Our 25 Year History

  • Home-Start East Sussex (originally Home-Start South Downs) was set up in 1996 by local parents and professionals who recognised a need for service that supported and empowered local vulnerable disadvantaged families to keep safe and well.  With the help of Home-Start UK policy and procedures, a volunteer home-visiting service was developed for Lewes District families.  A toddler group with messy play was also set up at the charity’s premises in Newhaven High Street.


  • In 2008, thanks to the Big Lottery Fund and Wealden District Council funding, the volunteer home-visiting service expanded into the Wealden District.


  • In 2009, thanks to East Sussex County Council funding, the home-visiting service expanded into Eastbourne Borough.


  • In 2012 we worked in partnership with Belltree Music Therapy CIC to develop and run a Sing and Grow music therapy group for disabled pre-school children in Uckfield.


  • In the same year a home-visiting money management service was set up to support families with young children living in the Wealden District.  This was in partnership with Wealden Citizens Advice and other local partners whose combined services met the needs of all Wealden residents.


  • In 2014 the two independent Home-Start schemes based  in the county merged to become Home-Start East Sussex.  Home-Start Hastings & Rother (est. 1988) had covered Hastings Borough and Rother District.


  •  From 2014 Home-Start East Sussex staff led a Pop in and Play toddler group at Newhaven Children’s Centre funded by East Sussex County Council.


  • Our long-established volunteer home-visiting service was primarily funded by East Sussex County Council from our formation. In response to economic pressures, in March 2016 a strategic decision was made by ESCC not to fund early intervention services, including our home-visiting service and toddler group.  In that same year HSES supported approx 300 families.  HSES is now funded by various independent grant providers, fundraising events and donors.


  • We had been supporting domestic abuse victim-survivors via our non-targeted services since 1996 but in 2016 thanks to Lloyds Foundation pilot funding began offering a targeted domestic abuse recovery programme to victim-survivors living in East Sussex and Brighton & Hove.


  •  In March 2020 staff and trustees were proud to receive SafeLives Leading Lights accreditation in recognition of the quality of our Lotus Domestic Abuse Recovery Programme.   The SafeLives Leading Lights programme is designed to recognise and reward good and safe practice in risk-led community-based domestic abuse services including recovery group work programmes.  It offers a set of standards for supporting domestic abuse victims through a risk-led approach and is designed to ensure that victims receive the same level of service, regardless of where they are in the country.


  • In April 2020 began offering our attachment-focused Being Mum programme to new first time Mums and their babies residing in East Sussex and Brighton & Hove


  •  We had been supporting parents with child to parent violence who were attending our other programmes but in September 2020 thanks to Sussex Community Foundation we were able to develop a targeted pilot Who’s in Charge? child to parent violence programme.  This provided a springboard for us to secure two years funding for families residing  in East Sussex and Brighton & Hove