The Sussex Beacon supports the European PrEP now Campaign

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is the new component of HIV prevention programmes that plays a key role in the preventing transmission of HIV. PrEP is for HIV negative people and involves taking part of a treatment regimen (typically a medicine called Truvada) to stop them contracting HIV. Truvada has been licensed and recommended for people at risk of HIV in the United States since July 2012 but we still don’t have this in Europe. The European campaign has today sent a letter to Gilead Sciences calling for them to reduce the price of Truvada. The letter has been signed by a number of organisations across Europe and Russia.

Simon DoweSimon Dowe, Chief Executive at The Sussex Beacon says:

“Ensuring that people have access to PrEP is essential to stopping the spread of HIV.  Year on year we have seen an increase in the number of people living with HIV highlighting the need for effective prevention strategies.  PrEP has been proven to be effective and must be funded in the UK and Europe and that is why I have added my signature to the letter.”

The letter calls for Gilead Sciences to take action

The PrEP now campaign is calling for Gilead Sciences the company that makes the drug Truvada to reduce the price of the drug so that this vital medicine is available to people at risk of becoming infected with HIV in the UK and Europe. PrEP provides near perfect protection when taken during periods of risk – adding this to the prevention package has had a dramatic impact on HIV rates in San Francisco.

Jason Warriner, Lead Nurse at The Sussex Beacon said:Jason quote image

“Signing the letter has contributed to the call to action highlighting that PrEP should be accessible to all those at risk of HIV.  Research has shown that is effective method of prevention.”

The Sussex Beacon remains committed to supporting people living with HIV and responding to their changing needs.

You can view the full version of the letter here.

Local HIV charity plant red tulips to mark World Aids Day

Group, smiling cropped for web

Chris Sarson, smiling 2Local business owners and individual supporters of The Sussex Beacon, planted red tulip bulbs in the shape of a red ribbon to mark World Aids Day on Tuesday 1 December 2015. When they bloom, the tulips will form a large red ribbon in the garden of The Sussex Beacon. The red ribbon is a universal symbol of hope and solidarity for people living with HIV.Gavin Graimes, planting 3

The supporters who planted the bulbs had all recently paid for either an hour of care, or the cost a nurse for a week, at The Sussex Beacon. The Sussex Beacon is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and it costs £192 to run all the centre’s services for one hour.

Those who attended included Oliver and Graimes’ Managing Director, Gavin Graimes, Co-operative Funeralcare Director, Chris Sarson, and McKenzie Associates Managing Director, Lukasz Wojcik.

Simon DoweSimon Dowe, CEO at The Sussex Beacon, said:

“HIV is a serious, life-long condition with no cure. At The Sussex Beacon, we support people living with HIV to lead independent and healthy lives. Without the support of our local community, this work would not be possible.”

Also in attendance at the event were representatives from the event and entertainment production company E3 Group. E3 Group work very closely with The Sussex Beacon to produce their annual Halloween Horror Show, plans for which are already being hatched for 2016. In order to guarantee yourself a ticket for 2016 please contact The Sussex Beacon for more details.

Banner ribbon progression

Number of people living with in the UK continues to increase

Public Health England has today released the report ‘HIV in the UK – Situation Report 2015: Incidence, prevalence and prevention.’

In 2014 an estimated 103,700 people were living with HIV of whom 69,200 were men and 34,400 were women. With an estimated 17% (18,100 people) of people living with HIV unaware of their infection and at risk of unknowingly passing on HIV.

Simon Dowe, Chief Executive at The Sussex Beacon says:

Simon Dowe“Even though we are seeing a decline in the number of undiagnosed infections the rates of ongoing transmission remain high. Ensuring that people have access to HIV tests, PrEP and HIV medicines is essential in stopping the spread of the virus.  Year on year we have seen an increase in the number of people living with HIV highlighting the need for effective prevention programmes to ensure that people most at risk of HIV receive the information and advice on how to stay negative.”

Today Public Health England have launched a free HIV home sampling service to increase HIV testing for those at higher-risk of HIV.

Jason Warriner, Lead Nurse at The Sussex Beacon said:

Jason quote image“Easy access to testing is key to reducing undiagnosed HIV. Having a range of testing options available helps to normalise testing and gives people a choice for where and when they want to test. Early diagnosis of HIV means that people can access treatment and care services so that they remain healthy.”

The Sussex Beacon remains committed to supporting people living with HIV and responding to their changing needs.

National HIV Testing Week starts November 21st

National HIV Testing Week (NHTW) runs from the 21st – 28th November 2015. The week aims to raise awareness of the importance of HIV testing to communities where there is a high prevalence of HIV, such as men who have sex with men (MSM) and members of black African communities.

The Sussex Beacon is supporting National HIV Testing Week by promoting testing events through social media.

Simon Dowe, Chief Executive at The Sussex Beacon says:

Simon Dowe “We are supporting National HIV Testing Week by posting messages on our Facebook page and Twitter feed to help people living in Brighton to find out where they can have a HIV test. A range of services are providing extra clinics during the week and we want to support people to access information easily using social media to help them make the decision to have a HIV test.”

The theme of the week is ‘I’m testing’. This message is to emphasise the importance of taking personal responsibility for HIV testing to protect your own health and to reduce the spread of HIV in our communities.

Peter Kyle, MP for Hove and Portslade said:

Pkizzy “National HIV Testing Week is an opportunity to raise awareness of HIV in Brighton and Hove and encourage people to have a HIV test. Today if someone is diagnosed with HIV and accessing specialist care and treatment we are looking at a normal life
expectancy. This is a significant step forward in the last 20 years.  It is great to see The Sussex Beacon supporting National HIV Testing Week as well as providing support and care all year round for people living with HIV.”

To find out more about HIV, and testing, visit the NHIVTW website at There is a ‘Where to Test’ tool listing a range of services which will be providing testing throughout the week.


Comedians perform in aid of The Sussex Beacon at the 14th annual Brighton Comedy Festival’s opening night

We are very thankful to the Brighton Dome and Off the Kerb for once again running the opening night of the Brighton Comedy Festival in aid of The Sussex Beacon. This annual event raises in excess of £20,000 to help people living with HIV.

On Friday 9 October, the Brighton Dome played host to the opening night of the 14th annual Brighton Comedy Festival. Performing on the night were Elliot Steel, Andrew Ryan, Phill Jupitus, Suzi Ruffell, James Acaster, Seann Walsh, and Tom Allen. Hove resident Simon Evans, compered the night. All the comedians gave their time free of charge.

The legacy of Addison Cresswell

The proceeds from the festival’s opening night are donated to The Sussex Beacon thanks to the legacy of support of British comedy talent agent and producer Addison Creswell. Addison founded and ran Off the Kerb talent agency.

Off the Kerb have over 30 years’ experience in the comedy business. Their internationally renowned artists have won numerous prestigious awards. Previous performers at the gala include Jo Brand and Michael McIntyre.

Volunteers and staff members were on hand with buckets to collect donations and to sell tickets for our upcoming Autumn Raffle. On the night The Sussex Beacon raised at total of £924.06 from bucket collecting alone.

A vital community event

Chief Executive of The Sussex Beacon, Simon Dowe, said: “I am so grateful to all those involved with the annual running of this vital community event; the annual gala raises crucial funds, without which The Sussex Beacon would not be able to continue to provide our key services to the community”

The Sussex Beacon would like to thank all of the comedians who took part, the Brighton Dome for hosting the event, Off the Kerb for their continued support, and anyone who bought a ticket for the opening night. All the money raised will support people living with HIV to lead health and independent lives.

Comedy Gala 2015, Credit Nick Ford

Brighton Comedy Gala comedians with The Sussex Beacon’s Chief Executive, Simon Dowe.
Photo courtesy of Nick Ford.

Our Day Room has now been renamed in honour of Professor Martin Fisher

The room, which is used for support services for people living with HIV, was officially named ‘The Martin Fisher room’ at the charity’s Annual General Meeting on the evening of 30 September.

The dedication was attended by Martin’s parents Chris and Rose Fisher who were touched to discover that the initial request for the naming of the room came from The Sussex Beacon’s service users.

Attending the event as guest speaker was Dr David Asboe, consultant in HIV Medicine and sexual health at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London. Dr Asboe spoke about Martin’s considerable contribution to the field of HIV and about continuing developments.

Statement from our CEO

Simon Dowe, CEO at The Sussex Beacon said: ‘It felt right that we dedicated the room to Professor Martin Fisher at our Annual General Meeting. Martin was the guest speaker at last year’s event and we wanted to celebrate the contribution he made not only to the field of HIV but to the patients at The Sussex Beacon’.

Around 40 people, comprising staff members, trustees and supporters came to the meeting, which started at 6:30pm. The meeting opened with the reading of company accounts, as well as other formal Annual General Meeting business including the appointment of a new Trustee, Jayne Phoenix, and independent health and social care consultant.

Recent changes to The Sussex Beacon

Chair of the Board of Trustees Lynette Lowndes spoke about the current direction of The Sussex Beacon and CEO Simon Dowe highlighted recent changes to the charity, such as their recent reception refurbishment, paid for with funds raised by LGBT networking and fundraising group, Bear-Patrol. Simon also announced the results of a recent survey to choose a new look for the charity and unveiled the winning logo.

A statement was read out from Member of Parliament for Brighton Kemptown, Simon Kirby, in his absence, in which he gave praise of the recent changes at The Sussex Beacon, as well as talking of how proud he was to be a patron of the organisation at such and exciting time.

Afterwards Dr David Asboe spoke about the life and work of Professor Martin Fisher, guests were lead into the newly-named Martin Fisher room, and the meeting was closed.

Martin Fisher Door Credit SB


Bear-Patrol Bring & Buy Community Sale raises £800 for The Sussex Beacon

On Saturday 19 September Bear-Patrol held their annual Community Bring & Buy Sale at The Queens Arms in support of The Sussex Beacon. After a year of collecting donations from the community they were able to fill the pub with a treasure trove of items for the sale.

Outside the Queen's Arms credit SB

It was a fantastic day all round with lots of people attending creating an extremely sociable atmosphere, full of conversations and laughter; this meant that they managed to raise £800 for The Sussex Beacon.

All of the stock that was unsold has been donated to The Sussex Beacon community shop for them to sell on and raise further funding for the charity.

Unpacking stock 2 credit SB

Bear-Patrol and The Sussex Beacon would like to say a massive thank you to Barry Nelson & Andy Dunton from The Queens Arms for allowing them to use the pub, and to everyone that volunteered, supported, donated items, made cakes, made a purchase & donated funds on the day. Bear-Patrol look forward to collecting items for next years sale.

Unpacking stock 3 credit SB

For further information & photos from the sale there is a story posted on Gscene; in the meantime, if you have any items you would like to donate to next years sale please contact Bear-Patrol via email.

Bear-Patrol receive The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

LGBT community fundraising and social networking group Bear-Patrol, were honoured this Saturday with the highest award that is given out in the United Kingdom to voluntary groups, The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

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Founded in May 2008 by Danny Dwyer, Bear-Patrol has raised tens of thousands of pounds for The Sussex Beacon alone. From the start of 2011 to the end of 2014 they raised £88,847.26 for causes in Brighton including: The Sussex Beacon, The Rainbow Fund, Macmillan Cancer Research, and Brighton Pride.

Bearpatrol banner

Over the years Bear-Patrol has organised many fundraising events, including: entering a team every year into the Vitality Brighton Half Marathon, which is organised by The Sussex Beacon; their annual Hibernation Luncheon, complete with a four-course lunch, live cabaret, a charity raffle and auction; a yearly bring and buy sale, which this year will be held at The Queens Arms on Saturday the 19th of September; and group skydives.

The money raised by Bear-Patrol has gone towards many different projects within The Sussex Beacon centre, including: replacing our ancient fridge and freezer, enabling our kitchen staff to provide high quality nutritious food for our inpatients; replacing out garden pond’s liner and rescuing the central feature of our beautiful, relaxing garden; supporting the refurbishment of our inpatient unit by helping us to replace fire doors and upgrade corridor flooring and redecoration; and the upcoming refurbishment of our reception area, which will create a more welcoming, inviting space with an improved work area for our reception volunteers.


The Sussex Beacon would like to congratulate Bear-Patrol on their well-deserved award, and thank them once again for all of the hard work that they have put in over the years, raising for us the funds that we need to provide our vital services to the community. We wish Bear-Patrol all the best in the future, and hope that they will continue to keep up the brilliant work that they have undertaken in the past, both in building links within the LGBT community, and in fundraising for charitable causes.

The Sussex Beacon awarded £4,350 at The Rainbow Fund Awards

Certificate Credit Sussex Beacon

We applied for funds to buy essential equipment for the treatment room in our inpatient unit. The treatment room is where the medicine and specialist equipment that patients will need during their stay at The Sussex Beacon is stored.

The room is used on a daily basis by nurses to do activities such as preparing a trolley for doing a patient’s dressing or preparing controlled drugs to administer to patients. It also acts as a central storage area for emergency equipment.

The equipment that we will be able to purchase with this grant money will help to improve patient care in three key areas:

1. It will allow us to fully access patients’ mobility and independence and utilize the skills and knowledge of our occupational therapy and physiotherapy services.

2. It will enhance the standard of care provided to our patients by giving nurses the equipment they need to administer specialist procedures such as IV medications and fluids. This will allow patients to return to independent living. It will also provide patients with the care and comfort they deserve during end of life care.

3. Finally, the equipment will make sure that we have a treatment room that is fit for purpose, meets clinical standards and allows for the delivery of safe care in a modern environment.

The current treatment room is functional but not fit for purpose. Some of the equipment has broken over time and there has not been the funding to replace it. Other items have not been needed until now, for example, drip stands so that nurses can administer IV medications and fluids.

Patients who are being admitted to The Sussex Beacon have very different needs to when the centre first opened. Their treatment is becoming increasingly complex and many are highly dependent. This is mainly due to the progression of their HIV, the impact of ageing and changes in our patients’ health and social status.

In thanks for this grant, a plaque will be put on the door of the treatment room and it will be named ‘The Rainbow Fund Treatment Room’. Receiving the award on the night were an assortment of volunteers and staff from The Sussex Beacon, including Chief Executive, Simon Dowe, and newly appointed Lead Nurse, Jason Warriner.

Recipients Credit Sussex Beacon

The Sussex Beacon would like to say a very big thank you to all those at The Rainbow Fund and Pride who made the awarding of these funds possible. This money is a vital part of the over £2 million that we need to raise every year in order to continue providing our much-needed services to the community.

Lorraine Chase and Robin Cousins meet staff and patients at our centre

Actress Lorraine Chase and sports personality Robin Cousins took a tour and met staff and patients at The Sussex Beacon centre on Monday 7 September. The pair have recently pledged their support of us by offering to host their upcoming ‘The Halloween Horror Show’ fundraising ball.


The tour included a look around our centre’s ten-bedded inpatient unit and day service facilities. Our charity, which supported over 866 people living with HIV last year, needs to raise over £2 million to keep our vital services running.

Co-host Robin Cousins said:_RF_8777

“The Sussex Beacon are a huge part of the Brighton and Hove landscape, and as a local I am very happy to co-host this years The Halloween Horror Show with the fabulous Lorraine Chase. The charity does incredible work in and around our community and annual events like this support and celebrate their continuing efforts”.

Hosting ‘The Halloween Horror Show’

Lorraine and Robin will be hosting ‘The Halloween Horror Show’ at the Grand Hotel, Brighton on Saturday 31 October 2015. They will narrate the show which will include live song and dance performances, with a cast from the Brighton Academy. Guests will enjoy a sparkling wine reception, three-course meal, silent auction, main auction and best-‘fancy’- dressed competition._RF_8774_1

Co-host Lorraine Chase said:

“l was chuffed to be asked to take part in The Halloween Horror Show for The Sussex Beacon. Co-hosting with the amazing Robin Cousins will be a treat indeed! I look forward to seeing you all there. We need your support”.

Simon Dowe, CEO at The Sussex Beacon, says:Simon Dowe

“We are delighted to host Lorraine and Robin’s visit today and even more delighted for them to offer to host our fundraising ball. This will be the second year of ‘The Halloween Horror Show’ and after last year’s success, we hope to raise a significant amount of money to support people living with HIV”.

City Cabs to sponsor the event

Joining Lorraine and Robin on their visit was Andy Cheeseman, Managing Director of City Cabs, who is sponsoring ‘The Halloween Horror Show’. Andy said:

“City Cabs is proud to be sponsoring The Halloween Horror Show to raise funds to support people living with HIV. The Sussex Beacon is an important charity for the community of Brighton and Hove and, as a local business, we feel it is important to support charities who support our local community.”

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Please note: There will be a small charge for online ticket sales.

Or email for more information about the event.