About Friends Centre

Robyn Kohler Friends Centre is an independent adult education organisation where people can develop their knowledge, skills, understanding and creativity in a supportive environment. Our learning programme aims to:

  • Help learners achieve their aspirations and meet the challenges they face
  • Stimulate community interest and involvement
  • Promote inclusion, social justice, environmental sustainability and international understanding

Friends Centre was established in 1945 by Brighton Quakers. Throughout the Second World War, the Friends Meeting House was open to evacuees, refugees, troops and anyone else who was far from home. Informal social activities were often arranged. Friends Centre partly grew from these activities, and partly from concern amongst Brighton Quakers that there were few opportunities for local people to meet one another and talk.

'We felt the community would have all kinds of needs, such as meeting together in a search for knowledge and to share ideas, and they would need a place where every colour, creed, religion and social background could come.'

(Margery Sedgwick, Principal from 1945 to 1973)

In the early days, Friends Centre worked closely with the Workers' Educational Association, local education authority, art gallery and museum, youth service and local music groups to run informal learning events, including talks, discussion groups, music recitals, play readings, and a puppet group. Friends Centre was also involved in social action, calling meetings and study groups on many social issues including the campaign for African independence. Money was short and most of the work was done by volunteers, but by the tenth anniversary, activities were being held every night of the week and Friends Centre had gained a good reputation for putting on interesting talks and adopting an adventurous approach to art, music, poetry and philosophy.

Friends Centre courses gradually became more formalised, paid staff were recruited, and the Centre attracted government funding and accreditation from various educational bodies. Friends Centre outgrew the Friends Meeting House in 2005 and secured new classroom space at Ivory Place and a temporary office in Vine Street. In December 2009 we relocated our Vine St office to Brighton Junction in Isetta Square where we also have 5 new training rooms. Although an independent organisation, Friends Centre still retains the Quaker values of friendship, community, and social justice.

Throughout its history Friends Centre has learned the importance of involving people - learners, volunteers, and other organisations. Learners are an essential part of Friends Centre and contribute their ideas, energy and enthusiasms.

Friends centre in 1980s

Staff at Friends Centre at our old site in Ship Street, circa 1980

Brighton Junction


Our current centres: Brighton Junction & Ivory Place

Volunteering has been critical to our success from the beginning...

We have always welcomed volunteers to support individual learners in meeting their goals.

Click here for more information on volunteering

Friends Centre in the community

We work with many community partners who help us plan our programmes by identifying community and learning needs.

Friends Centre is a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee.


New courses for Summer!

Summer courses in Brighton

Due to popular demand, we've added in new classes in addition to the courses listed in the current brochure. For a full list of everything that's taking place this summer, click here.

If you'd like to book a place on one of our courses, have a look at the courses page or call us on 01273 810210.

Download our Summer 2014 brochure Summer term course list

Skills & Training in Brighton

You can enrol for courses for the Spring or Summer term throughout 2015. A wide range of courses are on offer including Painting, Drawing, Photoshop, Tai Chi, Mentoring and many more! We are also able to offer bespoke programmes for businesses. Click here for more details.

Paying online for your course(s)?

Pay online for courses


From 18 December onwards, for any transactions to be processed you need to use Internet Explorer Version 7 (or later) or the latest Google Chrome or Firefox browsers.

Saturday workshops in February/March

Saturday workshops in Brighton

This Spring, we have Saturday workshop sessions between 10am - 4pm for only £40.00!

Click here for more details.

Support Stephen's fundraising for Friends Centre!

Stephen Fairchild

Stephen Fairchild is walking from London to Brighton on Saturday 23rd May 2015 to raise funds for Friends Centre. He'll be walking 100km starting from Richmond all the way to Brighton Racecourse to finish. Please support him by clicking on the link below. Good luck Stephen!

Click here for more details.

Adult Learner of the Year

Andy Barber - Our Adult learner of the year tells his story in our first YouTube video! Click here to watch the video.

Click here for more details on the National Awards.

Trustee Vacancies

Friends Centre are looking to appoint 2 or 3 new trustees to join the board
Click here for more details.

Fashion Tutor publishes book on Sewing Machine

Fashion Tutor Julia Hincks

Our dressmaking tutor, Julia Hincks has published a book on the Overlocker sewing machine! The overlocker is a type of sewing machine which is used for trimming and edge finishing fabrics. Itís perfect for seam and hem finishing as it creates a professional finish which you just donít get on a normal sewing machine' Click here for more details.

ESOL Volunteer publishes first book!

Bob Cant - Something Chronic Book

Bob Cant, an ESOL volunteer at Friends Centre, has just published his first novel. Something Chronic is the story of a man who wakes up after twenty years of sleeping sickness and tries to make sense of the world around him. It belongs to the school of Scottish magic realism.

Bob says: 'I have been working on this novel for years but joining a creative writing class with Rebecca Duffy at Friends Centre was the kick start it needed to make it suitable for publication.'It is now available for immediate purchase online (£8.99) Click here for more details.

Sign up to our mailing list!

You can now receive email updates from the Friends Centre straight to your inbox! Just click the link below and we'll send you info about new courses as soon as they're confirmed on the website! Click here to sign up!

Friends Centre has made a pledge to the Thumbs up Scheme

Click here for more details.

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