London Friend threatened with closure

The UK’s oldest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transexual organisation has been hit by local government cuts.

London FriendLondon Friend Building

London Friend has been in it’s council-owned premises for 22 years, but now that Islington Council needs to find £51m in cuts, their building has been left surplus to requirements.

Originally, a lack of communication meant the counselling charity was given 3 weeks before the Caledonian Road building was up for auction.

It would have left London Friend and their upcoming Lottery-funded integration with Antidote – London’s only LGBT drug and alcohol service – looking for a new home.

The centre sees around 35 people a week, helping when counselling is needed from someone who understands the issues experienced by the gay community. Last year, 5000 people called it’s nightline.

Campaign

However, Matthew and his colleagues have won an appeal to buy back the property. They’re now campaigning to raise the £200,000 needed to make them fully independent.

In just over a week, they’ve raised £3000. It’s just 2%, but it’s a start.

Antidote

Antidote is part of the Turning Point health and social care organisation. A restructure last year means they’ve had to find funding elsewhere, and half a million was raised. The team are excited to be moving to London Friend, as it brings their work under one roof.

Islington Council

The council told me if the money isn’t raised in the next 6 months, the current valuation may become invalid, and the council needs to get the best value for it’s Islington residents, but it plans to support the organisation’s bid to become independent.

You can support the fund here.

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