Brighton Women’s Centre was formed in November 1974 by a collective of women who were determined to offer space where women could meet, for mutual support, to overcome social isolation and, most importantly, feel safe. In 1989 a grant from Brighton Council enabled the Centre to secure its own premises. The Centre moved 12 years later to Brighthelm, and finally, in 2006, arrived at its present home in High Street, Kemptown.
In 1992 the Centre set up a registered crèche called ToyBox, to offer childcare to mothers in temporary bed and breakfast accommodation and where the children were suffering deprivation through low income or language barrier or both. In 2003 thex crèche was renamed the ToyBox Pre-School and since 2000 has provided places in partnership with the Sure Start initiative and is registered for Ofsted inspection.
For most of the early years the impetus behind BWC came through the committed efforts of volunteers who nurtured the services women needed which were lacking in the mainstream. As a result, the BWC itself became a “birthing” service for Brighton Oasis Project and the Women’s Refuge Project (now Rise).
In 1999 the book A Woman’s Place was written to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the BWC as well as the lives of women in Brighton.
In 2014, Brighton Women’s Centre is celebrating its 40th anniversary with an enormous year-long fundraising drive. To find out more visit our Facebook page.