Review of 2018

The end of the year is traditionally a time when we look back and reflect on things that have happened over the past 12 months. We thought we’d follow this tradition and compile our very own review of 2018, looking back at just some of the things that have happened across Southdown over the year....


We found out that Home Works, our homelessness prevention and housing support service in East Sussex, was at risk of a potential 50% funding cut. In response, Southdown launched a public facing campaign to oppose the cut. Southdown staff chose Macmillan Cancer Support to be our Charity of the Year for 2018, after raising over £1,500 for Trussell Trust foodbanks in 2017.


February saw the launch of two new mental health recovery services, the Staying Well Space and Thinking Well, which we provide as part of our East Sussex Community Network of mental health support. Staying Well Space is an out-of-hours service for people with urgent mental health support needs, provided at our Hastings/ St Leonards Wellbeing Centre. Thinking Well is a dedicated service for people with Personality Disorder, provided in partnership with the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.


We expanded our Financial Inclusion team, who work within and provide support for our Community Support Services and Housing division. The aim of the team is to increase financial and digital inclusion for clients accessing Southdown services.


Southdown successfully retendered for three mental health contracts in East Sussex – Supported Employment, Community Connectors (a social prescribing service which replaced and combined our Community Wellbeing and Community Links’ services) and People in Partnership (which replaced Peers in Partnership).


For the fourth year running, our Preston Park Mental Health Recovery Centre in Brighton showcased a diverse range of artwork produced by people who use the service as part of the city’s annual Artists Open Houses Festival. As always, the art work was stunning and the event proved to be a great way to encourage people to talk openly about mental health.


After months of consultation and campaigning, East Sussex County Council confirmed Home Works funding would be cut by 28% instead of the 50% initially proposed. Whilst this has impacted on the number of people who will be able to access support from the service, the cut was not as severe as initially expected.


We launched three new specialist Supported Employment services (one also has a housing element). The services all attracted central government funding as part of their strategy to expand support to people with mental health needs.


Our Brighton & Hove Recovery College hosted another successful Graduation event for its students. The College has had another incredible year, with over 900 students enrolling onto over 100 different courses and workshops in 2017/18, all of which were co-produced and delivered by our team of Peer Tutors.


West Sussex County Council announced their proposal to cut funding for all housing-related support in the county. In response, we helped form a Coalition of Providers to lobby against the proposal and started our own campaign, involving our clients and colleagues in West Sussex. For the 7th year running, we were awarded the national family friendly award, Top Ten Employers for Working Families in the UK, for our flexible approach to enable staff to have a work/ life balance.


After over four years in the planning, we started on-site to redevelop the Whitehawk Way site in Brighton. The development involves major redesign and extension of the previous two smaller care homes to create six specially designed self-contained flats for people with learning disabilities and complex behavioural needs, as well as dedicated high quality areas for our staff. The new service is due to open in the summer of 2019.


We had our best ever response to an annual staff survey, which showed really positive feedback about working at Southdown. Our Wynford House residential care home in Seaford received a ‘good’ rating from regulatory body, the Care Quality Commission. We launched our new Client Involvement Development Team, made up of clients from across our services. The team was created to support our Client Involvement Strategy and will play an integral role in how we shape our services to best suit the clients who use them.


Our Learning Disability Division hosted another fabulous Christmas carol concert, at which clients and colleagues from our services across Sussex came together to celebrate the festive season.

For more reflection of our year, take a look at our Impact Report and Annual Report for Tenants for 2017/18.

Southdown’s Chief Executive, Neil Blanchard says, “Thank you to everyone we’ve worked with over the year and helped us to be there for people in need of support. There have been so many moments over the year that have made me immensely proud to lead Southdown.    
Despite the challenges, we have achieved a lot together and made a vital difference to people’s lives and our local communities. Once again, thank you.”