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Sussex Tikvah

In 1980, Harry Smith, whose son Jan had learning disabilities (which was referred to as a mental handicap at that time), had the idea that formed the basis for Tikvah: The Sussex Jewish Society for the Mentally Handicapped. This charity was formed in 1983 by a committee of parents, with Peter Senker as Chairman and… Read more »

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In 1980, Harry Smith, whose son Jan had learning disabilities (which was referred to as a mental handicap at that time), had the idea that formed the basis for Tikvah: The Sussex Jewish Society for the Mentally Handicapped. This charity was formed in 1983 by a committee of parents, with Peter Senker as Chairman and Harry Smith as Honorary Treasurer.

It first set up a club for adults with learning difficulties, which met weekly at the Ralli Hall. Brighton Housing Trust acquired a property, and central government’s housing corporation agreed to fund its purchase and adaptation to meet residents’ needs.

In 1990, the first residents moved into the house in Chatsworth Road. The late Jack Mazzier made a generous donation, and the house was named Rachel Mazzier House in memory of his first wife. The organisation was renamed Sussex Tikvah in 1993. The house has room for six adults and has been full nearly all the time since it opened.  Since2009, Sussex Tikvah has been run by Norwood, and continues to provide an excellent service to residents.

In 2015, the residents, three men and three women, ranged in age from the thirties to eighties, all except one having moved in when the house was first set up. In this year, the oldest resident, Hans Albrecht, who had come to England, originally in a Kindertransport from Austria, moved to Hyman Fine House.

Most of the funding of residents’ costs is provided by local authorities, and through government sources. But Sussex Tikvah has benefited enormously from strong support within the local Jewish community, both in financial terms and in terms of the time willingly given by volunteers and trustees.

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