A BIG employer has donated £80,000 to a vital fund for charities hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

American Express, which has its European headquarters in Brighton, donated the mammoth sum to the Sussex Crisis Fund, managed by the Sussex Community Foundation charity.

The finance giant previously donated £50,000 to the fund in March along with The Argus’s Argus Appeal charity in a bid to keep Sussex’s community groups afloat.

Five months later, the fund has given out £1.7 million to nearly 400 groups in need.

Tim McClimon of American Express said the firm was “pleased” to help the county’s charities.

Sussex Community Foundation chief Kevin Richmond said the new funding was a boost as the coronavirus crisis “is not going away”.

“This further donation from American Express will help us to be there for those who need us most, not just today but for the future,” he said.

“It is now very clear that the crisis is not going away and the terrible impact on those who are already disadvantaged will remain for many months.”

Groups funded by the Sussex Crisis Fund include the Brighton and Hove Black and Minority Ethnic Community Partnership.

The group received a grant for £7,810 to set up a food bank to provide much-needed assistance to struggling families and people in the city’s black and minority ethnic communities.