18 year old Polly’s passion and greatest talent lies in her dance and her acting, and her Award will enable her to take her place on the ‘Foundation in Acting for Stage + Screen Performance (full time)’ course at Mountview, Peckham, from September 2019.

Polly says: “I am overjoyed to have been selected to receive this award and incredibly grateful for it. Because of it, I am now able to fund my further training in theatre at Mountview School, to hopefully pursue a future in acting for screen! Thank you so much for allowing me to follow my dreams, I am thrilled.


Olivia is passionate about singing and the performing arts, and her award will pay for her to continue acting and singing lessons with Stage Studio.

Olivia says “I am very happy and excited for this new opportunity and I thank Starr Trust for helping me with my career.


This Champion is passionate about cars and motorbikes and their award will enable them to learn more about them.

Their parents say “They are so overjoyed and can’t actually quite believe this has happened. They are extremely thankful and excited about their journey.


10 year old Willow received an award for trampolining lessons, which gives her more confidence.

She says: “I am so happy and excited to be able to have one to one lessons for trampolining. I think I am going to get much better and will really enjoy having special time with my trainer”.


Received an award for education at Self Managed Learning College.

Their Mum says: “I am thrilled to accept this award for them as it will mean they will be able to attend the school where they feel safe and supported and achieve a sound education in the areas that interest them. They will also be with other young people in a similar situation and be able to learn important life and social skills which are incredibly important to them.”


13 year old Isaac from Brighton wanted to restart his education. We are supporting him for a year at Self Managed Learning College, where he will be able to learn about subjects that interest him at his own pace, either independently or in small groups.

Update July 2019

Isaac has received a further award to continue his studies.

His parent said: “Receiving an award from the Starr Trust means that Isaac can attend the Self Managed Learning College. This allows him to learn in a way that is suitable for him and means that he is getting the education he deserves. Thank you to the amazing Starr Trust.


15 year old Kevin from Brighton has a passion for playing football, and an opportunity came up for him to be part of a team to play in the Gothia Youth World Cup in Gothenburg. This is a great opportunity for Kevin to have a week to switch off some of his pressures taking part in something he loves. His Starr Trust Award will pay for Kevin to attend the Gothia World Cup.

Kevin says: “It feels great that I am being supported to go and play in the Gothia World Cup, playing in this tournament is a once in a lifetime experience”.


15 year old Spike from Southwick finds golf a place where he can forget about struggles and focus on his passion. He regularly volunteers in youth coaching clubs at West Hove golf course and has achieved incredibly well in his age category in a short period of time. He has attended the Sussex Squad Development Academy and will be playing at the youth world qualifier event in March 2019 as well as attending a full-time talent golf academy college to allow him to qualify as a coach in the future. His award pays for new golfing equipment which is required at high level events and in his professional learning environment.

Spike says “I am honoured to have been recognised by the Starr Trust and to be welcomed into the family of Champions. I will work hard to demonstrate the priceless opportunity that this will bring to me to achieve my sporting dreams into my adolescence. Words can not express how much the generous donations of so many will always be appreciated, allowing me the freedom to expand into a career and future that gives me so very much freedom. Thank you to everyone and for the legacy that you leave with me.
I don’t wish for my story to be hidden, my voice is about having determination to prove that despite financial restraint it has taken personal dedication and self belief along with great individuals who have donated much professional time to see me succeed, having acknowledged my at times difficult background. I have an active Instagram account displaying all my golfing activity - click here or search for spike_redman_land.

Update July 2019

Spike is teaming up with West Hove Golf Club to put on a Junior Golf Championship this August. This idea came Spike, who felt that an extra competition for young people would be good, so he set about making it happen.

The event which is being sponsored by Brighton and Hove Soiree Rotary Club and West Hove Golf Club will take place on the 27th August at 12 noon, and will be in the style of a Texas Scramble, where players aged from 5-17, from beginners to regular golfers can compete in teams of four to win a prize trophy. The entry fee of £5 will also include a hot meal at the presentation after the game. West Hove Junior Members are encouraged to bring a friend along, to inspire them to find out more about the sport.

Earlier this year, we gave Spike an Edward Starr Award which paid for a brand new set of golf clubs, thanks to money donated by Brighton and Hove Soiree Rotary Club

Spike, whose passion for golf comes from his grandfather, told us: “I found golf at a time when things were emotionally really bad for me. Golf was a place where I could go and fall into my own world, where I could forget about my struggles and focus on my passion. I felt part of a family, surrounded by people who I could look up to as role models and as an inspiration. I want to give back to young people like me by being a youth coach professional in the future. I regularly volunteer my time in youth coaching clubs at West Hove golf course and give as much of my personal time as I can to those who have given relentlessly to me.

Mel Stoner, our Outreach Manager, said: “We were inspired and moved by Spike’s desire to give something back to his community, and the drive to set up a golfing trophy for Juniors. We fully support Spike and are very proud of him. We hope that this will become an annual event and will inspire young people to try the sport at a fraction of the cost it would normally cost thanks to Brighton and Hove Soiree Rotary Club’s sponsorship”.

Anyone interested in taking part should contact:

Spike Redman-Land
Email: spikeredman@icloud.com
Tel: 07923 355088
Or you can find him on Instagram: @spike_redman_land

Update May 2019
The Brighton and Hove Soiree Rotary Club would like to fund all the money for the clubs that Spike was awarded in January. They gave an unusually high donation to us in recognition of the support that we and our Champions’ families have given to their events.


15 year old Rocky from Brighton is a talented footballer who dreams of getting a place on the Albion in the Community BTec course from September 2019. To enable this, he needs to attain 4 GCSEs. He finds that studying with the Self Managed Learning Centre gives him the best chance of succeeding in his plans, and is motivating him to achieve his dreams. His award will fund two terms at the Self Managed Learning Centre.

Rocky says: “This award has given me the opportunity to study at SML College, an environment I feel much happier in than school. I am working hard towards applying for sport related courses for next year, and I am focusing on my Maths and English GCSEs.


13 Year old Lewis from Lancing is an extremely talented basketball player who works really hard to get better. Lewis has had a hard time over the last few years and finds Basketball is a huge outlet. His Starr Trust award will pay for Lewis to attend the Barcelona Camp with Sussex Bears, as well as training, equipment and league fees for the year.

Lewis says: “I am shocked and so happy, I can’t stop smiling, this is really going to help me so much as my mum struggles to pay for all of my basketball camps and often I can’t go which makes me sad but now she doesn’t have to worry and I can concentrate on getting even better at basketball.

Update August 2019

Lewis has made it into the Sussex bears national league premier team.

Update July 2019

Lewis was awarded the MVP title at Barcelona basketball tournament.

This amazing award is given to only one player who the organisers of the event notice throughout the competition out of ten other teams in his age bracket. His mum says: “I would just like to say a huge thank you as without the Starr Trust this year Lewis wouldn’t have been able to go so we are extremely grateful for all the help.

Update June 2019

Lewis made it into the Sussex basketball team on Sunday; he is one of 12 boys that have been selected out of over 100 boys his age in the whole of Sussex. His mum says: “We just want to thank you for the funding we have received as Lewis has improved massively this year due to being able to attend more basketball camps”.


12 year old Charlotte was offered a place at Brighton and Hove High School to follow her academic dreams, but her family were unable to afford the fees.

We gave Charlotte, who is a young carer, an award to help with school fees, uniform, and music lessons.

Update July 2019

A further award was given to Charlotte to continue with her studies.

Her mum says: “We are so entirely grateful that myself and Charlotte has this financial assistance so she can pursue her love for learning and without this financial support we would not be in a position for Charlotte to get this fantastic opportunity.

Update June 2019

Charlotte and her mum organised a stall for us at St Anne’s Well Gardens festival. Alex’s mother Janine, and Isaac’s mum Shoona also helped, with donations from Daisy and Max’s mum Tracy. The event raised a fantastic £102.

Update May 2019

Look out for Charlotte and her mum at St Anne’s Well park Spring Festival this spring.  Charlotte’s mum Lisa is organising a table top sale there on the 18th May. The proceeds from the sale will go to the Starr Trust.

Lisa says: “Myself and Charlotte have decided to thank the Starr Trust, as they believed in my daughters educational ability and without the Starr Trust’s financial assistance this wouldn’t be possible for my daughter to achieve her passion for learning, and be happy and continue to thrive.”

Update November 2018

Charlotte is busy planning a fundraising table sale – with proceeds coming to the Starr Trust. She is also representing the school Chamber Choir, as well as being a prefect, and is getting excellent grades even in Latin (which she has never studied before), obtaining the highest grade with a A+.


They wanted to attend Self Managed Learning College, whose approach to education met their learning needs.

They felt that learning here would help them flourish. We have supported the costs of the college for a year.


13 year old Max immensely enjoys playing the drums and percussion. He plays in the school orchestra and also has some one-to-one tuition.

We awarded Max a grant to pay for music lessons at BIMM Academy, to improve his skills as well as having the opportunity to meet and play with other youngsters.

Update July 2019

Huge thanks to Max who together with his class ran the Park Run for the Starr Trust on July 21st.

Max, who organised the class to take part completely independently came 27th out of 100 entrants and has so far raised £60 through the event.

Mel from the Starr Trust says: “We are so proud of Max for organising his class to take part in the event. Thank you so much Max, from the team here and for the Champions you and your classmates will be helping in the future!

Update July 2019

Max has been given a further award to continue his studies at BIMM.

His mum said: “Max’s first reaction was to punch the air when I told him he had his award. He’s so passionate about drums and I just can’t afford to continue his training. It means the world to us as a family

Update June 2019

Max played at the BIMM Academy’s end of term gig at their live room. His mum Tracy said: “This was only possible due to the Starr Trust.

Max will be playing drums with his fellow BIMM students at the Moulsecoomb Primary School Family Fun Day on July 20th.

Update April 2019

Good Friday saw our Ambassador Claire, mum Tracy, and her two Champions Max and Daisy, lend a hand at the Annual Easter Egg Hunt at Hangleton Manor. This popular fundraising event, set up by the Rotary Club of Brighton and Hove, raised over £2600 which will support other Rotary charities and ourselves.

Ann from the Rotary said “it was a lot of organisation but it’s such a great event! Not only does it raise money but it brings together lots of communities – the Rotary Scholars, The Starr Trust, prospective members, Friends of Rotary, companies who provide gifts, Move things Around who provide tables, Hangleton Manor, who donated £500 proceeds from the BBQ, local families, teenage helpers and of course, the Mayor herself!

We would like to say a huge thank you to Claire, Tracy, Max and Daisy for giving up their time to volunteer and of course our thanks go out to Ann and the Rotary Club of Brighton and Hove who have kindly continued to support us.


Nathan loves cricket, which really boosts his self esteem and he is currently working on his bowling skills.

We awarded Nathan the funds to partake in a project at Brighton and Hove Amex, to focus on Maths, English, and sports – including cricket, football, personal training and coaching experience.


15 year old Alex has an amazing imagination and creativity, and attends the Self Managed Learning Centre in Brighton and is flourishing there. We awarded Alex to fund the 2018 school fees at SMLC.

Alex says: “This award is giving me an education that I attend and learn in. SMLCollege is such a unique opportunity that only a few can experience and that I’m glad to be a part of. So, thank you and that’s the truth.

Update February 2019

Now 15, Alex’s mother says “She is becoming an independent, articulate, caring and considerate young person, with an awareness of how she functions and that she can do some things very well. There has been a massive shift in how she performs in all aspects of life and in 2018 spoke at a Starr Trust event at short notice and participated in filming for the Trust. She is now working hard towards her GCSEs and is the Mental Health rep at Self Managed Learning Centre.

Her award will pay for her final year of study at Self Managed Learning Centre. This award has been sponsored by Drum Technologies.

Update November 2018

Alex and her mother Janine featured in our video, to help us raise a whopping £44000 at the recent Starr Trust ball. We thank Alex and Janine for sharing their story so beautifully.


Amira, aged 15, is a talented musician. We paid for further flute lessons and for her to perform in her school’s musical tour of Germany.

We are delighted also that after our nomination, Amira has also been selected by Brighton and Hove Rotary to take part in their Rotary Young Leaderships programme in Guildford in April 2018. The week long course, designed to develop the talents of those held back by lack of confidence, offers young people one of the most rewarding experiences of their lives by developing qualities of leadership, team working, initiative and problem solving at the start of their careers.

Update July 2019

We have funded Amira to enable her to travel to Paris with her school orchestra as well as pay for flute lessons to enable her to work towards her flute exams.

Amira says: “This is one of the best pieces of news I’ve had! It means I’ll be able to keep pursuing my passion for the arts and I’ll be able to find a way of having time to myself and away from my caring role which is a big part of my life.

Update May 2019
Amira has achieved a lot in the last few months. In November 2018, she won the BBC Young Achievers Award.

Amira has continued to be supported by the Rotary, who were impressed by her when we put her forward for their Leadership course in 2017.  The Rotary supported her to take part in their Young Playwrights course, in which aspiring young playwrights aged 16-25 explored the possibilities of writing for performance in this 8-week course facilitated by a leading professional playwright and run by Theatre Royal Brighton in association with New Writing South.

Amira’s play My Last Three Brain Cells, a satirical commentary on diet culture and the issues surrounding the diet mentality, was read by professional actors in a promenade performance around the Theatre Royal. 

Amira says “it was unreal to see my work actually performed. I never thought I could have my work in the theatre and I’m so thankful for the opportunity”.

Amira has been selected to have further work experience with the project leader Sara.

Update November 2018
A huge thank you to Rochelle and Accordance VAT for the latest Champion’s Chat. Rochelle, who is Facilities Manager at the company along with her colleagues Louise and Anita, gave invaluable advice to Champions Jay, Sophie and Amira on how to write a CV – and how to get it noticed when they apply for jobs.  They were given tips on job boards, what to include in a CV, and what puts employers off.

The Champions were treated to a tour of Accordance VAT’s fabulous Brighton offices, and went home with an advice pack, which will be of great practical use when they start to apply for work.

We are excited to look at other subjects that Accordance will present on for future Champions’ Chats. Watch this space!

Thank you Rochelle, Louise and Anita.

Update May 2018
Amira spoke recently at the Brighton and Hove Soiree Rotary Club Youth Festival weekend about the amazing week she had on their Leadership course in April. Read her brilliant blog below:

Sunday: it’s a whirl of new people, learning new things every second.

Monday: I tend to have to really push myself to socialise. I think I could happily sit there in my own mind for an hour and be fine. However, this isn’t what the week is about for me. I don’t WANT to let myself drift, I want to be present in each moment.

I’m starting to settle in with people in my cabin - it’s easy to relax with them. We watched School of Rock yesterday and I was able to find out how many people loved the film as much as I do. Even this small similarity among us is enough to rouse some form of unity. Not to mention, I do need someone to sing along with me.

Tuesday: the pain of the walk is some of the worst pain I’ve had. It’s the feeling of being a disappointment to, not just myself, but also to the team. I know they all support me. I can’t help wishing I wasn’t myself at times like this. It’s now where I realise in this case my best is below average and that isn’t up to my standards.

However, some part of me knows I’ll make it. I can’t see myself giving up. I know it hurts (and perhaps hurt is an understatement) but I know we’ll all make it as a team.

I’ve gained respect for them. They’ve shown me kindness despite their own frustrations and fatigue and I’m so happy to be part of this team.

P.s. I’ve never been so happy to see warm food before. I’ll never take it for granted again.

Also: running water?! I’m in paradise!!!

However, worst sleep ever. So cold. So rainy.

Wednesday: I’ve discovered the extent of an injury I picked up somehow yesterday during the 15km. I remember falling into a black thorn bush… it was probably that.

My finger is so swollen I can barely bend it, which made raft building a struggle.

I realised that in my head my team was always going to succeed. I never doubted it and when I had realised that many other teams had failed to create a sturdy raft I think I held our accomplishment tighter. The idea of not getting our raft to work just never crossed my mind and I guess that just shows the trust I have in my team.

The gala dinner was tonight. I watched on wistfully as the other talented musicians went on to play a beautiful rendition of riptide and I longed to join them. However, I wasn’t confident to stand up there without the barrier of my ukulele (which my badly injured finger made it impossible to play).

I think they did an amazing job. So many talented people here!

My injury also gave my a chance to step back, try something new. I joined the setup team and we planned and perfected the transformation of the hall into a place suitable for a three course meal which we (thankfully) did not have to cook. The food was lovely and the atmosphere was light. I get very emotionally invested in such things which is good and bad in itself.

I really learnt how to do something new. I guess that injury happened for a reason.

At dinner I managed to talk to people about their past experiences of leadership. A boy in my group had volunteered to lead the night and had not been voted in and I sat and listened to how he felt he was able to contribute more than the leader that had been. One of the girls from my group told him he needed to speak up and get the recognition he deserved. She told us about how she used to act out in school, upset at the lack of support she was getting. She felt alone. She felt that no one would acknowledge what she did anyhow so she stopped caring. Now she’s about to get offered a scholarship for the college of her dreams. She’s head girl. She told me I needed to speak up, to show everyone the things I can do. I talked to her about how I felt on the walk to which she told me that everyone struggles with something.

However, I think it’s different when that something is so physical. You feel as if your body will physically fail you. The word disabled echoes around my head sometimes. I don’t know about how I feel in terms of using that to describe myself.

We went back to our cabins and we all sat watching a film. Everyone asked me to sing for them and we ended up all singing together. It felt so nice to hear people enjoy something I’ve worked so hard on. I’m so glad to have such lovely people around.

P.s. I’ve met this person who’s never tried herbal tea and is mesmerised by all the cool flavours and colours. We’re officially tea buddies.

Friday: Last night tonight. I performed a solo song and it felt amazing to be there. Someone even offered to play guitar for me. It was so strange having nothing to hide behind. It was so new. I think I’ll try it more.

I’ll miss the atmosphere here the most. I think I’ve been pushed so hard mentally and physically, but in the end it’s all mental really. If you really wanna do it, you can. We’ve all proved that for sure. I’ve definitely proved that to myself.

I’m so lucky to have come here.

Update May 2018
Our Champions Outreach Manager Mel and Starr Trust Ambassador Claire were delighted to be invited to Brighton and Hove Soiree Rotary Club’s Youth Festival on 28th April at the Barge on Brighton Marina. The event, which celebrated the contributions made by the Club to its youth projects, featured a short presentation from Amira who recently took part in their Leadership Course in Guildford.


18 year old Stuart enjoys being on the water and learning how to do various watersports. He also loves photography and would like to become a Watersports Photographer. He first became a Champion when aged 17 - we paid for him to have a years membership at Lagoon Watersports in Hove. He has since become competent at all the sports to a point where is able to volunteer there, helping others to learn. In 2018, we awarded Stuart again for another year’s membership at Lagoon Watersports, a GoPro to continue his photography, a new surf board and wetsuit.

Update May 2018
This month Stuart has been taking part in an amazing three week photography course being held courtesy of the Wembley to Soweto Foundation which is based at Brighton’s stunning i360.

We have just heard that Stuart has been chosen by the project leaders to shoot pitch-side at Wembley Stadium at the FA Trophy Final on May 20th! What an incredible achievement and experience for Stuart.

Stuart features in a segment of South Today about the Wembley to Soweto Foundation; watch it below:

Update January 2018

We are funding Stuart for a further year at Hove Lagoon, a new surfboard and photography kit.

Stuart features in the Starr Trust video!



11 year old Mia from Hove has Rett Syndrome which means all those things she likes are impossible to do without assistance. With an Eye Gaze communication system she can express herself. Mia was able to access this equipment at school twice a each week, but to flourish she needed her own equipment. We awarded Mia to purchase Eye Gaze equipment, including a MyGaze camera and mounting plate.

Update September 2017
Mia is busy fundraising this Autumn, even after she underwent a recent hip operation.
Having recently taken part in the first UK Disability Pride event held in Brighton on 9th July, and having watched her Daddy recently abseil off Peacehaven Cliffs for the Martlets Hospice, Mia is returning to her own fundraising activities.

On the 3rd September she is taking part in the big Parallel London event at the Olympic stadium where she is (for the second year) entering the 1km Sensory event, this year raising money for Rett UK, the national organisation supporting her condition.

On 23rd September she is taking part in her first 5km Colour run. Mia will be using that as an opportunity to raise the final amount to pay for the additional speech equipment to accompany the Eye Gaze equipment that we recently funded.

On 30th September, she will be doing her 3rd annual Altzheimer’s Society, 5km Memory walk in memory of her step-grandad Tony Gallup. She’s even managed to rope in another 8 people to join her!

She also hopes to take part in the annual Santa Dash in December.


16 year old Ayala from Hove is a talented ballet dancer and performer, and is currently taking her Intermediate ballet exam. She is also preparing to take her performing arts degree in two years. Ayala also attends Theatre Workshop, and had been offered a place on their advanced course, which her family were unable to fund. We awarded her the money to pay for her advanced training with Theatre Workshop.

Update November 2018

Ayala is currently looking at options for university and deciding between an academic or performance route. We will keep you posted on what she decides.

Update September 2018

Ayala and her mum Victoria received free tickets from Glyndebourne Opera House for their production of Saul. Fresh from its triumph at the 2015 Glyndebourne Festival, Barrie Kosky’s blazingly original and visually spectacular staging of Handel’s oratorio returned for a first revival, pairing baroque music with contemporary choreography and lavish designs to create an enthralling theatrical fusion of old and new.

Ayala’s mum Victoria said: “It was a fantastic opportunity for Ayala to see all the sights and sounds of an Operatic Production. We loved having a wonderful picnic and being surrounded by all the other people dressed up for the experience. The Opera Saul was very dramatic. It was a great chance to see something completely different from Musical Theatre, giving Ayala a broader view of performing arts.

Our Champions Outreach Manager Mel said: “We were thrilled that Glyndebourne chose to support a Starr Trust Champion to see their thrilling production for free.  Thank you so much Lucy Perry and the team at Glyndebourne for making this possible.” 

Update July 2018

We awarded Ayala a grant for a further year to train at Theatre Workshop Academy.

Sophie S

12 year old Sophie from Hove is a talented singer and in 2016 won a singing competition out of 200 competitors. She attends Theatre Workshop and wanted to continue her studies on the singer/songwriting course but her family were unable to afford it. We awarded Sophie the money to pay for 3 terms of singer-songwriting, private singing and keyboard sessions.

Sophie says: “I am very grateful for my award as I am sure it help me with my singing and all my Theatre Studies, and hopefully build my confidence through this year. It will also help build my confidence for school and help make me feel happy.

Update July 2019

We were delighted to give Sophie a further award to continue her training.

Her Mum says: “We are so thrilled and delighted Sophie can be secure in continuing to get the support she needs to be healthy and happy whilst also improving her talents. Thank you Starr Trust

Update July 2018

We have awarded Sophie a grant for a further year of dance, keyboard and drama training with the Theatre Workshop

Update March 2018

Sophie sang and competed at the Springboard Festival on Sunday March 4th, accompanied by Maria Dunn.

She sang songs from The Lighter Side Class - Million Dreams from The Greatest Showman.

It was a large and very high standard class and we were delighted to learn that she gained a Merit. What a wonderful achievement for her first time!

Update January 2018

Sophie is entering a singing class at Springboard Festival in 2018, supported by Brighton and Hove Rotary. She has recently been composing her own songs and accompanying herself on the piano.


15 year old Ryan from Brighton loves animals, music, fantasy and virtual reality and is a talented artist. Ryan attends Sussex Managed Learning Centre - a small, caring community of mixed ages and an informal learning environment which they really enjoy. We have awarded them the funds to pay for their GCSE year and exams at SMLC.

Ryan says: “I’m really thankful for having this award as it has allowed me to be at a school I feel comfortable in.

Ryan’s mum says: “A huge weight has been lifted since receiving the award. I know Ryan’s self esteem, confidence and creativity will grow because of this opportunity.

Sophie R

11 year old Sophie from Brighton loves drums and music. We awarded Sophie the money to pay for her music lessons.

Sophie says: “When I found out that I could have my piano and drum lessons I was extremely happy! And it was all thanks to the Starr Trust. Now that I can have these lessons I’m absolutely thrilled because ever since I was little, music has been my whole world! I would never stop singing and would constantly make up tunes on my little xylophone. When I got my keyboard it was impossible for me to stop playing and it’s the same now that I have also started learning the drums. The Starr Trust has given me a big opportunity which I otherwise would never have.

Sophie’s Mum says: “We both very delighted and thankful for your award for piano and drums tuition, which I would not be otherwise able to afford to pay.

Update July 2019

We reawarded Sophie to pay for keyboard lessons.

Sophie says “Amazing, in tears, thank you for this change.

Update November 2018
A huge thank you to Rochelle and Accordance VAT for the latest Champion’s Chat. Rochelle, who is Facilities Manager at the company along with her colleagues Louise and Anita, gave invaluable advice to Champions Jay, Sophie and Amira on how to write a CV – and how to get it noticed when they apply for jobs.  They were given tips on job boards, what to include in a CV, and what puts employers off.

The Champions were treated to a tour of Accordance VAT’s fabulous Brighton offices, and went home with an advice pack, which will be of great practical use when they start to apply for work.

We are excited to look at other subjects that Accordance will present on for future Champions’ Chats. Watch this space!

Thank you Rochelle, Louise and Anita.


The Starr Trust are delighted to be sponsoring Isabel from Brighton to take part in the Theatre Royal Brighton’s Theatre Workshop. 

Isabel loves the theatre and would not have the opportunity to do the course without our support.


12 year old Luana from Hove is a young carer for her brother. Luana loves Streetfunk classes and in September 2016 we awarded her £312 for three terms of classes. 

In November 2016 Luana was one of our lucky Champions to be given a bike donated by CharityBikes.com.

Update January 2018

We have paid for a further three terms of Streetfunk classes for Luana.

Update December 2017

Luana has become a Mental Health Champion at school, for which she attended some out of school training.

Luana is really enjoying her role!

She recently made a video about being a young carer for her brother, who has autism:

Update February 2017 – Luana is interviewed on BBC Radio Sussex


Alicia, 15, from Hove, is a talented tennis player who has represented her region competitively on many occasions and has lots of fantastic wins to her name. She was given an Edward Starr Award in December 2013 and the Trust is delighted to continue to support her.

We awarded Alicia £2,600 in June 2015 to cover her additional individual coaching and her fitness coaching.

Her mum Nicki says: “I wanted to once again say thank you to everyone at the Starr Trust for continuing to support Alicia and more importantly, continuing to believe in her - I can’t really express how grateful we all are!

Update February 2019

We have awarded Alicia to cover the costs of training for a further year.

Alicia’s mum says: “As always, your continued support over the last few years has been invaluable and being part of the Starr Trust family has been a very humbling experience. We are extremely grateful to you for giving Alicia the opportunity.

Update November 2018

Alicia has not only been nominated for Sussex Young Sports Personality of the Year 2018, but she has now been chosen as one of the 3 shortlisted finalists!

This is an amazing achievement and Alicia will now attend the Awards Ceremony at the Grand Hotel on 23rd November where the winner will be announced.  Click here for more info on the awards - we are absolutely thrilled for Alicia! She should be really proud of herself as this is an incredible achievement.

Update July 2018

We are delighted to share that Alicia won her first Junior ITF title in Belfast last week - clinching both the singles and doubles title which was a fantastic achievement.

Her mother Nicki told us “We are so thankful for all the support you give us - without your help we could not have got this far and hopefully there is still much further still to go!

Update March 2018

Alicia’s mum gave her feedback on how the Starr Trust has helped them:

Has the award had any impact with the Champion’s education?
Although there has been no direct impact on Alicia’s education it has definitely had an indirect benefit. By having the opportunity to continue training Alicia is happier, focused and disciplined - this means that she is happier and works hard at school in order to have time to train.

Has the award had any impact on the Champion’s family?
It has enabled us to continue to support Alicia’s sport and her dream of becoming a professional tennis player. To see her happy and motivated has had a really positive impact on our family.

Are you happy with your relationship with the Starr Trust?
Yes - everyone at the Starr Trust has always been very kind and helpful and we have always felt fully supported.

Do you have any suggestions on how we might support our Champions better?
I think you are doing a good job already and Alicia certainly feels supported.

Update 13th March 2018

Alicia made an appearance with her mum on BBC Radio Sussex this afternoon with the presenter Allison Ferns. She told Allison how the support and funds she’s received from the Starr Trust has made it possible for her to get to the top of her game. Have a listen to what she had to say here:

Update January 2018

We are funding Alicia to support her ongoing tennis training.

Update November 2017

Alicia picked up a number of awards at the LTA Tennis Sussex Awards. 

Alicia won the Tennis Sussex Junior Outstanding Achievement Award in recognition of her all hard work and success over the last year. She also won the Pat MacNamara Award for her role in the 18U Girls County Cup - this award is voted for by the players and recognises overall contribution to the team both in team spirit and effort as well as tennis. Alicia also collected a FairPlay award and her County Colours for representing Sussex in the 14U & 18U County Cups.

Congratulations Alicia!

Update May 2017

Alicia has been extremely busy over the past few months. She spent a couple of weeks in Nottingham, firstly competing in a Tennis Europe event where she lost in the quarter finals to a Polish girl. The second week she played her first Junior ITF tournament - these are 18U age group so it’s a big step up and also gives her the opportunity to get a world ranking!  She did really well and won her qualifying rounds to get into the main draw which is a great achievement, unfortunately she lost first round of the main draw to the eventual winner (who was ranked around 340 in the world) - but this has given her a great benchmark to aim for.

Shortly after her return she was selected to represent Sussex in the 14U Girls County Cup team - they travelled to Carlisle over the Bank Holiday weekend and won their group. This weekend the Sussex Team is back in Nottingham playing in the National County Cup Finals - we’ve all got our fingers crossed for them!

Alicia has been invited back to the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton for a 4 day National Training Camp - an extremely tough few days but a great experience to live and train alongside many of the professional players.

Alicia will also be interviewed at Brighton’s Big Screen this summer.

Update March 2017

In February half term Alicia headed to the 16U National Tennis Event where she won her way through two qualifying matches into the main draw. Her performance earned her a place back at Roehampton in March, this time for the 16U National Winter Tour Finals.

A few days later she travelled to Southampton to play for Sussex in the 18U Girls County Cup event. At 13, she was the youngest member of the team and won all her singles and doubles matches which was a great achievement. Overall Sussex won their group, beating Derbyshire, Dorset and Norfolk so they have now gained promotion to the higher division next year which is a great result. Alicia still has 4 more years where she’s eligible to play for the team so hopefully they can build on their success next year.

Immediately after her County Cup, she left for Sutton to play in her first Ladies Open Aegon British Tour Event. She played some fantastic tennis and won both her qualifying matches to earn a place in main draw. This is an amazing achievement. Although she lost her main draw match she competed well which gave her plenty of confidence to compete at a higher level.

Finally earlier this month Alicia was back in Roehampton in the 16U Winter National Tour Finals where she played some great tennis and reached the quarter finals. She then lost but to a much older and more experienced girl.

Her mum told us “We are very proud of all her hard work and her current ranking is an incredible 17th in Great Britain within the 14U Girls age group which is a great achievement”.

Well done Alicia!!

Update January 2017

Alicia went to Bolton on January 12th to compete in the Nike International Junior Tournament which is a really prestigious junior event.

We were delighted to learn that she did really well. She won her two qualifying matches convincingly and then had a great win against a French girl in the main draw. Her winning streak was halted by a girl from the USA who was touring as part of the US National Team - however Alicia played a really strong game against her and showed everyone that she is capable of competing at that level.

The tournament was a truly international affair and Björn Borg was in attendance to watch his son Leo, who is the same age as Alicia and was also competing in the tournament. As you can see Borg was kind enough to pose in a photo with Alicia.

In a few weeks Alicia will be competing in the 14U National Tour Finals, which is the end of season event against other top girls from the UK. Life is very busy and exciting for Alicia at the moment and we couldn’t be happier for her.

Alicia and Björn Borg

Update Autumn/Winter 2016

Alicia travelled to Sunderland at the start of half term this October to play in the Girls 16U National Winter Tour where she won her way through qualifying and the first round of the main draw. She unfortunately lost in the second round to a much older player in spite of playing some incredible tennis. 

Later that week she travelled to Bath for 4 days for the Girls 14U National Winter Tour, once again playing some fantastic tennis and reaching the Semi Finals, picking up some great wins on the way.

As a result Alicia is now ranked 23rd in Great Britain for 14U girls and she still has a further 18 months in this age group.

On November 11th she is travelling to Liverpool and taking part in a Tennis Europe Event. Well done Alicia!

Update Summer 2016
Alicia reached the final of the Under 14s Nationals at Bath last week. It was her first national final, so a real milestone. Huge congratulations Alicia. Fantastic achievement!

Alicia at the Under 14s finals in Bath, August 2016

Update Spring 2015
Alicia has been playing some excellent tennis recently - she went to a couple of National level tournaments over Easter (one in Nottingham and one in Sutton) where she played really well despite have very tough draws against the top seeds. She is currently ranked 52 nationally in the U12 girls and she still has another year in this age group so we are all very excited about her progress. She is attending another LTA Regional Training camp at Sutton tennis academy which is a fantastic opportunity for her to train with the other top girls in the region.

Update September 2015
Alicia has continued training really hard and this hard work is now starting to pay off. She has attended National tournaments in Edinburgh, Bath and Bournemouth this summer but without doubt the highlight of the summer was playing on the grass courts at Wimbledon in the HSBC Road to Wimbledon Finals.

HSBC Road to Wimbledon is a 14U national competition whereby one winner from each county is invited to attend the finals at the All England Club in Wimbledon for a week in August.  Alicia won the Sussex finals in July so in August she headed to Wimbledon for a week of tennis (and rain of course!). It was a fantastic experience and the players were really treated well - free tours and access to the club, players’ pass with daily lunch allowance, access to players’ dressing rooms and best of all, Alicia also got to play on championship court 18 (the 4th biggest show court), an experience which she will treasure for many many years. 

Alicia did really well over the week, reaching the finals of the Girls County singles which unfortunately she lost - she also reached the semi finals of doubles (which they lost on a nail-biting tiebreak). Alicia received her amazing runners-up trophy from Tim Henman (pictured).

Following Wimbledon it was straight to Bournemouth for the British Nike National Junior 12U Championships; only 32 girls are accepted to play in this very high profile tournament so it was a huge honour just to play. Alicia won her first match and made it to the last 16 where unfortunately she met the number 2 seed and eventual finalist, but she put up a brave fight.

Last week Alicia has played in the Sussex County championships where she was runner up in both 12U and 14U girls.

Alicia has achieved so much, however the most important thing is that she’s loving her tennis at the moment; she’s having to make sacrifices and difficult choices but whatever the future holds she’s really enjoying the journey!


Stephen, 18, from Brighton, is a dedicated and talented athlete who has excelled in competitions around the country with his running. He has also been nominated for the Argus Sports Personality Award and won Sportsperson of the Year at BACA and Brighton & Hove City AC. This is Stephen’s second Edward Starr Award, to support the costs of travel to take part in national competitions and race entry fees.

Update July 2019

Stephen says “Training is going exceptionally well, really positive and mentally happy at the moment. I have a few 3000-5000m races coming up in the next few months. Other big news, after I ran the Brighton Marathon 10k, I might have the opportunity to run a 10k for England again in Rennes (France) in October. Will find out next month if I have made the team.

Update August 2018

Good luck Stephen who is about to leave the UK for the trip of a lifetime with the British Exploring Society. Stephen and a group of other young people will be travelling to the Yukon in Canada. We wish him all the very best.

Update May 2018

We have teamed up with the British Exploring Society, who work with relatively small groups of young people to deliver transformational youth development in the wilderness. They create unique expeditions to challenge and transform the expectations and future lives of young people.

We were thrilled to learn that Stephen was chosen to take part in a three week trip to the Canadian Yukon. This will be an amazing experience for Stephen. He will be raising his own funds to cover equipment costs. We are super excited to hear how he gets on.

Update May 2017

Stephen is currently managing his time between a job, studies and training. To help him out with this, our Trustee Rich Bates has offered to conduct some one to one Time Management training with him.

Update January 2017

Our Champion Stephen and his family travelled to India this Christmas to train with Dan Lawson for a month. Dan is a British ultra runner and charity worker from Brighton who also does charity work in India for OSCAR India, a non-profit organisation that, through football, instils the value of education and empowers underprivileged children and youth with life skills to take responsibility of their community development. He holds the course record for the Grand Union Canal Race and in 2016, he won the European 24 Hour Championships.

Before Stephen started his month’s training with Dan, he and sister Becca visited the Oscar Foundation to deliver football equipment that they were donating to the young people there and run a football session with them. Stephen’s father told us: “Ashok, the charity’s founder laid on a banquet and then took us round the slum area where the charity originated from and showed us all the amazing things they do with so little resources (lump to our throats). We eventually arrived at a park where they held one of their football sessions and were invited to coach the children. All in all it was a fabulous experience”.

Stephen has been attending yoga classes in South Goa four times a week which have helped with his hamstrings so he has been able to train and race while there, and went on to win the sunset run in Goa while breaking the course record.

Update June 2016

Some words from Stephen:
Since injury it has taken a few months to get confidence and fitness back, but through training sessions and speaking to people I am slowly moving forward positively. I have competed on three occasions this year.

First race was the Sussex Road Relays at Christ Hospital where I was really pleased with my performance, finishing third overall fastest behind two great runners Charlie Grice and Spencer Thomas. A few weeks later I competed in the first British Athletics League Competition in Crawley K2 arena, where the race was tactical so my finishing time was not great. However came away with a victory pulling away 600m to go with last fast 400m.

On Wednesday 31st May I competed at the Brighton Phoenix Open BMC, where I competed in the 3000m and came away with another victory. Since I am not fully fit yet and not where I would like to be, I was disappointed with my time.

Update June 2016

Fantastic News!!! Stephen has won GOLD at the Sussex schools athletics championships at the K2 Crawley on Saturday 11th June. He raced the shorter distance of 1500m to gain some speed work and finished 100m ahead of the field with a great time of 4.08.81.

His next championship race will be the English schools in Gateshead on July 8th where he will compete in the 3000m. Well done Stephen!

Update May 2016

Stephen tells us about his time training in Portugal:

Firstly, I would like to say thank you to everyone at the Starr Trust, for their generous help of providing the funding so that I could fly off to Portugal, where I could train in the warm weather.

I travelled to Portugal on the 1st April 2016, to a beautiful town called Vilamoura. The villa my training partners and I stayed in was amazing. Over the 12 days that I stayed in Vilamoura I trained twice a day for 8 days and had one day off. The training sessions I participated in differed depending on the volume of session, for instance there were 800m, 1500m and 3000m sessions. For some of our sessions we visited the local track. I enjoyed running on the track, however it was ripped up and needed relaying which made it hard to run on.

I visited the accommodation where I stayed last year at Browns Training Facility where we used their gym on three occasions. However, using the gym was not cheap, we had to pay 12 euros each time we went, it was worth it as it was a great gym and I was able to train hard when using the equipment. On two of the main training days I visited an old European cross country course where I did my repetition session at my tempo pace. I also did a hill session there, which I found really hard, even though I have just finished the cross country season, and I am used to running on the hilly, twisty courses.

I was able to train with some of the best runners in the country who have won medals at the British Championships and one of the athletes had also competed in the final of the women’s 800m in Beijing, at the World Championships. It was a fabulous experience training with these guys, as it inspired me to train hard and win medals in future national and international championships.

Through this experience in Portugal I had to learn to do everything for myself, I had to buy my own food, cook it and do my own washing. This I found hard to start with, but I soon learnt to put together a good meal. I have now cooked my mum, dad and sister a meal since I have been home. As well as becoming a better cook, I have become more positive in myself. I believe I have got stronger physically and mentally. I think this because since I arrived back in England I have trained brilliantly and feel confident that I will run faster times this year on the track.

Update April 2016

Stephen ran the Brighton marathon 10k on Sunday, finishing in 6th position out of over 2,500 runners with a time of 32mins 14secs. Well done Stephen!

Update March 2016
The Starr Trust agreed to pay for Stephen’s warm weather camp to Vilamoura, Portugal.

Stephen will fly out on April 1st with an elite group of athletes, and will be staying for 12 nights in a shared villa to train, eat and sleep in preparation for the upcoming track season.

Below: Stephen leading the field at the UK intercounties U20 men’s race at Cofton park, Birmingham. Stephen was running really well until having a stumble and finding himself way down the field. He did however compose himself and battle through to twelfth position which was fantastic considering the top runners from all over the UK were present.

Update January 2016

Stephen has been selected to run for England in Elgóibar, Spain on January 24th, following his excellent recent form over the last few months.
Good luck Stephen!

Stephen raced at the Sussex County xc championships on Saturday that were held at a very muddy Bexhill. He ran brilliantly and won the gold by a massive 2mins 27secs.

Update November 2015

Stephen was chosen to run for England in the IAAF Permit Event in Burgos, Northern Spain on Sunday 15th November. Big congratulations from us all at the Starr Trust.
He went out with the leaders and decided (maybe a little unwisely) to take on the race himself. Towards the end he tired slightly but still managed to finish a magnificent 8th.
The size and strength of the field - which included top European and North African runners - and considering Stephen is first year in this age group gives us all plenty to look forward to!

Update Autumn 2014

Watch Latest TV’s feature on Stephen in his preparations for speaking at the Starr Hub:

Update Summer 2014

Stephen has been nominated for the Argus’ Sports Personality of the Year award! This in itself is a fantastic achievement and we are looking forward to seeing how he gets on at the ceremony on 8th June.

Update August 2014 - Midgie Goes The Extra Mile for the Starr Trust

Brighton-based mental performance coach and author, Midgie Thompson, has pledged to deliver a year of mental skills coaching to Stephen. Midgie is donating her services to the charity as she is committed to supporting the Trust help young people across the BN postcode fulfil their potential and loves to work with up and coming athletes.

Midgie says: “I’m really excited to be working with Stephen along with the support of the Starr Trust. Helping Stephen to develop the mental skills and winning strategies will make a positive difference to his running career and to his personal life. I’ve worked with individuals in all different sports and at all levels and I really love working with young people like Stephen who are passionate, talented and receptive to trying things that will make a difference. I can’t wait to see him achieve his dreams.”

Stephen says: “I am really excited about this opportunity. This will really help me with my athletic career and in general my everyday life. I would like to thank Midgie, Rob Starr and the Starr Trust for their help and support.”
By making connections between experts like Midgie and young people like Stephen, the Trust hopes to extend its support beyond the awarding of financial grants.


Macy, 15, is a very talented and dedicated dancer which she studies at Gielgud Academy in Haywards Heath. Unfortunately, her family were finding it increasingly difficult to fund her lessons. 

We have been able to offer Macy a grant to pay for her tuition and exam fees to be able to allow her to continue her dream.

Macy’s sister says “We feel truly honoured to be awarded and supported by The Starr Trust. Without the funding Macy would not be able to continue with her passion for dancing, and because of this we cannot thank Starr Trust enough. We look forward to the future and being part of such a fantastic and inspiring charity.

Update January 2018

We paid for a further two terms of Macy’s dance tuition and exam fees. Macy received a treat from the Brighton and Hove Rotary Club when she was taken to see the ballet at Brighton Dome in December 2017.

Update November 2017

Macy and her sister Kirsty spoke recently at the Brighton and Hove Rotary Club along with Rob Starr about how their donation of £500 had helped Macy attend another term of dance college.


Daisy, aged 17, has been studying at Bird Studios and loves musical theatre. She has suffered serious health problems and her regular classes give her a release from every day life. Her mother is limited with working hours as Daisy’s younger brother suffers from anxiety making it very difficult to keep up payments for the classes.

We were able to award Daisy with £750 which will cover a year of classes.

Daisy’s theatre arts training at Bird gives her an incentive to keep moving forward through her recovery process. The award means that she can continue to progress. It will make a huge difference to her life

Daisy is featured in the #IAMWHOLE campaign which launched in October 2016. She’s featured in the campaign video, the accompanying music video and her story is on the website.

Update July 2019

Thank you to our amazing Champion Daisy who sang at the Brighton and Hove Soiree Rotary Club dinner on Friday evening at the Malmaison hotel in Brighton. What a treat! Thank you to Ann Dieckmann for inviting Daisy to perform.

Update June 2019

Daisy will be singing at the drinks reception for Brighton and Hove Soiree Rotary’s Presidential Handover on June 28th at Brighton Marina’s Malmaison Hotel. Daisy, who has been a Champion since she was 15, and is currently studying musical theatre at BRICTT will be entertaining guests with her beautiful voice. 

Our Champions’ Outreach Manager Mel said: “Daisy has impressed us with her voice and we are thrilled that she will be representing us at this event. Brighton and Hove Soiree Rotary have been very generous in their donations to us, and it is great to be able to have one of our Champions support them back”.

Daisy played the part of Rosie in ‘Sweet Charity’ at BRICTT in their end of term production. Mel said “Daisy was fantastic in the production, which involved a lot of choreography and Daisy was on stage a lot. Her voice sounded beautiful and strong, and her acting came across strongly. She is clearly enjoying herself on stage. Nice work Daisy!


Update May 2019

Daisy will be singing at the drinks reception for Brighton and Hove Soiree Rotary’s Presidential Handover on June 28th at Brighton Marina’s Malmaison Hotel. Daisy, who has been a Champion since she was 15, and is currently studying musical theatre at BRICTT will be entertaining guests with her beautiful voice. Starr Trust’s Mel Stoner said: “Daisy has impressed us with her voice and we are thrilled that she will be representing us at this event. Brighton and Hove Soiree Rotary have been very generous in their donations to us, and it is great to be able to have one of our Champions support them back.

Update April 2019

Good Friday saw our Ambassador Claire, mum Tracy, and her two Champions Max and Daisy, lend a hand at the Annual Easter Egg Hunt at Hangleton Manor. This popular fundraising event, set up by the Rotary Club of Brighton and Hove, raised over £2600 which will support other Rotary charities and ourselves.

Ann from the Rotary said “it was a lot of organisation but it’s such a great event! Not only does it raise money but it brings together lots of communities – the Rotary Scholars, The Starr Trust, prospective members, Friends of Rotary, companies who provide gifts, Move things Around who provide tables, Hangleton Manor, who donated £500 proceeds from the BBQ, local families, teenage helpers and of course, the Mayor herself!

We would like to say a huge thank you to Claire, Tracy, Max and Daisy for giving up their time to volunteer and of course our thanks go out to Ann and the Rotary Club of Brighton and Hove who have kindly continued to support us.

Update February 2019

We have funded Daisy to help pay for further singing tuition.

Daisy says “I have been able to pursue my dream of working professionally in musical theatre thanks to the funding that I have received from the Starr Trust. Without it I would have been unable to continue. I am always proud to tell people that I am supported by the Starr Trust

Update November 2018

Daisy has started her musical theatre training at BRICTT this September, and is also receiving extra singing lessons from BADA Studios

Update September 2018

We are delighted to share that Daisy, along with Champions Jasmine and Jessie-Jae, will be performing at Brighton and Hove Rotary’s Creative Exposed event this Saturday at 10.25AM. Please do come along and support them.

Update January 2018

We have paid for a further year of classes at Bird Studios for Daisy.

Update September 2017
Daisy played Eponine from Les Miserables in the recent production by Bird Studios at the Old Market in Brighton.

Update January 2017
After playing the role of Gertrude McFuzz in Seussical the Musical at the end of last term at Bird, Daisy was selected for Nathan Potter’s troupe of twelve young ladies who are planning performances in and around Brighton.

Her school musical this year is ‘Footloose’ and she will be playing Ethel McCormack. She also continues to play clarinet in the school big band.

Daisy’s mum Tracy says; “Being a Starr Trust Champion has enabled her to keep up her training. Performing is her life so thank you and your colleagues for the opportunity.

Update November 2016
Daisy has landed the leading role of Gertrude in the forthcoming Bird production of Seussical the Musical on 11th December 2016.

Mother Tracy says “I think it will be a great opportunity for her and an ideal time to chronicle everything that goes in and send it to you, hoping to get a video diary of rehearsals


Update October 2016

Shaina qualified to enter the Unified World Championships being held in association with the WKA Association in Florida on 22nd October and we are absolutely thrilled to share with you that she has won the World Title!

Massive congratulations go out to our young kickboxing champion. This is an extraordinary achievement and she is only 14 years old.

To see an interview with her click here.

An interview with Shaina on BBC Radio Sussex about winning the World Championships:

Shaina is currently British champion for K1 Thai Boxing. She has been invited to compete in the World Championships in America this October, a massive achievement for such a young girl. Her mother is currently looking after other children within the family and would find it almost impossible to raise the funds to send Shaina to what would be a vitally important experience and enable her to really move up the ranks. We are delighted to be able to contribute to make this dream become a reality.

We have awarded her funds towards flights and competition costs and hotel accommodation for attending the world championships in America.



Jasmine is 16 and has a huge passion and talent for Opera Singing. We paid for her to travel to her singing lessons at the Guildhall so that she could continue her career path in Operatics.

Earlier this year she received the prestigious Bill Weston Young Singers Award from Glyndebourne for showing exceptional promise and later this year she performed at Glyndebourne in their production of ‘Belongings’.

Jasmine says:
I am delighted that the Starr Trust is supporting me because the money will help towards the cost of going to Guildhall in London and extra studies that are important to me. The money means that I can go and enjoy the next step in my career and not worry about anything which will make the experience a lot more enjoyable. I will try my best at my studies to make sure that the support you give me doesn’t go to waste

Jasmine’s mum says:
As a parent I obviously want to support Jasmine in her studies however studying music has a lot of costs and realistically I would not be able to afford it. I am very glad that Jasmine got support from the Starr Trust as this means that I can allow Jasmine to study without the worry and enjoy watching her learn and grow as a performer.

Update November 2018
Many thanks to Jasmine who helped with facepainting at the Rotary’s Halloween event this year at Hangleton Manor.

Update September 2018

We are delighted to share that Jasmine, along with Champions Jessie-Jae and Daisy, will be performing at Brighton and Hove Rotary’s Creative Exposed event this Saturday at 10.25AM. Please do come along and support them.

Update November 2017

Jasmine performed at Glyndebourne in their production of ‘Belongings’. Our Champions’ Manager Mel Stoner went along with two Champions, sisters Ayala and Sophie, who were kindly given free tickets from Glyndebourne, along with Emma Red – who has offered to donate a piano to Jasmine to help her with her studies. It was a stunning opera, and Jasmine was fantastic.

Earlier this year, Jasmine received the prestigious Bill Weston Young Singers Award from Glyndebourne for showing exceptional promise, which resulted in her being granted £1000 to further her studies. 

Well done Jasmine!



Bako is a very talented basketball player with boundless enthusiasm and natural ability. He played for the U11’s Sussex team last year and helped them win the county tournament. He has since been selected to play for Brighton Cougars U14 National League Team and clearly has a huge potential. His mother has struggled financially and he wouldn’t be able to continue to attend all the necessary training sessions without our support.

We have been able to award funding towards club fees, camps, travel and new basketball shoes.

Bako’s mum says:
I feel very grateful and relieved that Bako has received this funding opportunity from Starr Trust as with it Bako can now participate in all the teams training and matches available so he can progress in his basketball that he loves and has great talent for

Bako says:
I’m so happy that I have got this funding, hopefully it will help me succeed in basketball. I am a family person and basketball is my passion. Thank you Starr Trust

Update January 2018
We are funding to help further with club fees, camps, travel and new basketball shoes. Bako recently was asked to play for the under 16s National Premier team.

Bako with Storm

Video by Morchang Studios.


Taking part in kayaking transformed Hannah’s life after facing some challenges at school. After 3 years, she became very skilled and was keen to compete at a higher level, however the costs were prohibitive for her family and they were unable to support her with it further. We awarded Hannah £3,750 for the purchase of a new kayak and the rental of Lee Valley for training.

Update May 2019
Hannah spent last weekend coaching young girls at Slalom Inspires whose aim is to inspire and empower the girls of canoe slalom by running events across the UK.

So proud of you Hannah! We have loved every minute of following you on your journey since we first supported you in 2014. You are a true inspiration and what a role model for these young girls.

Update July 2018
Incredibly proud of our young Champion Hannah Clements who will be leading these young people to the Amazon with the British Exploring Society.

Update July 2018
We were thrilled to learn back in May this year that Hannah was chosen by the British Exploring Society to take part in their 6 week Trainee Leadership Expedition to the Amazon! This will be an incredible experience for her.

Hannah set off on this once in a lifetime adventure on July 16th, and will be incommunicado for the entire 6 weeks away.

We are so very proud of all her achievements over the years since we began supporting her. She is an exceptional young woman and we can’t wait to hear all about her adventures when she gets back.

Huge thanks to the Brighton and Hove Rotary Club who gave her £500 towards the costs and to the British Exploring Society for offering this incredible opportunity.

Update May 2018
We have teamed up with the British Exploring Society, who work with relatively small groups of young people to deliver transformational youth development in the wilderness. They create unique expeditions to challenge and transform the expectations and future lives of young people.

We were thrilled to learn that Hannah was chosen to take part in the 6 week Trainee Leader Expedition to the Amazon.  This will be an incredible experience for her. £500 of the funds needed for the trip have been kindly donated by Brighton and Brighton and Hove Soiree Rotary Club. Hannah was thrilled and we are all extremely grateful.

Hannah will be raising her own funds to cover equipment costs. We are super excited to hear how she gets on.

Update May 2018
Our Champions Outreach Manager Mel and Starr Trust Ambassador Claire were delighted to be invited to Brighton and Hove Soiree Rotary Club’s Youth Festival on 28th April at the Barge on Brighton Marina. Claire and Mel were presented with a cheque for £500 to go towards funding Hannah’s forthcoming leadership expedition to the Amazon. We are extremely grateful to Brighton and Hove Soiree Rotary for their generosity over the last few months.

Update November 2017
Hannah talked to Safety Rocks about being bullied at school, taking up Kayaking and becoming a Starr Trust Champion.Read more here.

Update December 2016
Listen to Hannah talking about her time in Dubai at the White Water Rafting Championships. She was competing with Team GB who brought back an incredible 2 Golds, a Silver and 2 Bronzes!

Hannah talked to Allison Ferns live in the studio at BBC Sussex on Tuesday afternoon November 29th.

Hannah at BBC Sussex

Update November 2016
Hannah was part of Team GB’s Ladies U23 in the Rafting World Championships in Dubai on November 2nd-5th, and brought home a fantastic 5 medals for Great Britain.

Rafting comprises of 4 individual disciplines: Sprint, Head to Head, Slalom and Endurance. The ladies U23 team was only formed in February this year and this was their first international event.

Hannah said “Being part of the World Championships was such an incredible experience. I am so proud of my team mates and our achievements and am extremely grateful to the Starr Trust for their financial support. As there is no national funding available, their help meant we were able to get out to Dubai and compete”.

For the full story, as well as pictures and a video from the World Championships, click here.

Update March 2016
Hannah has just been selected to be part of the GB Under 23 women’s rafting team. They have qualified to compete at the European Championships in Slovenia in May and the World Championships in October.
The team beat many more senior and established teams and are hotly tipped for podium finishes at both events. Congrats and good luck Hannah!

Hannah Kayaking

Update July 2015
Hannah and Kayleigh fundraised for us in an 8 hour Ergoathon on Saturday 15th August at Adur Outdoor Activities Centre in Shoreham-by-Sea.

They took up the challenge to paddle alternately on an Ergo machine for a total of 8 hours and they are asking if you, your friends and family would kindly sponsor them in this Challenge. Please go to their fundraising page to find out more.

Hannah says “The reason why we chose to do this challenge was to help repay the Starr Trust with as much as we could. I was honoured to get my grant and from the get go I wanted to help raise a bit of money so they could help other children like me. I found this challenge surprisingly hard considering I kayak, however, it has inspired me to raise more money for such an amazing charity

Hannah says: “I am really honoured to have been chosen as a Starr Champion. I will do my very best to make you all proud.

Her mum Claire says: “We can’t believe that you have chosen Hannah. She will get so much from the award, not only the equipment and training but meeting such inspiring, positive people from the Trust. I know that this award will touch many young people, not just Hannah, in the long term and i can’t thank the benefactors enough.


Ava loves photography. She has recently completed a Silver Arts Award in photography and her aim is to complete her Gold Arts award; this will then give her the accredited qualification she needs to take photography level 3 at college. The college she was attending unfortunately ran into funding difficulty and her course was discontinued, so in order to get to the next level she needs to complete this Gold Arts Award. She requires the funds to get mentoring from Lindsey Smith from Photoworks and also a new camera and some software. She has a huge passion for photography and had recently won an award from the Fabrica Gallery for the best soundtrack in a film competition. 

The Starr Trust has provided funding for a new camera, software and mentoring from Lindsey Smith to achieve her Gold Arts Award.

Ava says, “I feel honoured to have been given the Edward Starr Award, and with it I want to create a project that will delight and inspire young ‘camera heads’ like me! It will allow me to have the guidance of Lindsey Smith, who constantly inspires me with her kindness, cheerfulness and creativity and it will enable me to use high quality equipment and software to get my ideas across with better effect. It will also give me the chance to do a Gold Arts Award in photography which will prove to colleges that I have what it takes to study photography in the future.

I am so looking forward to this opportunity. Thank you to the Starr Trust for supporting me.

Update August 2019

Ava has just found out that she had achieved three A Level passes (A, B and C) and has been offered an unconditional place at the University of Brighton to do her first choice of course.

Ava’s mum says: “The Starr Trust’s generous donation helped Ava to develop her technical and artistic skills in photography, sound and film and gave her confidence in her abilities so she could start work on her GCSE’s, then A levels and finally university application. The Trust helped her so much to move on in her life at a time when her options were limited.

Ava says: “Thank you for the inspiration the Starr Trust gave me for creating art, enabling me to work with the fantastic photographer, Lindsey Smith, and allowing me to use an SLR camera and brilliant Adobe software. 

It was great to work with you and the Trust, you gave me confidence at a time when the college I was attending failed to get funding. The Trust kept me going through this time and I am so grateful! It helped me to be admitted to sixth form college and go on to pass my GCSEs and A levels. Please keep up the good work.

Update May 2018

Ava recently got the opportunity to be in the audience for the finals of television show ‘The Voice’. The trip, which was organised for us by our Ambassador Claire Clements was taken by photographer Ava and her Dad - both fans of the programme.

Ava told us: “I am a Film Studies and Photography A Level student, and being in the film studio was absolutely amazing and inspiring! The lights during the show were so bright and beautiful and it was interesting to see how a show of The Voice plays out.

Supposed live TV is quite contrived – with sections being recorded the day before, footage being filmed elsewhere, and the audience being revved up to fever pitch by a warm-up person in every break!

It was also a privilege to be in the same studio where household classics such as Star Wars were filmed.

My family’s favourite contestant, Ruti Olajugbagbe, won, so that was an extra bonus from the day! I am now a definite fan of The Voice.

Thank you, Starr Trust for organising an amazing evening out for me and my dad!

Here’s three photos of me – two taken from the TV, I’m wearing a black dress saying “Thrilled” in white letters! You can just see me…

The Starr Trust would like to thank Claire for giving Ava such a wonderful opportunity.

Update December 2017

Ava says:

I want to say thank you for your fantastic support for my photography and multimedia work. With the grant you gave me I was able to buy a Digital SLR camera and pay for professional photo and video software.

I was also able to work with Lindsey Smith, a professional photographer and community artist, and Piotr Obal, a film maker and workshop leader. I was a volunteer to support photography workshops in Brighton Libraries and interviewed artists, musicians and a professional screenwriter. I also wrote an extended essay about the role of women in horror films.

Originally, I was doing a Gold Arts Award to help me go to College and do Photography, but I am no longer finishing this award because I am now at Varndean College doing A Level Photography, Film Studies and English Language. I would not have got into college without support from the Starr Trust.

I feel very privileged to have done this work - I have taken thousands of photos and produced a film using stills from my work, my creative writing and atmospheric music and sound effects.

Thank you so much for supporting me. It has helped my skills and confidence so much, and has provided access to the qualifications I need to progress in my beloved photography and a future in multimedia. I know you will continue to help other young people to fulfil their dreams too.

Update November 2017

Ava was asked by our regular supporter Gemini Print to submit some photographs to feature in their 2018 calendar. They have chosen a lovely image of two cows and this will feature in the calendar. Well done to Ava!

Update June 2017

Some words from Ava:

Hi all, just a quick update on my photography project and grant from the Starr Trust.

The money from the Starr Trust has enabled me to get all that I need to progress with my Gold Photography Arts project – to buy photography, video and audio software, to buy a new camera and to pay for meetings with my mentors – Lindsey Smith and Sarah Pain. They have guided me through the Arts Award structure and to complete the assignments.

Recently, I have made leaps and bounds with my Award.

First, I have made my short film; ‘In the Nightmare’. I have posted it up on YouTube and Facebook so that I can hear people’s thoughts on it. The comments on the film had all been positive and in some, people have told me about what they fear. 


After that, I wrote an essay on the roles of woman in horror films and whether their involvement had improved or not. I concluded that the roles of woman in the modern era have been getting better thanks to more women becoming involved in horror and writing and directing films.

For the second part of my award, I am currently planning an event where artwork about people’s fears (both understandable and ‘silly’) are discussed and showcased. The event will feature opportunities to talk with audiences about their fears and/or display photos, films, songs, poems and other art forms about their fears and how they view them.

This event will be the climax of all my work. I’m hoping for the event to occur in July or August. I’m hoping to invite the artists that I know and even send an invitation to other young artists who have won awards from the Starr Trust to attend and possibly display work if they would like.

I feel that my project is going according to plan. I’ve received positive feedback for my photography from the Varndean photography course leader who has recommended me for A level photography - a key aim of applying for an award from the Starr Trust in the first place was to enable me to move on to level 3 photography at Varndean.

Thank you so much to the Starr Trust for their generous award – it has helped me so much!



Iona applied to be able continue her studies with The Young Actors Group in Brighton; she has excelled with this group and has been chosen for lead roles both within her own group and the adult group.

The family has run into financial difficulty and would find it hard to meet the financial commitment without help.

The Starr Trust has awarded Iona £258.00 which covers the cost of the whole of the next years fees.

Iona says “‘That’s amazing! I really want to continue studying at The Young Actors Group and now i can!

Iona’s mum says “I am so thrilled that Iona is getting this extra help from the Starr Trust. Without this we would not have been able to continue at The Young Actors Group. This is a really valuable award and we hope this publicity will attract other parents who see a special talent in their child and want to give them extra help to develop their skills but don’t have the extra funds to be able to support them.

Update September 2017
Iona played Audrey in ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ at Lewes Old Grammar school, directed by the brilliant Rachel Munro in the Music Department.

Update March 2016

Exciting News! Iona auditioned to be a part of Glyndebourne Youth Orchestra this year and got accepted. She will be performing A Midsummer’s night dream in August.

Big congratulations Iona!


Lee has a passion for tractors. He has had a very traumatic start to life and has developmental trauma, as well as attachment disorder. He is unable to engage in special school environment and has to be supported by two members of staff at all times. He receives his education off site with a bespoke learning curriculum. He enjoys spending lots of time outdoors and attends Forest School one morning a week.

It is felt he would greatly benefit from attending an access to work experience on a farm for one session a week.

The Starr Trust awarded Lee £1170 to cover the cost of the farm sessions.

Update May 2019

Lee, along with other Champions and their families, enjoyed hearing from guest speaker Mick Dawson at the Champions Chat in April, held at Hilton Brighton Metropole.

Ex Marine Mick’s chat was about fear, and how it can be a misunderstood friend. He told how he overcame fears that presented themselves along his two attempts at rowing the North Pacific; from Japan to San Francisco, solo. The first attempt in 2003 ended when his rudder was torn off, in severe weather, and he had to return to Japan. The second in 2004 was halted by a freak capsize that sank his boat after 109 days at sea and having rowed over 4,500 miles, two thirds of the way across the route.

Undeterred Mick built a new boat, ‘Bojangles’, specifically for the North Pacific. He invited friend and fellow ocean rower Chris Martin onto the project and the two of them went on to become the first ever crew to row successfully from Japan (Choshi) to The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. They completed the epic 7,000 mile voyage in an incredible 189 days 10 hours and 55 minutes.

We heard how Mick overcame encounters with killer whales, who ‘adopted’ him along his journey - something he explained he never thought he would experience. His brush with unidentified ‘sea serpents’ in the middle of the night surrounding his boat, just 18 inches above the water, with red eyes staring at him, hissing and swirling around the boat mesmerised us. From losing his radio signal and having no communication to being under the boughs of large ships, Mick told how fear is just telling you you have a problem to deal with. He told how he’d prepared well, and all the things that got him through situations were those he had planned in advance.

You can read Mick’s story here.

Mick’s adventures have been turned into a book ‘Rowing the Pacific’ which can be purchased on Amazon.

At the end of the session, our Champions shared with Mick their Champion stories.

Thank you to Mick (in checked shirt), and Hilton Brighton Metropole!

Update March 2018

Lee was the Easter Bunny for Brighton & Hove Rotary‘s Easter Egg Hunt on Good Friday, keeping everyone smiling during a wet morning!

Update September 2017

Lee has attended two Champions Chats - Team Work and Self Belief and has gained a place on the two year Agriculture course - Level 1 - one day a week. It seems to be going really well - Lee loves going on a Monday and gets the coach there and back on his own. He meets his T.A. there.

Lee has been attending Daylands Farm in Steyning on Fridays during term time for two years and does a variety of tasks depending on the time of year and the jobs they are doing. He helps with the cattle and sheep throughout the winter months when they are in the yards, strawing up and feeding. He has helped at lambing time, numbering lambs, assisting with tagging and bottle feeding. When the animals are out in the fields for the rest of the year Lee has helped with feeding, moving and counting them.

Lee helps out in the vegetable field, hauling barrows full of produce back into the yard, digging carrots, putting up bean sticks and picking fruit.

Lee helps when we are getting the wood in for their wood burning stove and enjoys operating the log splitter as well. He has used secateurs, loppers and saws when assisting with pruning trees, cutting back willows and clearing paths and gateways.

Update March 2017

Lee has been working with FarmBuddies who arrange social care farming programmes across the South East.

Lee is a pupil at the Cedar Centre in Brighton and his school has been very pleased with the results of his Friday trips to the farm. They told the publication Amaze; “Lee has improved his team work, time management, social skills and career focus, the plan now for 2017 is very encouraging.

Read the full story published in Amaze below:


Vaughan left school last year in June 2014, to be home educated after being diagnosed with special needs. His mother sought a hobby for Vaughan, and found Marina Studios, who took a strong liking to Vaughan and told her about the Starr Trust who funded him to attend dance classes there.

Vaughan was so mentally stressed and anxious he hated to speak to anyone or be noticed, he often hid behind his mother and was always on the verge of tears, getting him into these classes was a massive challenge, even though he wanted to do it. He soon earned a certificate for most hardworking and improved individual, and shortly after danced on stage with his dance group at the Dome Brighton.

His mother says: “He got up and danced free style at “funk the family” festival in Hove park, not just once, although that first step into the dance space took hours, but from that first step in to that space till we finished up and tried to go home, he danced non stop, past the point of exhaustion, even challenged his two adult teachers to a dance off, made everyone laugh and he involved everyone too, became a real lively motivational dude, it was just breath-taking for me seeing him with such massive confidence.

If you follow us on Facebook, you can link up with Vaughan’s “Educating Vaughan” page here.

Update November 2018

Here’s what Vaughan’s mum had to say about Vaughan’s award:

This award has given Vaughan the opportunity to dance on stage, teach dance to minors and meet a whole genre of people he would not otherwise have met, he, as an autistic, can have issues with communication, but through this dance he has learnt vital and ultimately priceless life skills with regards to interacting with many ages and types of people in some very highly intense situations like being on stage and teaching vulnerable children, it’s been amazing, you couldn’t write it, really.

Family wise the pride has sky rocketed, he has gone from being a typical hyper child to someone the family - even extended family - now values and respects. His achievements and confidence knows no bounds.

Vaughan has the ability to be independent and communicate freely and very effectively, this has been because of the opportunities the Starr Trust have given him - not just with giving him the classes and activities but the precious priceless Starr Trust meet ups.

Update January 2018

We supported Vaughan to have a further year of Streetfunk lessons, and to attend dance training camp.


17 year old Ira is a committed and successful basketball player who has excelled in the sport despite challenges at home. His plan was to participate in a high-level supported training programme and ultimately to play competitively in Florida and attend high school and college in the USA.

We awarded Ira £5,000 over 2 years to pay for his training and coaching expenses, his travel costs and his participation in American tournaments.

Ira said: “Although the news of the grant was great and a time for celebration, hard work was what got me it, so I had to bang out 20 press-ups!”

His mum Karen said: “When I read the email from the Starr Trust, I was really shocked and surprised, it had been a while since the application was submitted and you just assume that it has been awarded to someone else. I ran up stairs to let Ira read it and in true Ira style he celebrated by doing 20 press-ups. As a family the Award will make a big difference and it will allow Ira to work towards his goal of attending high school and college in America to play basketball. Thank you all so much and for believing in Ira.”

Update November 2016

Ira was interviewed about basketball, the Starr Trust and his personal journey in November’s Etc Magazine.

Ira said “It made me ecstatic. Every time I set foot on the court with just me, a ball and the hoop my smile would not disappear, nothing else mattered. Basketball opened a huge number of doors for me, introduced me to incredible personalities and people, and moulded my identity as if it was another parent.

Read the full interview here.

Update April 2016

Ira updates us on his progress:

Update June 2015

Ira was 15 when he was awarded a Starr Trust Award to pay for two years basketball training, travel costs and his participation in American tournaments.
Two years on and Ira has been working and training hard this year, and has almost finished his GCSE’s. He has taken 23 exams! He has been accepted to John Madjeski Academy in Reading next year - this is a specialist basketball academy with England Basketball ASSE funding. He will complete his A levels here and live away from home.
He has just made the South East England under 17s squad and is about to head out to a basketball camp in the USA and has a trial for a high school in Florida.

Update Summer 2014

Our Champion Ira is the star of our brand new promotional video (below), made by Film House Shoreham. Ira and his family were very gracious about taking part in the filming and we are delighted to be able to share his amazing story with our supporters and friends.

With the help of his Edward Starr Award, Ira has now jetted off to Eckerd College in Florida with his basketball team who will be playing in the under 18s tournament there and Ira will also attend a prestigious individual camp at the college. We can’t wait to hear all about his adventures upon his return in August.


Jessie suffers from hearing loss and, after a hard time at her previous school, was flourishing at the smaller drama school K-Bis. Jessie is a talented and dedicated performer, however meeting the cost of the drama school fees was proving a challenge for her mother.

We awarded Jessie £3,000 which represents half a year’s fees and we are delighted that K-Bis agreed to cover the remaining amount via a scholarship.

Jessie’s mum says, “Thanks to the Starr Trust Jessie is able to continue following her dream with the support of an amazing team of people. I can’t wait to see how she progresses over the next year.


Samantha is an extremely talented and dedicated classical dancer from Hove who has performed on stage in the West End, on television and at theatres all over the country. Samantha was offered a funded place at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts however due to financial circumstances, covering the cost of her accommodation was becoming an challenge for her family. The Starr Trust awarded £5000 to Samantha to pay for her dance school accommodation.

Samantha says: “I can’t thank the Starr Trust enough for supporting me with my future full time training at Tring - without which I would have had to leave and give up on my life ambition of becoming a professional dancer.”

Update December 2016
Samantha will be performing in Aladdin at the Manchester Opera House for 7 weeks running from Fri 9 Dec to Sun 8 Jan 2017. Following that in February 2017 she starts a contract as a dancer with P&O Cruises for 6 months where she will rehearse for 2 months in Southampton and then join their ship the ‘Azura’ on 16 April.  Her contract will include tours of the Canaries, Mediterranean, Bruges & Amsterdam, the Norwegian Fjords and Iceland. Well done Samantha! We wish you all the best at this exciting time.

Update March 2016
Samantha is going on Tour this April/May. Big congratulations! For more information on dates go to tringpark.com.

Encore Dance Poster

Update January 2016
Samantha is getting on very well at Tring. She returned on 5th January after her Christmas break, ready to complete their last full term’s worth of training before going out on their UK graduation tour in late April. She is currently working with choreographers Anthony Dowson, James Cousins and Jenna Lee.

Just before Christmas, she also performed in and co-directed their graduation show ‘Departures’ which was set in an airport and explored the wide range of characters that could be found there. As well as performing in 5 dance numbers, she took on the role of co-director which certainly proved a new experience for her. 

All the students are now also embarking upon their search for employment in the industry so auditions are round the corner. 

Update Summer 2014
Samantha has been cast as one of the principal roles in Tring Parks School for Performing Arts’ senior dance show which is a phenomenal achievement.

Update Spring 2015
The Starr Trust has agreed to fund Samantha for a further year at Tring Park School.


Zoë, 15, is a promising performer from Brighton. After a recent family tragedy, she found that membership of PSSA Stage Academy really helped her, however meeting the associated fees was a challenge. The Starr Trust awarded Zoë the money to be able to continue on at PSSA and follow her dream of performing and singing.

Zoë says: “Doing performing arts is fun and its helped me concentrate on something else not just that my dad has died. It’s kinda helped me get used to it because I’m not just thinking about that and I know I can still enjoy myself.

Update January 2018

Huge thanks go out to Zoë‘s mum Sarah-Jane! She held a raffle at her yoga retreat for us and raised a whopping £258! Brilliant!

Update November 2016

Zoë has landed a role in Seussical The Musical on 11th December. Well done Zoë!

Update November 2015

Come along to ‘Annie’ this December at the Barn Theatre in Southwick where our young champion Zoë will be appearing in this production of the fantastic musical from 17-19 December.


Kayeigh, 16, from Lancing was facing challenges at school and by way of a distraction she found a foundation kayaking course at Adur Outdoor Activity Centre. She loved it and seemed to take to it with ease; through her coach Stewart she became interested in Slalom and asked if she could participate in some of the competitions.

Kayleigh won or was placed at all of the competitions she entered and was selected to be part of the GB talent programme based at Lee Valley and Shepperton, training three times a week in London as well as land training and flat water training at Shoreham. At the end of this season Kayleigh finished 14th in the country in her division, and the highest ranking short season paddler. Her aim is to represent her country and ultimately compete at the Olympics.

We awarded Kayleigh £3000 to purchase a new kayak and for some training sessions.

Kayleigh’s mum Trisha says: “This award is just such wonderful news and will still cant quite believe it. It is going to make such a massive difference to them all and it will most certainly help Kayleigh in chasing her dream.

Update July 2015
Kayleigh and Hannah raised over £900 in an 8 hour Ergoathon on Saturday 15th August at Adur Outdoor Activities Centre in Shoreham-by-Sea.

They took up the challenge to paddle alternately on an Ergo machine for a total of 8 hours and they are asking if you, your friends and family would kindly sponsor them in this Challenge. Please go to their fundraising page to find out more.

Kayleigh says “I had a really amazing day and loved every minute of the ergoathon experience. I feel so privileged that I was able to receive a grant from the Starr Trust and really pleased that I have been able to raise some funds so another person can also benefit from the Trust the same way I have

Update May 2015
Kayleigh competed in Nottingham in May. It was a really tough & technical course; probably the hardest she has ever competed on. On her first day she finished 22 out of 42; not as good as she would have liked.
However, her 2nd day was much better; she tackled the course really well, finishing 5th out of 41, and receiving a trophy for the highest placing junior under 16.

Update April 2015
Kayleigh had her first race of the season on Saturday 28th March; she came 2nd with a time of 129.25 and received a trophy (pictured below). On Sunday 29th she came 4th, missing out on a trophy but receiving a medal for the fastest Junior under 16. A great result for Kayleigh!

Kayleigh with Trophy


Nathan is 15. He has cerebral palsy and is a wheelchair racer who’s been selected for Team England!

Nathan has been a Champion since he was 11, when he applied to us for a racing wheelchair.  His awards since have allowed him to compete both Nationally and Internationally for England at the Cerebral Palsy World Games 2018 in Barcelona.

Nathan says: “Being able to compete at such a high level has driven me to train hard and as a result I have become much fitter and been able to come off lots of medication. I have also become healthier as a result and so my attendance at school has improved. My award has really helped the whole family. Wheelchair racing is a really expensive sport and Mum used to have to work a lot of overtime to pay for the costs. She hasn’t had to do so much due to the award.

Nathan’s mum Kim says:
“From my perspective, wheelchair racing has really helped Nathan to accept his disability and increase his confidence. He’s worked really hard over the last 18 months, training twice a week whatever the weather, but needs a custom made chair in order to progress. We really couldn’t believe we’d been successful with the award and will be eternally grateful to the Starr Trust for giving Nathan this opportunity to follow his dreams!”

Check out Nathan’s website here.

Update May 2019

Nathan, along with other Champions and their families, enjoyed hearing from guest speaker Mick Dawson at the Champions Chat in April, held at Hilton Brighton Metropole.

Ex Marine Mick’s chat was about fear, and how it can be a misunderstood friend. He told how he overcame fears that presented themselves along his two attempts at rowing the North Pacific; from Japan to San Francisco, solo. The first attempt in 2003 ended when his rudder was torn off, in severe weather, and he had to return to Japan. The second in 2004 was halted by a freak capsize that sank his boat after 109 days at sea and having rowed over 4,500 miles, two thirds of the way across the route.

Undeterred Mick built a new boat, ‘Bojangles’, specifically for the North Pacific. He invited friend and fellow ocean rower Chris Martin onto the project and the two of them went on to become the first ever crew to row successfully from Japan (Choshi) to The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. They completed the epic 7,000 mile voyage in an incredible 189 days 10 hours and 55 minutes.

We heard how Mick overcame encounters with killer whales, who ‘adopted’ him along his journey - something he explained he never thought he would experience. His brush with unidentified ‘sea serpents’ in the middle of the night surrounding his boat, just 18 inches above the water, with red eyes staring at him, hissing and swirling around the boat mesmerised us. From losing his radio signal and having no communication to being under the boughs of large ships, Mick told how fear is just telling you you have a problem to deal with. He told how he’d prepared well, and all the things that got him through situations were those he had planned in advance.

You can read Mick’s story here.

Mick’s adventures have been turned into a book ‘Rowing the Pacific’ which can be purchased on Amazon.

At the end of the session, our Champions shared with Mick their Champion stories.

Thank you to Mick (in checked shirt), and Hilton Brighton Metropole!

Update February 2019

Now 15, Nathan’s award will cover costs towards training camps, junior championships, travel, entry fees and classification clinic.

Update November 2018

Here’s what Nathan’s mum Kim had to say about Nathan’s Starr Trust Award:
Nathan’s first award from the Starr Trust was the purchase of his first ‘custom made’ racing wheelchair which allowed him to start to reach his potential. This in turn increased his determination to succeed and train which resulted in greater fitness levels. As Nathan became stronger and fitter he became healthier and has since stopped all his Asthma medications and his attendance at school has improved. The financial support provided by the Starr Trust has allowed Nathan to fully compete Nationally and more recently Internationally for England. Without this support Nathan would not have been able to have participated in as many events and I would have had to work additional hours at weekends in order to fund his trip to Spain to take part in the World CP Games, where he represented England. This in turn would have meant I wouldn’t have been able to take him to events. We will always be eternally grateful for all that The Starr Trust has done for Nathan.

Update July 2018

Nathan has been chosen to be part of Team CP England in the forthcoming CPISRA World Games 2018.

The Cerebral Palsy International Sport & Recreation Association (CPISRA) World Games will take place in San Cugat in Spain 6th to 12th August 2018.

Cerebral Palsy Sport announced they will be coordinating Team CP England to attend the games to emulate the success of the Nottingham 2015 CPISRA World Games.

HUGE congrats to Nathan! What an amazing achievement!

See the full list of Athletes here.

Update January 2018

Nathan has been chosen to compete in the World Games 2018 for which we are funding him, as well as the National Championships.
Nathan’s coach says:  “The light from his (Nathan’s) torch shines brightly and those caught in its beam are enriched by it

Update November 2017

We are so excited and proud to announce that Nathan has been selected for Team England for the 2018 CPISRA World Games in Spain! He’s worked so hard and truly deserves this opportunity! Huge congratulations to Nathan and his family from all of us at the Starr Trust.

Update Autumn 2017

Nathan continues to get media attention for his incredible Diana Award for services to wheelchair racing. Check out the story in Brighton & Hove Independent here.

Update September 2017

Our young Champion Nathan recently won a prestigious Diana Award for his services to wheelchair racing, and popped into the BBC Monday afternoon to appear live on the Allison Ferns show. He talked about his love of wheelchair racing, his fastest times, getting a bronze medal in London’s mini marathon and racing downhill in his chair at 25 miles an hour!

Listen to this amazing young man who has already achieved so much at just 14 years old:

Photo (L-R): Nicole Carman, Starr Trust PR Manager; Nathan Freeman, Starr Trust Champion; Kim Freeman, Nathan’s mother; and Allison Ferns from the BBC.

Update August 2017

Nathan recently received a Diana Award for his services to wheelchair racing. The Diana Award was set up in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, and her belief that young people have the power to change the world for the better. Nathan was one of 750 young people in the UK and around the world to receive one. The award is committed to fostering, inspiring and developing positive change in the lives of young people through practical social action. Today The Diana Award has the support of both her sons The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

All the award winners – who come from every region in the UK and USA, Canada, UAE, India, Belize, Australia, Greece, Indonesia, Croatia, Jersey, New Zealand, and Liberia –  have had a monumental impact on society and lives of those in their communities. Many of them only know Princess Diana as a historical figure but they carry the honour of the Diana Award with pride and admiration for whose memory it was set up in.

Well done Nathan – we are really proud of you!

See Nathan in our latest video:

Update May 2017

Nathan is doing really well this season so far. His biggest achievement has been to compete in his first London Mini Marathon where he came 3rd, completing the 3 mile course in 20:23 - his first British Athletics medal!

Update January 2017

One of our champion’s mums, Claire Clements, is friends with the amazing Paralympic athlete Baroness ‘Tanni’ Grey-Thompson and kindly arranged for Nathan to meet with her.

Tanni Grey-Thompson, born with spina bifida, is one of Britain’s greatest Paralympic athletes and has amassed a remarkable medal haul over 16 years and five Paralympic Games of 11 gold medals, 4 silver and a bronze and continues to be involved in sport and physical activity as Board Member of the London Marathon, the Sportsaid Foundation, Transport for London, and many more and won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Last month 14 year old Nathan met up with life peer Tanni who gave him some inspirational training on his wheelchair racing. Tanni told us “It’s lovely to meet a young man who has so much drive and enthusiasm for the sport, and so willing to listen to advice. He obviously spends a lot of time watching wheelchair racing on the internet which is a great way to learn about who is in the sport and how they compete. I really hope that he continues to enjoy the sport and I can’t wait to see him compete this season”.

Nathan’s mum Kim, who has totally supported and encouraged Nathan to wheelchair race, is really excited by this new friendship. She told us “We’re really grateful to Claire, Hannah and The Starr Trust for making the meeting happen. Nath learnt so much from Tanni and her husband Ian, not just about the technical elements of wheelchair racing, but also practical tips and encouragement. We were really grateful for the amount of time Tanni & Ian spent with us and Nath left feeling really inspired to train harder and work on the elements they had advised”.

Update April 2016

Nathan didn’t have a great winter in terms of his health, so his winter training didn’t go to plan and he was unable to take part in the London wheelchair mini marathon, which he was really disappointed about.

However, the track season has started well, and in his first event of the season he has qualified to compete at the National Junior championships in 2 events and is hoping to qualify for a third event in the coming weeks!

Update July 2015

Nathan picked up his racing wheelchair from Draft yesterday, and can’t wait to get to using it on the track.

He’s got his next event at Stoke Mandeville Athletics Stadium on 8th August and is planning to train hard between now and then to get some good times - he’s entered for the 100m, 200m and 400m.

Good luck Nathan!

Nathan's new chair
Nathan's new chair 2

Update June 2015

Nathan is looking forward to receiving the chair, which is being made for him, and in the meantime has continued to compete at a couple of events a month including the National Junior Championships at the end of June.
So far this season Nathan’s beaten his personal best for the 100m & 200m and has achieved a season’s best in the 200m!

Update May 2015

Nathan competed in a 100m wheelchair race at the K2, Crawley on 28th April and knocked seconds off his season best and was just 1.1 seconds off a qualifying time for the Nationals!

He was at the Stoke Mandeville Stadium on 4th May for the BWRA event, where he took part in the 100m & 200m. The weather conditions were really bad and although he missed out on qualifying times again, he gained some useful experience of competing in wet conditions and picked up some tips from some great athletes.

A great day had by all, and he’s back there this coming weekend for more racing - here’s hoping the weather is kinder to everyone! Nathan’s counting the days until his new racing wheelchair arrives.


Jamie is a phenomenal tap dancer and received an Edward Starr Award in December 2013 to cover the costs of training and international competitions. The following year opened many doors for her and she has been very successful, including winning a gold medal at the World Tap Dance Championships in Germany. Jamie applied for support so that she can pursue one of the new opportunities that has come her way.

Jamie’s Award of £3,000 was to pay for her tuition at a prestigious tap school in Barcelona, Spain in Autumn 2015.

Update August 2018
Jamie is the organiser and dancer at the forthcoming Brighton Tap Festival. What a fantastic achievement! See below for more info:

Update May 2016
We are very proud to announce that the hugely talented Jamie is performing TAP ADDICTION at the Komedia Brighton as part of the Brighton Fringe this May 16th and June 4th/5th. Click here for more info and for tickets.

Tap Addiction

Update June 2015
Jamie and two friends just scooped the Brighton Fringe Audience Choice Award with their show Tap That this May and is planning to become a tap teacher. You can see Jamie in action when Tap That is repeated at The Rose Studio in Kingston on 13th July. For tickets call 02081 740090.


Joe, 19, from Hove, loves performing and attends Croydon’s Brit School. He is most passionate about tap dance and hopes one day to run his own tap company. Joe’s Award is supporting the costs associated with attending Tap Attack, including travel, equipment and rehearsal time.

Joe says: “I am so grateful as It will mean that I can train at the highest level of Tap and will be given the opportunity to travel to Germany and represent England in The World Championships in December which will be such an honour.

Update June 2015
Joe says “The highlight of the last six months has been going to Germany as part of The England Tap Team with Tap Attack, competing in the World Championships there and gaining the Gold Medal for The Senior Formation Dance so becoming a World Champion in this field. Also being able to perform it again at Move It, Olympia, and performing there with Khronos, an all Male Contemporary Group from The Brit School where I attend college.


Isabell, 16, from Brighton, has been invited on a visually impaired cricket development trip to Nepal to play against the Nepalese national team, but was having difficulties meeting the costs. We awarded Isabell with the funds to allow her to go on the trip and take part in the first ever female visually impaired international cricket match.


Ben, 14, from Sompting, has been given the opportunity to go on a developmental arts trip to Florence, but his family was unable to afford for him to do so. The Starr Trust has awarded Ben the money to allow him to go on this highly beneficial trip.


Anna, 15, from Hove, has been studying drama and dance for years now and it has always been her absolute passion for as long as she remembers, however financial difficulties made it difficult for her to pursue her dream. The Starr Trust awarded Anna fees for membership of the Young Actors Group, to allow her to be the best she can be.

Anna says: “I am so honoured to have been chosen for an Award from the Starr Trust and it has really helped me have hope that one day my dreams will come true!

Anna’s mum says: “I would just like to say that it has made an incredible difference to me, as I now feel that Anna can be fully involved in things to try and promote her acting. Having membership fees for Spotlight covered, paying for head shots, drama classes paid for and assisting in travel costs, makes the difference in Anna having a dream, to her being able to pursue a dream; so thank you so much.


Jessie-Jae absolutely loves attending K-Bis Theatre School and has a fantastic aptitude for the performing arts, however the fees were starting to become a challenge for her family. The Starr Trust paid for Jessie-Jae to attend K-Bis for one year.

Jessie-Jae says, “I can’t believe something like this would happen to someone normal like me!

Her mum says, “Thank you for believing in Jessie-Jae and letting her live her dream”.

Update September 2018

We are delighted to share that Jessie-Jae, along with Champions Jasmine and Daisy, will be performing at Brighton and Hove Rotary’s Creative Exposed event this Saturday at 10.25AM. Please do come along and support them.

Update January 2018

We have paid for Jessie-Jae to continue her studies with Shana Goldman for a further year. 

Update August 2017
Jessie-Jae features in the new video for ‘Pumping the Beats Out’ by Choc ft. Mc Buzz:

Update June 2017
Congratulations to Jessie-Jae for her theatre school performance on Saturday 3rd June.

The show, which featured students of Goldman’s Theatre School in Brighton, Hove and Eastbourne was held at Roedean Theatre.

Mel and Alex from the Starr Trust went along to support her. Mel says: “It was great to see Jessie-Jae on stage – we loved the colourful tap number and Jessie-Jae’s singing in ‘A Million Reasons’ was beautiful. From the beam on Jessie’s face, she was clearly having a wonderful time doing what she loves most”.

Update Spring 2015
The Starr Trust has awarded Jessie-Jae the funds to attend K-Bis for a further year.

Jessie-Jae says “Just knowing the Starr Trust believes in me enough to help me live the dream for another year makes me so very proud.
Having been given the chance to be an Edward Starr Champion for a second year I promise to put in 110% 7 days a week and make you all proud of me .
I have had the best year and being a champion really does feel like being part of a big happy family.

Update Summer 2014
Jessie-Jae is in the middle of her exams at the moment, but feeling positive about them and looking forward to taking part in the annual K-Bis end of year show in July. Members of the Trust team are excited to have some tickets to go and watch; more on this soon!


18 year old Lucy from Brighton is passionate about making films but was facing significant financial obstacles which were preventing her from pursing this dream. She had also been accepted onto a Film & Editing course at the BFI in London but was unable to pay for the train fare from Brighton. The Starr Trust provided Lucy with some equipment including a tripod, a laptop, software and a printer, and paid for her travel costs to London.

Update Autumn 2014
Lucy has made a film called Family Matters, inspired by someone dear to her about mental illness. You can watch it here.


When she applied for an Edward Starr Award, Abby lived with her mother, older brother of 21 and two younger siblings aged 12 and 13. Unfortunately, there was very little money coming into the house and Abby’s mother has a serious debilitating illness; her condition was deteriorating, threatening her life expectancy. She is unable to walk more than a very short distance and has regular hospital appointments. The family supported Abby in her dreams of going to Plumpton College to study Small Animal Care with a view to working in some capacity with animals in the future (possibly as a veterinary nurse). They were proud of her ambitions, but were unable to fund travel there. Abby wanted to board at Plumpton, both to cut down on the travelling and to take the pressure off the home which is somewhat crowded. The needs of others in the family meant that for Abby to get out in time in the morning was difficult and Abby had to help her mother with housework etc. when her mother was unable to do it herself. Abby is a very able student but for various family reasons she did not attend school and therefore did not achieve academically. However with Access her attendance was good and the standard of work produced – excellent. The Edward Starr Award allowed Abby to continue in education; the first in her family to do so; and we believe that she has the potential and drive to do well – given some support to overcome/cope with some of her home life issues.

The Trust was able to give Abby £5,000 to fund her year long course at Plumpton College. 
The money covered:

  • Boarding Costs £2000.00
  • Set-up costs £1000.00 (personal – clothes, toiletries, bedding, alarm clock(!)
  • Years ‘pocket money’ £1500.00 (based on old EMA)
  • Course costs £350.00 (Books, equipment, educational trips etc.)
  • Damage deposit £150.00


July 2013

Max auditioned to join the National Youth Musical Theatre and gained a lead role in West Side Story. This was a massive achievement as the auditions were held nationally and he was the youngest performer, at just age 16, where the age range was 16-23. Performers were expected to cover their own costs including training fees and accommodation whilst touring. Max’s father had died the previous year and his mother wasn’t in a position to pay for him. We therefore awarded him a contribution to help him join the NYMT.

Update November 2016

It’s been three years since we funded Max and we have just learned that he has landed the role of ‘Sonny’ in a production of Grease at Leicester’s Curve Theatre. Well done Max, this is a fantastic achievement!

Grease is running at the Curve Theatre, Leicester from 26th November 2016 to 21st January 2017.


Nick is a paraplegic swimmer who is working hard in his training. To help him on his way, we paid for him to join his local gym/swimming pool for a year. He had several competitions in 2011 (although the bad weather didn’t help) and we wish him loads of luck for the future. We also bought a Toys R Us voucher for his two siblings.

Nick got a Gold Medal for 100m butterfly at Sheffield. He comfortably beat his PB and also set PB in 50m crawl. He also has had two 6th places, two 5th places, one 4th and of course his first place.

An update on Nick - Nick competed against many paralypians from around the world at the British International Disability Swimming Championships in Sheffield in April. Nick came a very creditable 14th in 100 back,17th 50f/s and 19th in 100f/s. Nick also features on the County website and Lewes Swimming Club website and a magazine for amputees called STEP FORWARD.