Northern Beaches Creative Leisure and Learning has united the community for 100 years

Conceived 100 years ago as a space for children’s after-school activities, Northern Beaches Creative Leisure and Learning (CLL) has evolved over the years, adapting to the changing needs of the community. It has brought fun, art, inclusive activities and a spirit of community to the Beaches since its arrival in the area in 1971.

Maureen Rutlidge, volunteer since 1994 and CLL’s co-ordinator, believes that its lifelong commitment to community needs has kept this organisation going for a century.

“We’ve always had the interests of people in mind. We’ve always encouraged the use of lifelong learning. And people are always willing to learn more. So, activities have evolved to cater for topical needs,” Maureen explains.

History walks, programs for adults with special needs and crafts are some of the activities offered to ‘encourage the constructive use of leisure hours and promote the enjoyment of lifelong learning’. Many of those programs are run independently, while others are provided by organisations such as local councils.

CLL also acts as an umbrella organisation for various unincorporated community groups, including Lifeball (a ball game for all seniors), Artability (a creative art program for adults living with disabilities), Mudlarks Potters, and CHEERS, a program for older residents to participate in a good healthy meal and socialise.

The not-for-profit organisation was introduced as the CLL in 1996. It underwent a significant change in 2000, switching the children’s programs to learning and leisure activities for adults of all levels of ability, with particular emphasis on seniors and adults (25 years old and older) with special needs.

The century milestone will be celebrated on 20 October this year. In preparation for the main event, the CLL is inviting past participants or people who were involved in the organisation’s activities to send their memories of their participation. Entries must be submitted by 5pm on 30 June.

Originally known as the Children’s Library and Craft Movement (later known as the Creative Leisure Movement), the CLL was founded in Surry Hills in 1924 to provide children with after-school activities, holiday programs, and travelling libraries.

To learn more, submit a memory or get in touch with the CLL, email or call Maureen on 9944 6027.