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Community Leaders Lunch at St. Cuthman’s Whitehawk

Friday 26th April 2024 saw the second East Brighton Trust Community Leaders’ Lunch, hosted by the vicar for Whitehawk Ben Atkins and his team under the beautiful vaulted ceilings of St Cuthman’s church.

Attendance numbers and the organisations represented doubled from the first lunch held in January – to just shy of 60, which resulted in an initial entertaining scramble for tables, some of which might have better served small children but all was received in good humour as you’d expect from this group!

Ty Goddard, Chair of EBT did a great job of (mostly) keeping speeches and proceedings to time! There was a short introduction from each person and organisation represented followed by two speakers. 

It was great to have Victoria Melody, this year’s Our Place – Brighton Festival Artist in Residence in East Brighton join us to talk about her project ‘The Diggers Re-Enactment’ at the Crew Club, Whitehawk. Victoria told us that the Re-Enactment is a joyous celebration of the activists and agitators who take direct action to help those most in need, it is a project about poverty and land rights. Modern-day Diggers according to Victoria are the underground voluntary sector stopping starvation in our poorest neighbourhoods – taking matters into their own hands. 

Re-Enactment is going to culminate in a “Feastival” on 11th May. It’s free and exclusively for the people of East Brighton. There will be a historical re-enactment of The Diggers (made up of vegetable growers and food volunteers) reclaiming land, a skirmish with The Parliamentarians (the English Civil War Society) as they try to reinstate the land, a choir singing Diggers songs, an authentic 17th century banquet for everybody, mischief and music.

Next up was Ben D’ Montigny, board member of the East Brighton Trust. Ben spoke about the need for disused community assets in East Brighton being regenerated and reinvigorated through a collaborative, bottom up approach with local residents and stakeholders. He talked about how he had instigated initial discussions for the revitalisation of the Valley Social in Whitehawk and welcomed anyone with an interest in building this valuable community asset back up, to get in touch.

And then came the feast! Once again, Carly and Jess from ‘Cooking Good in the community’ delivered an incredible spread and people met, shared – and made new connections which we look forward to hearing about and reporting back to you all. And, nothing went to waste either as Lacie and her team took and shared the food left with the community at the Crew Club.

At East Brighton Trust, we believe that when you bring communities of like-minded people together, wonderful things can happen and we were blown away by the energy and passion in the room at St. Cuthman’s and already we are hearing of organisations connecting and planning their next conversations…

“The EBT Community Leaders Lunch is a great community event bringing together lots of lovely, like-minded people from across East Brighton. We never normally have the time to catch up as everyone is very busy so this lunch is the ideal opportunity to meet fellow community groups to chat and share solutions and good practices. 

The EBFC will be forging new partnerships in East Brighton as a direct result of the two previous lunches as well as rekindling old friendships. Joining up with others & sharing knowledge & resources will enable all organisations to increase their offering and impact, which is a win win win for everyone. Thank you EBT for a great lunch and the opportunity to link up with fellow colleagues across many diverse community groups. I am looking forward to the next one.”
Bryan Coyle – East Brighton Food Co-op

If you are a local community group and would like to attend our next get-together, please get in touch here: justine@eastbrightontrust.co.uk