Pride 2022: Southwark celebrates London LGBTQ+ Centre’s future at Bankside

1 July 2022

Southwark Council and the London LGBTQ+ Centre have agreed a five year lease following the centre’s highly successful pop-up on Hopton Street.

In December 2021, the council supported the centre in finding a location in Southwark to run a six-month trial period. The team used this time to learn what the community wanted and needed, developing the blueprint for a permanent centre of its kind.

Since opening, the London LGBTQ+ Centre has:

  • welcomed more than 1,500 visitors per month
  • hosted more than 200 events, attended by more than 4,000 people
  • partnered with more than 14 LGBTQ+ charities, including Opening Doors London, Black Thrive and Gendered Intelligence, more than 70 LGBTQ+ community groups and seven local organisations, including Tate Modern and Living Bankside

The centre’s regular events include free yoga, meditation, a book club, a film club and sexual health screenings. They also host special events, which has included an LGBTQ+ climate summit, a Queer Women’s Day and community pride meetups.

Cllr Alice Macdonald, Cabinet Member for Equalities, Neighbourhoods and Leisure, said: “We are delighted to have agreed a five year lease with the London LGBTQ+ Centre to remain at Bankside. It’s fantastic to have such an important community space in our borough go from a pop-up to more permanent footing for all LGBTQ+ Londoners. We look forward to seeing many more LGBTQ+ people from Southwark and beyond finding support, solidarity, and social events in this much-needed community hub.”

Lip Wieckowski, Centre Manager, said “Working at the London LGBTQ+ Community Centre has cemented my belief that community spaces are extremely important in helping people grow into themselves. I’ve seen the way that the centre has transformed the lives of visitors in such a short space of time, and I’m so proud that we’ll be able to carry on being there for all who need us in the years to come.”

Dan Glass is an award-winning healthcare and human rights activist with groups such as AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP). He said “I don't say this lightly because it's important to be real, but the London LGBTQ+ Centre was excellent in every way. Hugely supportive, accessible, vibrant, welcoming, inspiring and dynamic. We held a Gay Liberation Front (GLF) event to celebrate and explore the 50th anniversary of Pride - it really struck me the multiplier-effect of the efficacy of our meetings by having such a brilliant space. I hope the space continues long into the future. Thank you for all you do.”

Not A Phase is a partner charity of the London LGBTQ+ Centre that supports trans+ adults across the UK. Their founder Dani St James said: “Our relationship with the LGBTQ+ centre began early on. We worked with the team in a number of ways before they launched and have since done a number of events with them, as well as stock our merchandise in their lovely community shop. The centre is unrivalled in its array of content to suit the needs of all people within our community and they have our full support in the future with any endeavours.”

Visitors said:

  • “The space that you all created offered the child I care for safety for a day, in a world that isn't always so kind to them. You are doing good work, and I'm sure that plenty of people (myself included) are thankful for such an accessible, safe, community-centred space in London.”
  • “The Centre is more than the sum of its parts, and at its core, it’s a safe space. It’s the one place in Central London, other than my own home, where I can let my guard down; call me naïve, or overly optimistic, but there it is. I am not worried for my safety, physical or psychological, at the Centre, and as a queer, disabled woman in any big city that is no small thing.”
  • “I really like that the Centre is very open and welcoming. I’ve always felt welcome and felt that the space is safe. The diversity of events is brilliant. Coming from a minority ethnic group, I find my community well respected here.”

Around the corner from the centre at Bankside Yards, Southwark Council and Native Land are working in partnership to transform 14 railway arches into another permanent LGBTQ+ space for Southwark. Proposals from potential occupiers will be assessed by a panel made up of representatives from the LGBTQ+ community, the council, the GLA and Native Land.

Page last updated: 04 July 2022

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