Our new office

Our new office

We were really happy at our old office. Before that we were based just off one of the most ‘characterful’ streets in the city of Brighton. We were right in the thick of the action, a stones throw from the beach and the Royal Pavilion. However, as our team grew we just outgrew that office.

We then moved to a semi-rural location on the outskirts of the city and instead of the hustle and bustle of city life we now had squirrels and all sorts of birds as neighbours. It was lovely but the lockdown happened and it made us think differently about what we needed from an office.

The one big downside of our peaceful location was it wasn’t very easy for people with learning disabilities to visit us and I’d also realised what we were really missing out on, being part of our local community.

So last April I arranged a socially distanced meeting in a park with a couple of Methodist ministers and friends from Nam Yang Martial Arts Club and Brighton Table Tennis Club. They’re both brilliant community minded organisations and we all share the same values.

We’re all about community, inclusion, solidarity and challenging inequalities in practical ways, as are Food and Friendship who have also been doing great work at the church for a few years and the church with their brilliant toddler group and Chomp holiday club for children who receive free school meals.

We offered our shared vision to the Revs Dan and Andy about how we wanted to use their building as a base not just for us but for also to collaborate with other users of the premises and create a community hub where anything might happen.

The building was fairly well used before but there wasn’t too much sense of any of these groups working together, sharing ideas and enabling new things to happen. We said we wanted to see if we can create a greater sense of community for everyone.

They said they loved the idea and now a year on we’ve moved our office in to one of the rooms at Hove Methodist Church.

In the basement Nam Yang will be running their martial arts club, Brighton Table Tennis Club will be running coaching sessions for people with learning disabilities and older people in the main church. Food and Friendship will be running their lunch clubs for older people and people with learning disabilities twice a week and there’s already talk of collaborations even though none of us are really running anything yet due to restrictions.

We’ll be able to run socially distanced groups and meetings and are back in a part of the city where there’s a real sense of community and where we’re easy to get to. Plus it’s also a cracking concert venue.

In whatever way we can we want to create as many opportunities for real-life connection for people as lockdown restrictions end. (And don’t worry if you’re part of Gig Buddies Sussex and live no where near Hove. We’ve got some plans about that!)

A Political Manifesto for Today

Michael Eavis, a life-long Methodist has this manifesto on the wall in the Glastonbury Festival Office. It’s incredible to think it was written 250 years ago. Everything on it speaks of our times.

  • Reduce the gap between rich and poor
  • Seek to ensure full employment
  • Introduce measures to help the poorest, including a living wage
  • Offer the best possible education
  • Empower individuals to feel they can make a difference
  • Promote tolerance
  • Promote equal treatment for women
  • Create a society based on values and not on profits and consumerism
  • End all forms of enslavement
  • Avoid engaging in wars
  • Avoid narrow self-interest and promote a world view
  • Care for the animals with whom we share our planet

In our small way we want to keep these manifesto aims in the way we work and live our lives and so it’s also on our office wall at the church. All these aims are also naturally the ways in which Food and Friendship, Nam Yang, Brighton Table Tennis Club, Hove Methodist Church and Stay Up Late all work.

At the moment everywhere is still deserted but it’s spring time and there’s little signs of new life and things about to happen everywhere.

It’s a really exciting time for us as we don’t know what’s going to happen, but we do know working with these groups will lead to all sorts of beautifully wonderfully unexpected things happening. I’ve seen them work before and that’s what they do.

For example the martial arts club have already asked if one of our people would be able to DJ while they’re holding sparring sessions. I know just the chap for that and the thought of people hitting seven shades out of each other whilst S-Club 7 is blasting out just fills me with joy. And that’s before we’ve even really got going.

Plus we get to enjoy listening to Janet the organist practicing her beautiful playing on a Friday morning, free tasty hot lunch on a Tuesday and Thursday and a bit of ping pong all while connecting with new and lovely people. What’s not to like about all that?!

Who knows what might happen next. I reckon John Wesley would approve though.

We hope to be able to welcome people in soon.

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