Meet this Year’s Community Champions: Gaston Mallia

From TDC's Caroline Vitta 

In 2018 Gaston was part of a group of local residents in Saltdean who noted the lack of youth provision in the area. After a lot of raising funds and collecting donated resources the Saltdean and Rottingdean Youth Club opened its doors in January 2019.

Since day 1, Gaston really has been the face of the youth club and the person who drives it forward. The youth club runs on a Friday evening and despite training and working full time to become a teacher, Gaston is there every week to open the doors, provide activities and give the young people that come a fun couple of hours out as well as making sure the club has funding to continue

Gaston is passionate about the youth club and the potential about looking at the opportunities that young people may have through attending. He is keen that the club runs on  the ideas of young people and that they feel ownership of it. I think Gaston is a real Community Champion for the young people in Saltdean and the surrounding areas and that is why I am nominating him for a Community Champions Award

Meet this Year’s Community Champions: Emma Richardson

From TDC's Amy Allison

Emma lives in Mile Oak and during lock down noticed that the local primary school had started to run a food bank. The teachers were trying to run the food bank as well as their classes and were struggling to run it efficiently.

Emma volunteered and started giving out and delivering food parcels to 20+ families across Mile Oak and North Portslade. As well as getting a FareShare delivery Emma tried to supplement the food by adding food from Olio and other food banks that had surplus. Emma was aware that many families needed to access affordable food in Mile Oak (the nearest shopping areas are a bus ride/drive away) so she jumped at the chance to start BrightStore, an affordable food project, in Mile Oak.

Emma helped to recruit several other volunteers and has been the lead volunteer since BrightStore Mile Oak launched in June. There have been 60+ families that have accessed the project.

Meet this Year’s Community Champions: Jane Hunter

From TDC's Anke Thurm

Jane has been active in her community for years and years – running her local tenant and residents’ association in East Moulsecoomb, connecting her community members and neighbours with each other and working with local groups and services.

Since the start of the pandemic, she has gone from collecting donations for the local foodbank to starting a whole new food project with other local residents. She has really upped her involvement in the community to organise and help make Moulsecoomb Community Market one of the most successful, forward-thinking food projects in the area ensuring that more than 60 household have access to low cost food. She has also taken an interest in St George’s Hall, which thanks to her and her husband Andy, has gotten a new coat of paint, a nicer garden with repaired benches and an exciting and successful summer fair right after lockdown this summer to help bring people together again.

She has more plans for St George’s Hall and Moulsecoomb Community Market, ideas for connecting people and places and services and I am in awe of her energy, excitement and commitment to the community in Moulsecoomb. Jane is a force to be reckoned with!

Meet This Year’s Community Champions: Marc Gory

From TDC's Tony Silesby

Marc has been an exceptional volunteer to the east Brighton neighbourhood for many, many years.

Initially working as an apprentice in Hawks community cafe, his friendly nature and desire to help his neighbours was clear. Marc went on to volunteer as a youth worker in the Crew Club and contributing to the community at every opportunity.

More recently Marc set up Whitehawk FC in order to provide local people the opportunity to play competitive football to improve their mental and physical health. He recognised that, although there are opportunities for children to play football, unless you have a particular talent there was little or no opportunity for anyone over 18, meaning they miss out on the benefits: team spirit, a sense of belonging and purpose that can be gained from football.

Marc and his then small group of volunteers renovated pitches, gained funding and set about giving people a chance regardless of ability. He was so successful that numbers of of people wishing to play became huge. True to his ethos of ‘football for all’ Marc committed even more time to run an additional drop-in session in addition to the training session and match days that he already ran).

This session sees up-to-date 30 people attending (both male and female) and welcomes even the newest players to the club.

Learning Coffee Making Skills at a Probarista Class.

Earlier this month, our MESH and Community Learning projects offered participants the chance to take Probarista training at One Church. MESH provides training and employment advice and opportunities to people from ethnically diverse backgrounds in Brighton and Hove, and this training was a great opportunity to learn a useful skill. In these classes, MESH Members learned from expert trainers the fine art of Barista Coffee Making.

They will be supported to find volunteering and paid work using their new skills.

The class was a great success with the 15 women who attended the two sessions, learning to make beautiful delicious coffee drinks, including espresso and lattes, foaming milk and creating those brilliant designs on the top of coffees that mark out a great barista. 

We had great feedback from the women too, who all were able to get the most out of the class, with the support of TDC.

"I'm really enjoyed. Xavier is a good teacher and the partner too. Thank you for allowing me the course!"

"I enjoy it and understand it. The teacher was very good. We all learned a lot of things."

"It was great yes I understand it. The teacher really good because he is explaining everything to us. Everyone was good they all did a great job."

"I never thought making coffee could be that difficult. But we learning new skills. We enjoyed the session. Xavier was very nice and helpful. We worked in pairs and everything was easy and well explained. Thanks for organising these session where we get the opportunity to learn and meet new people."

"My probarista course is very good . Yes, I enjoy it. Yes, I understand it. Yes, the women work well together."

"Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity."

Our Work with the Albanian Community in Brighton and Hove

The Vision of the Project

Strengthen Albanians pride and belonging and build aspirations of our younger members.

Improve integration in Brighton & Hove community and remove barriers to accessing services

Reduce discrimination and improve understanding of Albanian culture in Brighton & Hove community.

From our Community Engagement Worker,  Sonila Deda

In some ways it was good timing to join TDC during the pandemic. It meant I was able to reach many individuals and families and help their integration into British society at a time when many were struggling more than usual. It did of course mean many of our activities had to be flexible and change at short notice. Despite this we were able to reach 1000 people, many through online engagement. Especially on the Albanian's in Sussex Facebook Page.

Much of our signposting and engagement has needed to be online and we have started to share stories to inspire our younger members as well as lots of translated information about important services on our website.

We have managed several in person sports tasters, linking our young people with local cubs, including football and boxing. We have also offered women’s drop-ins enabling us  to share advice on domestic violence services along with other family service information.

We even had a fantastic celebration for Albanian Independence Day with 200 people participating.

“We haven’t attended any Albanian events before and would definitely like to come to more. It was good to learn about my Husbands cultural heritage, well done for organising it, we loved every minute”

Working within TDC has enabled me to have access to many trusted services and partners, I now hope to go from strength to strength and build a Strong Independent Albanian Organisation for everyone!

Tackling the Isolation of Older People in Our Community

From Sue Sayers, our Ageing Well Project Manager

"A wonderful lady who lives in Woodingdean gave me a Christmas card containing the following poem that she had written. (Included here with her permission)."


What does Christmas mean to me?
As we recall the nativity,
The birthday of Jesus so we all rejoice,
But what about those that have no voice?

The lonely, the sad and those on their own,
The ill, the depressed and those with no home,
All who are friendless, no one to care,
No presents to open, no meal to share.

The darkness descends and the weather is cold,
Often a struggle for those who are old,
Whose partner has died, whose children have left,
All on their own, feeling bereft.

Can we make contact, enlighten their day?
Help them recover and go on their way?
Begin a new friendship and give them some cheer?
Together forever as we start the New Year.

Helen Mason

"Helen’s poem sums ups what life can be like for many of us, particularly perhaps older people and especially over the past two years in this most peculiar time. It really showed me how important the Ageing Well project and all the work that TDC and the partner organisations involved in that project do to help prevent isolation."

The last Ageing Well Festival featured our project Dance, Dance, Dance pictured above.

If you want to know more about Ageing Well, or if you want to be a volunteer to support the work of the project, please contact Sue Sayers [email protected] or 07412 709 310

Curiosity Club – The Home of Curious Young Minds

“I come to the curiosity club for the nice people. It’s important to make a difference to someone’s life and to help your community”.

Curiosity Club is a science and tech club for teenagers in Whitehawk.

It’s every Wednesday at 5pm till 6:30pm at the Whitehawk Library.

We do photography, filmmaking and blogging projects and go on cool trips.

Here’s Why You Should Join the Club

  • There’s free food like sushi and sausage rolls
  • You can join free trips like to the science museum
  • Make friends — meet people your age
  • Nice youth workers
  • There’s free stuff for young people like power banks, tripods, stress balls and notebooks
  • You get to learn new skills
  • It’s all free!

We would love for you to join the club! Contact Caroline Vitta to find out more:

[email protected]

07481 896892


This blog was written by June, Maia and Lauran as part of Curiosity Club’s blogging session.


The project is supported via ‘Curiosity’, a collaboration between BBC Children in Need and Wellcome.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of BBC Children in Need or Wellcome

Meet the BMWs 🚴‍♀️

Two women cycle around preston park. One of them waves.

The Brighton Multicultural Women’s Cycle Club began in June 2021 as our MESH project was looking for fun outdoor activities that could be made Covid safe.

A cycling club in Preston Park was set up with support from Bricycles, Sustrans, Brighton Bike Hub and Brighton Bike Share. Our group of multicultural women included migrants and refugees from all parts of the world, some of whom were completely new to cycling. They took off around Preston Park Velodrome and the project was an instant hit, quickly becoming much more than a response to Covid, as the women joining the group loved the fun and independence they got from learning to cycle.

Just six months later, at the end of 2021, the project became constituted and applied for the Council’s BAME Engagement fund, supported by TDC’s staff Cicely and Amy.

The BMWs now have an Iraqi Chair, Egyptian Vice-Chair, Argentinian Secretary, Iranian Treasurer, Syrian Signatory and Algerian Group Ride Leader, and are raring to go this year.

Below, three of the committee enjoy a winter cycle and planning session.

"The Brighton Multicultural Women’s Cycle Club is all about connection, liberation, empowerment and upskilling. Women from Argentina to Zimbabwe are supporting each other to learn to ride bikes, get fitter, improve English and have fun outdoors."

Cicely, Senior Engagement Worker

2021 was an incredible year for this little project.

A group of women pose with bicycles in Preston Park.

We can't wait to see what they achieve in 2022!

Craven Vale’s Annual Wassail Returns

The Craven Vale Community Centre were delighted to be able to hold their annual Wassail after last year's Covid-19 disruptions. They hosted their own version of this ancient tradition last Saturday to bless their orchard of 70 fruit trees scattered around the estate. 

Wassaliling is a pagan ceremony where groups of people gather to bless trees in the hope of an abundant harvest this autumn. Craven Vale Estate's apple, pear and plum trees produce delicious fruit that anyone from the community can take and use, so a bumper harvest is especially welcome. The group sip hot mulled apple cider and sing to the health of the trees. So far the Wassailing seems to be working. The group have noticed plenty of apples on the trees that have been blessed!

Despite the bad weather, there was a terrific atmosphere at the event which included gorgeous headdresses made of natural foliage from Sarah's arts and crafts, song and, of course, mulled cider!

The event was filmed by Latest TV. You can see their report on the event here

We look forward to the next one!

TDC Win Award for Partnership Working at Children and Young People Now Awards


TDC has won the Partnership Award at the Children and Young People Now Awards 2001 for our Project Brighton Streets.

Brighton Streets is a citywide, coordinated detached (street-based) youth work programme led by TDC and delivered by TDC, The Hangleton & Knoll Project and Tarner Community Project. The programme is funded by the Brighton & Hove Violence Reduction Partnership and it has aims to reduce youth violence in the city through early, relationship-based interventions with teenagers.

Our Director of Youth Work, Adam Muirhead said:

This is a reflection not just on those delivering the project but all the incredible people and organisations who have been involved in commissioning it, setting it up, delivering training, making our film, evaluating the project, and being open to working with Youth Work teams in new ways.  We can all own this

We are delighted to be recognised for this crucial work supporting young people in the community. To find out some more about this project, you can watch the short film we made last year. 

The Bevy Responds to Local Need with LGBTQ Events

The Bevy — a community run pub in East Brighton — door-knocked their neighbourhood in 2019 to identify gaps in their outreach in the community. One of these gaps was the lack of specific provision for LGBTQ residents. Subsequently, a Switchboard report on the impact of Covid-19 on LGBTQ communities highlighted that residents all over the city suffered from increased isolation and lack of safe spaces to be with other community members.

With these findings in mind, a first get-together in the summer was held at the Bevy with local LGBTQ people to develop a programme of inclusive activities at the Bevy. The aim was to create a safe, welcoming and inclusive space and events where people can meet, develop peer-to-peer support, increase mental health and wellbeing and be signposted to LGBTQ affirmative services, such as Switchboard and MindOut.

“We used to go out more, see shows and meet others, but that wasn’t possible in the last years. To have something to do and a place to go to in Moulsecoomb would be great.”

LGBTQ resident attending planning group

In September, a community-run quiz night invited LGBTQ people into the Bevy to come together for the first time to socialise and have fun. Host Betty Swollocks, a well-known local drag queen, entertained the crowd of more than 60 people, amongst those regular Bevy customers, friends and allies from the area and – most importantly – new faces from the local and city-wide LGBTQ community.

The Bevy’s staff has seen an increase in younger LGBTQ people visiting the pub since displaying pride flags at the venue and advertising the quiz night. With support from the Bevy community’s team and TDC, LGBTQ residents successfully applied for funding to run further mental health and social events, bringing community members together to create cohesion and more understanding and awareness through Saturday brunch sessions and a Bingo night over the winter months.

“We are keen to be part of the activities and providing LGBTQ awareness training at the Bevy as part of our outreach and goal to create more safe spaces across the city. It is also lots of fun bringing people together after the pandemic who have struggled with isolation.”

Jane Woodhull, LGBT Switchboard.

If you are interested in upcoming LGBTQ events at the Bevy, please join the email list by contacting [email protected].

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