A large group of Southdown colleagues and friends are gathered together celebrating Southdown being around for 50 years. They are on a volley ball court that is sandy near the beach and there is a 50 sign balloon in the middle.

Brighton & Hove Area Group Housing Association

Southdown was established in 1972 by a small group of dedicated volunteers who recognised and responded to the issues facing people with mental health issues recently resettled in Brighton and Hove from long-stay hospital institutions. Not only did our founders provide good quality and stable housing (they fundraised to buy our first property in Brighton), but they also acknowledged the importance of ensuring that the individual’s social, physical, emotional and economic needs were met through the delivery of tailored support – enabling people to live well in the community.

We had links with the mental health charity Mind, but we remained a small volunteer-run organisation working in the Brighton & Hove area for more than fifteen years.

In 1989 we took on our first paid staff and began to expand our reach across Sussex. We also expanded the services we offered and began supporting people with learning disabilities too.

Southdown Housing Association

Renamed Southdown Housing Association in 1996, we continued to grow and develop a wide range of innovative services for the local community. Through high quality housing and specialist support we helped vulnerable people gain more independence and greater choice in how they lived.

Southdown today

Today, we’ve grown to become one of the largest voluntary sector employers in Sussex, providing care and support to over 9,000 people and employing over 1,000 staff each year.

Our clients and tenants have mental health difficulties or learning disabilities or are people who are or have been homeless. A smaller number have addiction issues or sensory or physical disabilities.

Our services now spread along the South coast from Chichester to Hastings, as well as inland to Crawley, Horsham, and Lewes. Most of our income comes from contracts with Local Authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups for East and West Sussex and Brighton and Hove.

Five decades later, although we have significantly diversified the types of support delivered and increased the number of people supported (9,967 people in 2022), we remain fully committed and passionate to continue to put our founding principles and mission into practice within the Sussex communities where we work.

"I'm very proud to work for Southdown"

As part of Southdown's 50th Anniversary celebrations, we spoke to Brian, who has worked in our Learning Disability Support services for over three decades.

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