Innovative Arundel & Brighton community hub project hits £120,000 donation target in just 42 days

A community hub project based in an Arundel and Brightion diocesan church that started a £100,000 crowdfunding campaign has hit its target in less than two months.

Fitzherbert Community Hub is home to the Catholic Parish of East Brighton and three community projects based in the heart of Brighton’s Kemptown:  Brighton Table Tennis Club, The Real Junk Food Project Brighton, and Voices in Exile.

The Hub is situated in a run-down, under-used church hall at St John the Baptist church which is now being rebuilt and refurbished to create an eco-friendly community centre that will welcome everyone in the neighbourhood.

Early in 2018, The Real Junk Food Project started a pop-up cafe one day a week in the Parish hall creating lunches using surplus food to prevent it from going to waste. This attracted more than 60 people each cafe day. Payment for food is by donation so those who can not afford it can still eat and those who have a bit more can ‘pay forward’ to help feed others.  Pay As You Feel is our Community Care Model allowing everyone access to healthy food, opportunities for learning new skills and being part of an environmental movement.

When the Brighton Table Tennis Club closed at the start of the start of the covid pandemic, the club ran a food bank out of the hall and the Junk Food Project supplied takeaway meals on two days each week.  The parishioners from St John the Baptist & St Joseph’s extended the food bank to Sundays and this attracts between 60-80 people each week. During the building works, the food bank will continue from within the St John the Baptist Church.

Building on the popularity of the cafe, work started in earnest to put together plans and gain funding to extend and improve the space to make it a permanent community hub.

The funding for the building work has already been secured but funding for kitchen equipment, tables, chairs, crockery and cutlery was needed to make the community space safe and inviting for everyone.

Once the space is complete, important community support can be offered such as foodbanks, cooking classes, pay as you feel meals, exercise classes, and ongoing support to refugees in the community.

The Fitzherbert Community Hub launched a Crowdfunder in the hope of raising £100,000 for the community space refurbishment, but it achieved £120,100 in just 42 days. The donations received will now be matched by grant bodies, doubling the contributions.

Story by Joseph Kelly of www.thecatholicnetwork.co.uk

Diocese of Arundel & Brighton website: https://www.abdiocese.org.uk

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