Help keep Eastbourne airshow free

Airbourne 2017 Red Arrows (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-170821-121203008
Airbourne 2017 Red Arrows (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-170821-121203008

Airbourne organisers are calling on the public to have their say on which one of three charities should be picked as the ‘People’s Charity’ at this year’s Airbourne: Eastbourne International Airshow.

Chalk Farm Learning Disabilities Centre, Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice and Families for Autism all reached the final three shortlist, after an overwhelming response from the general public saw hundreds of nominations, resulting in 28 applications from local charities.

Chalk Farm SUS-180603-114231001

Chalk Farm SUS-180603-114231001

To read more about each charity, see below.

Such is the difficult task ahead in identifying just one charity, organisers at Eastbourne council are asking Airbourne fans to vote for their favourite over the next two weeks.

The ‘People’s Charity’ will join two other Rotary Club chosen charities in receiving a share of 30 per cent of all Airbourne donations in 2018.

The annual Airbourne bucket collection, organised by Steve Newman and Mike Barlow of Sovereign Harbour Rotary Club, and the Rotary Clubs of Hailsham, is a mammoth project each year with more than 200 buckets out and about across the town during the four days of the airshow.

Chestnut Tree SUS-180603-114243001

Chestnut Tree SUS-180603-114243001

The bucket collection has become integral in securing both the future of the airshow and keeping entry free, with 70 per cent of donations helping to fund the flying displays.

The remaining 30 per cent of donations are split between three local charities, all of which support the show with volunteer collectors.

Past donations have funded key headline displays such as the Vulcan, F-16 and B-17 ‘Sally B’, whilst also raising over £60,000 for good causes to date.

Eastbourne council’s tourism and enterprise boss Margaret Bannister said, “The success of the bucket collection is paramount in maintaining a lively flying programme and also keeping Airbourne free.

Families for Autism SUS-180603-115526001

Families for Autism SUS-180603-115526001

“These shortlisted charities have all demonstrated how they can help support Airbourne in this endeavour, whilst also raising their own much needed funds and increasing their profile to an audience of thousands. This is a fabulous opportunity for both Airbourne and the winning charity to work together for the benefit of our local community.”

Last year’s collection raised a total of £33,665.23 towards flying costs and the three local good causes of Age Concern Eastbourne, Memory Lane and the Charles Hunt Centre, all of whom supported the show with volunteer collectors.

To vote for your preferred charity visit to vote online or complete a voting slip at Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre, Cornfield Road, Eastbourne BN21 4QA. Voting closes 11.59pm on Thursday March 22.

People can donate towards Airbourne 2018 already with online donations open at

Airbourne returns from August 16-19.

For more information, or to volunteer as a bucket collector, or to book private dining, exclusive seating or to donate online at any time, visit

Families for Autism

Families for Autism is a registered charity & non-profit organisation supporting autism within the community. We launched on August 10 2010 and our mission is to provide support, encouragement and understanding to children, young people, adults on the autistic spectrum and their families within Eastbourne and East Sussex.

The charity was founded by parents with autistic children who experience autism on a daily basis. All of the staff and volunteers are fully DBS checked and receive regular training and refresher training sessions.

The main services we provide are a Saturday club for children aged five and above, a youth club for teenagers from the age of 13, and a dedicated family liaison officer who helps with emotional and practical support. We have support groups in Eastbourne, Heathfield, Uckfield & Hailsham allowing families or professionals to meet in an informal atmosphere to share and exchange different life experience stories.

Our Terry’s Club is a social group for male members and Susan’s Club a social group for female members. We provide children and young people’s outings, autism friendly cinema screenings, respite opportunities, autism friendly skating sessions and regular newsletters. Bouncy castle fun sessions can also be enjoyed by our members. We have recently partnered with Eastbourne JCP to provide a fortnightly job club for autistic adults. In 2017 we were very pleased to announce the opening our first charity shop in Eastbourne. Our membership continues to grow and we now have a database inclusive of more than 200 families within the East Sussex area.

As a charity we love to fundraise and organise many fundraising activities. Charity awareness campaigns take place throughout the year to help raise the profile of our charity and help educate the community about autism.

Chalk Farm

Chalk Farm Learning Disabilities Centre, running since 1996, is a local charity supporting adults with learning disabilities to obtain a brighter future. We provide students with the opportunity to receive training in separate professional hospitality and horticultural environments.

We have more than 40 students from the East Sussex area supported by a team of dedicated and experienced key workers and volunteers. Each student is allocated a specific key worker who works with them to develop a tailored personal development plan.

Realistic goals are set to enable every student to achieve their full potential. We encourage and help develop our students’ independence and life skills, building confidence with the aim of achieving goals such as gaining employment, moving into further education and independent living, while still having fun.

All students receive class-room teaching including life skills, computers and internet safety, English, maths and handling money. In our fully operational hotel students learn in a friendly and enjoyable setting all aspects of hospitality such as housekeeping, waiting tables, customer service and kitchen duties.

Our horticultural students are shown how to grow plants from seed and propagate them from cuttings.

They are then encouraged to apply these skills by taking ownership of their own vegetable plots, choosing what they want to grow and how to prepare and cook their produce.

Chestnut Tree

Chestnut Tree children’s hospice cares for 300 children in East and West Sussex, all of whom are unlikely to reach adulthood.

Our community nursing team visit families at home, taking children out to explore their local community or simply giving tired families and carers the chance to take a well-earned break.

Children and families can also visit out beautiful hospice, where kids can be astronauts for the day in our multi-sensory room, discover creepy crawlies on a woodland walk, or form their very own pop group in our music room.

It’s also where parents can just be parents, and not carers, and where siblings have people to talk to who understand.

Then, when the time comes, we help children and families say goodbye, in whatever way feels right for them, either at home or in the hospice itself. We offer ongoing bereavement support for the whole family.

It costs well over £3.5 million every year to provide our care and less than 7 per cent of that comes from central government. We never charge children or families a penny, so we rely heavily on our local community to fundraise.