On Sunday I went to a meeting for DIY Space for London. My friend Natalie is one of the initial organisers (and I also already knew a fair few of the other organisers), and she told me about it last year, but I was either working very long hours in London, or was abroad for most of the year, so I didn’t really have a chance to get involved. I’m in London for the foreseeable future and actually have some spare time now, so I volunteered.
The group is raising money to open a low-cost, co-operatively run non-profit venue for music, art and other good things in London. In the words of their website:
“We want to ensure as many people as possible are involved in using the space. We’re primarily interested in being an open, accessible and low-cost-or-free place to make and see DIY independent music of all styles in the capital. We hope the space can be more than just a great place to engage with bands, films and art, and also include meeting and gathering space for community, campaigning and activist groups, a supportive environment for young people looking to learn new skills, and a low-cost practice and studio space. We hope it can be a hub for DIY activity and social change work. We want to create a generally good, inspiring and productive place to be, make and do.”
I ended up volunteering to help with promotion/contacts/design etc. I don’t know about property, or finance or other big things like that, but I do know a lot of useful and helpful people from being one of the runners of a large zine festival for 4 years.
So far they have raised just over £11, 000, with people holding all sorts of fundraising events, and a lot of bands such as Joanna Gruesome, Shopping and Joan of Arc played fundraisers. Now they are looking around for suitable premises. People with experience in things like commercial leases, licencing, dealing with councils, electricals, plumbing etc are particularly in demand to help out.
For more details, and ways to help and get involved, see the website.