A brief history of Clevedon Community Association

In response to public demand, the Clevedon Community Association (CCA) was formed in 1947 by Lord Teignmouth and town residents when the population was only 7000. The town now has approximately 23,000 residents. Sunhill House, a mid 19th century country house set in two acres of gardens, was purchased for use as a Community Centre by the Urban District Council that year. Nowadays the house is leased for a peppercorn rent from North Somerset District Council. The Park is not included in the lease and is fully maintained by the District Council.

The building has never been completely converted for use as a Community Centre with alterations having been more of an ad hoc nature in response to changing needs and regulations. On the ground floor there are three rooms, two meeting rooms seating 30 and 50 people respectively while the third is Squirrels Restaurant. There are four meeting rooms on the first and second floors with differing capacities which unfortunately continue to be inaccessible to those with physical disabilities. Attempts have been made to obtain a grant for the installation of a lift but, so far, without success. The District Council is responsible for repairs to the exterior of Sunhill House but the interior is the sole responsibility of the Community Association.

The Princes Hall / Theatre, comprising a fully equipped stage with sound, lighting and seating 300, was added in 1962 at a cost of £18,000 raised by public subscription. The Jubilee Lounge Bar was added in 1976 and was financed by a grant of £45,000 raised by means of a ‘Penny Rate’ by Clevedon Town Council. Both of those additions are owned by the CCA on land leased from North Somerset District Council.

The Community Association is a registered charity and relies heavily on room and hall hire charges. Over 2,000 people use the centre in any one week. But despite these numbers and coupled with the fact that it is the only self-funded Community Centre in the area, the committee are constantly required to seek ways to increase income and membership to help finance ongoing essential improvements. The CCA is managed by an Executive Committee, the majority of whom are also actively involved in groups or organisations that regularly use the Community Centre. The Association is very grateful for grants from the Town Council and gifts from other organisations and charitable bodies. These enable improvements to be made to keep up with the numerous legislative requirements and also help maintain the infrastructure of the ageing Sunhill House.