King Alfred News

Earlier this week Crest Nicholson, the developer due to build the new £400 million King Alfred project on Hove seafront, announced they would no longer be going ahead.

Our CEO Rob Starr, who started the King Alfred project 4 years ago and won the original bid, has revealed he is still at the table and has already found a replacement developer.

Rob has said that the council would be ‘crazy’ not to work with him. He said “I brought Crest to the table not the other way round. I started this with the council four years ago and brought Crest in three years ago. Although Crest has now withdrawn, myself and the team certainly haven’t. One developer is particularly keen to literally step into Crest’s shoes. They’re able to deliver the bid exactly as it is and financially viable”.

The plans include a £50 million sports facility along with hundreds of homes, 20% of which would be affordable. There’s a total of £23 million of public money - £15 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund and £8 million from the council - approved to assist the developer. Crest Nicholson pulled out saying “the ambition of the scheme in these uncertain times is too great”.

Rob told us he couldn’t confirm who the prospective partners are at this stage, but he described them as “incredibly decent people” who would work in the interests of the public. He went on to say that the new partner would do everything in-house and would not be focused on its bottom line, which would make the project viable where Crest could not.

He said “we don’t want to be working with a partner if they don’t see this as a community project. The council have to work with us, they’ll be crazy not to. If we walk away it will be another 10 to 15 years before anything is built”.

Labour city councillor Chris Henry is positive Rob Starr can bring the development to Hove. He said “affordable housing isn’t the only argument, there’s obesity, wellbeing and environmental arguments to be made too. The contracts are ready to sign; it just needs some positive leadership.

Cllr Henry also said that Hove MP Peter Kyle is 110% behind the scheme and will meet council bosses in September.

Congratulations to our Golf Winner!

Congratulations to Stuart Box from Engage Health Group Ltd who won our lovely platter as Individual Winner at our Golf Day earlier this year.

Click here to see photos from the Golf Day.


Enterprise in Hove Donates £1500!

A huge thank you to Hove Branch Manager James Jeffreys and his team at Enterprise for their donation of an incredible £1500 towards our bike ride! They also gave us a fantastic deal on our van reccie and they’re even putting in a team for our Starr Water Wars this September 1st. They have been supporting us for several years and we are immensely grateful.

Full details here of our popular event Starr Water Wars - we only have space for 2 more teams!


Total Money Raised from Midsummer Ball is £77,912!

The Starr Trust attended the Cheque Presentation at the Hilton Brighton Metropole on Friday July 26th for the Midsummer Ball. A total of £77,912 was raised for us!

Huge thanks again to Steve Cropper of Gemini Print and Alex Banks, for taking to the stage and raising over £10K for us from their fundraising page.


Champion’s Thursday - Our Champion Promotes New Golf Junior Trophy!

One of our Champions is teaming up with West Hove Golf Club to put on a Junior Golf Championship this August.  This idea came from Spike Redman Land aged 15 from Southwick, who is a keen golfer and 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
Tel: 07923 355088
Or you can find him on Instagram: @spike_redman_land

Champion’s Wednesday

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

Drummer 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!


Our Bonkers Bike Ride to Amsterdam Raised over £40,000!

47 Sussex cyclists took part in our charity bike ride this year, our annual event organised by our Fundraising team Rosie Molloy and Tracey Narvaez.

For the first time, however, the ride went overseas in a 320-mile, 4-day event from Brighton to Amsterdam. Local business Accordance VAT, a Starr Trust supporter, was opening a new office in Amsterdam and thought it would be fun to include Amsterdam in the route. 

This fantastic and challenging bike ride ran from 26th to 30th June during some of the hottest days of the year. 47 determined cyclists set off from Brighton at 6am, pedalling their way to Folkestone, where they jumped on the Eurostar to Calais. From there the teams made their way to Ghent-Tilburg and then in the final leg of the journey, on to Amsterdam where they enjoyed a well earned celebratory party.

Most of the participants were well prepared as Team Leader Fran Dirand from Virgin Active had kindly taken groups out around Sussex for training in the months prior to the event. Other lead cyclists, Chris from Virgin Active, Ben from Accordance VAT, Sara from Velusso and Tony from the Starr Trust, kept everyone motivated and made sure there were no stragglers. Luckily for the cyclists Brown from Brown’s Bikes and Bob from Bob’s Bikes were on hand as support mechanics and local bakeries and supermarkets had provided loads of snacks to keep energy levels high.

The Bike Ride is now in its 4th year so some of our cyclists had taken part before and were happy to be reunited with familiar faces whilst also making new friends. There was a real sense of support and camaraderie among the group and because the Starr Trust team had been on a recce along the route, everything ran like clockwork.

The sponsorship money will continue to come in for another month but so far the ride has raised in excess of an incredible £40,000!

Please dig deep as it’s not too late to donate to our cyclist’s fundraising pages below:

Team Leader Fran Dirand
David Webb
Daniel Mace
Veronica Hamilton
Simon Checkley
Hannah Weller
Lynn Wardill
Suzi McCambridge
Rich and Alex Bates
Xander Cameron
Accordance VAT

Rosie and Tracey told us “this year’s bike ride was easily our biggest challenge yet and we’re so grateful to all the cyclists who took part. We couldn’t have done it without lead sponsors Accordance VAT and The Implant Centre who were amazing and our heartfelt thanks also to all the team leaders who worked so hard. The fundraising runs until the end of July so there’s still time to sponsor one of our cyclists but at £40,000+ we are already smashing our other events”.

Many thanks to all those that supported the ride by donating time or gifts:

Accordance VAT
The Implant Centre
Virgin Active
Paul Guyer
Enterprise Car Rentals
Cycle Transfer
Brown’s Bikes
The Flour Pot Hove
Truffles Bakery
Clif Bars
Pavilion Gardens Café
Real Patisserie
Infinity Foods
Storage Mart Worthing
Asda Marina


Champion’s Tuesday News!

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.


Getting in a Spin for our Champions!

Our Brighton to Amsterdam Team Leader Francia Dirand from Virgin Active and Sara from Velusso will be spinning on their bikes up at Virgin Active Brighton this month.

Having completed our incredible 320 mile charity bike ride from Brighton to Amsterdam last month, they are hoping to reach their target on their fundraising page. Please support Fran and Sara by clicking here.

Day 2 of our Brighton to Amsterdam Bike Ride

Our lovely cyclists are now across the Channel and making their way to Ghent-Tilberg in Belgium. Some have already arrived and are enjoying lunch in the sun and a well earned Beer in Ghent!

Have a great day everyone!

Please boost their pedal power via their fundraising pages (click here).

Champion’s Thursday

Good luck to our talented young Champion Daisy who will be singing at Brighton and Hove Soiree Rotary Club drinks reception tomorrow evening at the Malmaison Brighton.

You will wow everyone with your beautiful voice Daisy!

Midsummer Ball Raises Over £77,000

Huge thanks to all of you that came and supported the brilliant Midsummer Ball at the Hilton Brighton Metropole last Saturday June 22nd. We are also enormously grateful to our wonderful supporter Steve Cropper, CEO at Gemini Print and also to Alex Banks for their outstanding stage performance that won them the competition!

The Ball has raised a whopping £77K with monies still being counted and Steve and Alex raised an incredible £10,100+ on their personal fundraising page.

Photos by Graham Franks.

Steve and Alex from Gemini Print.

And They’re Off!

Good luck to all our amazing cyclists heading off today on their epic 320 mile ride over to Amsterdam.

The cyclists’ route will take them to Folkestone where they’ll board the Eurostar to Calais. From Calais they will make their way to Ghent-Tilberg in Belgium and for the final leg of the ride, on to Amsterdam!

Photos by Jeff Mood.

Jazz on the Prom raises over £2,500 for us!

Jazz on the Prom raises over £2,500 for us!

Last weekend, 15-16 June, an exciting and brand new event took place on Brighton seafront, created by Brighton Beach Club and the BAi360.

Jazz on the Prom saw musicians of all ages from across Brighton and Sussex come together to entertain locals and visitors alike at this free 2-day event and we were their chosen charity.

In between the i360 and the Brighton Beach Club visitors were welcomed into a wonderful relaxing space of deckchairs and a Prosecco Bar where they could while away the hours listening to bands like the Sussex Jazz Orchestra or Dave Williams’ band, take to the dance floor for an afternoon of swing with Brighton Lindy Hoppers or sing along to the dulcet tones of The Rock Choir. Over 25 acts gave their time for free and there really was something for everyone to enjoy with such an eclectic group of brilliant musicians.

We’re very grateful to lots of local businesses who helped make the weekend such a success with Brighton Beach Club donating £1000, HSBC price matching donations, Gemini Print printing banners for free and the nearby Upside Down House donating 5% of their weekend takings. The i360 also provided a percentage of their bar sales and free refreshments for the Starr Trust team of staff and volunteers who helped run the event.

Thanks also to BN1 security, Brighton Council, Deck Chairs donated by deck chair Steve on the beach, James Wright who supplied all sound equipment and to the amazing sound engineer Abe from Rinn Records.



Please Support our Brighton to Amsterdam Cyclists

Please support these amazing cyclists all raising money for us by joining the Brighton to Amsterdam bike ride:

Team Leader Fran Dirand

David Webb

Daniel Mace

Veronica Hamilton

Simon Checkley

Hannah Weller

Lynn Wardill

Suzi McCambridge

Rich and Alex Bates

Xander Cameron

Accordance VAT

Champions News

We have some exciting events and news from some of our Champions that we’re thrilled to share with you this month.

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. 

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”.

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!”.

Lewis made it into the Sussex basketball team this month, he is 1 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”.

Charlotte and her mum organised a stall for us at St Anne’s Well Garden Festival (pictured top-right). 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.

Max played at the BIMM Academy’s end of term gig at their Live Room. His mum Tracy said: “I thought you might like this. Only possible due to The Starr Trust”.

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

Young Chefs Head to the Hilton for ‘Cooking for the Starrs’!

On June 6th up-and-coming young chefs from Greater Brighton Metropolitan College (MET) went head to head in a ‘MasterChef’ style fundraising evening, cooking up some exquisite food for 130 guests whilst raising an incredible £3360 for us.

Supported by chef tutor Quentin Smith-Weston from MET and mentored by Head Chef at the Hilton Brighton Metropole, Kurt Cutajar, student Head Chefs Saffron Penny and Ryan Stimpson with sous chefs Jodie Payne and Marcus Barnes, created some culinary magic with an incredible 6-course menu focusing on seasonal and affordable produce.

This year was the first time this popular event was held at the Hilton Brighton Metropole and was a huge success with the Hilton generously sponsoring the entire evening. Diners enjoyed a glass of champagne upon arrival in the beautifully refurbished Regency Suite and went on to critique and vote on delicious dishes that included Saffron’s deconstructed Black Forest Gateau. Kurt Cutajar, who gave up a huge amount of his time to do this, brought 2 of his sous-chefs with him and they all worked at the pass throughout an evening of excellent collaboration, presentation and truly creative food.

The winning chef was Saffron Penny who currently works at the Windsor Hotel in East Worthing and sous chef Jodie Payne from the Hilton. Saffron delighted guests with her delicious menu and was thrilled to have won. She told us “I’ve loved being a student at MET, the course has really helped me to see how catering would work and find my path in the business. Doing this charity event for the Starr Trust has helped give me much more insight into how functions work and how to manage a team. My dream now would be to head up a team in a big London restaurant”.

Our Fundraising Manager Tracey said “this sold out event is now in its fifth year and we’re so grateful to Kurt for his time and expertise; to the dedicated college tutors and to Sascha Koehler and Brighton Hilton Metropole for their continued sponsorship. This event has always been about the students also gaining employment and this year by actually working at the hotel both chefs and front of house engaged with the Hilton’s events team and Kurt about jobs. We were also lucky enough to have our Starr Trust Patron Robin Cousins and guest Momma Cherri there, who spoke about their involvement with us and supporting the next generation of chefs. The money we raised was also the highest amount so far so that was the icing on the ‘deconstructed’ cake!”.

Well done to both teams:
Team 1: Saffron Penny (Captain), Jodie Payne (Sous Chef), Kirsty Hopper, Chelsea Beynon, Ned Clear, Finnley Pearce, Lucas Remington-Byford, Cameron MGowan and Liam Stanley.

Team 2: Ryan Stimpson (Captain), Marcus Barnes (Sous Chef), Charlotte Nash Walker, Michelle Atkinson, Liam Knight, Carl Parker, Alfie Williams, Daniel Mottau and Sophy Goodwin.

Photos by Jeff Mood Photography.

Bike Ride News

Our wonderful Group Leader Francia Dirand will be riding a static bike from 10am for a few hours every Saturday at Virgin Active Brighton for the next few weeks to raise money for our big bike ride from Brighton to Amsterdam.

Please support this wonderful human being and give a little something to her page: click here.


Boldly Going Where No Man Has Gone Before!

Our amazing supporter Steve Cropper, MD at Gemini Print Group, is boldly going where no man has gone before! He is a legend; he is terrified!

We all know he does NOT sing! We all know he does NOT dance!

However… on Saturday June 22nd he will be taking to the stage alongside performer Alex Banks, raising money for us and the DM Thomas Foundation for Young People at the Midsummer Ball at Hilton Brighton Metropole

This is such an incredible thing for him to do. Please show your support to Steve and Alex and donate what you can on their fundraising page (click here). Steve gives so much back to his community and to local charities. He is an inspiration to us all and to businesses everywhere.

Sussex Golfers Club Together to Support Youngsters!

We were delighted with the success of our ninth charity Golf Day, held on May 16th at the prestigious Mannings Heath Golf and Wine Estate and which raised an incredible £6,300 to help young people in Sussex.

72 golfers from local businesses came together to enjoy a fantastic day out and a great chance to network. The day kicked off with bacon rolls on the outdoor terrace followed by a shotgun start on the beautiful 18-hole course. To add to the fundraising fun, golfers were able to buy string ‘Mulligans’ where they could move their golf ball the length of the string. There were also a variety of competitions throughout the day and the weather was superb.

The event was kindly organised by Paul Maidment who helped make the day run like clockwork. Thanks go out to our main sponsors IEP Financial, Gardner & Scardifield, Beales and Airsprung, also Gemini Print without whom we could not have put on this event.

Awards were given out, bids were made on fantastic auction prizes and a delicious carvery dinner was served to finish off.

The winning team was Sam Hickmott’s with runners up Alan Pook followed by Tom Humphries. The winning individual was Stuart Dan with Rick Simpson taking 2nd place and winning Nearest the Pin.

Our event organiser Rosie Molloy told us “as ever we are incredibly grateful for everyone’s support and delighted at how much money we managed to raise. The staff at Mannings Heath deserve a massive thanks as they really went above and beyond to make the day run smoothly”.

Big thanks also to our lovely photographer Jim Browning.

If you’d like to sign up for next year’s Golf Day (which will be our 10th!) then email

Sam Hickmott’s winning team Individual winner Stuart Dan
Alan Pook’s 2nd place team 2nd place individual Rick Simpson
Tom Humphries’ 3rd place team Nearest the Pin - Rick Simpson
Longest Drive - Lee Martin Winning team with David from IEP

Local Pub Raises £118 for us at Popular Street Party

We were thrilled to be chosen as charity of choice by one of Brighton’s favourite pubs – The Lion & Lobster, at their Street Party on Saturday May 25th.

Huge thanks to all the lovely staff there (pictured below) who helped raise a fantastic £118 for us! Hugely grateful also to those who came along and the wonderful musicians and businesses that helped make the party go with a bang!

We can’t wait for the next one!


Training for our Brighton to Amsterdam Bike Ride

If you’ve signed up as a cyclist for our Brighton to Amsterdam Bike Ride, or are unsure, there are some training rides to help you get some practice in:

Wednesday 22nd May from Velusso café. Depart 10am. (20 miles)

Wednesday 29th May from Velusso café. Depart 10am. (20 miles)

Sunday 9th June from Virgin Active. Depart 8am. (45-50 miles)

Contact to get involved.

Please Vote for Us!

We have been put forward for an Award of £1000 by Movement for Good but we need your votes to win!

£1000 can make a huge difference to the lives of young people in Sussex and your nomination could be the one that helps us win. Please spread the word and thank you for your support.

Please nominate us now at

Our Charity Number is: 1127497.

Jazzing it up on the Prom this June

We are thrilled to have been picked as ‘Chosen Charity’ by Brighton Beach Club at their brand new event Jazz on the Prom.

Brighton Beach Club and British Airways i360 are putting on a two day jazz festival on Brighton seafront weekend of 15th/16th June. Jazz on the Prom will take place on the outside event space between Brighton Beach Club and the i360.

This public and free event celebrates local performers, giving them an opportunity to perform live on Brighton beach. Loads of fantastic theatre, dance and musicians are taking part.
We’re excited to announce that two of our lovely supporters will be playing on Sunday June 16th so please head down and spread the word.

Rock Choir at 1pm
Dave Williams at 4pm

Dave Williams (pictured above) says: “The reason I have supported the Starr trust for a number of years is simple; I knew Rob’s father very well & the family are all lovely people. I also love children and am passionate to help support the Trust when I can as the youngsters benefit tremendously. It’s a fabulous charity and I’m proud to be associated with its success”.

Charlotte Nash of Rock Choir (pictured above) says:”We support lots of different charities at various events and have raised lots of money for the wonderful Starr Trust in the past. We are delighted to be supporting this wonderful charity at this fabulous event”.

Event details:
Saturday June 15th – 12-6pm
Sunday June 16th – 12-6pm


Champions Chat - Fear Being a Misunderstood Friend

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 bows 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!


Champion’s Thursday News

Our Champion 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.

Champion’s Thursday

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 daughter’s 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.

We Need Your Help!

Some of our Champions and their families are holding a bric-a-brac stall at St Ann’s Well Gardens Spring Festival on Saturday 18th May.

Can you donate any bric-a-brac? Can you help them set up their stall? Do you have a van to help come and collect items from around Brighton and Hove and drop off in the week leading up to it? Please share and any offers please send to

Thanks for your support.

Our Young Kayaking Champion Continues to Give Back!

Our Champion 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.

Take Your Indian Cooking to the Next Level While Supporting Us!

Explore the sensational aromas and taste experiences from India with a brand new venture – The Kari Club – a monthly Indian Cookery Club.

The concept shop on Ditchling Road is the brainchild of Minesh Agnihotri, former owner of the popular Brighton restaurant Indian Summer.

The Kari Club sources, prepares and delivers beautiful recipe boxes full of authentic, fresh ingredients alongside easy to follow recipe cards so that customers can create a delicious meal in the comfort of their own kitchen.

Minesh has reached out to us at the Starr Trust and has kindly offered us a 50% donation from the cost of the first box for any new customers who sign up to a monthly membership. So for example a £25 recipe box meal for 2, would lead to a donation to us of £12.50! Customers would essentially still pay the full price but would know that 50% will go to support the young people of Sussex. Of note is that the monthly membership can be cancelled at any time. Minesh also offers Indian Cookery Classes, which are going down a storm!

To find out more go to: or check out their Facebook page: @TheKariClub.


Champions and their Mums help out at Epic Easter Fundraiser!

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.

Easter Fun This Friday!

Come along to the lovely Hangleton Manor, Hove this Friday April 19th for the annual Brighton and Hove Soiree Rotary Club Easter Egg Hunt and help to raise money for us and other charities.

The City Mayor will judge the kids’ Easter Bonnet Parade at midday with lots of prizes to be won! There will be games and activities and Fairy Dust Events will be there to make the day truly magical.

Thank you Brighton and Hove Soiree Rotary Club for once again choosing our charity and continuing to support us.

Sponsored by Hall & Woodhouse.

Brighton to Amsterdam Trial Run Gets Underway!

Our Fundraising Managers Tracey Narvaez and Rosie Molloy, along with Head Team Leader Fran Dirand and her team, are now doing their reccie for the June Brighton to Amsterdam Bike Ride.

They just about had time to snap a windmill whilst passing through Verne in Belgium as they make their way to their final destination, the beautiful Dutch city of Amsterdam. We hear the cyclists have not been lucky with the weather but Tracey and Rosie will be nice and cosy in their vehicle at least, as they follow the bikes with hot flasks of tea and ensure that everything runs like clockwork.

We’re very much looking forward to lots more photos upon their return so come back to this page soon!

Young People Needed For Amplified, Brighton Festival 2019

Are you a young person with a personal story to share with the world?

Little Green Pig are looking for 12 special young people aged between 13-18 to take part in Amplified, a new project for Brighton Festival 2019.

For more information, visit

Midsummer Balls!

We are thrilled that our lovely supporters from Gemini Print, Steve Cropper and Alex Banks, have kindly (and courageously!) agreed to be our Star Act this June 22nd at our Hilton Brighton Metropole Midsummer Ball.

Please support them by pledging via their Everyday Hero page (click here).

Read all about this brilliant charity ball on our Event page here.

Alex Banks Sings Sinatra (click here).

To read about this event on Social Media go to #MidsummerBall @thebrightonball

Pedal Practice this Sunday

Get in some Pedal Practice this Sunday 17th March 9-12 up at Virgin Active Falmer and get ready for our bonkers Brighton2Amsterdam bike ride this June.

Our lovely Head Team Leader will be Francia Dirand.

Read more about our bike ride here.


Bike Ride Prep Shifts A Gear

Thank you to Fran Dirand, David Lloyd Clubs Brighton and everyone who came along for our second practice bike ride yesterday.

Another great ride in preparation for our Brighton to Amsterdam event this June.

Panto Power raises over £3K for Charity!

A huge thank you to David Hill at E3 Productions and everyone who helped Brighton Family Panto raise £3495.55 for charity at Jack and the Beanstalk last Xmas! We were delighted to have been chosen as one of the beneficiaries and monies raised will be split between ourselves and Chailey Heritage, Chestnut Tree House, Rockinghorse, Sussex Beacon, Sussex Wildlife Trust and the Mayor’s Charities.

He Said Yes! Nick Taylor is Now a Starr Trust Ambassador

“I am delighted and honoured to announce my appointment today as an Ambassador to the Starr Trust Charity. The Starr Trust supports young people across Sussex in achieving their goals and dreams in the arts, sport and education. It has been a privilege to get to know the team and see the real difference they make. I look forward to working alongside all of the Starr Trust team and their Patron Robin Cousins in 2019.”

-Nicholas Taylor

A Private Ice Skating Lesson with Olympic Gold Winner!

Saturday morning saw a very excited Sussex family head over to Worthing Pop Up Ice Rink for an extraordinary private skating lesson with Olympic Gold Medal winner Robin Cousins!

Worthing Ice Rink closed its doors to the public for an hour while Mia Bird and Colin Stansbury from Bird Studios, with daughters Leila and Ivy, enjoyed some private tuition from this well loved sporting legend.

At the Starr Trust Winter Ball last November, Colin Stansbury made a bid for this once in a lifetime chance to skate with Robin Cousins who is also a Starr Trust Patron and who so very generously gave up his time.

Massive thanks to Robin, Colin and Mia, Susie and Phil Bradley for use of their pop up ice rink, to Debbie Ramsey who supplied a yummy full English breakfast in her pop up cafe on the rink and to the lovely Trish Starr who organised the event.

Worthing Pop Up Ice Rink is now in its 6th season and runs from November - February. Owners Susie and Phil Bradley also offer skating courses there for children.

Colin and Mia of Bird Studios together launched a degree and diploma programme 2 years ago for talented performing arts students called the Brighton Institute of Contemporary Theatre Training. Both Leila and Ivy attend this school.


Brighton College Prep Pre-Xmas Events Raises £20,000 for charity

In the run up to Christmas last year, Brighton College Prep School Parents’ Association, with the support of pupils, parents and Head Master John Weeks, managed to raise an incredible £20,000 for charity. Staff and children from Brighton Prep School held a popular Christmas Fair as well as an auction at the i360.

£10K was awarded to the Starr Trust and £10K will go to Extra Cover, a Sri Lankan charity supported by the school Chaplain, Fr Robert Easton.

Extra Cover feeds 1,214 children every day so the money raised will pay for three months of food. The organisation looks after 3 Sri Lankan schools by also providing educational supplies and clean water.

The charity works with people with learning difficulties and the marginalised Tamil community. It runs regular events and receives some funding through grants and the British council in Sri Lanka. Brighton College takes 50 of its pupils over to Sri Lanka each year to work with the charity.

At the Starr Trust we were absolutely thrilled to be given a cheque for £10,000. This will impact enormously on number of children we can help. We believe in a world in which young people are supported to flourish as individuals whilst making a positive contribution to their community. Brighton College has a similar ethos and it is poignant that their young students have done so much to help our young Champions.

School Children from Blatchington Mill raise an incredible £1097 for us!

Massive thanks go out to all the kids at Blatchington Mill School for raising an incredible £1097.64 for us by holding a non school uniform day and collecting £1 donations.

Special thanks to Samuel Levene and Head Teacher Mr Harrold for generously organising this event.

We are proud to have supported several Champions who have attended this brilliant local school.

Photo: Rosie Molloy, Sandile Ndawana, Samuel Levene, Tracey Narvaez & Alex Crawford.

Get some practice in for our upcoming Bike Ride

If you’ve signed up for our Brighton to Amsterdam Bike Ride, or are unsure, Fran Dirand is organising some bike rides to help you get some practice in:

Sunday 3rd February, 10am from Virgin Active Falmer campus
Sunday 17th February, 10-1 ish from David Lloyd, Marina
Sunday 3rd March, 9-12 ish from Virgin Active Falmer campus
Sunday 17th March, 9-12 ish from David Lloyd, Marina
If you want a personal training programme or more information please contact Fran at

Huge thanks for the support from Fran Dirand and Virgin Active Falmer and David Lloyd at Brighton Marina.

The Brighton to Amsterdam Route:

The Jive Aces Big Beat Revue

Get tickets for this fantastic show in London and support the Starr Trust with a percentage of profits coming to us! Don’t miss this fantastic night of Vintage Swing, Hot Jive and Rhythm & Blues on Sunday 10th February.

Go to for tickets

Huge thanks to Rocco Buonvino for supporting us.

Local Legend Daley Thompson Banishes January Blues

January in Brighton got off to a fantastic sporty start with Olympic Champion Daley Thompson offering free circuit training whilst raising money for us!

This special event was held at the Mercedes-Benz Pop Up in Churchill Square in association with Lookers Mercedes. Last Sunday January 6th saw Daley offering free circuit training sessions where anyone could sign up and donations were made to us as well as Laureus Foundation.

The event raised £106 and locals were absolutely thrilled to meet this much loved sporting icon.

A Lovely Early Christmas Present!

Huge thanks to Samuel Levene, a pupil at Blatchington Mill School & Sixth Form College and his Head Teacher Mr Harrold, who have organised a non school uniform day today, with £1 donations per pupil raising money for us.

We are proud to have supported several Champions who have attended this brilliant local school.

Enjoy your last day of term and have a fantastic Christmas everyone!

Priscilla is coming to The Old Market!

Brighton and Hove Operatic Society has raised money for 100 charity beneficiaries to come and see the Friday show for free, including two of our Champions Jasmine and Amira. What a lovely thing to do!

Some of the Starr Trust team will be there with collection tins on the evening of Saturday 8th December so please dig deep and we hope to see you there! 

Another successful Champion’s Chat with Accordance VAT

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.

Champion’s Choir

Thanks to Tracy (mum of Champions Daisy and Max) we have a Starr Trust choir!

Made up from Champions Jessie-Jae, Amira, Ayala, Sophie, Daisy, Zoë and Jasmine, our choir was coached by Tracy, who also organised the arrangement and musical accompaniment. 

You can watch them perform again this winter on the 20th December prior to the performance of ‘Jack and The Beanstalk’ at Hilton Brighton Metropole


Our Winter Extravaganza raises over £44,000

Wow! Our Winter Extravaganza raised in excess of £44,000!

Huge thanks to all of you that made it happen. You are amazing!

The evening featured live music at the Champagne Reception followed by a delicious 3 course dinner and throughout the evening everyone had a chance to bid on some fantastic auction lots that include a 2 night stay for 2 with 2 days access to the Disney Pride event from COGO Travel and tickets to the England vs France rugby game at Twickenham for 2 with hospitality package donated by Mazars of London and Just Lets Brighton.

Our very own Starr Trust Singers performed hit songs from music legends accompanied by dazzling dancers and a live band. Guests then boogied the night away ‘til the early hours with a dress-to-impress disco!

Champion’s Tuesday - Champion’s Chat

We are incredibly grateful to Rochelle and our friends at Accordance VAT who are kindly giving up their time tonight to help a group of our Champions learn how to write a great CV.

What a great thing to do on World Kindness Day.

Thanks to our Champion Jasmine

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


Champion’s Tuesday - Our Champion Alicia’s nomination for Young Sports Personality of the Year!

Our amazing young tennis Champion 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.



Our Bike Ride inspires Westmeston Warriors to Cycle from San Fran to LA!

Update October 29th

The fabulous 4 Westmeston Warriors have now covered an epic 506 miles and arrived safe and sound in Santa Monica on Saturday. They managed to raise an amazing amount of £2560 for us!

A truly incredible achievement and we are so grateful to Lynn Wardill and her team! We wish them all a safe trip back home to Blighty and look forward to seeing them soon. A big round of applause please!

Update October 24th – en route from San Fran to LA

The amazing Westmeston Warriors have now raised an incredible £2503!

Mike messaged us and said “going well, 95 miles yesterday. 3 big climbs to 8000 feet today and 104 miles… Awesome scenery!”

Check out the stunning images below. What an achievement! Go Lynn, Mike, Ali and Neil!

Sunday 21st October - They’re on their Way from San Fran to LA!

Our fantastic supporters the Westmeston Warriors are now on their way from San Fran to LA in an epic bike ride USA style which is raising money for us!

We send them all our very best wishes for a safe and successful bike ride. We’re so grateful for their support. What an incredible challenge they have set themselves. Good luck team!

Please go to their fundraising page to sponsor/donate. They have currently raised £1,890 so please help them reach their target. Thank you!

Unable to join our Bike Ride earlier this year – our lovely supporter Lynn Wardill, who has cycled with us previously, decided to take on a different challenge instead. She has formed her own team with husband Mike and two friends Ali and Neil, and these fantastic four, named the ‘Westmeston Warriors’ are cycling to raise money for us in America! They will be wearing our Starr Trust cycle jackets and cycling between San Francisco and LA!

This gang of four are keen cyclists and fitness fanatics who love a challenge and are really looking forward to cycling 450 miles through beautiful scenery on the West Coast of the USA. They will be raising money for the Virgin Atlantic Foundation and for us.

Do join us in wishing them well and please give generously via their WESTMESTON WARRIORS FUNDRAISING PAGE.

Their Bike Ride will take place from 20th to 28th October 2018.

We will be posting further updates of their progress via our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

Raise Money for us and Have Some Family Fun this Xmas!

We are delighted to have been chosen as one of the charities to benefit from this year’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk Pantomime. The launch party was held at Donatello’s earlier this week, where the Mayor and local businesses also attended.

Please support us and come along to the Opening Night or the second night of Jack and the Beanstalk which will be held at the Hilton Brighton Metropole on 20th and 21st of December 2018.

David Hill of E3 who is putting on the panto has kindly offered to raise money for us on these two evenings, and there will also be a magical Christmas Fayre alongside this popular family event and our team will be there to say hello.

Click here to get your tickets!

Photo (top):  Rob and Sharon Starr, Cerys from The Sundaes and Tracey and Rosie our Fundraising Managers.

Photo (below): Simon Haffenden and his team from the i360, Mayor Dee Simson, Tracey and Rosie from Starr Trust and Sascha Koehler, GM at the Hilton.

Celebration Night - It’s Our 10th Birthday!

Last night on October 10th we celebrated 10 amazing years of The Starr Trust with over 200 guests, including many of our young Champions with their families, and our fantastic supporters.

It was a wonderful opportunity to look back on everything we’ve achieved over the past 10 years, and to look forward to the future.

Photos courtesy of Graham Franks.


Halloween Ghost Hunt

Calling all kids… get ready for a fright on Halloween night!

Brighton and Hove Soiree Rotary Club are hosting a Halloween Night in the grounds of Hangleton Manor on Wednesday 31st October to raise money for the Starr Trust and other local charities.

There’ll be face painting, a burger bar, and scariest costume and best pumpkin competitions judged by the Brighton & Hove City Mayor. Our Champion Jasmine and Starr Trust Ambassador Claire Clements will be there so be sure to stop by and say hi!

Hangleton Manor, Hove BN3 8AN
Wednesday 31st October 4.30pm to 6.30pm
£4 entry - please pay on the door. Bring a torch!

The Starr Trust celebrates its 10th Birthday!

On September 27th over 130 of our supporters took to the sunny skies of Brighton in the BAi360 which was kindly donated to celebrate the Starr Trust’s 10th birthday.

This special day in the calendar was chosen as it was the late Edward Starr’s birthday. He was the inspiration for our charity and sadly died back in 2006. Two years later his son Rob Starr founded the Starr Trust, along with his sister Tracey and other family members, as a tribute to their father.

The afternoon saw young Champions and their families, Trustees and Patrons of the charity plus local businesses such as The Implant Centre, the Hilton Brighton Metropole, Nick Taylor from Healy’s Law and Crunch Accounting, all come together to celebrate the Starr Trust’s achievements over the past decade.

Rob Starr told us “The Starr Trust has gone from strength to strength over the past 10 years and I’m proud to say we have helped many thousands of young people in this city to fulfil their potential and be the best they can be. We are very much a part of the Brighton community and couldn’t carry out the important work we do without the help of so many local people and businesses. They really go the extra mile through event sponsorship, becoming a partner or signing up to our latest Champion a Champion scheme and we are always so grateful for their support. We hope our next 10 years will see us champion even more young people in our wonderful city”.

Photos by Graham Franks.


Brighton College Students: It’s in the bag!

A huge thank you to the amazing young students from Brighton College who gave up their time to bag pack at Tesco Church Road last Wednesday 26th September.

They managed to collect an incredible £338 for us.

They are all amazing!

Creative Exposed!

We are delighted to share that 3 of our Champions, Jasmine, 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.

Businesses can Splash Out at Lagoon Watersports!

Following our amazing fundraising day ‘Starr Water Wars’, we thought we would share this corporate day out with a difference, with the businesses of Sussex. It’s a great opportunity to take on an ‘Ultra Challenge’ in house, over at Hove Lagoon.

Here’s what Lagoon Watersports told us:

If you enjoyed the Ultra Challenge at Lagoon Watersports then why not enquire about doing your very own in house ‘Ultra Challenge’ with your business. We can run these corporate days for groups of 20 - 200 people from 90 minutes to a full day of activities and challenges. They are a fantastic way to engage, motivate, or simply reward your employees with some friendly competition in a fun, active outdoor environment. Get in touch to find out more, and to book your corporate adventure for 2019.

Email for more information.

Creative Brighton Exposed

One of our lovely supporters Ann Dieckmann, President of the Brighton and Hove Soiree Rotary Club, is organising this brilliant event. Check it out:

Brighton and Hove Rotary Clubs invite you to come and enjoy art, music, singing, dance and drama plus a tour of the historic Theatre Royal, Brighton and find the Wandering Spirit of the Theatre in some expected places!

Saturday 29th September 2018
10AM to 12.30PM at Theatre Royal, Brighton
Suitable for all ages. Free entry!

Come and meet creative and fun-loving Brightonians of all ages… people who are bringing positive changes to our city.

In association with Brighton & Hove Older People’s Festival and Springboard Festival.

For more information please visit
or email or

Champion’s Tuesday - Glyndebourne Supports A Starr Trust Champion

Our young Champion 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.” 

Starr Water Wars featured in The Argus today 11th September

A great piece about Starr Water Wars is in today’s Argus newspaper (page 30) and features many of the businesses and supporters that helped us raise an amazing £5,000!

Big thanks to Louise Disney who took all the wonderful photos. See if you can spot yourself making a splash!

Splashing Time at Starr Water Wars Challenge raised over 5k!

This year we were very excited to be joining forces with Rockinghorse children’s charity down at Hove Lagoon where 64 business men and women battled it out to be crowned 2018 champions!

On September 2nd on a super sunny Sunday, participants took part in a series of water-based tasks in a bid to be crowned 2018 champions. 16 teams of 4 competitors went head-to-head in a number of challenges, including giant paddle boarding, kayaking, raft building and the finale – a raft race across the lagoon!

Hosted by Latest TV presenter Guy Lloyd, teams battled it out to become Starr Water Wars champions. There was a lot of intense (playful!) team rivalry but following a thrilling finale, Bright View Lofts were crowned the winners, with 2nd place going to Sheridan Coopers and Jurys Inn coming in 3rd.

Other businesses that participated were: Accordance VAT, Beales, Clearline, Coole Bevis, Crunch, Enterprise Rentals, Gardner & Scardifield, Green People, Hilton Brighton Metropole, Seico Mortgages and the The Treatment Rooms.

Rosie Molloy our Fundraising Manger said “We are so grateful to all the businesses that put in teams, especially Beales and Airsprung who were our headline sponsors for the third year running. Everyone had such a fantastic time, and the gorgeous sunshine, delicious BBQ courtesy of Steyning Butchers and marquee donated by ABC Structures all helped to make the day a huge success.

Terrina Barnes, Corporate Fundraising Manager at Rockinghorse, added: “What a day! Well done to everyone who joined us at Hove Lagoon to make Starr Water Wars such a great event and raise a fantastic amount of money. We couldn’t have done it without the support of some very generous individuals and businesses such as Green People who were the shirt sponsors. Our thanks to all those who helped make the day happen.

To register your interest and involvement in Starr Water Wars next year, email or

Crunch Carnival Time

Last Friday Crunch Accounting held their inaugural “Crunch Carnival” - there was music, BBQ food, face-painting, circus skills, rounders, and so much more and we were invited!

Thank you Darren Fell, Hellen Ward and all at team Crunch for a fantastic afternoon; thanks also for raising money for us earlier this year on your virtual bike ride and for signing up not only one but TWO teams to participate at Starr Water Wars on September 2nd.

As ever we are so grateful for your continued support.

Our Bike Ride inspires Westmeston Warriors to Cycle from San Fran to LA!

Unable to join our Bike Ride earlier this year – our lovely supporter Lynn Wardill, who has cycled with us previously, decided to take on a different challenge instead. She has formed her own team with husband Mike and two friends Ali and Neil, and these fantastic four, named the ‘Westmeston Warriors’ are cycling to raise money for us in America! They will be wearing our Starr Trust cycle jackets and cycling between San Francisco and LA!

This gang of four are keen cyclists and fitness fanatics who love a challenge and are really looking forward to cycling 450 miles through beautiful scenery on the West Coast of the USA. They will be raising money for the Virgin Atlantic Foundation and for us.

Do join us in wishing them well and please give generously via their WESTMESTON WARRIORS FUNDRAISING PAGE.

Their Bike Ride will take place from 20th to 28th October 2018.

Sunday 21st October - They’re on their Way from San Fran to LA!

Our fantastic supporters the Westmeston Warriors are now on their way from San Fran to LA in an epic bike ride USA style which is raising money for us!

We send them all our very best wishes for a safe and successful bike ride. We’re so grateful for their support. What an incredible challenge they have set themselves. Good luck team!

Please go to their fundraising page to sponsor/donate. They have currently raised £1,890 so please help them reach their target. Thank you!

We will be posting further updates of their progress via our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

Champion’s Tuesday

So proud of our Champion Jamie Spall who is the organiser and dancer at the forthcoming Brighton Tap Festival.

What a fantastic achievement!

Jamie received an Edward Starr Award in December 2013 to cover the costs of training and international competitions.

The following years opened many doors for her and she has been very successful, including winning a gold medal at the World Tap Dance Championships in Germany.

See below for more info on Brighton Tap Festival:

Business Opportunities at our Winter Extravaganza Ball

Our hugely popular Winter Ball will take place at the Hilton Brighton Metropole on November 17th and there are some fantastic partnership packages available for all business budgets.

The evening will commence with live music at the Champagne Reception followed by a delicious 3 course dinner and throughout the evening everyone will have a chance to win some truly fantastic prizes!

Our very own Starr Trust Singers will perform hit songs from music legends accompanied by dazzling dancers and a live band. Guests will then be able to boogie the night away ‘til the early hours with a dress-to-impress disco!

Champion’s Tuesday

Update August 2018

Good luck to our Champion Stephen Ferroni 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.

Champion’s Tuesday

Our young Champion 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.

Tandem Skydive a Resounding Success

Our amazing trio of skydivers did a tandem jump from 12,000 feet at Skydive Headcorn in Kent on Thursday June 28th.

Huge thanks to our lovely fundraisers,  Hollie Hines, Clare McKinstrie and Nick Williams.

Rotary Club Launches Sussex Mermaid School!

Our lovely supporters at Rotary in Brighton and Hove have just launched this brilliant mermaid school as one of their many ventures. It’s mermaid swimming for kids and adults. All the profits from parties and experiences go to Zanzibar Schools Project. Looks fab and we wish them every success!

Champion’s Tuesday

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

The British Exploring Society 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.


Midsummer Ball Raises Over £10,500 for us!

Thank you to Hilton Brighton Metropole, DM Thomas Foundation for Young People, David Hill at E3, the Starr Trust Singers Sharon Starr and James Harrington, and last but not least, all our supporters who attended and all the businesses that donated prizes.

You all helped to raise over £10,500 for us!

‘Tour de Crunch’ raised £292.84 over 19th and 20th July

To support us after our Bangor to Brighton bike ride last week our friends over at Crunch Accounting set up a Zwift virtual reality training bike in their offices and an Apple TV in reception.

Crunch Staff were invited to join one of 4 teams which each cycled for half a day on the bike to see who could cycle the furthest! Entry was £2 per person with a max of 12 people per team.

They then battled it out over 2 days and had online donations going at the same time.

The target was £100, and by the end of the second day, Tour de Crunch had smashed it by raising an amazing £292.84!

Read all about their brilliant bike ride here.

Bangor to Brighton Bike Ride Blog

Between 11th and 15th July, a brave bunch of cyclists rode from Bangor to Brighton to raise money for the Starr Trust.

Starting in Bangor in North Wales, they travelled through Snowdonia to Shrewsbury, Stratford upon Avon, High Wycombe over Leith and Box Hills before returning home to Brighton’s West Pier on Sunday.

Here is the blog of their journey:

Day 1

We started bright and early with a 6am start and a quick breakfast in Bangor. The challenge we faced was huge: 150km and 3077m of elevation change across the width of Wales, through Snowdonia and across the border to Shrewsbury. Awful signal, lots of sheep and Scott’s bare chest (standard for the Welsh) were recurring themes as we set off towards our first stop in the village of Rhyd. We made quick time and reached the stop for a quick refuel.

The operation was running tight and smooth, like Scott’s pants. After setting off from Rhyd, we began our first major climb of the day at the edges of Snowdonia national park. It was worth it; the views were stunning. We continued at a relatively high altitude across plains, birds of prey flying around us for 15 miles before starting to descend. Our new destination was Bala, a small town next to a beautiful lake. The café and scenery were picturesque, so we took an extended lunch break by the Bala lake to prepare.

Creamed up and ready to go, we faced the major climb up 350m of relentless but beautiful hill. It was conquered with help from Brown and the support van. We bombed down the other side after a quick refuel and were soon back on the flat. The next 10 miles to the stop were challenging, and there were lots of aching bottoms as we ploughed on to the Green Inn. Everyone was tired but determined. Cream was applied, water refilled and a few too many lagers later we were back on the road.

Ken had run out of mildly offensive jokes and had promptly fallen asleep on the support vehicle. We crossed an underwhelming Welsh/English border and proceeded to Shropshire. The end was in sight. Overwatered and underfed at the inn, the newly nicknamed ‘scottpants’ needed a pit stop so the support van pulled over and gave him a mars bar, which brought him round. The following 15 miles to the hotel were long, tiring but steady and eventually the group arrived at 6:30, eagerly anticipating dinner and a signature Ken speech. The only remaining job was preventing Dan, Scott and Webby leading a charge on the local Wetherspoons.

Dinner came and went, accompanied by a classic Ken speech, who is living up to his name as an entertainment officer. Tony gave important details for the ride the following morning and gave the ‘star of the day’ to Rob for persevering and keeping mentally strong in spite of the bloody massive hills. After 150km, 3070m, one national park, a border crossing, 50 flapjacks, 9 hours in the saddle and an unconfirmed amount of larger consumed, day one was complete. Here’s to day 2, and hoping they make it back from Wetherspoons.

Cyclist quotes:

Tony: “Beautiful views and a great team bonding experience
Johnny: “A difficult but rewarding a day
Rob: “A really tough day

Check out Bangor to Shrewsbury on Relive: click here!

Day 2

Day 2 began in a similar fashion to the first, wolfing down Premier Inn breakfasts and hastily assembling peanut bagels for the onward journey. Bags packed, we met in the Premier Inn car park ready to leave. First stop: Ironbridge. The cyclists rolled out, lead perhaps slightly prematurely by Tony and tailed by the support vehicles, racing to catch up. The first order of business was navigating out of the urban metropolis of Shrewsbury. Thankfully, the local Shrewsbury pub didn’t claim any scalps from the night before; Scott continued his amusing habit of falling asleep in random places and nodded off in the pub, probably representative of what Shrewsbury had to offer on a Thursday night.

There was a slight burst of rain, but we soon rode through it and were on track to hit our first stop in very good time. The first 20 miles rolled by and we were seemingly unaffected by the gruelling ride a day earlier. Rosie and Tracy had barely put up the flags when the first cyclists came in to the small town. Ironbridge was charming, filled with history and lovely people. The first stop was outside the china museum, by a hostel and (appropriately) a beautiful custom bike shop. Spirits were high and before long, full of coffee and brownies we set off once more to our lunch stop.

It was a chilled out 24 miles to lunch, perturbed only by Johnny nearly single-handedly taking out the entire peloton with a rapid stop, probably to get some bum cream out of his bag. Scott had a minor collision with Julie but kept control of his bike and chose to fall on the grass instead of on Julie. A true gentleman. It was decidedly uneventful, gliding through Shropshire’s quaint villages in search of Belbroughton. The village itself was beautiful and the pub that we stopped at was a great hit. The food and drink was tasty, although Leo was quick to point out the inefficiencies of their table number system which culminated in a frantic mix up of club sandwich bread types. Dan, always the diplomat, agreed to go half and half on bread colour. Curries eaten, Garmins refigured and tans compared, the group were ready to depart, eyeing up a speedy arrival in Stratford.

The final leg proved less smooth however, and after some navigational errors and a very busy roundabout a third stop was arranged around 15 miles from the end. A road closure required some quick thinking from the leading pack and we diverted down a little path back towards historic Stratford, under the advice of a pensive suburban Shrewsbury resident. Tricky directions in Stratford resulted in Ken standing at the crossroads, waving his crutch wildly at the cyclists in the direction of the Premier Inn. It was a wonder he didn’t get taken in by the local council. Meanwhile, Dan had managed to snap his hanger (much to the delight of Ken’s joke supply) but luckily the support vehicle was right behind. Brown had the right spare part in his van and performed an impressively quick fix on his bike. Cruising past a dogged Ken, the final group turned into our third Premier Inn.

Phones recharged, showers taken and runners admired, we settled down in the restaurant after a few drinks. Dinner was as smooth as ever, thanks to the brilliant Premier Inn staff who have been consistent across all our locations. Dinners digested, we assembled on the canal for some (more) drinks and, of course, a Ken speech. He highlighted the camaraderie amongst the group and the great cause we have been cycling for. He gave a special mention to Rosie and Tracey, who have been excellent in organising and coordinating the event, always with a smile. After telling a few more questionable jokes in front of horrified/amused bystanders, the sensible majority were ready for a good night’s sleep. As for the rest, a farewell party for Chloe awaited. After 80 miles, 2 trays of brownies, some slightly scared premier inn guests, 7 Jagerbombs, a suspicious roundabout, a broken hanger and some minor travel sickness, day 2 was over.

Rob (morning): “It was a pleasant morning ride
Ken: “Great community spirit
Rob (afternoon): “When I get back I’m going to throw my bike away


Day 3

It was 6:15AM in the Stratford-Upon-Avon Premier Inn and, right on cue, the all too familiar phone alarm rung out across the corridor. The cyclists rose, some more groggy than others, apart from Dan who required a poke from Scott. A textbook Premier Inn breakfast followed. 87 miles faced the riders. First was a quick photo opportunity in front of the canal. We said goodbye to Chloe, who was departing in favour of a New Forest hen party. Pulling out of Stratford in the direction of Basingstoke, Day 3 was well and truly underway. What a day we were in for.

The first destination of the day was the sleepy village of Tadmarton. Arriving early, the support team met the landlady of our pub stop, the Lampet Arms, Phyllis. After arriving, we were charmed by Phyllis and her brilliant hospitality. She was particularly taken with Scott’s bare chest and lycra pants, but Ken was having none of it, sweeping in and grabbing her attention. Sufficiently watered, the group departed, tailed by the support team.

A decent climb in intense heat proved exhaustive for the riders and the miles rolled past slowly. Matters were complicated by the Support team’s revelation that the designated pub lunch stop was effectively abandoned. A mild panic ensued, and in the chaos the press officer was woken up and groggily found a pub relatively near the route. Efficient communications between the two support vehicles resulted in a Brown-led roadblock to inform the cyclists of the correct way to the new route. The riding was slightly more laboured after two intense days but we doggedly continued onwards and pulled in at The Eight Bells in Long Crendon. An impressive amount of diet coke was drunk. The cyclists did brilliantly and ascended without any complaints, especially Julie who negotiated it with ease, barely breaking a sweat. She has been a complete machine throughout the ride and is immensely respected and loved by the entire group. There was a brief stop at the top of the hill for cake, ice cream and cider. Spirits were high, apart from a slightly irate Tony, peeved that no one had bought him a cream tea. Tony has been the rock of the group, consistent and caring, and his contribution to the charity has been immense. It was discovered that Johnny had broken his hub flange and so Brown had his work cut out trying to source a new one. The support van had its work cut out as Dan had a flat tire but after a quick rave in the van to ‘insomnia’ by Faithless we reached the tire and pumped it up in no time.

The group finally rolled into the Maidenhead Premier Inn – everyone was tired and fractious and quite honestly just wanted to go to bed. Naturally, it was a perfect opportunity for Ken to speak and give out the awards. It was all too much for Leo and Scott, who left and fell asleep mid-speech respectively. All but a small group had fallen asleep, dreaming of finally reaching home. Day 3 was complete, and home was beckoning.


Day 4

It was a beautiful morning in Maidenhead, and the cyclists roused from their beds like clockwork, accompanied by the dawn chorus and Andy’s snoring. It was time to depart from the all too familiar yet comforting Premier Inn. We trundled towards breakfast, aching, and set about dispatching more fried eggs. Disagreement over the route was swiftly resolved and the two big hill climbs, Leith Hill and Box Hill, were dropped from the route. Predictably, we were all tired and eager to return to Brighton. Bags (mostly) in the van and a quick final photo opportunity later, we all hit the road. Destination: home.

It was a 84 mile cycle through the heart of commuter land through classical, pretty English villages. As it was a Sunday, cyclists were everywhere, and the group felt at home amongst the other lycra clad peddlers. We cycled through dense Surrey and made our first stop near Leatherhead, just off the A24. A rather irate Surrey citizen seemed aghast that a group of charity cyclists had leaned their bikes against her wall and was keen to let that be known. She soon realised the error of her ways however, and access to her wall was most generously granted and a donation the Starr Trust was given. The heat was fierce so water bottles were refilled. As a unit, we left in search of lunch.

Rusper was our next stop and the cyclists found it without a problem. The farm shop served delicious salads, which were met with huge approval by the cyclists. We had a leisurely lunch in the full heat of the sun. A comic moment occurred when John stood up from his seat to reveal a suspect white patch left on a bench. It turned out the copious amount of Sudocream that he applied managed to secrete its way through his cycling shorts. On that savoury note the cyclists left. The end was firmly in sight.

The next 30 miles turned out to be taxing and the different groups had considerable distance between them. The welcome to Sussex sign provided a morale boost. The support group found a discrepancy in the route and communicated it with the cyclists, who managed to follow the advice and stick to the roads. Brown stopped in order to give water refills and to point everyone towards the last climb of the year, the Dyke. The first two groups passed through seamlessly, if not a little thirsty, but the last hadn’t got their heads round the route change. Much to the support team’s amusement they had managed to complete a significant distance across fields and as a result were behind the other cyclists.

The first two teams had scaled the Dyke and had time to visit a golf course club house and, slightly smugly, watch the last group cross the hill, pint in hand. Eventually they appeared, in one piece, and the end point, the i360, was in sight just behind the hills and Tony was actually right: It really was all downhill from here. The relief was palpable as everyone rolled through Hove and down to the seafront, where a welcome party was waiting.

After the obligatory group photo, prosecco was popped and pizza was eaten. Everyone was happy and rightly proud of their immense achievements over the past 4 days. Scott, never one for clothes, lead a celebratory swim for a well needed cool off. After 360 miles, countless counties and considerable camaraderie, the Bangor to Brighton 2018 ride was over.

Photos Courtesy of Jeff Mood Photography.

Champion’s Tuesday - Our Champion Hannah sets off to the Amazon!

We were thrilled to learn back in May this year that our young Champion 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 yesterday, 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 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.


Our Young Champion is a Tennis Champion!

We are delighted to share that our young Champion 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 “As always, 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!

Bike Ride Cyclists Are In For A Treat

Huge thanks to all the lovely suppliers who have donated drinks and lovely food for our Bangor to Brighton Bike Ride this week:

AquAid Water Coolers for water taps, Truffles Bakery, The Protein Ball Co., Asda at The Marina, Real Patisserie, The Flour Pot Bakery, Infinity Foods, Co-operative Ltd, Morrisons James St, Ceres Health Store, CLIF Bar and Waitrose.


Tandem Skydive this Thursday 28th June!

It’s not too late to donate to our amazing trio of skydivers who will be doing a tandem jump from 12,000 feet at Skydive Headcorn in Kent this Thursday June 28th.

Anyone is welcome to come and show their support and it looks to be a beautiful day out for it.

Good luck and huge thanks to our lovely fundraisers, Hollie Hines, Clare McKinstrie and Nick Williams.

Click here to make a donation.

Midsummer Ball Silent Auction Now Live!

Whether you’re attending our Midsummer Ball or not, get bidding now and bag yourself a bargain including a 5 day stay at the stunning Hilton Mauritius (pictured). Go to:

Online pre-bidding will close at midday this Friday 22nd June, when bids will be transferred across to the event. There really are some fantastic prizes donated by our generous supporters so don’t miss out!

Champions’ Tuesday

Our 4th Champions’ Chats saw ten of our Champions embark on an amazing day out to the Isle of Wight on Sunday June 10th.

They travelled to Hovertravel in Southsea on a beautiful and sunny day. They boarded the craft and then enjoyed the 10 minute flight across to the Isle of Wight. At Ryde they were welcomed by one of Hovertravel’s pilots, Jock Darrick, who’d formerly been in the Navy for 21 years. He explained how the craft worked, and then took everyone around the craft to get a close look - the craft is even capable of travelling on ice. The Champions loved the flight, for most it was their first time on a hovercraft and to the Isle of Wight. Jock gave each of the Champions an inflatable hovercraft to take home with them. Even the one Champion who was scared of water enjoyed the trip It was glorious gliding across the Havant and the staff could not have been nicer.

The group then took a short walk to Ryde Superbowl where they were greeted by their host Lucy who was waiting in a room especially prepared. The group then split into three teams, played a game of bowls, and then had lunch in their very own party room. After a quick photo everyone headed back to the Hovercraft and back home.

The Champions had a brilliant day - and one of the mums who came along said it was a day she’d never forget. After a full day of chatter, laughter and fun, the group returned back to Brighton for a rest!

Huge thanks go to Dave Crawforth at Teleticket for organising and sponsoring the Hovercraft and tour, and to Gareth at 1823 group for sponsoring the rest of the day. We are extremely grateful to you!

Local Businesses get behind our Charity Bike Ride!

We are delighted that two local businesses are getting behind our Bangor to Brighton Bike Ride this July. Huge thanks go out to Enterprise Rent-A-Car, who have given us a whopping £1000 towards our bike ride event. Our Fundraising team Tracey and Rosie met with James Jefferys, the Brighton Branch Retail Manager and his team yesterday to receive the cheque.

We are also really excited to share that West Pier Pizzeria is giving us a great deal on all the food and drink for the cyclists’ homecoming party to be held on Sunday July 15th at the British Airways i360.

It’s fantastic that two local businesses are supporting us.

Some spaces are still available on our Bangor to Brighton Bike Ride so sign up now!

Sussex Golfers Club Together to Support Youngsters and raise over £4000!

We were delighted with the success of our eighth charity Golf Day, held on May 9th at the prestigious East Sussex National Golf Club and which raised an incredible £4,380 to help our young Champions.

Over 50 golfers from local businesses came together to enjoy a well-earned day out and a great chance to network. The sun shone all day and with temperatures reaching over 20 degrees, golfers enjoyed the beautiful 18-hole course and took part in various competitions on the route.

The day was kindly organised by Paul Maidment and the main sponsors, Beales, Gardner & Scardifield and Airsprung helped to make the day a huge success with awards being given out, bids made on fantastic auction prizes and a delicious carvery dinner to finish off.

Thanks also to sponsors Spencer & Leigh, Tru Challenge and Creative Pod.

The winning team was Paul Maidment’s with CCI Accounting runners up followed by Style and Silver.
The winning individual was Peter Raynesford with Tom Humphries in 2nd place and Phil Mann in 3rd.

Our event organiser Tracey Narvaez told us “as ever we are incredibly grateful for everyone’s support and delighted at how much money we managed to raise. Even those businesses that were unable to play helped us by sponsoring a hole, so some great publicity for all concerned”.

Photos by Jeff Mood

Champions’ Tuesday

We are thrilled to share with you that our Champions have been offered a day trip to the beautiful Isle of Wight courtesy of Teleticket Travel and the 1823 Group who have offered them their very own hovercraft for the day!

This Sunday, nine of our Champions will be enjoying their 4th Champions’ Chat event, travelling together with our Outreach Manager Mel Stoner along with several volunteers and parents. The Champions will travel by coach from Brighton to Southsea where they’ll board the hovercraft, taking them across the water to the lovely town of Ryde. Here they will be given a private tour of Ryde Harbour and a presentation from the Captain! They will then head over to the local Superbowl where they will have some lunch and spend a fun afternoon bowling before heading home.

Huge thanks to David Crawforth and his team at Teleticket Travel and to Gareth Hardy from the 1823 Group for kindly giving our Champions this brilliant opportunity.

Two of our Champions prepare for the expedition of a lifetime!

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 two of our Champions have been chosen for expeditions.

Stephen was chosen to take part in a three week trip to the Canadian Yukon. He will be raising his own funds to cover equipment costs. We are super excited to hear how he gets on.

Hannah was chosen to take part in the 6 week Trainee Leader Expedition to the Amazon. £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.

Champions’ Tuesday - Champions Chats

Whilst Meghan and Harry were signing their nuptials, Starr Trust Champions were being given a backstage tour of the Theatre Royal Brighton. The tour began at the Stage Door, which hundreds of famous actors have walked through. This beautiful grade II listed theatre holds over 200 years of secrets and intriguing tales.

Jackie Alexander, Creative Learning Manager at the theatre, first led us through the unusual backstage area, which we learnt had been constructed over the years from fishermen’s cottages, and we had a glimpse at a dressing room. We learnt about how the scenery used to be painted on the side of the stage which now houses hundreds of lights before visiting the orchestra pit. The highlight was stepping onto the wonderful stage and looking out into the auditorium which seemed interestingly intimate, despite holding nearly 800 seats. We learnt that although theatre can be expensive, for good value tickets we should book the gallery – where prices frequently start at around £10. After sneaking into the Dress Circle to see if the theatre’s resident ghost was present, we were given refreshments and chatted more about the theatres wonderful history. 

Thank you to Jackie and the Theatre Royal for the fascinating tour – we learnt so much and encourage anyone who hasn’t been to go!


Champions’ Tuesday

Our Champions feature on BBC South Today and BBC Radio Sussex.

The Wembley to Soweto Foundation, headed up by Director David Westhead, recently selected 2 of our Champions to attend their three week photography course at Brighton’s i360. These were 18 year old Stuart from Hove who dreams of being a professional watersports photographer and Shayla aged 20 who wanted to develop her photography skills.

This has been a fabulous opportunity for them and the project has been featured on BBC’s South Today and BBC Radio Sussex.

You can see clips below:


To find out more about this brilliant project, visit

Rob Starr Reveals How the Starr Trust Came to Be

Ian Trevett, Director at Platinum Business Magazine talks to Rob Starr about his vision for the Starr Trust, which is going into its 10th year this September.

“It was a visit from my dad’s window-cleaner that inspired me to try and make a difference.”

It was an unlikely spark for a life-changing decision, but The Starr Trust is no ordinary charity.

Rob Starr explains: “The inspiration for the trust was my father. He was the most wonderful man who always made me believe anything was possible. He made me believe there was nothing outside of possibility – a massively powerful thing to have instilled into you as a child.

“When we lost my dad to cancer 12 years ago, when he was still very young, a few things happened which really highlighted dad’s ability to make people feel special. A few months after we’d lost dad, a guy came to my office and I ended up comforting him as he was so upset about dad. As he left, I curiously asked him, ‘I’m sorry for your loss but who are you?’ He gave me his name and told me he was my dad’s window cleaner.

“I phoned up my wife and asked whether we had a window cleaner, which we did. I asked her if she knew the window cleaner’s name. She wasn’t sure.

“That was a real turning point for me because it really made me think: ‘Wow, that’s where me and dad differ.’ I was going through my life trying to do good and be good, as we all hope we do. But how much time did I give to other people? This was my dad’s window cleaner, for God’s sake. It really made me think about the impact you can have on someone’s life by listening to them – nothing more, just listening to them and making them feel important. It doesn’t cost anything to do that but it’s really powerful. Having discovered what was so special about my dad, I didn’t want to lose that.”

The result of that revelation was the setting up of The Starr Trust.

“I didn’t have any money to set up a charity, but I thought I’m not going to wait until I can afford it. Dad taught me that if you wait to do something, you will look back a year later and wish you had started a year before. So along with my brother-in-law Darren, my sister, my wife, some friends and my mother, we started The Starr Trust. We just thought, ‘Let’s set up a charity in dad’s name, raise some money somehow and give the money away to young people in the city to help them be the best they can be’.

“We set up The Starr Trust with no money in the bank, just good intentions and a good idea. We held a barn dance and a quiz night, and we gave the money away. It was absolutely brilliant. I put some desks and computers in my office and got some volunteers in with the promise that we’d take them on as staff when we could. In our first year we gave away in the region of £20,000.”

For most people this is where the story may have ended. Rob and his family had raised a substantial sum of money to help local children and done something positive to remember a loved one. But Rob’s personality is such that this wasn’t going to end there. He decided to take on some endurance events to raise more funds, which is not unusual except that from a young age he had suffered terribly from arthritis and Crohn’s Disease.

With these debilitating conditions a marathon was out of the question, so he decided he should swim to France instead! The bravery (or madness) of this decision cannot be overstated.

Rob recalls his first swim: “The first day was in April 2010 and it was the most shocking experience of my life. It was so cold and scary, but I stuck at it. I was doing seven and eight hours swimming every day, but my Crohn’s Disease meant I kept losing weight; I was under eight stone at one point. It just wasn’t sustainable, so we turned it into a relay, which was equally difficult in different ways. I got a team of swimmers together and we completed it in 2012.

“Ironically, because of the amount of exercise I was doing, I built up my strength for running - and I completed the Brighton Marathon. We ended up raising over £80,000 for The Starr Trust and it put us on the map.

“I don’t take any medication anymore. When I was younger I lived on medication because of my Crohn’s. I threw it all away when I took up sea swimming. Sometimes I’d walk down the beach with a walking stick or crutches and in quite severe pain. Then I come out the sea afterwards and I pick up my stick and walk up the beach – it’s almost biblical. It’s really weird. There have been studies on cold water swimming and the positive effects it can have.”

Plans for the King Alfred

As well as improving his health, sea swimming also led to another inspiration: “I would swim past the King Alfred Centre and it got me dreaming. I had this idea that I would knock down the King Alfred and I would put a building on the seafront that would be a hub of creativity.

“Just as my dad had taught me, it didn’t occur to me that I couldn’t do it. I had no idea how and I had no idea whether the council would give me the land. I always believe that I can and I don’t ever worry about how. I don’t think it’s my job to work out how, I just assume the answer will come.

“People who achieve things fail a lot along the way. I’ve made more mistakes than most in business. Being in business 26 years, I make one a week. But you learn from them and I don’t think I’m fazed by them. There’s this term resilience. I think my epitaph will probably be: ‘He was nothing if not resilient’.”

In some ways Rob’s naivety was an advantage. The odds against getting the council to release the land, to raise the huge amount of capital and win a bidding war against experienced developers would have been staggering. How Rob pulled off the coup of winning the bid is a fascinating story in its own right. Now, in partnership with Crest Nicholson, the dream is about to be a reality.

The plans for the new King Alfred are hugely impressive. Rob says, “The council will get a £40-45 million state-of-the-art, fantastic leisure centre. There are going to be about 560 flats with 20% affordable housing, which is what the city needs. Every single one of them is going to have a sea view; not one flat is hidden at the back. Right in the middle is a creative hub, which will include sport, art, theatre, music, education, business and social interaction.

“I wanted to design it from the inside out. I wanted it to be about what happens there. The traditional way a developer works is to design a building, put the building up and then look at what happens there. I wanted to do the opposite.

“We will run the hub but it will be separate from The Starr Trust. We will set up a CIC (Corporate Interest Company) - basically a not-for-profit company. We can generate revenue from commercial lets on the rooms. The dream is that the income would pay for the 60-70% of the year when we can offer discounted or free space to local community groups. A true scenario of the commercial supporting the charitable. We want charities to come down and use this space. We’ll make it affordable or free for them to use the space.

“If people want to rent the rooms out and can’t afford them, we’d say: do some volunteering work (not necessarily at the hub) and earn the hours. We’re really trying to bring in change in how charity is viewed in the city, working in a spirit of collaboration: businesses and charities working together instead of fighting against each other. And it’s so exciting!

“Over £65 million is going back into the city. Developers often get bad press but I’ve got to say Crest have been fantastic.

“All being well we would hope to be on site at the end of the first quarter of next year. My partners always say I’m way too optimistic but one of us has to be. One of us has to keep pushing, so that’s my job. The build will take three years, which seems like a lifetime because by the time it’s done it’ll be 10 years of my life. All because I used to swim past the building!”

The King Alfred hub will secure the future of a wonderful charity, of which Rob is understandably proud:

“We’ve got a bike ride coming up in July from Bangor to Brighton, 360 miles which I’m going to do despite my arthritis and Crohn’s. Then we have our Winter Ball in November at the Hilton. We have a fabulous relationship with The Metropole. They’re wonderful. We’re one of their chosen charities for their Midsummer Ball. They chose us last year, though I had to sing and dance with Robin Cousins, which was interesting.

“We’ve supported over 4,200 children, giving grants up to £5,000 a time. We’ve got youngsters who have become champions. When you hear what these youngsters are going through and what they’re inspired to do, not helping them just doesn’t seem an option. It’s life-saving and life-changing.

“It’s about young people with the drive to do something but not having the financial ability to do it. Maybe they’re in care and no financial backing. We see our job as raising the money to help them on their journey and also giving them as much support as we can. Money is one part of it but the support is equally as important.”

This interview originally appeared in Issue 47 of Platinum Business Magazine. Link to original interview.

Champions’ Tuesday – Exciting news about Stuart and Ava

Our Champion 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.

Our Champion 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.

Champions’ Tuesday - Starr Trust teams up with Brighton and Hove Rotary

We have been working closely with Brighton and Hove Rotary Soiree helping three of our Champions fulfil their potential.

At the end of last year we received £500 from the Rotary towards our Champion Macy’s ballet lessons and took her to a trip to the ballet at Brighton Dome In December 2017. Amira, aged 15 from Brighton, won an award to take part in the Rotary’s week long leadership programme in Guildford in April. The Rotary supported Amira throughout this experience, including taking her to and from the course.

In February, Champion Sophie was sponsored by the Rotary to take part in the Springboard music festival.

This May, at their Youth Festival weekend on the Barge at the Marina, the Rotary awarded a further £500 to help one of our Champions Hannah. Hannah’s mother Claire and our Champions Outreach Manager Mel went along to the festival to receive the cheque. Our 20 year old Champion Hannah will use the money to go towards the costs of her 6 week expedition to the Amazon arranged by the British Exploring Society who work with relatively small groups of young people to deliver transformational youth development in the wilderness. Hannah is currently teaching outdoor watersports in Wales and wants to expand her skills on dry land.

Ann Dieckmann from the Rotary told us “Rotary is committed to helping young people make the most of their lives and we want to empower youth here in Brighton as well as those less fortunate in developing countries too.  Rotary has a long history of helping young people through educational scholarships, competitions and Rotaract as well as supporting community initiatives that help children and young people.

Mel from the Starr Trust said “We are delighted that the Rotary has been so involved with the work we do and given our Champions such great opportunities. We are extremely grateful that they have chosen to support us.  To say thank you we had a wonderful team of our volunteers, Champions and their families volunteering at the Rotary’s Easter Egg Hunt, and look forward to collaborating with them more!.

Images: Mel and Claire recieving Hannah’s cheque (above), Amira speaking at the Rotary (below, L), Lee as the Easter Bunny at the Easter Egg Hunt (below, R)

Get Early Bird Tickets for Panto!

Christmas may seem a long way off but tickets are selling fast for E3’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk.

Huge thanks to David Hill of E3 Productions.

We are one of their Chosen Charities for this brilliant panto.

Champions’ Tuesday

Our Champion’s Outreach Manager Mel and Starr Trust Ambassador Claire Clements 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 Champion Amira who recently took part in their Leadership Course in Guildford.

Claire and Mel were presented with a cheque for £500 to go towards funding Champion Hannah’s forthcoming leadership expedition to the Amazon. More news on these stories shortly!

We are extremely grateful to Brighton and Hove Soiree Rotary for their generosity over the last few months.

Champions’ Tuesday

We are very excited to share with you that two of our Champions are taking part in an amazing three week photography course being held courtesy of the Wembley to Soweto Foundation which will be based at Brighton’s stunning i360.

Watch this space for more details.

Help Our Supporter Who Is Running The London Marathon

Please sponsor our lovely supporter Ian Newbold at COGO Group Travel Specialists UK who is bravely running the London Marathon next week and raising money for the YHA Brighton and the fantastic work they do with underprivileged children.

Ian has been a brilliant supporter of ours, having done Spinning Events to raise money for us and donating totally fabulous auction prizes to our Summer and Winter Balls, such as trips to Disneyland Paris! He is a LEGEND!

Click here to sponsor Ian on VirginMoneyGiving.

Champions’ Tuesday: Champions Chat at Raystede Animal Sanctuary

Seven of our Champions had a fantastic trip to Raystede Animal Sanctuary on the 3rd April 2018. Raystede covers 43 acres and cares for over 2000 animals a year, rehoming over 1000 animals and providing sanctuary to even more.

The theme of the chat was how to take care of animals and in particular dogs, cats and horses.

The morning began with Cat Bray from the Sanctuary explaining what to look for in dogs’ behaviours that demonstrate how they are feeling. We then learnt how to introduce ourselves to a dog, before heading out to meet a new dog Tinker who had been recently received by the Sanctuary. The Champions’ were tasked with assessing how Tinker was feeling, which included looking for signs of stress and his appearance, and how he dealt with meeting other dogs.

The next task was to visit the cats, and match them with new owners based on their situations and environments.  The team did really well assessing which cats should go with which humans, and decided that some situations weren’t appropriate for cats.

After a lunch session being entertained by Goldie the amazing robot dog, we were taken to visit the horses. The herd mainly consists of older animals, however Raystede also look after horses and ponies with various health issues such as blindness. They are allowed to live as naturally as possible, having access to inside and out at all times. The Champions loved grooming the two horses, even cleaning out their hooves.

The session finished with a quiz about what we’d learnt. Our Champions loved the session, with one shouting “this is the best day!”.

Huge thanks to Cat Bray for the fantastically informative session and to Mark Phillips and Raystede for donating the session to us. Also we are extremely grateful as always to Claire Clements our Starr Trust Ambassador for volunteering her time. The last but not least thanks goes to the wonderful animals at Raystede! We hope we can come again soon! 

Thanks to our Easter Egg Hunt Volunteers

Many thanks to the volunteers at Brighton & Hove Rotary at the Easter Egg Hunt on good Friday for keeping smiling through a wet morning!

Our Champion Lee was the Easter Bunny, and the event was sponsored by Hall & Woodhouse and supported by Fairy Dust Events.

Champions’ Chats

We received some really positive feedback from our Champions who attended the Audition Chat held at E3 last month.

Next month our Champions will be going to Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare on Tuesday April 3rd. 9 Champions are attending, plus Claire Clements and her daughter Amy who will be coming along to help. The theme for the day will be Responsibility.

Thanks to our Easter Egg Hunt Volunteers

Huge thanks to our Champion Lee and his family Keith and Mary; to our Ambassador Claire Clements and her daughter Amy and last but not least to Hellen Ward from Crunch Accounting and her friend. They will all be volunteering for us this Good Friday March 30th at the brilliant Easter Egg Hunt at Hangleton Manor.

This will be a really fun event so head over there on Friday and thanks to the lovely Brighton and Hove Rotary for raising money for us at their event.