About us

We are a community led organisation in Brighton providing information and advice about learning and work, and a range of support activities for adults. For those who are looking to go back to work we offer careers advice, employment support and a range of tailored resources.


Our Approach

Three principles drive our approach:

  • aspiration - we work with people to raise their expectations of living fulfilled and productive lives
  • empowerment - we provide accessible opportunities locally and help people to make plans and take actions
  • advancement - we support individuals as they move forward in their lives, having a positive and inspiring effect on their families and friends

We work with residents, learners, providers, community workers, groups and others to gain a detailed understanding of the needs and wants of individuals and of trends in the community. We then talk to providers and broker a rich and accessible programme of learning and support towards employment.

We provide a range of wrap around support which is tailored to individual circumstances - these are designed to help people overcome the most common barriers of lack of childcare, poverty, poor health.


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Our Success

  • 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, we have increased our focus on supporting those who have experienced long term unemployment, providing additional support beyond statutory provision. Between 2007 and 2010, we supported 200 people 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.

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Our Story

The Whitehawk Inn opened its doors as an IT training provider in 1999, working with unemployed residents of East Brighton. In 2004, we changed our working model, moving away from direct training provision to focus on understanding the needs and wants of the community and to work with partners to develop and deliver a broader range of training. Since 2007 we have extended the range of activities and service that support those who are long term unemployed, providing additional support beyond statutory provision.

We’re now known and respected as a key part of the community - no longer the community pub, now the community hub!


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Working with us

Working with other organisations is key to providing responsive and relevant project activities.

We welcome approaches from:

  • training and employment advice providers who are funded to work with our clients groups
  • specialist agencies who have expertise and experience in working with identified and emergent groups
  • community events organisers, to invite us to be part of outreach at local venues
  • organisers of local fora and groups that advocate and campaign, raise the common profile, share information & good practice
  • organisations wishing to be use the WHI for training (one off sessions or longer courses), meetings and activities
  • organisations wishing to rent office space and be based at the WHI


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Latest News

Check back here regularly for all the latest news on activities at The Whitehawk Inn including news on important fundraising initiatives.


Meet Vy Shepherd, our wonderful collections team leader

I was born in Northern Ireland where my early years were lovingly spent in Portrush, County Antrim. Some fond memories include the many happy hours spent with my brother searching for wayward golf balls in the rock pools around the Royal Portrush Links Golf Course. I attended college in Limavady and trained as a legal secretary and court writer before finding employment in The Ministry of Defence.

I was encouraged at an early age by my parents and the Girls Brigade to become involved with charity volunteering. At just 14, I set up my first venture, collecting every Friday evening for the Salvation Army (the only place I wasn't allowed to approach was the public house!). Since those early days, charity work has evolved into an integral part of my life both in the UK and overseas.

In early 2010 a neighbour introduced me to the inspiring work of The Whitehawk Inn and as a result I became Chair of their first formal fundraising committee. Today the charity goes from strength to strength, winning prestigious awards. Now, as the Collections Team Leader, I devote my spare time encouraging fundraising. Currently, I am busy recruiting volunteers to join my bank of collectors to volunteer at supermarkets and local events such as The Brighton Marathon and am happily promoting the wonderful work of The Whitehawk Inn at every given opportunity.


Our volunteer Collections Team has successfully raised over £3000

The Collections Team are currently seeking volunteers who may have a few hours available each month.

If you would like to be part of this fun and dynamic team, please contact Vy Shepherd at vyshepherd26@hotmail.com

Fundraising has continued to be successful from supermarket collections so far at Tesco, Asda and Sainsburys.

The Whitehawk Inn Cafe tabletop sales, including beautiful hand-made greeting cards by Alanna McIntyre and Lucy Mason, are proving very popular, so a big thank you to all customers concerned.


adult learner of the year

Congratulations to Michelle Lunn for being this year’s Adult learner of the Year. The 2014 award ceremony took place at the Brighthelm Centre on the 19th June.

Michelle had walked past the Whitehawk Inn many times before but one day made the decision to walk through the door, a decision which she says changed her life forever. The tutors, staff and other students helped to change the way she viewed the world and her part in it.

She enrolled on many courses including IT, Touch Typing, Drama and Creative Writing, "Learning taught me self-discipline and self-awareness.....I will always be grateful to the Whitehawk Inn. It's the place where I discovered so much, the place where I discovered me". Michelle now volunteers in Brighton, helping others to gain confidence in their own abilities.

Well done Michelle, we're very proud of all you've achieved!


Celebration event

On July 10th 2013 we hosted a Celebration Event to acknowledge the achievements of our learners and volunteers. About 150 people attended the awards ceremony and enjoyed a variety of dancing, artwork, games, yummy cakes and plenty of sun. Check out what the Argus had to say!...The Argus


monthly newsletter - read all about it!

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Previous News

Here is information about previous news and events that you may have missed.


Thank you to our 2013 marathon team who raised an amazing £13,163.75


Whi wins best Community initiative 2010

The Whitehawk Inn was delighted to accept recognition for its contribution to the city at the Brighton & Hove Public Service awards. They were chosen from a shortlist of 3 to receive the Best Community Initiative award for their ground breaking work within the communities of East Brighton.


whi wins Charity of the Year award 2010

More than 700 guests at the Theatre Royal saw Frances Duncan receive the Charity of the Year Award at the annual Argus Achievements Awards event on behalf of the Whitehawk Inn.

As she received the award, Frances remarked that the award recognised the work that had been going on for 11 years in an incredible part of Brighton and Hove.


Local artist presents painting of the inn

In September of 2010 a new painting of the Whitehawk Inn by local artist Julie-anne Gilburt sponsored by local businessman Mike Holland, was unveiled.

The event marked the launch of a campaign to raise funds through private sponsorship, personal donations and working with other organisations in the city and to raise the profile of the wonderful place that is the Whitehawk Inn.

The painting is now hanging in the cafe at the Inn.


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