Charlie Jordan: remembering a community activist extraordinaire

Charlie Jordan

Time Out Argus published a photograph of Charlie Jordan standing under one of Brighton’s piers and asked who he was (13 February 2018).

Charlie was a community activist extraordinaire and, in spite of being an atheist, was the first director of People and Churches Together (now Impact Initiatives).

He was a leading light in the Emmaus movement, helping to establish both the Brighton and Hastings Emmaus projects.

A South African by birth, he had a passion for social justice, and was influential in shaping the charity sector in Brighton.  He encouraged others and gave others opportunities that then led to further opportunities.  In around 1981 he gave me my first formal role in social policy, asking me to write a report on unemployment in Brighton.  I am forever in his debt.

Many years later (by which time he had kicked his 40 a day habit) he invited me to meet visitors from Emmaus Paris.  After the meeting, we walked home together, parting at Preston Circus but not before Charlie held forth of a range of topics, for well over an hour.  Charlie could talk!  The next morning I heard the shocking news that Charlie had died overnight.

There were many people in the voluntary sector who, around that time, helped to make Brighton a better place, people like Jenny Backwell, Peter Field (now the Lord Lieutenant), Selma Montford, Bruno Crosby and Patricia Norman.  Charlie Jordan was one of the most influential and he is someone I still miss today.

(There was a moving tribute to Charlie by Terry Waite published in The Independent shortly after Charlie’s death in 2009)

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2 thoughts on “Charlie Jordan: remembering a community activist extraordinaire

  1. Really wonderful to be reminded of Charlie after so long… he was great fun to be around and at Preston Park Day Centre he was a super Director. Many will remember him in Brighton. It was a different town then. More hope and idealism, I think.

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