Sara Lee Trust – Legacy of a local girl

Community Champions with Rother Voluntary Action SUS-170623-115535001
Community Champions with Rother Voluntary Action SUS-170623-115535001

If you live or work in Rother most likely you will have come across The Sara Lee Trust – you’ve probably walked past its shops, or perhaps even popped in to make a purchase or a donation. But how much do you know about the charity and its work?

The Sara Lee Trust is a local independent charity set up in 1996 in memory of local girl, Sara Lee, who studied at Bexhill College. Sara sadly died following a two year battle with cancer; she was only 32. During her illness Sara found enormous benefits from therapies like reflexology and aromatherapy and her vision was to provide a way for others in her situation to have the same opportunities. Thanks to her parents, family, friends and the community, this dream became a reality and every year The Sara Lee Trust supports around 600 local people with a life threatening illness with counselling, complementary therapies and group support activities, completely free of charge.

Working for the Sara Lee Trust SUS-171031-134206001

Working for the Sara Lee Trust SUS-171031-134206001

The trust has grown over the last 21 years and has just celebrated its coming of age by opening a bespoke therapy centre in Sidley. Tucked away just off the high street, it is an oasis of calm and tranquillity in the heart of the community. The trust also provides care from therapy hubs located within St Michael’s Hospice, the Rye Memorial Hospital and in the community.

Dan Redsull, Chief Executive of The Sara Lee Trust, said: “It’s essential that the services we provide are easy for people to access. When you are ill it often becomes difficult to travel so we need to be based in the communities that need us most. Our therapists can also make home visits for those who can’t get to us.”

The trust employs professional therapists who all have specialist experience and training in end of life care. This means they are able to provide very specific support to help people and their families. However, there is also a team of around 100 volunteers, without whom the trust would not exist.

Dan said: “We get around 10% of funding from the NHS but all the rest has to come from donations, legacies, fundraising and income from our shops. Volunteers are vital – they do practically everything from fundraising to running the shops and making deliveries and collections. They work tirelessly for the charity and we are so grateful for their magnificent contribution.

“But there’s more to be done so I’m appealing for volunteers to come and help us. I’m pretty sure we have a job to suit almost everyone – be it driving a van, helping tend the garden at the Therapy Centre, running our eBay shop, providing office support, working in one of our charity shops or becoming a trustee and helping us to plan for the future. You would be part of a friendly organisation that makes a real difference to the lives of local people affected by a life threatening illness,” Dan said.

The Sara Lee Trust is supported by Rother Voluntary Action (RVA), the professional body that drives the voluntary and community sector in Rother. RVA is funded by local government to provide advice, information and support for organisations and charities that enhance the social and economic wellbeing of the neighbourhood

To find out more about The Sara Lee Trust and volunteering opportunities with the charity, please visit or email