The word ‘community’ is hard to define. For some, it’s a common geography, a shared history or passion that brings a group of people together. For LGBTQ+ folks, it’s who we are. For us, community, can be a lifeline.
We’ve come a long way since homosexuality was partially decriminalised 50 years ago, but the fight for equality doesn’t stop there. Because of the tireless work of activists and campaigning groups over decades, we’re finally, boldly, out of the closet. But now, in 2018 and standing on the shoulders of giants, we want to come out of the shadows too.
Our community, like every other, deserves a space that’s safe and secure to lay down roots.
Our Vision for the LGBTQ+ Community Centre
The Centre will be a completely accessible, multi-purpose space, run by and for LGBTQ+ people. It will be open from morning until night for use by individuals and campaigning groups.
The Centre will serve as a cafe employing LGBTQ+ people looking for work, a meeting point, a workspace and a social centre. We aim to create an information hub with research capabilities and a sign-posting service for those seeking support to discover the brilliant charities and organisations who specialise in LGBTQ+ specific service provision. Each year, three full-time positions will be created, for a programmer, fundraiser and marketing lead for the Centre - providing invaluable training and opportunities to LGBTQ+ people.
In just six months the Centre project has already engaged with hundreds of people through meetings, events and online, and we’ve garnered the support of Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Mayor of Hackney, MPs in the local area, business owners, community groups, charities, health practitioners and the press.
Our growing team of volunteers have a wide variety of backgrounds - and we’re using our skills, expertise and experience to drive this project forward.
Our Fundraising Goal
Our goal is to raise £50,000 through our crowdfunding campaign from our incredible, international, intersectional community to get this project off the ground. This will help us reach the £100,000 we need in the bank to get moving on acquiring and kitting out our 4,000 SqFt space. We have already raised over £5,000 from small fundraising events to get us on our way.
Our business plan sets out our income and expenditure and how we’ll sustain ourselves.
We are group of volunteers from the LGBTQ+ community. There are hundreds of us involved, all with unique skills and expertise, from communications and fundraising experts and community organisers to healthcare professionals, artists, performers and business people.
We hold monthly open meetings where plans are made and new volunteers can get involved, while our six working groups have responsibility for different areas of our work. These are Press and Media , Events, Fundraising, Governance and Finance, Community Outreach and Decision Maker Relations. Each has experts in the field involved, but also those looking to learn new skills. And, they're always growing - it's never too late to get involved.
Cafe and workspace - 1000 SqFt
The cafe and workspace will be the entry point and hub of the Centre, providing a safe and welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ people. The cafe will provide affordable, healthy food to visitors, with regular pay-as-you-can events for those unable to afford meals. Unlike in commercial premises, efforts will be made to ensure visitors do not feel obliged to purchase food or drink to use the space, and the room will be equipped for co-working and socialising.
Event space - 1000 SqFt
This multipurpose space will host events, groups and activities for the community. This would include LGBTQ+ friendly exercise classes, group therapy sessions, rehearsals, AA and NA meetings and other community-led activities. The Centre will also programme cultural events in this space, be that exhibitions, performances, discussions, screenings or talks.
Toilet facilities - 400 SqFt
Gender neutral toilet and shower facilities, for volunteers, staff and visitors to access.
Advice and clinical rooms - 2 x 200 SqFoot 2 x 100 SqFt
In addition to the main spaces, needs have been identified for private meeting spaces within the centre. These would accommodate affordable counselling sessions, sexual health checkups and testing, the provision of individual advice and support on a range of issues and smaller meeting spaces.
Office space - 300 SqFt
On a day-to-day basis, the centre will be operated by a combination of staff, volunteers and third-party organisations delivering services. This space will operate as a flexible, administrative hub.
An outdoor space has been identified as important, to be used both as a social space and community garden for growing produce and horticultural therapy.
Together, we can redefine community and write our own history, so please give what you can.