About Friends Centre
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 and still Friends Centre President)
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.
We have always welcomed volunteers to support individual learners in meeting their goals.
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.
Fashion Tutor publishes book on Sewing Machine
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.
New Skills & Training Courses for Adults
Our new brochure for Skills & Training for adults is now available. Courses range from communication skills to the more vocational ĎConfidence and Self Esteemí and ĎAssessing Vocational Achievementí. We are also able to offer bespoke programmes and for businesses. Click here for more details.
Friends Centre Craft Fair at St Bartholomews Church
We had a great time at our Christmas Craft fair on 30th November, you can see the picture on our facebook page! Click here to see the photos!
ESOL Volunteer publishes first 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!
Co-op Funding for Volunteer Training
At Friends Centre we rely heavily on our volunteer learning support assistants. We currently have forty people working in classrooms supporting our learners.
We have received a very generous grant from the Co-operative Community Fund which is enabling us to provide valuable training for our volunteers. On the 25th September, 19 of our classroom volunteers attended a training event at our Brighton Junction base. A further Co-op funded training event is planned for January.
We would like to say a big thank you to the Co-op Community Fund for making these training days possible. Click here for more details on The Co-op Community Fund.
Friends Centre are looking to appoint 2 or 3 new trustees to join the board
Click here for more details.
Volunteer Confidential Clerk
We are also looking for a Volunteer Confidential Clerk to the Board of Trustees Click here for more details.
Friends Centre has made a pledge to the Thumbs up Scheme
Click here for more details.