Alan & Craven Vale Community Association

Alan & Craven Vale Community Association

Alan volunteers as secretary and treasurer for Craven Vale Community Association: a volunteer run organisation which looks after all aspects of the community in Craven Vale and adjoining streets in East Brighton.

“Our aim is to build a sense of community on this council estate in whatever way we can think of!” They organise a variety of social events including monthly quiz nights and run weekly free tea and cake sessions and a weekly food bank. This year they are planning an additional extravaganza to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee that will involve a performance by the Brighton Morris Men, the dedication of a new mural and planting of a sapling in honour of Her Majesty.

The hard work of Alan and the volunteer team is inspiring. “Over the last ten years we have planted some 70 fruit trees on our estate which provide free food in the autumn. We have also planted walnut trees and a fig tree, all of which are thriving. We have an active group looking after the planting of wildflowers on other patches of grassland, and another team looking after an apiary on the estate. This year we have installed an outdoor table tennis table, thanks to the generosity of Brighton Table Tennis Club.”

Like many communities in the region, Craven Vale faced challenges during the pandemic. “During the covid emergency we had to ramp up our food bank operations significantly, having to move to larger premises on three occasions. Our original (elderly) volunteers stepped back due to health concerns, although they are now back in harness. During the emergency we recruited around fifty additional volunteers – mainly youngsters – who rose to the occasion, packing and delivering parcels with real good humour. We raised over £30,000 to purchase additional food supplies for the emergency.”

But they are planning positively for the future. “We have plans to lease a disused building on the estate from the Council to be run as a Community Workshop. The aim is to offer a range of opportunities, particularly for residents who would like to use their hands in a variety of activities – repairs, construction, art etc. It has taken five years from the initial suggestion to getting the Council to agree, but we hope to have it in operation by the end of 2023.”

“Our aim is to build a sense of community on this council estate in whatever way we can think of!”

“Our aim is to build a sense of community on this council estate in whatever way we can think of!”

NEXT | Hollie - volunteer befriender