2023-24: A buzzing community hub once again

During 2023-24, the Resource Centre has once again become the buzzing, lively hub of activity it always was before the pandemic. More groups are coming back to do DIY print or dropping in for advice, use of our equipment service continues to grow, and the Centre is once more filled with the sounds of organisers doing community work, meeting each other, and sharing ideas and information.

A total of 585 different groups used our services during the year, making 1925 visits and phone calls to the Centre. We provided:

We are excited to have secured funding from The Fore this year to upgrade our booking, invoicing, and contact management systems. We’ll be working on this project in 2024-25 with the aim of making our internal administrative processes more efficient, so we’ll be able to dedicate even more of our time to working with groups.

Printing service: skills, connections, and printing too!

278 groups used the print service during the year, making 1640 uses of our equipment altogether. By far the majority of these uses were DIY, indicating a clear shift back to people coming into the Centre instead of requesting staff to do their printing for them on a send-and-collect basis.

We’re delighted with this shift as it reaffirms what we have learned: groups really value being able to do their own printing, in a community-focused space, with full control over the process. Community organisers get the opportunity to learn new skills with new print equipment and design programmes, and can discuss the aims and impact of printed material with workers who understand the context and importance of their work.

Being in the Centre is also an opportunity to meet community organisers from different groups, find out more about what is going on in other parts of the city, and build connections and community. It is a hub of information exchange, with knowledge being built and shared among everyone in the Centre, workers and users alike.

Women of Colour said: “I’ve been amazed by what’s available and by the learning and sharing that’s going on between staff and all the people who use the Centre. There’s a lot of skill sharing going on. You also make it easy to access resources – thank you for the simplicity, you make my life easier.”

Equipment hire: shared resources for the city

324 groups made 1441 equipment hire uses during 2023-24:

  • Equipment for meetings and indoor events: 419
  • Fundraising equipment: 690
  • Play equipment: 332

Equipment hire uses are still increasing following the total shut-down of the service during the pandemic.

We know groups are facing a particularly difficult fundraising landscape at the moment, and use of our equipment allows groups to organise fundraising events. In our most recent survey (2022), we asked groups how much money they had raised at their most recent fundraising event and the average amount was just over £3000. Based on this figure, we estimate that our equipment hire service helped groups in the city raise over £760,000 for their vital work during 2023-24.

During the year, we added some new items to our equipment for hire:

Information and advice: simply invaluable

Our online information service provides free, clearly-written guidance for community group organisers. All of our information is developed in response to questions from our user groups, and based on the insight we have gained from years of working with and learning from the experiences of our member groups.

We routinely receive enquiries from organisations all over the country (and around the world) asking to share our resources. We are always happy to oblige, provided we are appropriately credited.

In 2023-24:

  • We had 2,837 uses of the information pages on our website from people in Brighton and Hove, and 288,009 views of our information pages from around the globe.
  • Our drop-in, advice on demand service was used by 81 different groups on a total of 170 occasions.
  • We carried out 250 longer support sessions with 45 different groups. This support covered 40 different topics, with the most frequent enquiries being fundraising, budgeting, reporting to funders, book-keeping, legal structures, committee roles, and communications.
  • As part of the above we supported 25 groups with fundraising applications, budgeting and book-keeping. The total grant income raised as a result of our support was £108,390.
  • We carried out 57 examinations of accounts.

Our consistently available advice and support for member groups continues to be valued and appreciated. New groups find us approachable and helpful, and the groups we have worked with for many years often express how critical the support of the Resource Centre is to enable them to survive and do the things their communities need. For example, our member groups said this year:

“We are immensely grateful for the invaluable support and expertise provided by the Resource Centre throughout the funding process. I’m not sure what we would have done without you. Your guidance has been instrumental in helping us navigate the complexities involved.” Sikhs of Sussex

“Thanks for your ongoing support since we started in 2007. Always you are there when we need you. Your support is very important to us”. Oromo Community in Brighton and Hove

“I want to thank the Resource Centre for all the support you give us. We wouldn’t be able to manage without you. Without the help of the Resource Centre we probably would have shut down.” Hollingdean Residents Association

Page updated: May 2024