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The Green Centre

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How It All Began

Broken Pasting TableBroken Paste Table

It all started with a broken paste table found at Poynings boot sale. Green Centre Creative Director, Melanie Rees, recovered and repaired it. A former Special Needs Head Teacher she took to the streets of Brighton & Hove and set up class! The subject - Global Warming and Climate Change.

Donated Car

Christened The Green Workshop, regular appearances at George St Farmers market in Hove led to a flurry of invitations; schools, businesses, fairs and festivals including Shoreham Beach Dreams, Brighton Science Festival, BBC Springwatch, Dorothy Stringer Environmental Fayre, Brighton Pride, etc. Without our donated car, attending these would not have been possible.

 

Permanent Digs

"Where can we come and see you?" This was to become a regular question from the general public. Followed by,"You need a permanent site."

We set about researching this option. We believed visibility to be a key issue so we looked at central locations including the Laines in Brighton and George Street in Hove. Rents, rates, utilities would cost approximately £30,000 a year. In real terms that would mean finding £577 a week! As an education project this level of fund raising was not achievable.

Mobile Library? Double Decker?

A volunteer suggested we purchase a mobile library and convert it. We thought this a splendid idea and contacted the council who in turn suggested acquiring a bus to convert. We contacted Tom Druitt, Director of The Big Lemon, "So where does one purchase a bus Tom?" Not only did we discover where to purchase a bus but we also discovered we can purchase two decks for the same price as one! What a conundrum! You can purchase a 2nd hand double decker for as little as £4,000 however a good conversion will cost £20,000. According to my Maths that's £24,000, which is nearly as expensive as permanent digs!

 

The Green Centre at 39 Manor Hill

You wait for ages... then two come along at once! While taking a break from the search for premises or a bus, two came along at once; a fantastic bus and a fantastic premises. We decided to pursue both with equal energy and leave it in the lap of the Gods believing that which ever one worked out best was the one we were destined to have. Finally, The Green Centre opened at 39 Manor Hill, Whitehawk. It took 2 years 7 months from paste table to premises. And so began a new and exciting journey...

 

The Green Centre leaves East Brighton

Thanks to the support of our fantastic landlords the East Brighton Trust we enjoyed 8 very successful years at 39 Manor Hill. Sadly we learned in October 2016 that we had to leave Manoir Hill as the building needed EXTENSIVE repairs.

We were supported with great enthusiasm and generosity by the East Brighton community who shared their ideas, their unwanted possessions and their love and friendship. Their kindness allowed us to create a successful project which attracted visitors from far and wide and helped us re-use and recycle 150 tonnes of "waste" destined for landfill and incineration. Thank you. 

The Green Centre at Brighton Open Market

After searching for alternative premises for 6 months we faced homlesssness and the end of our project but then the Universe sent us some angels! Firstly, Cat Fletcher of Freegle helped us out with some storage. Next Josie Pearl Jeffrey from the Foodshed Co-op at Brighton Open Market invited us to view a unit at the market. This didn't work out instead we ended up with a stall BECAUSE . . .

We bought a double decker bus!

In May 2017 we bought a double decker bus which we are currently converting. Downstairs will house a One Planet Living exhibition and upstairs will provide a space to meet, share ideas, deliver workshops, etc. We're co-habiting with the Big Lemon.