Who are we?
The Common House is an experiment in building a commons – a space that is organised and structured by collective activity, not by money or property rights.
In a city where social space is increasingly private, we have been carving out a common space shared by a wide range of groups and projects. It is a space where individuals and collectives can meet, come together to share skills and ideas, support each other, heal, grow, and use our shared experiences to support political action for social, economic and environmental justice in East London and beyond.
The Common House also provide a space for groups with little or no resources, operating on the basis of mutual solidarity.
We have hosted over 7000 hours of community action at the Common House since September 2013 - including over 500 meetings, 350 classes and workshops,120 complementary healthcare sessions, 80 reading groups, and 110 film screenings. In other words, we have supported activities on a full-time basis for nearly four years through voluntary collective effort.
Why an emergency fundraiser?
The Common House was part-funded by a generous grant that paid a substantial portion of its rent. We’ve recently learnt that this grant will end in September, leaving the Common House with a major shortfall. We have generated ideas for how to make the Common House sustainable in the long term, but September is fast approaching and we need some emergency funding in order to implement them.
What would you be funding?
As no one is paid to run the Common House, your money would go towards securing the space and keeping the lights on while we source more sustainable, long-term funding. In doing so, you would be supporting all those that use the space - the following is just a snapshot of the kind of work the space has helped to facilitate over the past four years:
- Accessible and affordable healing and community support: Common Hair haircuts, queer friendly yoga, community massage and Common House acupuncture clinic.
- Forming and facilitating politicised peer support groups such as: Mental Health under Capitalism, London Gender Support, Feminist Fightback, Politics in Love, Sex and Relationships, Precarious Workers Brigade, Radical Education Forum, London Birth Gathering, East London Strippers Collective and No Fly on The Wall – a platform for black women, which also runs workshops and masterclasses.
- Collective learning and doing through projects like: Riso Club – learning about and making Risograph prints; x:talk – a sex worker cooperative supporting peer to peer ESOL classes for sex workers; Autonomous Tech Fetish – hosting workshops on topics such as encryption; biometrics and health policy, Babels Blessing - running affordable classes in Yiddish, Arabic, Hebrew and Sign Language; Antiuniversity; In Sight Theatre - a collaboration between learning disabled and non learning disabled actors; Sex Worker Opera; and the Radio Ava Project - a radio station for and by sex workers.
- The Common House has hosted, supported or occasionally even birthed some momentous political organising and campaigning, such as: United Voices of the World, the grassroots union who won an epic recent victory with the striking LSE cleaners, Black Dissidents, Corporate Watch, Anarchist Federation, East London Radical Assembly, Plan C, Radical Housing Network, who have recently been mobilising for Grenfell Tower, Occupy, Friends of the Joiners Arms, Liberate Tate, People and Planet, Sisters Uncut and too many more to mention.
With your support to keep the Common House open, much more can surely be done!
What our members have to say:
“Common House is a collective space of opportunity and resistance, sometimes what might seem an impossible task in an expensive, isolating, hierarchical and often frustrating big city such as London. Being part of this space has allowed for the work of No Fly on the WALL to continue.”
-No Fly on the WALL
“The Common House is an activist hub and community centre that makes projects like Community Massage possible.”
-Community Massage project
“Invaluable safe space in London to meet.”
-5D Server Workshop
“Without The Common House lots of vital moments in recent London political history could have failed to come about.”
-Focusing for Activists
“The Common House provides a stable, affordable, friendly and really well-located space for our group to hold events and crucially to cross-fertilise with other groups.”
-Radical Education Forum
“ATF wouldn’t have existed without the Common House. Originating from an idea to create a Common House hacklab, it quickly generated a new project dedicated to providing support to activist communities for thinking about and using technology.”
-Autonomous Tech Fetish
"The Common House has allowed us to grow our networks in terms of reproductive justice, housing rights and workplace struggles. It has given the radical community a home in East London, at a time when so many communities around us are being pushed out."
“The Common House is a place where freedom of expression and freedom of assembly actually happen and are not just words on paper”
-London Black Atheists
The target of £15,000 will allow us to keep the Common House open for at least another 9 months, enough to secure long-term funding and establish a sustainable income-generation model for the future.
This money will go towards paying the rent and bills for the period The total cost of running Common House for 12 months is £20,223. Rent costs £1,430 per month (or £17,160 a year). Bills are around £1,500 per year, plus we need to pay council tax (£1,400) and public liability insurance (£330) each year.