There has been a community association in the West Hill since 1976 and the activities pursued by the members have been numerous, often depending on the enthusiasm of individual members.
West Hill’s cachement area stretches from the south side of Seven Dials down to the clock tower in Queen’s Road and all roads on the right from the clock tower up Dyke Road. The Writers Group met for some time and produced some exciting work, including a booklet in 1979 called ‘The West Hill Version’, in an effort to keep people in the area in touch with each other. This included illustrations, crosswords and stories. The Whistler, the community newspaper published every two months since 1976, developed from the work of these members. It is distributed to every household in the area and is widely read throughout Brighton & Hove. Its aim has always been to maintain and improve communication among the local community, and every effort is made to present a fair and balanced view. The Whistler features stories and poems from a diverse range of contributors, including rough sleepers, students, and Senior Citizens, one of whom very amusingly serialised her memories of joining the women’s army in World War 2.
From our newest contributor, cartoonist Nathan Ariss
Much of the material is unsolicited and residents send in pieces and write dedicated columns. Over the years hundreds of letters have been published, including one from a resident newly-arrived from London which resulted in two local people, one of whom was partially sighted and quite lonely, meeting regularly to play chess. Our indefatigable contributors, the support of local businesses through advertising, donations made via Bright News convenience store and our printer has made it possible for the newspaper to survive for nearly forty years. It has also been published online since 2009.
WHCA’s base in Compton Avenue is West Hill Hall, which belonged to the Church until it was offered for sale in 1994. Thanks to the efforts of the Chair Sylvia Alexander-Vine, the Association rescued the Hall from the clutches of a property developer, and bought the freehold, financed by fundraising, a small grant from the Single Regeneration Budget, and a sum of money willed to founding member Pam Bean for use in the community.
West Hill Hall has thrived as a space for community activities ever since and it is the Association’s intention to keep the Hall available and maintained for continued use. Regular activities can be seen on the timetable on Page 2 and we also hire the Hall out for ad hoc activities, kids’ parties and selected music gigs. The Association runs a monthly Quiz and an annual Treasure Hunt where all residents are welcome. Every 30 years or so, it also holds anniversary celebrations for Bright News.