Our history


The Outlook Foundation was founded in 1985 as a further education centre for young adults with learning disabilities.

The Foundation was founded by Gaynor Forster, who was the wife of Dennis Forster, the headteacher of St John's School in Brighton, for children with learning disabilities.

Gaynor saw there was nowhere for these pupils to go once they left school. Alongside Jean Marshall, from the Board of St John's, they started The Outlook Foundation to provide further education for these young people, then all aged 18-25.

In 1997, The Foundation won a grant from The National Lottery to buy Outlook House. 


Outlook House meant the charity could provide housing for their young people for the first time - all five of them originally! 

This safe, supportive home gave the residents somewhere they could learn life skills such as cooking and budgeting, all in their own time. 

Over time, the number of residents grew, as did their need for independence. It was clear that different options for living conditions were needed.

Gaynor Forster House was added to The Foundation in 2004, and converted into five self-contained flats with their own private kitchens. 

Jean Marshall House was added in 2008, originally providing residential care, but was then converted into supported living en suite rooms in 2012.

The upper age limit of 25 was removed in 2011, meaning our guys can now live with us for as long as they choose to. Some have been with us since the beginning!

In 2021, we supported our first tenants to move into their own flat in the community. We stay in touch through scheduled contact hours and are always at the end of the phone. And in 2024 we added our fourth property, housing four of our residents in a cosy, calm and welcoming house in Hangleton.

Each new setting we add helps us create the right balance between independence and support for every person, making sure everyone can thrive, in the setting best suited to them. 


Today, the Foundation supports 32 residents and tenants, living within the four houses, and with six people in their own flats. 


Ria, Chief Exec of the Foundation, said: "There is such community amongst our residents, tenants, friends, family and staff. This is our workplace but it is their home, and we are dedicated to the respect and dignity of the people that we work for. Watching the guys and girls grow in confidence and independence is the best feeling in the world."

Our people

Senior management team

Ria Mew

Ria has been CEO of The Outlook Foundation since 2016, ensuring that the independence and wellbeing of the guys is at the heart of everything we do. She originally began as a Support Worker in 1997 and has also worked as a House Manager and a Trustee. 

Beth Hemsley

Beth is Director of Training and Quality Assurance, working with staff on their skills and with each tenant on their individual life skills plan. She began at the Foundation in 2002 and has worked with the residents and tenants as a Support Worker and House Manager.

Sarah Wilmshurst

Sarah is the Director of Health & Safety and Properties, making each house a safe, welcoming place to live, as well as looking after the health & safety of tenants and staff. Sarah first started at the Foundation in 2007 and has worked as a Support Worker and House Manager. 

If you would like to see what staff vacancies are available, click the following button: