We have been providing care and support for people across Sussex for 50 years.
Celebrating 50 years of Southdown
We’ve been supporting people in the South of England access housing, care, and support for fifty years. To mark our Golden Anniversary, we asked colleagues to share their experience of working at Southdown over the years.
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.
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 think the spirit of Southdown is ‘can do’, it’s a positive culture”
Our Practice Development Trainer, Sharon, has worked for Southdown for 25 years. Here she tells us about the changes she has seen and what makes Southdown so special.Read story