our history

Over 30 years
of history

The Beginnings

The Old Boat Corner Community Association (OBCCA) came into being on the 9th September 1985 when a Constitution was adopted and it was decided to seek Charitable Status with the objects of establishing and running a Community centre.
Events had however started previously to this by the Together Group which then ran Carden Tots. The Together Group committee and parents had been seeking new premises for their work since 1983 and at that time had outline planning permission
from the Council to erect a 200 ft building on the site where the Centre now stands.
 Whilst carrying out this project, the members contacted a group of friends, George Clift, Mick Humphrey, Alf Verrall, Nick Warren and Phil
Purvis who were members of the Parents Committee at Carden School. They became interested and with the Together Group and saw the possibility of it being suitable for a community building.
Shortly after this it came to notice that STC factory in Crowhurst Rd was closing down. Alf Verrall who was an employee took the group to see the newly refurbished Social Club which was part of a building belonging to the factory. The group was impressed and thought it would make a good community centre even though it was a bit far away from most of the houses.
This group contacted people from other community organizations and called a meeting in the STC premises. It was decided then to form a Community organisation to bid for the lease of the building which was held by Brighton Borough Council. A steering group was formed to start
proceedings and a formal bid for the lease was put in to STC and the Brighton Borough Council.
Unknown to the group, Wyncote Development Company was negotiating for the site to be developed for Asda. Fortunately, The Brighton Council
Planning department knew of all the work put in by the Together group for a community building and having a formal application from the newly
formed OBCCA, came to an agreement with Wyncote Developments. Planning gains was a term which was being used at this time when, in support for various projects, large companies were prepared to offer benefits in kind to the local communities rather than pay large sums of money for leases from Local Authorities who were hampered by the terms of funding from Central Government. It was proposed that Wyncote Developments would build a Community Centre to be given to the BrightonBorough Council as a  Planning gain.
The OBCCA were granted an Occupation Licence by the Brighton Borough Council to run and administer the building and took possession of it on February 29th 1988.

Why are we called The Old Boat?

The name for the Association was chosen because some people in the original group lived in Coldean and Stanmer both of which lacked community facilities. The Old Boat Corner was between those areas and Hollingbury and Patcham..
The group also felt that they wished to keep the name of the Old Boat Corner the crossroads area of Ditchling Road and Carden Avenue – alive. It
had fallen into disuse in everyday conversation. There is a legend that there was an upturned boat on the hill which was used as shelter for the
shepherds as they drove their sheep to market from Lewes and Ditchling to Hove the Droveway.

Honourable people that should be mentioned

 There are so many people that have been a part of The Old Boat. Too may to not but we are going to try! 

George Clift

Mick Humphrey

Alf Verrall

Nick Warren


Liz Clift

Donna Nerantzidis

Philippa Smith



They stand up and take action together

That it’s rooted in courage, optimism, and creativity. That when people who believe in those things band together, when they stand up and take action together, their courage is compounded, it becomes contagious. Their voices are amplified, their stories ripple out to change the world. The old stories are failing us – the stories of infinite growth in a finite world. The stories that tell us we can consume our way to happiness.