The Project

Who is running the project?

We are a group of volunteers who are giving their time and resource to setting up the Centre. We first came together as a group of friends and acquaintances in a pub back room in October 2017, asking ourselves the question ‘Can we do this? Could we really make this happen?’. As a dedicated group and team, we agreed to pursue our collective dream. In the months that followed, more than 200 people from all walks of life came along to our open meetings and have worked on the project in some way or another. We are a group of ordinary people who are doing our best to do something we’ve never done before, we’re learning along the way and are working with experts to ensure that the project is as professional and as reflective of what the community needs as possible. This includes receiving pro-bono support from law firms and research agencies. 

As we begin the work to transfer our CLG registration status to one with recognised charitable aims, we will be recruiting a board of Directors, or trustees, who reflect the diversity within our community and who can provide expertise, insight, vision and experience to help drive the project – and once open, the Centre itself – in the right direction.

The day to day work behind the project is being done by volunteer teams specialising in different areas, and the Project Leads team who oversee their teams while working on the cogs of the project itself. The Project Leads team is a small but passionate team of volunteer members who have been involved in the project on an active basis over an extended period. Currently this is primarily made up of volunteers who have been involved in the project since its conception, however, we are always looking for volunteers who have the capacity and commitment to work in one way or another on the project on an almost-daily basis. If this sounds like you, please get in touch! 

What is your volunteer structure like?

Right now, our work is split into project teams specialising in organising different subsections of the project. For example, we are currently organising in areas including

  • Structure, Advisory and Strategy (SAS) 
  • Communications 
  • Community Outreach 
  • Events 
  • Fundraising 
  • Membership 
  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion 

You can find out more about our volunteer groups by heading to londonlgbtqcentre.org/volunteer, where you’ll find a breakdown of what each group’s work entails and fill out our volunteer recruitment form if you’d like to get involved. 

If you don’t see your skills or experience represented in any of these groups but want to lend a hand, please get in touch and we’ll support you to create your own stream of work to contribute!

What are the aims of the project / why is the project needed?

Right now, LGBTQ+ specific spaces are on the rapid decline due to gentrification and the extortionate cost of rent in London. The vast majority of these spaces are bars, clubs and pubs – all centered around nightlife and partying. Our community doesn’t just exist in the dark. We need a sober, intergenerational, interactive, adaptable, welcoming and comfortable space where all LGBTQ+ people safe and free to be themselves.  The project will deliver this space – a fully realised Community Centre that works for everyone and works to ensure that the most marginalised people in our community are centered at its core. 

At a basic level, these are our objects: 

  1. To provide a safe, sober space for a marginalised community 
  2. To eliminate isolation and loneliness of LGBTQ+ people of all ages by bringing together community members in a free, accessible venue. 
  3. To preserve and protect the physical and mental health of such people,   but not exclusively through the provision of information, guidance, infrastructure to provide emotional support, social meeting spaces and community garden. 
  4. The promotion of equality and diversity for the public benefit by
    • The elimination of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
    • Advancing education and raising awareness of equality and diversity.
    • Offering a publically accessible information hub and signposting service to link to other LGBTQ+ groups and charities for the provision of their services. 
  5. Supporting grassroots and activist movements through meeting room space. 
  6. To provide employment and training opportunities for LGBTQ+ people through the café feature.

What is happening right now / Why haven’t there been any updates?

After the Crowdfunder Campaign in June 2018 we, the project leads slowed down for a couple of months to regroup and recharge. This was necessary for all of our mental and physical wellbeing as the campaign was demanding in ways we hadn’t planned for. However, from September onwards we’ve been working on the project privately. We have been consulting with charities, activist groups and local organisations to ensure that the community centre doesn’t replicate or duplicate current services. We’ve also been creating a business plan, which we will use to apply for grants and we’re currently in the process of applying for charitable status. If you’re keen to keep up with the project please follow the link and subscribe to our newsletter – londonlgbtqcentre.org/newsletter/

Why haven’t we got a space?

Getting a space is not an easy task.  As we’ve registered as a CLG and we have an idea of what services we will house and run, we have begun our conversations with local councils to look for a space. We are currently working on finishing up our business plan so we can place a bid for a space in Summer 2020.

Money / Finances

Has any of the money raised during the 2018 fundraising campaign been used yet and what for? 

All the money that was donated as part of our crowdfunder and fundraising events is still in our community bank account.

The only expenses we’ve accrued so far are minor, for costs of artists and performers at our events, BSL interpreters at our meetings and monthly maintenance costs for things like our website and domain. It is part of our ethos to ensure that all LGBTQ+ performers and artists are paid for their work.

What will the money be used for? 

The money will be used for any start-up costs. Without fundraising for through the crowdfunder, we wouldn’t have been able to launch the project at all. Once we are in the place where we can find a space, this will determine more accurately exactly how money is spent, but we will be spending it on something akin to a deposit, rent, fit-out costs, etc.

Where is the money being kept?

The money is currently being kept in a Community bank account under the Project’s name, and is currently signed to three of our founding volunteers. The only expenses we’ve accrued so far are minor, for costs of artists and performers at our events, BSL interpreters at our meetings and monthly maintenance costs for things like our website, our domain name, our email provider, etc.

The money is currently being kept in a Community bank account under the Project’s name, and is currently signed to three of our founding volunteers. The only expenses we’ve accrued so far are minor, for costs of artists and performers at our events, BSL interpreters at our meetings and monthly maintenance costs for things like our website, our domain name, our email provider, etc.


What are you doing to assist LGBTQ+ charities and organisations during the COVID-19 crisis?

Our volunteers have been focusing their efforts on sharing the brilliant work that’s being done in our community, and the causes that need urgent awareness, fundraising and signal boosting. Which, if you are in a position to, encourage you to donate.

However, we will be doing more than that.

Going forward we will be running Skills Swapping Sessions via Zoom. These sessions will be a chance to connect with members of the LGBTQ+ community and learn a new skill, for free. If you have a skill that you can teach, or a class you can run that  requires no equipment we would love to hear from you! If you are interested in helping please email hello@londonlgbtqcentre.org.

Additionally, we have been speaking to charities to find out how we can support them through this crisis by lending our capacity and skills and working collaboratively to find out how we can be most effective. 

Why can’t you provide financial support to organisations on the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis?

In terms of financial support, we raised the money on crowdfunder for a specific purpose – for costs relating to setting up the London LGBTQ+ Centre – and legally, the funds have to be used for that purpose. Regrettably, we aren’t therefore in a position to donate any of those funds to any other charities doing amazing and necessary work which goes beyond that specific purpose, even in the face of the current serious circumstances. To use the funds for other purposes would risk amounting to, in legal terms, what is known as a ‘breach of trust’.

Aside from obviously wanting to comply with our legal obligations, we need to bear in mind that, should a breach of trust be found, then our volunteers could be liable to repay that money ourselves and none of us are in the financial position to do that. This ‘breach of trust’ can be flagged by anyone who believes that our donation goes against what we outlined in the crowdfunder. So even if everyone who donated via Crowdfunder did unanimously agree on a donation, we would still be putting our volunteers in financial uncertainty. The situation would be different if we had raised the funds as a registered charity for general charitable purposes.

Additionally, the project is in the unique position where it is due to be bidding on a space in the summer of this year. This bid is directly dependent on us having all the money we raised in our account. If we don’t, it’ll be another fundraising period and possibly several years of waiting for another space to come along – and in the future, the community desperately needs spaces like this to heal.