10,000 people have signed a petition to support a local charity, after it was threatened with closure.
Last year Brighton based HIV charity The Sussex Beacon revealed it may have to close services, including its ten bed inpatient unit, following a reduction in the funding it receives from the NHS.
The public have reacted by signing a petition calling on the government to ensure that “sufficient funding” is in place to help the charity continue its work.
The Sussex Beacon provides specialist support and care for people living with HIV through both inpatient and outpatient services, helping hundreds of people each year.
The organisation and was rated ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission last September.
Changes to local commissioning arrangements have led to a reduction in statutory funding.
The charity costs over £2 million a year to run and says it cannot continue to absorb the budget cuts.
Lynette Lowndes, Chair of Trustees at The Sussex Beacon said, “Despite fantastic community support and being rated ‘outstanding’ by the health regulator, The Sussex Beacon cannot survive the latest statutory funding budget cuts.
“The trustees have regretfully concluded that the charity is facing the very real risk of closing its services which, if it happens, is likely to occur next June. This is devastating for both our service users and our amazing team of staff and volunteers.
“Our primary focus will be on supporting them in the coming months and looking for ways to avoid closure of services.”
Local MPs Simon Kirby, Peter Kyle and Caroline Lucas and Leader of Brighton & Hove City Council, Councillor Warren Morgan last year wrote jointly to the Secretary of State for Health to ask him to intervene.
Simon Dowe, Chief Executive of The Sussex Beacon said, “From its beginnings in 1992 primarily as a hospice, The Sussex Beacon has adapted with the epidemic, now helping people with HIV to live long healthy lives with the condition.
“As Chief Executive, I’m very proud of the support we offer people and of the affection the charity is held in locally.
“If we are forced to close, I think it will be a real loss to our community and the decision heartbreaking for not only our staff, but also many of our service users and supporters.”