Friends of the Joiners Arms is aiming to raise £100,000 in Community Shares! We’re crowdfunding to:
- Finance the opening of the UK's first community run LGBTQI+ venue
- Expand the membership of our Community Benefit Society
- Collectively evolve our community run LGBTQI+ venue
“I'm so proud to share the work we've done to turn this utopian idea into a real space - one that can survive as a viable business, will create opportunities for queer people to work, perform, create, socialise and just 'be' on their own terms.” - Amy Roberts, Chair Friends of the Joiners Arms
Our own Prinx Silver, host and performer of Lèse Majesté. Credits: Henri T.
Our vision is to create the UK's first community run LGBTQI+ venue in London. We want a space run by the people who use it, and for the community. A venue that is truly inclusive and accessible. One that inspires us to create truly radical queer spaces.
What do we have to add to the community? Though London has an incredible collection of LGBTQI+ venues, we have lost more than half of our spaces. This has disproportionately affected more marginalised community members, including queer women, trans and non-binary people, people of colour (POC), and disabled and neurodiverse people. Time to change this around!
With your help we can open a community run LGBTQI+ venue in 2022. A new home for our fabulous Lèse Majesté nights (YES to more Drag Kings and Things!), and a place to collectively realise a fabulous queer space for the community!
The fantastic Bee'Jamming performing at Lèse Majesté. Credits: Henri T.
What people say about our events:
“As a trans person it honestly feels like coming home when I go to a space like this, a rare opportunity to feel truly comfortable in London, I’m still buzzing the day after!”
“It felt safe and revolutionary all at the same time.”
“A genuinely supportive and safe community space”
Friends of the Joiners Arms (FOTJA) are an award-winning campaign who fought to protect the Joiners Arms on Hackney Road. Our fierce campaign forced the developer to agree to build a LGBTQI+ space. Seven years later and we’re still waiting for our new home. But recently we secured funding for a temporary space! So in 2022, we will open our own LGBTQI+ venue. And a few years later, we will move to our permanent home.
We envision a LGBTQI+ venue that is truly queer. A space that isn’t about making profit, but reinvests in the community by creating training and employment opportunities. Inclusive by offering a varied programme of day- and night-time events, which showcases the diverse artforms of our community. And accessible, because it has been designed with and for disabled members of our community.
We already have funding to cover some of the fit-out costs of our temporary location. But a venue needs a business! Now we need help financing the renovation and fit-out of the space, the furnishing, fees for professionals, pre-trading costs and contingency funds. And if we have anything left, a little opening cushion.
Frank dropping moves (!) at Lèse Majesté. Credits: Alex Janaszewski.
FOTJA is a Community Benefit Society (CBS). This means we are run by our members, and that what we do is always in line with our social objectives. A CBS can issue community shares: a withdrawable, non-transferrable equity investment into our CBS. It’s withdrawable because, under certain conditions, you can take your money out of the organisation. It’s non-transferable because you cannot transfer or sell your shares. And it's an equity investment because you buy shares in the organisation. You can read the details of how it works in our Community Share offer Document below.
When you buy shares, you help us raise funds to cover the starting up costs of our community-run business. But you also become a member of our CBS: as a shareholder you get one vote (independent of the number of shares you buy). This means you get to vote on how the community-run business evolves and elect the Management Committee at our AGM.
Not only do we think a community-run business model is ethical and right for what we envision, community-run businesses also work: 99% of community pubs survive the first five years, compared to 44% for small and medium sized enterprises, according to the Plunkett Foundation. So we’re here to stay!
It's Hardik Mistry cooking something up at Lèse Majesté. Credits: Alex Janaszewski.
We want to ensure we don't exclude people from membership on the basis of their financial situation. If you would like to become a member of the society, but are on low/no-income or unable to afford a share, please email us at [email protected]
If you are able to afford to invest more, we'd love it if you would consider purchasing a Pay-It-Forward share along with any shares you purchase for yourself. We've created various options to invest, but please contact us if there isn't an option that fits what you want to invest. All Pay-It-Forward shares will be allocated on a first come first served basis once the share sale closes.
We want to reassure you we are a well-run organisation. Everything you need to know about our share offer is explained in the Share Offer Document, below, and on our website here.
Our CBS is led by a Management Committee, elected at our annual AGM. The Management Committee keeps oversight of the organisation and the venue once it has opened.
Our CBS is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA): see FCA Mutuals Register, registration no. 7735.
We are governed by our Society Rules, which are based on the model rules for community ownership by the Plunkett Foundation.
We already have a business plan, and a plan for the move to our permanent home. You can view the Business Plan below, and on our website here. Many experts helped us create the plan, including the Greater London Authority’s Cultural Infrastructure Special Assistance (CISA) programme. We also received a £10K development grant by Co-operatives UK as part of their ‘Boosting Community Business London’ programme.
And we have been awarded the Community Shares Standard Mark and meet national standards of good practice.
Any questions? Contact us at [email protected]
This share offer is eligible for Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) which will enable investors to claim between 30-50% of the value of what they invest back against their tax return (provided they are personally eligible). Please see the Business Plan and Share Offer Document for further details.
Please note that Pay-It-Forward shares are not eligible for tax relief.
If you're not based in the UK, you can still buy shares (or Pay-It-Forward shares) but please be aware that you may not be eligible for tax relief.