Sussex talent at Glyndebourne marks 20th anniversary of HOMELINK

Classical greats, upcoming young performers, community choirs and established names from TV, film and popular music will be joining staff from Lewes Prison and local people helped by homelessness prevention charity, HOMELINK, for a one-off gala at Glyndebourne Opera House to mark two decades of the charity’s work.

Set up 20 years ago as a direct response to rising homelessness in Lewes, HOMELINK now works in partnership with Lewes District Council to secure permanent housing for people across Sussex. It is a homelessness prevention charity that provides permanent housing solutions for people across Sussex. The charity provides remarkable practical, financial and emotional support to helps individuals to regain independence.

Young people who have been through the care system, victims of domestic violence and people made homeless as a result of relationship breakdown or mental health issues have all been helped by HOMELINK, as have many people often referred to as ‘the invisible homeless’ (for example, ‘sofa surfers’ and people sleeping in cars).

Steve Coogan
Steve Coogan

The charity’s high-profile supporters include stars with a Sussex connection from stage and screen, including: actors and comedians Steve Coogan and Eddie Izzard; Brighton comedian Zoe Lyons; Harry Potter and Father Brown actor Mark Williams; Death In Paradise and Lenny Henry show actor Nimmy March; Netflix ‘Lost in Space’ star and Bond villain Toby Stephens; Tony Award winning actor and Academy Award nominee Sophie Okonedo; TV presenter Katie Derham; writer and commentator Simon Fanshawe; and 2018 Man Booker Prize winner Anna Burns. Special guests from the charity’s VIP supporter base will be on stage at the Gala on 17th November to introduce the acts.


The #homes4homeless Gala will be a huge celebration of Sussex talent, involving soloists, groups, choirs and dance. Acts will range from classical to contemporary and represent all ages and social backgrounds including:

  • Brighton’s Choir With No Name homelessness choir
  • Glyndebourne classical soprano Dame Felicity Lott
  • Lewes Sings Gospel choir
  • JP Omari, award-winning hip hop dancer and director of Street Funk Dance Group
  • Guitarist and composer Richard Durrant
  • Brighton’s Audio Active ‘Emerge’ finalist and ethereal electronic artist Ida Vallens

Local musical director and conductor, John Hancorn, who has a long association with Glyndebourne, is producing the Gala and rehearsing with a prison choir from HMP Lewes for a one-off performance at the event. The choir, made up of prison staff, officers and Prison Governor Hannah Lane, are busy practising in the run-up to the Gala, but because of shift patterns won’t all sing together as a complete choir until the day of the event – making their one-off performance an extra special occasion.

Not everyone who becomes homeless is entitled to be housed. In England, councils only have a duty to find somewhere for a person to live if they have a ‘priority need’. In addition, they must not be considered to have deliberately done or failed to do something that caused them to become homeless. According to data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, 17% of the 109,000 households assessed by councils in England in 2017/18 were considered homeless but not in priority need; 8% were classed as in priority need but intentionally homeless.

HOMELINK concert hoped to increase local volunteers

HOMELINK works with people who need help because they don’t qualify for Council assistance but have no savings. The charity’s workforce is made up mainly of volunteers and it is hoped that the #homes4homeless Glyndebourne Gala will help to drive an increase in local volunteers and supporters.

HOMELINK’s #homes4homeless Gala will be held at Glyndebourne Opera House on 17 November, 3.00-5.30pm. Tickets range from £30 to £70 and are on sale now at


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