Inspiring community work – West Sussex


Alex Stewart, Philanthropy Manager at the Foundation, was joined last week by the High Sheriff of West Sussex, Andy Bliss, in meeting three inspiring community groups.

Alex Stewart said: “We have a long tradition of working with the High Sheriffs of both East and West Sussex at the Foundation. I was delighted to organise visits for three brilliant charities across West Sussex which exemplified the work going on throughout the county. We’re delighted that we are able to support the High Sheriff in his role and contribute however we can.”

In his role as High Sheriff, Andy Bliss is particularly keen to support those who protect or care for the public.

Andy Bliss said: “The main focus [as High Sheriff] is people who protect and care for the public, which includes the fact we have a cost of living crisis. There are some fantastic organisations and charities out there doing a brilliant job caring for people who are finding the cost of living a real struggle.”

Midhurst Community Bus Association

Midhurst Community Bus - yellow minibus with branding A community transport initiative advocating for and providing services in Midhurst and the surrounding areas.

Alex and Andy meet Paul Mellings, Chair of Midhurst Community Bus Association, and heard about how the community is recovering after the fire on the main high street earlier in the year, which caused havoc for transport routes and the charity’s service.  

Andy said: “It was fascinating to learn about how the service runs and how it has adapted over time to different needs and challenges. I have no doubt that the service is a lifeline for many of the people who use it and helps them to maintain their independence and social contact – vital for everyone’s wellbeing. It was also heartening to hear about how many people volunteer and the positive social benefits that they too derive from their community spirited contribution to the wellbeing of others.”


4 volunteers with rescued produceA food rescue and education charity, running several community food hubs across West Sussex. Meeting at their depot in Donnington, Jules Stallard, Funding Officer, talked about their operations within the West Sussex region as well as the impact of the Cost of Living crisis across Sussex.

Andy Bliss said: “I was really struck by the quantity and high quality of the food UKHarvest handle which might well otherwise go to waste. Minimising food waste and helping people who are struggling to afford food to eat well are both really positive things to achieve.”

Selsey Community Forum

Dr Mike Nicholls and his team explained the range of services Selsey Community Forum offers for local residents in Selsey, which is one of the most remote areas in West Sussex. It was clear their ‘evidence led’ approach enabled them to identify the highest priority needs to then liaise effectively with the local health centre and 36 other charities that operate locally.

Alex Stewart said: “It’s the people behind these organisations who are truly inspiring and remind us why we do the work we do! This was especially meaningful during Small Charity Week, celebrating and shining a light on their work.

It was clear the local knowledge of these charity leaders is unrivalled. No two communities are the same and it is because of these residents that small charities make such a large difference.”

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