London’s oldest gay charity ‘saved’

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Islington council has announced that London LGBT charity London Friend will be able to buy its premises.

The charity, which is the capital’s oldest counselling service for LGBT people, faced an uncertain future when the council announced in November that the Caledonian Road property was to be put up for auction with just a few weeks’ notice.

After reported on the charity’s plight, Islington council said London Friend would be given the option to buy the building.

The council announced in a statement today that London Friend has now been promised funding to buy the property at a reduced rate – although both sides have refused to state how much.

Previously, the charity announced it had to raise £200,000 to purchase the property.

Chief executive Matthew Halliday explained that the charity had raised £46,000 from “the LGBT community up and down the country”.

Speaking to, he said the charity had been promised a loan of £100,000 from a “non-traditional finance route” but could not say more as it had not been confirmed.

He added that the charity was still ironing out some final sticking points with the council and did not want to “tempt fate” by announcing that building had been saved.

Cllr Richard Greening, deputy leader and executive member for finance, Islington council said: “At a time when residents and charities are struggling with reduced incomes and rising rents, I am delighted the freehold of this property will now pass into London Friend’s ownership.

“London Friend is an important part of our local community and I am delighted that this deal will ensure that their work at their Kings Cross base can continue for the foreseeable future while the council has been able to obtain the money we need to fund local services and the interests of taxpayers has been protected.”

The charity, founded in 1972, offers counselling and support to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people and receives little state support.