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We’ve been busy fundraising, grant-giving, volunteering and difference making. Read on to find out more about what we’ve been up to lately…

Winter Ball 2024 Triumph: £131,708 raised to benefit Sussex-based charities and beyond

Updated: Apr 9

The DoubleTree Hilton by Brighton Metropole was ablaze with excitement on Saturday, February 3rd, as the team shattered expectations by raising an impressive £131,708 for five Sussex-based charities. The 2024 charity partners were: Children With Cancer Fund, You Raise Me Up, Brighton Table Tennis Club, Kangaroos Mid-Sussex, and The Brighton Therapy Centre.

Hosted by the hilarious comedian Aaron James, the evening was highlighted by the Sussex Superstars grand finale. David Hill from E3 Events, the mastermind behind the talent contest and Focus Foundation Trustee, crowned Arlo Giles-Buabasah as the winner for his poignant rendition of Coldplay's "Fix You." Judging the competition was famous choreographer Dame Arlene Phillips with Jaquie Brunjes, and Anita Dobson alongside, both returning for their second consecutive year. The finalists, including Mollie Thomson, Asher Chetwode, Grace Shearing, Arlo Giles-Buabasah, and CC Dance (Olivia Pattison, Gracie-May Norburn, Brooklyn Pullin, Lola Baquedano-Deighton), all captivated our guests with their stunning performances.

From L to R: Jacquie Brunjes, Anita Dobson & Dame Arlene Phillips.

Speaking at the ball, Anita Dobson, legendary actress of stage and screen and newly appointed Patron of Focus Foundation said: “I’m thrilled to be back for a second year. This evening is all about joy and about helping people and raising money for Focus Foundation so they can do more good in the community for children, because we all need a little help at times don’t we.”

Also, on the night Symphonic Ibiza electrified the crowd with their performance, alongside Emily Milton, the winner of Sussex Superstars 2023, and Caitlin Palmer, a finalist from the same year.

With 450 attendees from local businesses and charities, the black-tie affair was a testament to our community's commitment to making a positive impact on projects that help and support underprivileged children and young people, mental health initiatives, and community projects.

David Hill, E3 Events with Sussex Superstars 2024 Winner, Arlo Giles-Buabasah.

Half of the proceeds from the Winter Ball will directly benefit the 5 charity partners with the remaining funds distributed to other qualifying charities and projects in the county.

Chris Goodman, Co-Founder & Trustee of Focus Foundation responded: “We have been blown away by everyone who has played a part in making our Winter Ball this year such a success. These funds will have a huge impact on our charity beneficiaries and will allow us to continue making a positive and lasting difference to the people and communities they support.”

Singers with Symphonic Ibiza.

Giacom led the event as the headline sponsor, supported by Gamma, TalkTalk, Skerritts, Creative Pod, HSBC, ITS, and event partner E3 Events.

We are so grateful to all the participants who contributed to the tremendous success of the evening. We now eagerly anticipate the opportunity to breathe life into numerous grant applications that we have received, supporting grassroots charities in their endeavour to foster community connections and positively impact lives.

Photography above: Miles Davies Photography | Main image: Graham Franks Photography.

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