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Sussex Oakleaf and Brighton Housing Trust in merger talks

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Sussex Oakleaf and Brighton Housing Trust have announced today (Friday 29th March 2019) that we are in talks about a possible merger.
The purpose of the merger would be to extend services for clients and tenants, strengthen and protect our joint financial position into the future, and to increase opportunities for further growth. Should it proceed, the merger will take place in April 2020.

Sussex Oakleaf provides a range of support services to people with mental health needs, those with a personality disorder and individuals at risk of homelessness. It aims to empower people and promote independence by providing recovery focused community wellbeing services, residential care, peer mentoring, housing support and volunteering opportunities. It provides services in West Sussex, East Sussex, and Brighton & Hove. Last year it worked with 1,356 clients. It employs 90 people, has 20 regular volunteers and has an annual turnover of £2.9 million.

For more information about Sussex Oakleaf, please see its website.

The Chair of Sussex Oakleaf, Graham Maunders, said:

“We are very excited about the prospect of working more closely with Brighton Housing Trust to improve our offer to clients. We have had a close relationship with them over many years. We are two organisations with very similar values, and we feel that we complement each other well.”

Joan Mortimer, the Chair of BHT, said:

“By bringing the two organisations together we will become stronger than the sum of our two parts. At the heart of our considerations are the tenants and clients of the two organisations. There is clear evidence that this is a win-win situation for them, benefiting from the combined strengths of both Sussex Oakleaf and of BHT.”

Philippa Thompson, the Chief Executive of Sussex Oakleaf, said:

“We have for many years enjoyed a close relationship with BHT, working to provide training for our staff teams, attending each other’s conferences and, most recently, collaborating on various projects. It became increasingly apparent that there is an exceptionally good cultural fit, and this has been evolving further over the last six months.”

Andy Winter, Chief Executive of BHT, said:

“We were delighted when approached by Sussex Oakleaf regarding a possible merger. It makes complete sense to come together in the interests of our tenants and clients, our financial wellbeing, and our ability to grow in the future. Frontline services will not be affected by this merger and we will be building a new management structure which will reflect our joint strengths.”

Over the next three months joint consultation will be undertaken with tenants and clients, stakeholders, funders and regulators. A final decision on whether to proceed with the merger, taking into account the feedback from consultation, will be taken by the Boards of the two organisations in June 2019.

Should both Boards agree to proceed, a new combined Board and a new management team will be appointed who, by April 2020, will bring together the legal entities, the staff teams, and the policies and procedures for the merged organisation.

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