Supporting charities is something I believe in, strongly.   Sadly and sometimes much though we want to, we all know it’s impossible for any one of us to support every charity in existence, so we have to be selective.   These ones below all, in some way, reflect my interests and, with few exceptions, they are all small and local, with low overheads so that I know that every penny I give goes where it is most needed.

The Sussex Police Charitable Trust – this charity does a fantastic job of supporting Sussex Police officers and their families in a wide number of ways, such as those suffering from post traumatic stress, injury, bereavement, and many other forms of hardship.

I’m extremely proud to be either patron or joint-patron of the following charities:

The Brighton and Hove Samaritans – They provide a lifeline to people who feel they have no lifeline. I once heard a shocking statistic that 70% of people who survive suicide attempts are relieved that they survived, and many go on to lead fulfilled lives. Among its other roles, the Samaritans plays often a vital part in this.

Relate Sussex – Thoreau wrote about so many people living lives of quiet desperation, and it is true that so many people feel trapped and unhappy in their relationships. Relate does a wonderful job of helping people view their lives more clearly and steering them towards making the right decisions.

The Brighton & Hove Independent Mediation Service (BHIMS) – All our lives can be blighted by disputes whether large or small.  BHIMS can help disputes between neighbours, within families, between landlords and tenants and many other areas where lives are blighted and there is no apparent clear way through.

The Brighton Greyhound Owners Association Retired Greyhound Trust – my wife and I are passionate about dogs and these kind, gentle animals make wonderful pets and companions. This organization does a fabulous, loving job in looking after and rehoming them.

I support and work with The Reading Agency, a charity with a mission to give everyone an equal chance in life by helping people become confident and enthusiastic readers. Because everything changes when we read.

The South Mid Sussex Community First Responders –First responders do an incredible job. They are all volunteers trained to respond to medical emergency calls and are often able to arrive precious minutes ahead of an ambulance, saving countless lives annually in every community that they operate. None of us know when we might suddenly need them.

Terrys Cross House – this charity provides beautiful accommodation for retired Anglican clergy.  That old expression of “poor as a church mouse” could well apply to Anglican clergy, who receive what most of us would consider a pittance, for their lives of devotion to their faith and to others.  I have an open mind on religion and am not aligned to any specific theistic belief, but I do feel the Anglican church still today provides part of not only our cultural heritage, but all that so many of us consider British.

Little Green Pig – I’m supporting this wonderful charity because if I’d not had help and support as a teenager I doubt I would have become a writer.

Sussex Crimestoppers & Jersey Crimestoppers – At a time when budget cuts are severely impacting the man-power of the Police they increasingly need the support and help of individuals in the community. Crimestoppers enables any of us to report anything suspicious with complete anonymity. It plays a major role in fighting crime.

Neighbourhood Watch, nationwide – I believe one of the most important things for all of us is to feel safe in our own homes. Neighbourhood Watch has done so much to help reduce domestic burglary and crime in local communities.

Other charitable roles I have are:

Vice President of The Old Police Cells Museum, Brighton – Brighton has long been known as the Crime Capital Of The UK.  This beautiful, lovingly put together museum does not just reflect this, but shows how the city’s criminal past has shaped its vibrant present.

Martlets Hospice Champion – my mother passed away at the Martlets Hospice in 1999 surrounded by great warmth and loving care from their incredible staff.  The magic of the Martlets is that they manage to make a positive experience for all the family at a deeply sad and traumatic time.

Ambassador for Brighton University – I was very proud to be awarded an honorary doctorate from this great institution back in 2009 and I greatly admire the team who run it and the huge diversity of education it offers.

Action Medical Research – Based in Sussex, whose medical advances from the development of polio vaccines, the treatment, and/or prevention of many childhood diseases has changed the lives of so many children.  I love to support this charity through the year at various events,

I am patron of the Association of British Investigators – The main trade body for Private Investigators, they are a fascinating group of people, some ex-police officers, who do everything from serving court papers to infiltrating the lives of rogue Russian oligarchs – and just about everything in between!

I support the Stroke Association who are the UK’s leading charity dedicated to conquering stroke. They provide vital support services to stroke survivors, whilst campaigning for better stroke care and funding research to source better treatments. Every five minutes someone in the UK has a stroke, and as is the UKs leading cause of complex disability it is vital that we ensure no family affected by stroke are alone.

Time 4 Children – This is a small charity making a big impact by helping to improve the emotional wellbeing of children between the ages of 4 and 12. In today’s world more and more children are experiencing mental health problems.  Time 4 Children is passionate in their belief that by reaching children early enough when they are struggling with emotional upset and difficult circumstances in their lives, by giving them the one-to-one Emotional Listening Support they so desperately need can help prevent them from developing embedded mental health problems later on.