Flagship ‘Transforming Care’ learning disability service opens in Brighton

Southdown and partners with Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex celebrate launch of Southdown Cour

After three years in the making, last week, we opened our flagship ‘transforming care’ learning disability service in Whitehawk Way, Brighton.

Representatives from Brighton and Hove City Council, NHS England, Homes England and Westbridge Construction, all of whom were involved in the development, joined us to celebrate its launch, along with the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Peter Field, who officially declared the service open. 

Called Southdown Court, the £1.5 million redevelopment has transformed two old care homes into six modern, self-contained flats, designed to enable adults with learning disabilities and additional complex behaviours to live in community-based accommodation. The service is purposefully designed to support the Government’s Transforming Care ‘homes not hospitals’ agenda to end all inappropriate placements in hospital for people with learning disabilities or autism.

Every design feature, from curved-edged walls to wave technology taps and integrated cabling for assistive technologies, enables the provision of high quality care.  The building design is also shaped by the service’s Positive Behaviour Support approach, which focuses on person-centred care, prevention, understanding the root causes of behaviour and reducing reliance on restrictive practice.


To fund the development, Brighton and Hove City Council and Southdown, with the support of the Regional Transforming Care Partnership, successfully secured capital grant funding from NHS England and Homes England to part-fund the development, with the remaining capital investment made by Southdown.

Sharon Clare, our Director of Care and Support, says, “What’s special about this development is that every feature has been designed with the needs of people with a learning disability and complex behaviors in mind. We know that many people with a learning disability and additional complex behaviours have very specific environmental needs, which can mean finding appropriate services and support in the community very challenging. So we’ve designed a service to design out those challenges and provide a bespoke environment that is safe for people to live in and reduces the risk of harm to themselves as well as to others.”

Neil Blanchard, our Chief Executive, added, With thousands of people with learning disabilities and autism still being cared for in hospitals seven years on since the Government launched its commitment to ‘transform care’, we’re keen to promote Southdown Court to encourage the development of similar community-based services. In the future, we aim to work on more projects like Southdown Court that support people out of in-patient settings and into the community. We also hope, by developing more services like this, to support people out of residential accommodation that isn’t meeting their needs and also young people making the transition into adult services.”

Ruth Kenyon from the Learning Disability and Autism Programme at NHS England & NHS Improvement, said, NHS England is delighted to have collaborated with all the partners to deliver this transformational project. Enabling independent living with support for people with learning disabilities and/or autism is a priority for NHS England. Southdown had a clear vision to deliver accommodation which provides both a safe environment and a home for the residents, and NHSE was pleased to be able to support such a valuable development.”

Over the coming weeks, we will be working with Brighton and Hove City Council to support individuals to move into their new homes.

As with all of Southdown’s 29 learning disability services across Sussex, Southdown Court is registered with the Care Quality Commission and adheres to the Restraint Reduction Network’s training standards.

For more information on our learning disability services visit our website here.