After 40 years, the much-loved BeCCA playgroup and children’s club in Bevendean is facing closure because of funding constraints. The group, which relies heavily on donations and volunteers, released a statement on Friday (24 March) announcing the sad news that BeCCA would close indefinitely from 31 March.
Families in the area are coming together to try to save what has been described as a lifeline for the community with a crowdfunding effort. A fundraising target of £2,000 has been set in order to continue running activity groups and clubs.
One Bevendean resident posted this message on his Facebook this morning: “BeCCA playgroup has been an integral part of children’s youth in Bevendean for many. It would be so sad to see it go.”
“Let’s help keep BeCCA going,” said another. “It would be a tragedy if it closed after all it’s done for the children of Bevendean over the last 40 years.”
BeCCA was set up in 1976 by Joyce Wild and her husband Vince, who wanted the children in their neighbourhood to have a place of their own.
In a 2003 interview for the Lesser-Heard Voices Project, Vince said: “The very ethos of BECCA is that it is a community project; most of it was actually erected by ourselves we did it the hard way.”
Vince and Joyce found and purchased the building from a convent in Notting Hill, and set it up in Brighton with the help of dedicated volunteers like Steve Colin Bartlett. He did all the Artexing for the building when he was 17. He used to go to the school where Vince set up clubs, snooker, and games, and wanted to give something back as he got older.
Steve said: “I can’t believe this news, they helped so many people over the years. Vince and Joyce just put so much into it.”
For more information and to donate to the crowdfunding page, click here.
Featured image by the BeCCA centre.