A new LGBTQ+ community centre is being planned in Hackney, at a time when many LGBTQ venues across London are closing down.
Last week saw the ending of a crowdfunder, which raised just over £102,000 for to the project. A launch party was held to announce both the campaign and the crowdfunder on April 18, with the crowd funder running till June 13.
Although still in the early stages of planning, the centre is planned to open in the next one to two years as “an accessible, multipurpose space run by and for LGBTQ people.” A building to hold the community centre in has yet to be chosen.
Dani Singer, who is part of the community outreach team for the LGBTQ community Centre said:“The closure of LGBTQ+ spaces, both centred around nightlife and otherwise, has deeply affected the LGBTQ+ community.”
Since 2006, many LGBTQ+ venues in London have closed, taking the total from 125 to just 53 in 2017.
LGBTQ+ nightlife is starting to be brought back through The Mayor of Londons LGBTQ+ Venues Charter which has put funding into opening new venues, such as Circa, a new LGBTQ+ club next to Embankment station.
However, the LGBTQ+ community argues that what is lacking are social spaces that are not based on alcohol and the nightlife scene, which can ostracise many in the community.
Caroline Shrader, who part of the governance working group, said: “Both the older and younger LGBTQ+ community have two completely separate sets of needs, and we want to create a space which caters to them both.
“It’s vital that our work contributes to tackling loneliness and isolation, and provides a supportive and social environment too.”
Both Singer and Shrader agreed that a new LGBTQ+ community centre was a coming at a time when many in the community need it most.
Singer explained: “The picture of LGBTQ people is that it is improving, but for many, it doesn’t always feel like that.”
“Having this space is about adding the protection from the fact that not everything is ok yet and we still do need support,” Shrader added.
At the moment, the team is still working on sourcing a location for the Centre. Singer said: “We are anxious not to rush into a building before we know what sort of requirements our building will need to have according to the services we want to provide.”
Ideas for what the community centre could provide include; a cafe, workspaces and the possibility of a garden.
The volunteers involved are keen to hear the community what they want in the space and are looking for people to bring forward ideas. Their consultative research is now open, and all LGBTQ+ people are invited to take part.
Further details can be found here; https://londonlgbtqcentre.org/tell-us/