UK’s first community-run queer venue to open this year

Community share sale launched after 8 year campaign

Queer campaigners launch share sale to open UK’s first community-run queer venue

London, 17 June 2022 – Award-winning queer campaigners Friends of the Joiners Arms [1] announce that they are launching their community share offer in order to raise £100,000 and open a community-run LGBTQI+ venue in London this year.

The community group has already received grants from Foundation for Future London, Co-Ops UK and the Reach Fund to launch the share sale and open the space, and are working with the Greater London Authority’s Culture & Community Spaces At Risk team to secure a site for 5 years. The funding raised through the community shares will enable the space to be opened by the end of the year.

The venue, to be located in Tower Hamlets or Hackney, will focus on providing events and services for under-served and marginalised members of the LGBTQI+ community. Shareholders will be able to vote on how the space is run, by electing the Management Committee and voting in the Annual General Meeting. The minimum share purchase price is £25, and the shares will be available to purchase via Crowdfunder until the middle of August 2022.

The space will be constructed by an interdisciplinary queer crew of designers and builders  – part of the new critical research network ab__ [2], and have accessibility and community involvement at the forefront. An ambitious programme of events and services will be available 7 days a week, including drag king cabaret shows, film screenings, quiz nights, comedy, in a relaxed ‘local pub’-style venue which will be open from 4pm for alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. There will also be a function room to host regular drop-in events such housing advice clinics, HIV/AIDS testing, health outreach and signposting.

Amy Roberts, Chair of Friends of the Joiners Arms, said:

“London has lost so many of its LGBTQI+ spaces to property developers and rising rents and we’ve been fighting back against this. It’s taken eight long years but the strength of our community won through. We are so proud to be opening a new queer space, in memory of the Joiners Arms, and are so grateful to the community for all the support we’ve had so far on our long journey. But unless we hit our target of selling £100,000 of community shares, we won’t be able to open the venue. So we’re asking people to invest just £25 – although we’ll take more if you have it [3]. For those that can’t afford it, we’re offering a ‘Pay It Forward’ scheme too, to make sure that as many people as possible have a say in how this new queer space will be run.”

Prinx Silver, drag king and Spanish hunk, said:

“As a drag king, and as a Trans performer, I know how hard it is to find queer spaces that I can perform in and socialise in without feeling like I have to earn my right to be there. This new space will provide opportunities for secure employment, for innovative queer performance and culture, and for some of the most marginalised members of our community to socialise, drink, and most importantly just ‘be’. As far as we know, we’ll be the UK’s first community-run queer venue, and that will make it all the more exciting to stand on that stage and welcome everyone.”

Aska Welford, architectural worker and member of ab__, said:

“As a community-run space, the space will be built queer: from the construction team to the design process itself. The venue will be fully accessible, and democratically made with Friends of the Joiners Arms and the wider queer community. We’ve been inspired the resilience of the Friends of the Joiners Arms in fighting battle after battle to protect queer space in London: so we’re honoured to be working together.”

The share sale was launched on June 9th with a party at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, featuring iconic drag kings Beau Jangles, Prinx Silver, i-Gemini and more. Further details, including how to purchase shares, are available via:

Posted in
Skip to content