A little history
In the early 1970s, the local church – lacking the funds to build its own church hall – offered to donate land for the creation of a community centre in the village, provided that sufficient funds could be raised for its construction.
A group of interested local people formed a steering committee, to which representatives of every local organisation were invited. A fund-raising committee was set up; shop premises were loaned by a local bank for a charity shop; and fund-raising events were organised in the area until some £7,500 had been raised.
Interest-free loans and a local authority grant followed to supplement those earnings, enabling the construction of the Centre to be completed in the mid-1970s, at a total cost of about £50,000.
Brighton Council primed the pump by contributing to the first year’s running costs; the Centre then became totally self-supporting, from the outset offering a programme of adult educational courses (two of the earliest were Keep Fit and Bridge) as a means both of serving the local community and of generating income to maintain the Centre. The Centre celebrated the 40th anniversary of its opening on 20 April 2014.
Use of the Centre
The Centre stands at the heart of the village and is open to all comers. The premises may be hired for wedding receptions, birthday parties, meetings of clubs and societies, and for any other kind of social event. A pre-school playgroup meets there regularly.
It is the venue for Parish Council meetings and houses a bi-annual charity shop. Local clubs and associations meet there, while the Centre’s other important activity is its programme of adult education and leisure courses, as well as occasional talks by visiting speakers and study days.
The course programme is designed to offer a broad spectrum of activity, ranging from leisure pursuits to academic interests. What is most important is that the classes offer an easy context in which people can get to know each other, practise new skills and turn their minds to something enjoyable and stimulating.
Classes are not aimed at formal qualification, rather at a better quality of life, and include adults from their twenties to their eighties who live in the surrounding area. The courses provide a first-rate antidote to boredom and loneliness.
Old favourites are Music, Art History, French, Creative Writing, Opera and Archaeology; other stalwarts are Drawing and Painting, Patchwork, Greek history, Italian, Bridge and Current Affairs. New courses in 2016-17 include Shakespeare's England, Mathematics in Action, Domestic interiors and Garden design, as well as Stained Glass Art and Understanding Geology.
Thanks to a generous grant from the Big Lottery Fund, we are also able to host a Computer Club, with laptops provided.
Fees are kept as low as possible and are geared simply to covering the running costs. All the administrative staff give their time voluntarily, and the Centre remains wholly self-supporting.
Its over-arching aim is to contribute to the health and well-being of the community.
More about the founding of the Centre can be found on the display table near the entrance.