Sumac Centre

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The Sumac Centre in 2006

The Sumac Centre is an independent community and social centre in Nottingham, UK. It is a secondary co-operative and a member of Radical Routes.[1] It provides resources, meeting spaces and workshops for groups and individuals. It supports campaigning for human rights, animal rights, the environment, peace and co-operation worldwide. It is part of the UK Social Centre Network. Veggies is based at the centre.

The centre receives no regular funding, the core groups each pay rent that goes toward the mortgage and running costs. Some of the groups are run by volunteers.

Its origins can to traced to the Rainbow Centre, which was established in 1984.[2]



In April 1984,[2] a group of people based in Nottingham associated with the Environmental Fact Shop, Friends of the Earth (FoE) and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) founded the Rainbow Centre Co-operative. The following year in September the co-operative rented premises at 180 Mansfield Road,[2] next door to the new FoE shop Earthwise. It was situated between the Victoria Shopping Centre and Forest Recreation Ground, on the junction with Huntingdon Street. The Rainbow Centre became an autonomous entity, free to expand its activities.

In 1988, the FoE shop next door to the Rainbow Centre closed. The Rainbow Centre inherited some of the FoE literature and stock, which was added to the centre's library and shop. Veggies moved into the closed shop. They had started out by working from their members' homes, moving in meant they had their own kitchen.[3] Veggies and the Rainbow Centre worked together, later Veggies took on the day-to-day running of the Rainbow Centre.[2]

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.[3]

Move to new building[edit]

Volunteers fit new windows

The Rainbow Centre was in a row of buildings that was poorly maintained by the landlord. The rent and building condition were a drain on the collective's finances and enthusiasm. To resolve these problems, in Autumn 2000, the members of the Rainbow Centre and Veggies began to researching the possibility of buying a building of their own. In June 2001 they purchased, via a mortgage, a former Ukrainian Social Club in the Forest Fields, Nottingham.[4] A year later, in June 2002, the renovation of the building was complete and the centre, having adopted the new name and identity of the Sumac Centre, was opened.

2003 to present[edit]

The Sumac Centre was one of the many organisations that undercover police officer Mark Kennedy infiltrated, starting in 2003.[5]

The NG7 Foodbank was based at the centre from mid 2012 until it closed at end of 2014. It closed partly due to the bank feeling that the council were using foodbanks as a long term strategy to avoid providing funds for welfare assistance.[6]

User groups[edit]

  • Abdul's Bike Project
  • Art Space
  • Forest Fields Social Club
  • Home Ed Kids Group
  • People's Kitchen
  • Punk 4 The Homeless
  • NG7 Women Together
  • Nottingham Animal Rights
  • Nottingham Green Festival
  • Sumac Community Garden
  • Sumac Sewing Club
  • Veggies

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Trading Coops". Radical Routes. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d Watcher. "Rainbow Centre 25th Anniversary". Nottingham Indymedia. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Sumac Centre Nottingham – History". Archived from the original on 24 October 2017. Retrieved 13 July 2020.
  4. ^ "THE GREAT ESCAPE". SchNews. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  5. ^ "Undercover: The True Story of Britain's Secret Police". LeftLion. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  6. ^ Britton, Alexander. "Food bank blames city council for closure". Nottingham Post. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2015.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°58′16″N 1°09′47″W / 52.971°N 1.163°W / 52.971; -1.163