London LGBTQ community centre hits fundraising target with help from rock band

A new community centre for LGBTQ+ people in London has met its fundraising target with help from rock band The 1975.

Earlier this year, plans were made to fundraise raise £50,000 in order to set up a new LGBTQ+ community centre in London.

Concerns were raised as the end of the fundraiser approached, as the campaign had only raised £27,000 by June 5.

However, on Friday it was reported that the fundraiser had reached its £50,000 goal, partially due to Manchester rock band The 1975.

Eivind Hansen Photography

Matthew Healy, the band’s frontman, said that he was surprised that London did not already have a centre in place, but recognised the importance of establishing one.

Healy told The Observer: “You might wonder why it is needed, and even ask yourself what exactly is everyone still scared of, but sadly, I think stigma still exists even in London and we still have some way to go.

“When a friend of mine sent me the link, I was quite surprised that such a good idea had not yet raised enough to get over the threshold.”

Matthew Healy (ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images)

He added: “I am a bit wary of talking about it because I don’t want to appear to be virtue-signalling, but me and the others in the band all felt it was obviously a good thing to put our money towards.”

Despite hosting a large LGBT+ population, London has not had a dedicated LGBT space since the Gay and Lesbian Centre was closed in the early 1990s due to funding issues and managerial problems.

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Healy added that although the merits of the idea were most important, it felt natural for the band to donate due to their fanbase.

The 1975 has a large LGBT+ following, which increased after the band was featured on the soundtrack for LGBT teen romcom Love, Simon.

Responding to the success of the fundraiser, organisers wrote: “We cannot tell you how excited and grateful we are to have got this far already.

“The support this project has received – both in donations and love – has confirmed just how needed the London LGBTQ+ Community Centre truly is.”

(London LGBTQ+ Community Centre)

Organisers have now added an additional target, hoping to raise £100,000 to fully cover the costs of opening the centre.

Cities including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berlin and Zurich already boast successful gay community centres.

The shared space will encourage intergenerational support and education, as well as acting as an events hub for everything from musical entertainment to LGBT+ talks and support groups.

Eivind Hansen Photography

There is no space confirmed for the community centre yet, which was announced at a public launch with the backing of politicians Diane Abbott and Jeremy Corbyn.

However, it is expected to be opened in the Hackney area of East London.

The fundraiser closes June 13.