At midnight tonight (31st March/ 1st April) the Whitehawk Inn will become part of Brighton Housing Trust.
The Whitehawk Inn provides information and advice about learning and work, and a range of support activities for adults. For those who are looking to get back to work, the Whitehawk Inn offers careers advice, employment support and a range of tailored resources.
Since 1999 more than 7,000 people have used one or more of the services provided by the Whitehawk Inn. 70% of these live in an area of deprivation and 92% have known barriers to participation that result in social exclusion, poverty, low educational attainment and skill levels, poor work prospects, poor health and family breakdown.
In recent years, the Whitehawk Inn has increased its focus on supporting those who have experienced long term unemployment, providing additional support beyond statutory provision. Between 2007 and 2010, 200 people were supported back to work, 48 of them in the last 12 months.
Many residents report an improvement in their quality of life as a result of engaging with the project. This is characterised by increased self-confidence, increased motivation, feeling more connected to other individuals and to the community, being more active in their families and in their community and reporting an improvement in their mental and physical health.
This merger between BHT and the Whitehawk Inn is the latest in a list of other respected, independent organisations to join BHT, going back to the 1980’s when First Base Day Centre joined BHT. In recent years we have taken on small charities such as Threshold Women’s Counselling Service and a housing organisation, the Hastings Community Housing Association.
These are very difficult times for people in the charity sector, and future cuts in public spending are likely to make things tougher. What the Trustees of the Whitehawk Inn have done is to be proactive, to settle the future of the organisation and services at a time when it wasn’t absolutely necessary.
In fact, the finances of the Whitehawk Inn look more positive in the financial year just ending than they have for several years. The decision of the Trustees is an example of excellent governance – taking a long term, strategic view, thereby safeguarding not just the fantastic services provided by the Whitehawk Inn, but also its identity and future.
I am very humbled that the Trustees have entrusted BHT with the future of this wonderful organisation and I am looking forward to visiting tomorrow to welcome BHT’s fantastic new staff team who have been doing such a great for many years.