Exciting things are going on in Whitehawk in the form of a group of local families who are campaigning to save their local parks which have fallen into a state of neglect and are unsuitable for children to play in.
A group called Park Life are engaging local residents to fight for improvements to their parks and on Saturday 1st September held a community picnic to raise awareness of the work they are doing.
Games and sports were on offer, alongside the smoothie bike run by local youth workers, a consultation to ask people what they wanted from their parks and a petition demanding change. A barbecue kept visitors well fed and host of music was put on, curated by the Brighton Dome Miss Represented project. East Brighton Trust were glad to chip in with our own contribution - paying for portaloos and refreshments at the event.
The event saw a fantastic turn out and we look forward to hearing more from this passionate group of Whitehawk families who are determined to make positive changes to improve the facilities for local children. Follow Park Life on facebook to keep up to date with their campaign.
This July, the Moulsecoomb Bangladeshi Women’s Group enjoyed an intergenerational trip to London thanks to a small grant from East Brighton Trust. The group visited the Coriander Club at Spitalfields City Farm, a gardening and cookery club for older generation Bengali women to gather inspiration for a similar potential project in Brighton. This was followed by a buffet lunch and a visit to East London Mosque in Tower Hamlets – where the group had a chance to pray at the Maryam Centre, a dedicated safe space for Women.
The Coriander Club is vital for improving the mental health and wellbeing of local Bengali women, many of whom speak very little English, suffer with long term health conditions and social isolation. Every Tuesday a women-only gardening session is held which helps offset isolation, loneliness and homesickness amongst the volunteers.The club provides a regular opportunity to volunteer and socialise with others, where women can learn to grow vegetables, cook and share healthy meals together.
Supported by Community Development Workers from TDC, the Brighton group organised the trip in the hope of learning more about cultivating specific native Bangladeshi vegetables and explore the feasibility of starting a food growing project in Moulsecoomb. TDC’s Ratna Jan Bibi said “The trip was truly wonderful! It was pure magic seeing the ladies so happy, smiley, confident, ambitious, capable and full of sparks!”
Read more and see more photos of the trip on the TDC website.
Earlier in the year, we awarded a small grant to TDC to run their annual Sports and Activities festival for young people in Moulsecoomb. The festival took place at the 67 Centre and Moulsecoomb Leisure Centre and over 50 young people from the area took part in activities such as a football tournament, skating, climbing, table tennis, disc golf, the smoothie bike, Boccia and lots more.
Local MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle and the Mayor of Brighton & Hove Cllr Dee Simson were both in attendance and spent time chatting to young people and a consultation took place on the day too about the proposed skatepark in the area, giving local people the chance to have their say on this popular potential addition. We’re delighted to have funded this festival which gave so many young people the chance to get active.
We are proud to have supported local charity Amaze Sussex a number of times over the past few years through our small grants fund. The money they apply for goes towards activities for the families they work with in East Brighton.
Amaze are responsible for the Sunflower Support Group Carer coffee mornings at Moulsecoomb Primary and the Whitehawk Parent Carers coffee mornings at The Whitehawk Inn. The monthly sessions focus on various issues around parenting a child with additional needs and/or disabilities. The groups offer support and advice to parent-carers of children with disabilities and/ or special educational needs and are a space for them to come together, meet other parents, feel less isolated and find out about services available in Brighton & Hove. Amaze organiser Paolo Boldrini told us “Some of the sessions are quite intense and emotional as parent-carers talk about their daily difficulties and also the joys of looking after a child with additional needs and/or disabilities.”
In May 2017 the group applied for East Brighton Trust funding to take parent-carers and their families on an outing and on Tuesday 22nd of August 2017 they headed to Drusillas Park in Alfriston.
“For various reasons parent-carers who attend monthly Sunflower Support Group and Whitehawk Parent-Carer coffee mornings find it more difficult than others to enjoy and benefit from family leisure activities. Sometimes it is the cost of taking a family out, other times it is the energy required to organise an outing where every member of the family can enjoy themselves. The outing to Drusillas Park represented, for many families, something to look forward to during the Summer holidays. Some families didn't go on holidays at all.”
Paolo told us about the day “Parent carers, their partners and their children met outside Moulsecoomb Leisure Centre just before 10am where a Big Lemon coach was waiting for us. From there we travelled to Drusillas and after a group picture at the entrance we went in the park. Drusillas was chosen because is not too far from Brighton and it's fully accessible. The park has many activity areas and a quite extensive zoo. Everyone had lots of fun, helped for sure by a glorious sunny day! The younger children were busy - almost all day - on the big play area and in the soft play complex where they ran, jumped and climbed everywhere. Other children spent hours on the 'get wet!' installation which has water jets, ground geysers, twirling streams and spiralling sprays - it was a hot and sunny day! All the families then took a bit of time off from activities by visiting the walk-through zoo. We regathered outside the coach at 4pm and by looking at the children, completely exhausted, we realised that they had greatly enjoyed the day out. All in all a perfect day out and not just for the children!”
“Thanks to the grant from East Brighton Trust we were able to facilitate a day out for families who would otherwise struggle to organise an outing for the whole family, or not be able to afford it. Parents were also able to relax and switch off for a day as they were reassured by the presence of other parents who would understand how demanding it is to look after a child/children with disabilities and/or additional needs. On the day some families grouped together so that they were able to support each other with, mostly, running after the children! Another great factor about the outing was that siblings of children with additional needs and/or disabilities spent a day with other siblings. They felt that they weren't the only ones who experience a sometimes challenging siblingship. And that is important too as many siblings provide care and support to their brother and sisters who have additional needs and/or disabilities. And finally parent-carers were able to meet each other outside the 'normal' coffee morning setting. The outing bonded the families even more.”
Bevendean’s community festival BevFest took place this year on Saturday 7th July. Bevfest is an annual one day music, arts and sports festival in Bevendean for the people of Bevendean, Moulsecoomb and Bates Estate. It started in 2012 and the aim is to encourage creativity, an active lifestyle, social inclusion and to bring together some of the communities of East Brighton. It is now a highlight in the local calendar.
This year’s events included food stalls, gift stalls, live bands, a children’s play area, a refreshment tent run by The Bevy and even a huge screen to make sure people didn’t miss the World Cup match!
Due to the isolated location, low car ownership and low income of people in the area the Friends of Bevfest applied via our small grants scheme for funding to run a free shuttle bus on the day. This ran to and from the event location in Lower Bevendean and encouraged people from Higher Bevendean, Moulsecoomb and Coldean to come along. The free bus service was provided by the Big Lemon Bus company and ran regularly throughout the event from Appledore Rd, The Bevy community pub and the bottom of the Avenue.
Here are some pictures of the day (Credit: Clare Forder), and we hear that a fantastic time was had by all.
Every Monday at the Manor Gym in Whitehawk a group of people meet up between 12 and 2pm for a healthy lunch and a sociable fun game of boccia. Boccia is a ball sport related to bowls and pétanque which was originally designed to be played by people with cerebral palsy. It is now played by thousands of people all over the world, including at Olympic level.
In May 2017 the Brighton group applied to us for a small grant to cover some of the costs of running the group – primarily, venue hire and the cost of providing a healthy lunch.
About 30 people attend the sessions and organiser Tanya Burbidge told us “I have been running this boccia session now for 12 years and I have learnt how important that it continues for the locals as there is no other community lunch club and boccia session open as a drop in to local residents. For many of them this is one of the only times they get out of the house during the week.”
They sent us this picture of one member proudly showing off a trophy from a recent tournament win.
The group describe themselves as “Open to everyone of any age or ability. We're a happy, friendly group”. You can find more images of the Boccia sessions on the Manor Gym facebook page.
Bevendean Community Garden is a place where members collectively grow organic produce, and host neighbourhood social and educational events. With vegetable beds, fruit trees, a pizza oven, a beehive and a wildlife pond, plus community composting bins and a shed for storing tools, the garden is situated on the edge of the South Downs National Park.
In January 2017 the group applied to us for a grant to help them continue to operate the garden in a responsible way. They used funding to pay for insurance, to replace faulty equipment used for cooking, for refreshments for the volunteers and to hold stalls at the local Healthy Neighbourhood Day and community festival BevFest.
The Bevendean Community Garden was established in 2011. It is an open garden where members share the growing of organic produce using sustainable gardening methods. Their aim is to promote food awareness, healthy eating, and to share knowledge of gardening and produce. Making a vital contribution to the community this year the garden made donations of fresh produce to the local food bank and ran cooking workshops with the neighbourhood Chomp club for families with school age children. The garden has also recently provided a space for arts-based events, forest school workshops and an after-school story-telling club run by a local poet.
Last year, East Brighton Trust supported the Whitehawk Summer Madness group to put on a Whitehawk’s Got Talent event at the Manor Road Gym. Free to attend and very much an intergenerational event, older members of the community mixed with the younger ones and all attendees were encouraged to take part in a range of activities.
Through links with other local groups, the event took place as part of the “Your Place” series for the Brighton Festival. Organiser Miguel Tello told us “By joining the larger festival we were able to attract many more participants to our part of the event and promote exit routes such as local clubs and activities on offer to people from the community.”
With a decidedly competitive element to the goings-on, categories for local people to compete in included singing, dancing, cookery and art, plus ball sports such as football, wheelchair basketball and boccia. Winners in all competitions were recognised with medals and prizes.
In terms of the sports, training in ball games and basketball was given in the 10 weeks prior to the event thanks to a group of volunteers. Participants learned numerous tricks and improved their agility, coordination, physical endurance, strength and physical health in general. Miguel said “These young participants fit within a group of kids that typically do not take part in exercise or in other sporty group activities. The benefits to these young people therefore extend to experiencing a social sporty, fun and challenging environment. They were able to learn the values of being in a team, make new friends, become an active part of their community and see progress in their skill.”
At the official Whitehawk’s Got Talent event, those who had been taking part in the training sessions were able to demonstrate their new skills to their family and friends then encourage others to get involved too. The event also offered an opportunity to signpost people towards regular local groups and activities in the community to build on the enthusiasm of the day and to encourage them to stay involved in an active lifestyle.
At the start of 2017, the Sapling Woodchips received funding through our small grants scheme. Sapling Woodchips is an activities group for young children aged 6 and under and their families. It is facilitated by a group of local mums on a voluntary basis. The group members are all residents of Saunders Park, Moulsecoomb and Bevendean. The group meets weekly throughout the year and operates in these three areas on a rotational basis - at the Moulsecoomb Forest Garden, The Bevy Community pub and in Saunders Park.
The Group focuses on inclusive and participatory activities and events for young children incorporating learning age appropriate new skills such as gardening, numeracy and literacy. This is achieved through singing sessions, outings to forest gardens, and mutual cooperation through play, teamwork and storytelling.
Along with the regular sessions, the group used some of the funding to attend an annual district low-cost Woodcraft camp in Sussex in August 2017. This was aimed specifically at similar groups in the district with a view to encouraging more integration for families and young children in line with Woodcraft Folk ideals.
Saplings Woodchips organiser Nicola Benge told us “This grant has really made all the difference to our group. We have been able to buy craft materials for our weekly sessions, provide healthy snacks and subsidise people to come on camp. For this camp, we were also able to support practical purchases for the project including; Arts and crafts material, cooking equipment and ingredients and camping equipment for the group. The funds were also used for our weekly group sessions in particular; venue hire, healthy snacks, materials for the sessions, as well as small subsidies for the costs of enabling young people and families to attend the regular activities and sessions so that all could attend regardless of their financial means".
She elaborated on how the grant has impacted local families “We encouraged young people whose parent(s)/carers are dependent on benefits to apply for a bursary from us to help support their attendance to attend the summer camp. There were others too in low income families who needed a degree of subsidy, including especially where there was more than one young person from the same family seeking to attend. This therefore meant that we were able to engage newer members, families with multiple children, and one parent families to attend when they wouldn’t otherwise have been able to do so”.
Some of the participants also fed back on how they had enjoyed the sessions:
“We both love Woodchips. We learn great crafts and cooperative games. We look forward to Mondays”.
“Thank you so much for helping us come to Woodcraft camp. It’s our first one and as a single parent, I wouldn’t have been able to attend without the support of the group and the grant from East Brighton Trust”.
“My daughter loves Woodchips, she’s made a lovely group of friends and is learning co-operation and social issues in a friendly, gentle way”.
‘We love Woodchips as it’s a friendly community with fun varied activities and lots of time in nature’.
‘I was new to the area and didn’t know many people, so this group has been a great way to meet other like-minded families and feel supported’.
The group hopes to expand to support later age groups too in the near future, to help provide activities in the East Brighton area for more young children and a wider section of the local community on an ongoing basis.
“Our group in East Brighton has grown in number as we’ve been able to make the regular sessions accessible and open to local residents, we now have ten families (sometimes more) from the area regularly coming up from three families in 2015.We’re really pleased with this increase and the regular engagement as a result. 8 children and 7 adults attended the summer camp in Sussex in August from East Brighton of which 5 children and 3 adults were subsidised.
For some of the participants it has been a vital support for activities with children in an area where there isn’t a great deal of other low cost groups to attend. It has made us realise that we would like to continue running the group and to definitely look at finding a way to set up a new Elfins group for the children when they get to six years old, as there currently isn’t one in the area.”
East Brighton Trust is a Community Interest Company registered in England and Wales No. 4260488
Our Registered Office is Unit 5, Westergate Business Centre, Westergate Road, Brighton, BN2 4QN