MORE than £2 million has been raised for an emergency appeal to help people affected by the coronavirus crisis.

The Sussex Crisis Fund was launched by the Sussex Community Foundation back in March to provide funding for charities and groups supporting people across the county in the wake of the pandemic.

The Argus Appeal and American Express each gave £50,000 to kick off the campaign and donations have now reached an incredible £2,064,840.

READ MORE: Sussex charity boss fears impact of autumn job losses

The generous donations from Argus readers and organisations means the Sussex Community Foundation has been able to give out 470 grants to charities helping the most vulnerable since the appeal was launched.

We have been keeping you updated on how the money is being used to help people in Sussex.

Pelican Parcels is a charity based in Castle Street in Brighton, which collects and distributes essential items including cots, buggies, clothing and nappies to low-income families in the city.

Trustee Shelley Bennett said Pelican Parcels was forced to close its small office temporarily when the pandemic first hit, and a £5,000 grant from the Sussex Crisis Fund has helped the charity pay rent and reopen.

She said: “It was very hard for families as we were only able to do emergency orders. If your buggy breaks and you can’t afford a new one, what do you do?

“Since reopening we’ve gone straight back to helping thirty plus families a week.

“Lots of professionals we receive referrals from are saying how happy they are our service is back.

“The funding is absolutely incredible. It’s critical for us to expand our services.

“For the Sussex Crisis Fund to reach £2 million is extraordinary. It’s going to help a lot of people.”

Shelley said Pelican Parcels is also sending supplies to food banks in the city to help meet demand.

The Argus: Time To Talk Befriending volunteer Georgina, visiting resident Denise. Photo: Victoria DaweTime To Talk Befriending volunteer Georgina, visiting resident Denise. Photo: Victoria Dawe

She said: “We’ve expanded so we’re now also sending nappies and formula baby wipes to food banks, as these items can be a really big weekly expense for families.

“More and more people are struggling and needing that extra support during these tough times.

“Some of the larger baby banks have seen the need for their services triple. It’s prolific.”

Another charity to receive help from the Sussex Crisis Fund is Time To Talk Befriending (TTTB), which received two grants worth £15,000.

The charity tackles chronic loneliness in vulnerable elderly people living in Brighton, Hove and Worthing.

Demand for its services increased during the pandemic, especially in lockdown, and the charity temporarily had to adapt its face-to-face services to telephone befriending.

Volunteers also compiled emergency care packages and food parcels for older people in isolation, and the charity is now providing safely distanced visits to older people to reduce loneliness.

Founder Emily Kenward said the grants from the Sussex Crisis Fund to cover the charity’s costs had allowed her to “breathe a huge sigh of relief” as TTTB can concentrate on helping those in most urgent need.

The Black and Minority Ethnic Community Partnership (BMECP) in Brighton and Hove in Fleet Street received a grant of £7,800 from the Sussex Crisis Fund to establish a food bank service after the lockdown was introduced.

The Argus: Juliet Ssekitoleko and volunteers at the BMECP in Brighton. Photo: Darren CoolJuliet Ssekitoleko and volunteers at the BMECP in Brighton. Photo: Darren Cool

Research showed that many people in need are from black, Asian and minority ethnic (Bame) communities, including refugees, and were not using any of the 46 food banks already present in the city, and the BMECP identified a need to set up a Bame food bank.

The service now takes referrals for families and individuals and provides food parcels every Friday between midday and 3pm, including ingredients to accommodate the needs of different groups.

Project manager Juliet Ssekitoleko said: “We were delighted to receive the funding, big time.

“It has made a huge difference to people’s lives and put a smile on their faces, which is brilliant.

“Right now we have a lot of single parents with children and more and more families using the service, and they are long-term referrals likely to be in need for some time.

“We have focused on promoting it to different groups in their own languages, including the Algerian, Chinese and Gambian communities.

“At the start of the pandemic a lot of the other food banks were not tackling this language barrier.

“The grant money is also really helping us to source ingredients to accommodate these different groups.”