A support group for transsexuals wants cash to teach businesses how to deal with people who are undergoing a sex change.

The Gender Trust wants £75,000 to run a three-year education project for organisations including companies and health trusts.

Rosemary Turner, the only paid employee of the Brighton-based trust, said: "Companies with transsexuals working for them phone me up wanting to do everything possible to help but they don't know how.

"We want to provide practical advice like how managers can tell other members of their workforce."

If funding is found, a team of specially-trained workers will travel the country holding workshops.

Mrs Turner said the sessions would help a wide range of workers from nurses who may have to treat a person undergoing treatment, to managers uncertain about which toilets their transsexual staff should use.

In 1997 a £33,000 National Lottery grant awarded to the trust funded a helpline for people considering or undergoing treatment.

The decision was controversial and angered the then heritage secretary Virginia Bottomley as well as Sussex MPs including Sir Peter Hordern who described it as 'extraordinary.'

Since then the Trust has expanded and now has 450 active members.

More employers have contacted the charity since changes to the law last year made it illegal for employers to discriminate against transsexuals.

Public awareness of the medical condition has increased since the transsexual character Hayley was written into Coronation Street.

Mrs Turner: "The programme has been a major influence because Hayley is a character the public likes.

"The media coverage helped make sure most people heard about transsexuality and without doubt it has encouraged more people to be open with questions about their gender.

"I think this is an issue which will continue to grow and we will be needed even more."

The Trust is applying to various organisations for grants to fund the education project and wants companies to consider buying corporate membership.

The Gender Trust helpline is 07000 790347.