East Sussex Women of the Year Fund

A group of women back in 2010 felt that there was a real need for an event in East Sussex which could bring together women from all walks of life to celebrate their achievements and recognise their contribution to the local community. They were strongly encouraged and inspired by the support received. The event became a Lunch. American Express immediately came behind the venture and has been the lead sponsor since the first Lunch in 2011. A great accolade.

It would be against the spirit of the event if anyone was singled out and also that people would not feel as valued if they were asked to buy their ticket. Attendance is by invitation only, there are no awards and no one pays to come.

The Lunch is held in the banqueting suite of the American Express Community Stadium, near Brighton and is normally held every two years. About 250 guests attend; they are warmly welcomed and there is a seating plan.

Image shows HRH the Dutchess of Cornwall meeting attendees at the lunch

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall has been the Honorary Patron since 2011. This is such a special and greatly valued honour for East Sussex. Her Royal Highness attended the last event, which was a memorable day for all those attending.


The Lunch is primarily a celebration but it has a secondary aim, which is to raise awareness of local issues affecting women and their dependants. From the previous five lunches, funds raised from voluntary donations have amounted to a total of £70,000. With the help of the Sussex Community Foundation, funds have been distributed to local charities addressing domestic abuse, supporting family carers of people with dementia, and to those tackling loneliness. Funding was also given for breast cancer research at Brighton & Sussex Medical School and to Chailey Heritage School.

In 2022 the focus will be on raising awareness of the importance of physical activities in promoting well-being. 

Feedback from those who have attended has been remarkable, including:

“A triumph”

“This is the first time I have been thanked”

“A privilege and unique experience to meet so many interesting and inspiring women”

This year the need for a celebration and a recognition of women’s achievements is even greater and the opportunity to show kindness to others and to ourselves even more worthwhile. Please donate today via Totalgiving here

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