A NEW crisis fund has been set up with The Argus’s charity arm and American Express helping to launch it with £50,000 each.

Sussex Community Foundation has launched the Sussex Crisis Fund, initially to help local charities and community groups supporting people suffering as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Argus Appeal has agreed to help kick start the funding as part of the newspaper’s bid to help people pull together amid the pandemic, launching the #ThereWithYou campaign.

American Express and The Argus Appeal have both donated £50,000 and the foundation is appealing for people to add to the new fund to help those most affected.

An online giving page has been set up but donors can also give directly to the foundation.

Examples of work the new fund might support include helping vulnerable people in self-isolation, support for food banks and organisations working to combat hardship caused by the pandemic or co-ordinating community response.

The fund also aims to help smaller charities and community groups which are themselves facing financial difficulties as a result of the outbreak, focusing on those working with communities affected by the coronavirus.

This might mean changing the way they work and they may need to buy additional equipment, in order to carry on providing their services.

“Smaller charities and voluntary groups are the absolute backbone of community life here in Sussex. They support everyone from people with mental health problems to families on low incomes, from isolated older people to those without a roof over their heads,” said Kevin Richmond, chief executive of Sussex Community Foundation.

“Their support will still be needed when this crisis is over – but, like their counterparts in the business world, they are struggling to survive over this period.

“We are calling on everyone to support our local charities to keep going over the next few months by donating to our new Sussex Crisis Fund, as much or as little as they can afford. This way, we can support the key charity workers helping those most badly affected here.

“We know that many local charities are already doing all they can to help those most in need in our communities. Our new fund will support them to continue to do what they do best which is supporting the more vulnerable in our communities.”

Argus editor Arron Hendy thanked former trustees Roger French, Sue Addis, owner of the Donatello restaurant in The Lanes, and David Goldin. They all fully support the donation.

He said: “Yesterday we launched the #ThereWithYou campaign and our community is already pulling together.

“It is fantastic that we are able to help kick start such a worthwhile fund. This is a crisis and we want to help.

“We will of course continue to shine a light on all the people who want to help.

“This money has been raised by fantastic people such as Elsa Gillio and the team from Brighton and Hove Buses running the Santa Bus every year.

“Thanks to people like the Sussex Freemasons and businessman Paul Johnston donating to the appeal over the years we are able to help at this critical point.”

Grants will usually be for up to £5,000.

More information at www.sussexgiving. org.uk/apply.

To donate visit www.totalgiving.co.uk/appeal/sussexcrisisfund,r call the team on 01273 409440 or email stephen. chamberlain@sussexgiving. org.uk