Friends of the Joiners Arms launches biggest survey yet to boost campaign for London’s first community-run LGBTQI+ pub

Monday, April 29, 2019 - 16:15

Friends of the Joiners Arms (FOTJA), the award winning campaign [1] to open the UK’s first community-run LGBTQI+ pub, has launched its third and biggest survey [2] yet to discover what the LGBTQI+ community wants from a new queer venue.

FOTJA aims to mark almost five years since the closure of the iconic venue by reaching as many members of the LGBTQI+ community as possible to inform future plans for an exciting new queer space.

Results from past surveys showed that over three quarters of respondents liked the Joiners because ‘It was a venue I felt I could be myself in’ or ‘People I knew went there’ - indicating the importance of specific queer spaces and the sense of community they provide.

However only two thirds of respondents described it as ‘a venue I felt safe in’, showing more needs to be done to create a new venue both safe and accessible for all.

Amy Roberts, FOTJA co-chair, said:

“We’ve previously been excited to reach out to those who missed the Joiners - but as we near five years since its closure, we want to look to the future and focus on what a new space should be. This includes reaching out to those who don’t feel queer venues currently cater to them.

“Our aim with this latest survey is to reach the widest cross section of the LGBTQI+ community as possible.”

Survey link >>> <<<<

As well as questioning how the capital’s queer venues currently serve respondents, the survey asks what people want from a new queer venue. Respondents in 2017 highlighted the importance of a pub/bar (86%), club nights/DJs (88%) and a late licence (86%). There was also a strong desire for more community functions including support for LGBTQI+ sex workers (74%), support for LGBTQI+ migrants and asylum seekers (75%), meetings to tackle local hate crime (74%) and access to STI/HIV testing (72%).

The campaign, founded in 2014 in response to the closure of the Joiners, has so far won groundbreaking planning protections [4] and is seeking to open the UK’s first community-run LGBTQI+ pub on the site of the former venue - with a view to prioritising the needs of under-represented members of the LGBTQI+ community.

Professor Ben Campkin of UCL Urban Laboratory said:

“Our research demonstrated a 58% drop in licensed venues operated by and for LGBTQ+ communities over the past decade [5], evidencing the challenges of opening and maintaining cultural and social spaces in the capital’s current economic environment. But it also highlighted that women, trans and QTIPOC communities have had fewer dedicated venues historically, have had to improvise to overcome barriers, and have been disproportionately affected by recent closures. FOTJA are leading a campaign where – if support from Tower Hamlets and cooperation from the developer continues – there is an exciting opportunity to provide a new venue that is exemplary in being designed and operated in an inclusive way. Active and wide representation from the LGBTQ+ community will be vital to shape and realise this vision.”

All participants in the survey will be entered into a prize draw to win a limited edition hand-printed ‘Long Live Queer Spaces’ t-shirt [6] or guestlist places for the next FOTJA party on May 10th.

[1] Friends of the Joiners Arms won the SMK Foundation ‘Community Campaign of the year’ award in 2018
[2] The survey is available online here
[3] The Joiners Arms was opened in 1997 by David Pollard, and was closed by developers in January 2015 as part of plans for a new development in the Hackney Road area
[4] In October 2017, London Borough of Tower Hamlets included as part of planning permission a requirement for the new development to include an LGBTQI+ venue. More details here
[5] UCL Urban Lab research available in full here
[6] FOTJA t-shirts are available for sale here
[7] Tickets for the May 10th party are on sale here


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