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.

Click here for more information on volunteering

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.

Further reading...

    Ofsted Report: Click here for a summary or here for the full version

News

Trustee Vacancies

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

Volunteers needed for coffee mornings in May

Coffee Mornings

We're Charity Of The Month in May for The Chapel Royal's Charity Coffee Mornings. We need volunteers to help serve tea and coffee and to help promote all the great work that we do. Even if you can't help out, we'd love to see you for a drink so come down on any Saturday in May to see us and grab a cup!

Click here for more details.

Summer Courses for Adults!

Skills & Training in Brighton

Our new brochure for the Summer Term is now available. 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.

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.