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History

The Barn, late 1940s

The Community Centre has a long and interesting history - and it also has a large amount of documentary material which is badly in need of reorganising, so it can be made more accessible! We are very keen to find volunteers who might be interested in helping us as honorary ‘archivists’.  Please get in touch if you would like to know more!


The period since 2000 has been one of consolidation, in a harsher economic climate - and one also where the scope for public funding has ebbed away and where other forms of grant funding have become much scarcer. We have nevertheless been able to weather these changes by adapting the way we work and by continuing the long tradition of local fundraising initiatives. Recent projects have included widening and modernisation of the central foyer. Work is now under way on a major set of improvements to the main entrance, the public garden, and the wider appearance of the exterior around the whole site.

The Centre today

We are one of the oldest community associations in the country, officially founded at a public meeting in January 1945. The site was then a set of redundant farm buildings, badly in need of renovation.

A determined set of volunteers, led with great vision by Stanley Baker, worked for many years to bring the site into use, bit by bit. Their efforts were facilitated by the Southwick Urban District Council, which acquired the freehold of the site and supported the process of renovation. The Association today still occupies the site under a lease, now from Adur District Council.

The Homestead dates from the seventeenth century, clearly making use of stone ‘recycled’ from earlier mediaeval buildings in the area. The later farmyard structures on the site included a classic Sussex barn, cowsheds, stables and a piggery.

After the painstaking process of bringing these buildings back into use, attention turned to improvement and expansion of the facilities. Each decade from 1950 to 2000 saw ambitious new development projects, including: