We began in 1982, after a band of concerned locals involved in CND and The Quakers set up a small shop in Kensington Gardens called 'Give Peace a Chance'.
After a period of growth and development, we moved to Trafalgar Street in 1984 and became The Brighton Peace Centre. The centre quickly expanded, incorporating a library and resource area.
Broadening our remit
During the late '80s, we diversified our interests, stock and resources to reflect a wider range of connected issues: human rights, fair trade, environmental protection, sustainable development and social justice.
In the mid '90s we moved again, this time to 43 Gardener Street. It was here in 1985 that, in the heart of The North Laines, The Brighton Peace & Environment Centre was born. A new name to cater for the ever changing needs of our community.
Centres for Change
In 1991 BPEC hosted the first Centres for Change conference. The conference brought together organisations from all over Britain sharing common ground: peace, social justice, environmental and international development issues.
The Centres for Change network was established in partnership with the Federation of Radical Booksellers, the National Association of Development Education Centres, and the National Peace Council. The conferences continued to be a success and were hosted elsewhere:
- Birmingham FoE (1992)
- York Peace Centre (1993)
- Cheltenham Rendezvous (1994)
- Doncaster Earth Centre (1997)
- Norwich Greenhouse (1998)
- Swansea Environment Centre (1999)
- Green & AwayStroud (2000)
Between 1991 and 1999 we came under the umbrella of the 'Give Peace A Chance' charitable trust, which also included the York Peace Centre (now closed) and Milton Keynes Peace and Justice Centre.
In 2008 we attained independent charitable status with the help of Simmons & Simmons Accountants.
An Education Centre
In 1996 BPEC was granted status as an Education Centre by The DEA.
Through this network, we support teachers and schools learning about global sustainability issues: how to "think globally, act locally".
Our focus was to integrate global perspectives into the curriculum and classroom. We achieved this with our wide range of teaching resources and children's books.
Funded outreach projects
In 1998 we won the National Lottery - three years of funding to develop our educational resources and a public access internet service.
We celebrated the UN Year for a Culture of Peace, and Brighton & Hove's status as a UN Peace Messenger City with Peace 2000. We ran a programme of educational activities, public meetings and cultural events, culminating in the widely photographed and much talked about millennium festival on Hove Lawns in May 2000.
Rent increases saw us packing up and moving again in October 2002. We spent a few months in transition before getting housed by The Brighton Unemployed Centre in Hollingdean, but on 28th February 2004 we arrived at the Brighton Eco Centre.
Managed by the Ethical Property Company, the Eco Centre is a community in itself and the ideal space for us to continue our work - providing community information and resources while raising awareness of peace and environment issues.
The work we do is continually evolving. We have run several successful outreach projects: Global Citizenship Advocates courses for teachers; 3rd Age project for Brighton & Hove's older residents; and the after school club: Go Green. We are still running The Green Pages and launched the Climate Connections project which came to a conclusion in 2012.