I am absolutely delighted to announce that the education and life-skills charity, The Whitehawk Inn, will be becoming part of BHT next week.
The Whitehawk Inn provides community-led services in east Brighton, providing information and advice about learning and work, as well as a range of support activities for adults. For those who are looking to go back to work it offers careers advice, employment support and a range of tailored resources.
This merger will consolidate the positions of both The Whitehawk Inn and BHT as leading providers of specialist services to the communities within which they work.
We have been in discussions regarding the merger for six months and have undertaken a full due diligence exercise. The Whitehawk Inn will retain its name and current management team and staff. BHT will provide ‘back office’ and strategic support.
Jon Downing, who is the Chair of the Whitehawk Inn Board, said: “We are excited by this merger. It consolidates our position in a very uncertain economic environment by benefiting from BHT’s size and reach. Our priority has always been to safeguard the services we offer to the people of Brighton, especially those living in Whitehawk. BHT clearly appreciates and values our history, culture and identity. Those using our services should see very little change in the short term, but looking forward we hope to see an expansion in what we can offer them.”
BHT’s own Chair, Joan Mortimer, said: “We are delighted that the Trustees have chosen BHT to take the Whitehawk Inn to the next stage of its evolution. For many years we have greatly admired the range and quality of the work undertaken by the Whitehawk Inn and, as the two organisations grew closer, the merger became an increasingly obvious and beneficial option for both. Having the Whitehawk Inn as part of the range of services offered by BHT will do nothing but strengthen what we can offer the clients of both organisations and with it BHT’s reputation.”
For my part, I am thrilled by this merger, and I would like to pay tribute to Frances Duncan, the former chief executive of the Whitehawk Inn, who stood down in December to pursue new opportunities. She has continued in an advisory role to see through the merger.
Frances is one of the most admired and respected leaders in Brighton and Hove. Under her guidance, the Whitehawk Inn has gone from strength to strength, building its reputation and focusing on providing excellent and effective services to those who use its services. It is a comfort to me to know that Frances will be at the end of the phone to offer me advice and guidance as BHT takes on the responsibility for the organisation she has nurtured for the last 15 years.