Sister Midnight is a not-for-profit organisation on a mission to create Lewisham's first community-owned live music pub #SavetheRavensbourne
by Sister Midnight in London, Greater London, United Kingdom
Our mission at Sister Midnight is to create an accessible, affordable and inclusive grassroots music venue and community pub, where people can come together and enjoy the best of South East London’s diverse and cutting edge music culture.
The challenges faced by grassroots music venues, most notably the recent COVID-19 pandemic, have made it clear as day - if we want to make sure that there will still be places to experience live music, then the communities that use these venues need to have ownership of them. That’s why we’re asking our community to invest in Sister Midnight, and help us create Lewisham’s first community owned live music pub.
It’s time to protect our music venues, so let’s work together as a community to save the Ravensbourne Arms, and create a truly grassroots space where we put local music and local people at the heart of what we do.
- Lenny, Sophie and Verity, Founders of Sister Midnight
Sister Midnight wants to bring the Ravensbourne Arms into community ownership and seeks to raise a minimum of £500K in share capital, with the rest of the project costs being raised through grants and commercial loans.
Opening date: 6th September 2021 - Closing date: 20th December 2021.
We're also making a limited number of affordable £25 shares available to those on low incomes to ensure that everyone has a chance to become a member of our society and be a part of the Ravensbourne Arms. If you'd like to be considered for an affordable share, please send us an email to [email protected].
What happens if we don't meet our target?
If we don't meet our target, Crowdfunder will hold any funds raised for a short time to allow us to look for other sources of funding that could make up any shortfall. If we cannot proceed with the project for any reason, then all pledges would be refunded in full.
We want to transform the Ravensbourne Arms into a thriving community live music pub; serving locally produced ales and a classic Sunday lunch, as well as delivering a diverse and cutting-edge live music programme. Building upon Sister Midnight’s legacy, we’ll continue to provide a vital platform for emerging talent, championing the trailblazing local music scenes that have cemented Lewisham’s cultural status in recent years.
The Ravensbourne Arms will be more than just a live music pub. We’ll make it a true community hub, working to further social good and positive change in the wider community, guided by our core organisational values of accessibility, affordability, ethics, fair pay, inclusivity, ownership, and sustainability.
With Lewisham having been designated “London Borough of Culture 2022”, there has never been a better time to create a space for Lewisham’s music culture to thrive and grow, and bring our community together in celebration of the incredible creative talent that our borough is home to.
“As the MP for Lewisham Deptford I am pleased to support Sister Midnight's project to take over the Ravensbourne Arms as a Community Benefit Society.
This is such an amazing opportunity to revive a currently unused venue in a way which puts the community it is based in at its heart and provide exciting cultural opportunities which are accessible for local residents.
I am also happy to see such a great project lead by young women,
who are too often not at the forefront of projects like these”
Vicky Foxcroft, MP for Lewisham Deptford
Sister Midnight was established in 2018 as a grassroots music venue, record shop and cafe based in Deptford, South East London, providing a vital platform for emerging musical talent, and a place where people from all walks of life could come together in celebration of South East London’s music culture. We quickly became an important part of our thriving local music scene, attracting a diverse array of acts and regularly selling out shows.
Unfortunately, the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to leave our space in Deptford, in search of a new home. Grassroots music venues are more likely to succeed when they are owned by the communities they exist in. This is why we want to create Lewisham’s first community owned live music pub, and create a culturally important space that will be sustainable long-term.
Located just south of the bustling Lewisham Centre, the Ravensbourne Arms is a detached public house built in 1934, although there has been a public house on this site since the 1750’s.
The Ravensbourne Arms has thrived in the past, having previously been a Time Out Pub of the Year finalist. Sadly, the pub closed in 2016 after it was sold to private property developers who intended to convert the site for residential use. Although the upper two floors of the building have been converted into seven flats, Lewisham Council have declined to grant planning permission for a change of use, citing the community importance of the pub as a factor in this decision.
We want to buy the freehold of the pub, including the newly renovated flats above, bringing it into community ownership and preserving an important community asset for future generations.
Sister Midnight Community Venues Limited is the Community Benefit Society that we have formed in order to continue Sister Midnight’s work and establish Lewisham’s first community owned live music pub.
A Community Benefit Society is a not-for-profit business structure that is owned and democratically controlled by the community it serves. Community benefit societies can issue community shares, and anyone who buys shares becomes a member of the society with voting rights, giving them a say on how the business is run. The society operates on the democratic co-operative principles of one member, one vote, so voting power can never be bought.
Community Shares are a form of withdrawable share capital that can only be issued by co-operative and community benefit societies. Investing in a community business by purchasing community shares provides them with the capital they need to grow. Societies can pay a modest level of interest on share capital, and you can withdraw your shares and get your money back, subject to the rules of the society.