Sussex Compact

Working together to improve quality of life for people in our communities

Posted on 8 January 2024

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SPFT)  has joined forces with voluntary sector organisations to enhance the support available for people with mental health problems, learning disabilities and neurodiversity.

Seven organisations representing the voluntary community and social enterprise sector (VCSE) and the SPFT have signed the Sussex Compact, an agreement which sets out a vision for working in partnership to shape and deliver non-clinical services. Through adopting new ways of working, it will help all the organisations meet the needs of the community with improved support and services.

The VCSE organisations involved are: Southdown, West Sussex Mind, Grassroots, Amaze, Stonepillow, Brighton Women’s Centre and YMCA Downslink Group.

Dr Jane Padmore, Chief Executive of SPFT, said: “I am delighted to sign up to this compact. It is a bold commitment about how we are working differently and is an example of how we are committed to working in partnership to improve the lives and services for people with mental health problems, learning disabilities and the neurodiverse.


Neil Blanchard, Chair of the Sussex Mental Health Transformation Leadership Group and Chief Executive of Southdown, says, “Sussex not-for-profit organisations and charities are at the forefront and frontline responding to local communities’ needs; holding trusted relationships to provide access to advice, guidance and support.

“With increasing pressure and demand on services, we are committed to being true strategic partners with the Sussex Partnership where our skills, experience and local knowledge can be fully utilised and respected to help design new solutions. To make this a reality requires new ways of working. The Sussex Compact, cowritten with the Sussex Partnership, acts as a great starting point.”

The VCSE sector has long provided a range of support to the NHS, including delivering services and being partners in strategy development.

There are 257 voluntary organisations and charities working in Brighton and Hove, East Sussex and West Sussex delivering mental health and wellbeing support and 45 specific mental health organisations. They range from small grassroots organisations to larger organisations.

The Trust shares the view that the VCSE sector has a significant role to play in the planning, development, and delivery of healthcare services in Sussex and has made a commitment, contained in the Trust’s ‘breakthrough objectives’ to work with partners to improve the quality of life in the communities served by the Trust.

Central to the success of the Trust’s community transformation programme is the successful integration with VCSE partners, building trust and parity of esteem, strengthening competencies and capabilities to deliver partnership working, including through better sub-contracting and commissioning.