Go ahead for £1.5m development as part of national Transforming Care programme

In November, Southdown started re-development of a former residential care site to create six self-contained supported living flats for people with complex needs as part of the Government’s Transforming Care Programme. The £1.5million Whitehawk Court development is the outcome of over three years of partnership working with Brighton and Hove City Council (BHCC), NHS England and Homes England.

The six new flats have been designed to a very high specification to provide capable and secure home environments for people with complex individual support needs that could not be met within existing Brighton services. Flats incorporate innovative and best practice design features including technological solutions to reduce risks (e.g. impact resistant walls, sockets, underfloor/overhead heating, specialist bathroom and kitchens, CCTV and remote monitoring, alarm systems, sprinkler systems, water shut off devices). Each flat will also benefit from a private entry and individual outdoor space.

To fund the new development, BHCC 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.

As a specialist provider of services for people with learning disabilities and complex needs, we have played an active role in supporting the implementation of the Transforming Care programme at a local Sussex level, with a new service previously opened in West Sussex in 2017.

The Transforming Care programme is a Government initiative that aims to reduce the number of people with learning disabilities and/or autism placed within secure hospital settings, Assessment and Treatment Units (ATUs) or inappropriate placements. The programme is an outcome of the review that followed the Winterbourne View scandal of institutional poor practice highlighted by BBC’s Panorama in 2012.  The aim was to reduce the 2,600 people accommodated in ATUs by 35-50% by 2019. To support this, £40million of capital funding was made available for new housing.

Southdown previously managed the Brighton site as two small residential care homes since the 1980s. Due to the changing needs and expectations of clients’ over time, the services experienced increased vacancies and operated at a deficit. We engaged with BHCC to consider alternative plans, and as a result, it was agreed to close the existing services to facilitate a comprehensive redevelopment of the site linked to the Transforming Care funding programme. The previous services closed in January 2018, with existing clients moving to alternative Southdown and other provider accommodation.  

In addition to acting as the landlord, we will also be the care and support provider of the service, which will be registered with the Care Quality Commission. With such pressure and challenges facing the care sector, a key element to ensuring that the overall service model is viable has been the negotiation of a risk sharing agreement with BHCC regarding sustainable hourly rates and financial management of vacancies. Overall, the new service will provide a significant cost saving to BHCC compared to the current placements for the individuals. 

With construction underway and a projected completion date of summer 2019, work has now begun to start identifying the most appropriate future residents for these new flats so that detailed transition arrangements can be developed.