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Sussex Freemasons raises £25k for Sussex Beacon

During the challenging circumstances of the past year, the Sussex Beacon shops in Brighton have been hit hard with reduced footfall and fewer large donations collected, reducing the ability of the shops to sell high value goods online.

(L to R): Shops Manager, Wayne Stone; Executive Director of the Sussex Beacon, Bill Puddicombe; Sussex Masonic Charities Foundation, chair Michael Harris, who presented the van to the team at the Sussex Beacon

Sussex Freemasons have once again supported the Sussex Beacon, raising £25,000 to purchase a replacement van outright, which will be used to expedite deliveries, pick-ups, stock moving and other Sussex Beacon business across Brighton and beyond.

During the Covid-19 crisis, the Sussex Beacon has been taking on additional care and healthcare duties around the community. With the road map out of Covid already being deployed, the need for a replacement van (to replace the ageing former vehicle used by the Beacon) was vital. The Sussex Freemasons’ funding means the Beacon can continue to make collections as well as having an enhanced presence in the community.

The van will carry specialised designs promoting the work of the charity and contact telephone and email numbers, as well as web addresses. It will be a mobile billboard promoting safe and effective HIV treatment around Brighton, as well as carrying the logo of its sponsors – the Sussex Freemasons.

Michael Harris, Sussex Masonic Charities Foundation chairman, said: “We are delighted to support the valuable work that the Sussex Beacon does within the county and have no doubt that the new van will play a key part in the effective delivery of their services to the communities in Sussex”

Bill Puddicombe, executive director of the Sussex Beacon, added: “The Sussex Beacon is proud to have the support of such a variety of incredible groups across Sussex and Brighton. The Sussex Freemasons have long been a supporter of our work and of improving the lives of those living with HIV in the local area. Their direct financial support in supplying our retail team with a new van means our shops have the opportunity to make more home deliveries and donation pickups, alongside the many other uses for this vehicle. We are hugely grateful to the Sussex Masons and all of their contributing lodges for this effort and support.”

Team Beacon mascot ‘Beaky’ with a Team Beacon (the running and fundraising arm of the Sussex Beacon) running vest next to the new van

The last year has been challenging for the Sussex Beacon and its community, as lockdowns have limited the ability of the service to reach people. Despite this, its services have continued throughout the restrictions of the last 12 months. The hospital has remained open and has assisted the local NHS by admitting patients from general hospitals where needed. Heath management services have continued in a combination of online, telephone and in person sessions and have been a lifeline for people who are socially isolated in normal times, for whom this last year has been challenging.

For more info on the vital work of the Sussex Beacon, CLICK HERE.

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