The Whitehawk Inn, a popular Brighton community centre which provides a range of courses, services and support, will close at the end of March 2023. Services at the centre are currently delivered by BHT Sussex, but it is no longer financially viable for us to keep it open.
The Whitehawk Inn provides local residents with information and advice services, well-being, adult learning and social groups, and access to IT facilities. It is used by a range of community organisations, and also as a polling centre and a vaccination centre.
BHT Sussex is liaising closely with clients who used the centre to try to mitigate the impact of its closure. We will continue to run certain services, such as ‘MoneyWorks’, which offers financial advice and digital inclusion classes, using alternative community venues and remote working. Last year this service provided 769 advice sessions and was able to help secure clients £100,476 worth of benefits.
The costs of running the services delivered from the centre together with leasing and maintaining the building itself have proved too high, despite the efforts of BHT Sussex to secure additional funding and hire out rooms to maximise income.
David Chaffey, Chief Executive of BHT Sussex, said:
BHT Sussex took on the Whitehawk Inn in 2015 when it faced imminent closure and we were determined to save the project as a highly valuable, and valued, resource and community venue for the residents of East Brighton – people living in the most deprived area of our city.
We are proud to have kept the service running for 7 years, and deeply regret that without additional stable income, we have had to make the difficult decision to close the service.
In the current very challenging economic climate we must do all we can to protect our core services around homelessness, advice provision, addiction, housing advice, mental health, and housing. The reality is that continuing to support the Whitehawk Inn will directly affect our ability to do that in the future. These aspects of our work remain the key components of our mission and must be our priority to continue to provide.”