Sumac Leaves HISTORY

THE RAINBOW CENTREIn the early 1980s, a group of people associated with the Environmental Fact Shop, Friends of the Earth (FoE) and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) had an idea for a "Rainbow Centre".

In 1985 the Rainbow Co-operative obtained premises at 180 Mansfield Road, next door to the new FoE Shop in Nottingham.

The Rainbow Centre now existed as an autonomous entity, free to expand its activities.

In 1988, Friends of the Earth group closed its Nottingham shop. The Rainbow Centre inherited the FoE library materials and was able to increase the range of stock in its shop to include that previously sold by FoE.

During the next few years The Rainbow Centre Co-operative began to join forces with the emerging Veggies organisation which specialises in vegan catering.

Veggies had started out by working from their members' homes, but now needed its own kitchen.

As the years went by, the original members of the Rainbow Centre began to move on.

As Veggies was now employing some full-time workers, they were in an ideal position to take over the day-to-day running of the centre.

In 1989, as the lease for the next door premises at Mansfield Road became available, the Rainbow Centre expanded its library, and once again opened a shop.

The years have come and gone and so have some of the members, but the Rainbow Centre and Veggies Catering Campaign have well and truly established themselves within the community.

The Sumac Centre

From 1985 to 2001 Nottingham's Rainbow Centre was situated between the Victoria Shopping Centre and Forest Recreation Ground, on the Mansfield Road junction with Huntingdon Street.

We had a whole row of buildings, but they were rented, very poorly maintained and a drain on our finances and enthusiasm — hence our decision to move on to new premises purchased in the Forest Fields/New Basford/Sherwood Rise area, less than a mile further north.

In Autumn 2000 the collective members of the Rainbow Centre and Veggies, realising that an excessive rent was being paid to an unresponsive landlord for a rundown building, began to research the exciting possibility of buying a building of their own.

This dream became a reality with the purchase in June 2001 of a former Ukranian Social Club, in the Forest Fields/New Basford area of Nottingham. A year later, on 22nd June 2002, the renovation of the building was complete and the Centre, having adopted the new name and identity of the Sumac Centre, was ready to open, with cafe, library, computer resources and gardens. The Social Club opened in March 2003.

Read more about the move here

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