this great charity.”