Worthing Seafront by David S on Unsplash

PlaceShaping in Action

SkyWaves - the start of a journey out of homelessness


Known for its beaches and seaside atmosphere, the south coast town of Worthing has a hidden side. Each night 200 people are homeless, and typically 85-90% have a local connection. Some are sofa surfing, some street homeless but all are vulnerable due to a lack of housing and support.

After years of planning and preparation, SkyWaves is finally being built. This will create homes and support for homeless people, starting a journey out of homelessness.

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Impressions of SkyWaves House

Architectural drawing of SkyWaves

Demolition for Skywaves House

Demolition of the old building underway

Worthing Seafront by David S on Unsplash

Worthing (picture credit: David S on Unsplash)



Feba Radio (a Christian radio telecommunications company) try to sell their dated offices.


Temporary rough sleeper site in Worthing closes.

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Negotiations to acquire site begin.

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December 2021

Public consultation begins.

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Early 2022

Planning application submitted.

June 2022

Initial planning permission awarded.

July 2023

Site acquired.

August 2023

Contract awarded.

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September 2023

Full planning permission awarded and s106 agreement secured.

December 2023

Demolition complete.

January 2024

Construction begins.


Completion forecast.

Key partners

Turning Tides are the largest provider of homelessness services in West Sussex, supporting over 900 clients a year, providing 222 units of supported accommodation. They provide emergency access hubs, outreach services and specialist multi-disciplinary teams including substance misuse, mental health, social work, employment support, lived experience navigators and housing first. 

Turning Tides
Worthing Council logo
Worthing Homes logo

Lessons learned

As PlaceShapers, our members connect to support each other in the challenges they face in delivering their place-shaping role.

PlaceShaping in Action creates opportunities for members to share, discuss and learn from the experience of others. Here Worthing Homes shares what they learned along the way.

Lesson 1: Planning

We know getting planning permission for schemes like SkyWaves can sometimes be challenging. Do you have any advice for organisations trying to secure planning permission for similar schemes?

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Lesson 2: Funding

Is there any advice you can offer about how you can make a scheme like SkyWaves work financially?

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The art of the possible

Donna Cezair, Chief Executive of Worthing Homes, blogs about the challenges and good fortune which have shaped a nine year journey.

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Worthing Homes CEO Donna Cezair (1)

May 2024

Location, location, location

Meticulous attention to detail - and working with a homeless client group to create a ‘psychologically informed environment’ - has resulted in a layout focused on getting the best long-term result for clients. 

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Demolition for Skywaves House

April 2024

Worthing Homes CEO Donna Cezair (1)

Setting out to find practical and long-term solutions to the continuously rising numbers of people experiencing homelessness is not for the faint hearted.

As I write in May 2024, the opening of SkyWaves, providing homes and support for rough sleepers in Worthing, is less than a year away. We are incredibly proud to have played our part in SkyWaves, but it has not been easy.

It has only been possible because our Board have a long-standing objective to help resolve local homelessness in Worthing, because of the strong partnership working, and because we have a deep commitment to the town and community.

We have worked with the local homeless charity, Turning Tides, and the local council, Worthing Borough Council, and it is their funding, resources, ambition, and expertise that have got us to the point where we can see this brilliant scheme emerging from the site of a run-down office building.

The journey to May 2024 has its roots, challenges, and moments of good fortune, in 2016.

Back then a local Christian radio telecommunications company, Feba Radio, tried to sell their dated offices. Luckily for us there was no interest and by 2021, negotiations began in earnest to buy the site. Wanting the site to be used in a way that supported their ethos, Feba Radio agreed to sell to their premises to us, giving a discount on the open market value. This was the first piece of good fortune.

The other pieces of the jigsaw puzzle were getting planning consent and securing funding to ensure the scheme was viable in the short and long-term.

We worked with the local authority planners and architects to design a scheme that maximised the use of the site – supporting as many people as possible while taking the views and concerns of the local community into account.

The expertise and experience of Turning Tides, along with the involvement of a local homeless client group, were crucial to designing a scheme that would meet the needs of the future residents of SkyWaves.

The planners agreed to amend local planning policy to allow smaller units of accommodation on the site, largely because they could be confident this would still fulfil the needs of residents. This was the next piece of good fortune.

As the project began to take shape, the quest for different funding sources began in earnest. There is funding available for projects like SkyWaves, but it can be short-term and piecemeal, and bidding can be complicated. With the right support and creative thinking, we have made it work.

So good fortune – yes certainly. But what has brought us to this point was a commitment of all partners to support local people on a path out of homelessness.

I am confident for our future clients, SkyWaves will be truly life changing, which is why it is so frustrating that getting schemes like this off the ground can be so challenging. We hope, through our work with PlaceShapers, others can learn from our experience, and we can make it that bit easier to replicate schemes like SkyWaves across the country.

Demolition for Skywaves House

SkyWaves will be 21 self-contained flats for single people with high support needs. They have been co-designed with a homeless client group.

The site was previously occupied by a rather run-down building owned by Feba Radio, hence the name SkyWaves House.  

The ground floor flats have private outside space for clients with pets and / or restricted mobility. 

The flats will be staffed 24hrs day / 7 days week, helping rough sleepers and homeless people on their initial steps towards living fully independently.

They are designed to provide a ‘Psychologically Informed Environment’ including dedicated counselling, clinical, training and digital inclusion suites.   

The ground floor office space will be a ‘multi-agency hub’ for staff from Turning Tides, Worthing Borough Council and external stakeholders such as probation service, police and health practitioners. This will allow collective working to best assess and support clients. 

The location is key: SkyWaves House is centrally located just north of the town centre, on the edge of a small industrial estate. The site is ideal in two ways: firstly, it is set back from the main A24 road, with relatively few residential neighbouring properties. Secondly the client group can access other nearby support services; with public transport and local amenities available in the town centre on foot and bicycle. 

Clients are expected to stay 6-9 months before taking the next step into alternative Turning Tides accommodation. This will include 13 new self-contained flats for people with lower support needs at Clifton Road.  

In terms of a journey out of homelessness, SkyWaves is the start of the local support service and Clifton Road the end point.