Sadiq Khan announces emergency fund to protect vulnerable London queer venues hit hard by coronavirus

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan on stage during Pride in London 2019

Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, has announced an emergency fund to support struggling queer venues in the UK’s capital during the coronavirus pandemic.

Lockdown orders have closed the doors of theatres, bars and clubs up and down the nation, dealing a massive blow to the LGBT+ entertainment industry highly populated by small business owners running on razor-thin margins.

To help London’s creative and cultural industries keep afloat, Khan announced on Thursday (April 30) that he is launching a £2.3 million Culture at Risk Business Support Fund.

In partnership with the LGBTQ+ Venues Forum, the mayor will dedicate £225,000 to supporting up to 56 LGBT+ venues.

The rest of the fund is split between the Music Venue Trust, supporting grassroots music venues; the Creative Land Trust, supporting tenants of artists’ studios; and the BFI, protecting independent cinemas.

Sadiq Khan said queer venues are vital ‘to the fabric of our city’.

Sadiq Khan said: “The coronavirus outbreak is having a significant impact on every aspect of life in London, and that includes our culture, creative industries and night time economy.

“These industries are so important to the fabric of our city during the day and night, and they will play a key role in helping us to recover from this public health crisis.

“I’m pleased to be working together with the Music Venue Trust, the LGBTQ+ Venues Forum, the Creative Land Trust and the BFI to offer this emergency funding to those areas most at need, but we need the Government to step forward and provide the comprehensive support this industry needs to protect its future.”

DJ, broadcaster and queer activist DJ Ritu added: “I’m delighted the mayor is supporting London’s LGBT+ venues through his business support fund.

“These venues provide a welcoming space to the community as well as employment for hundreds of people.

“They also support a diverse ecosystem of talent, which includes promoters, DJs and performers.

“By accessing this support, venues stand a fighting chance of securing their future and ensuring that they will be able to open their doors again soon.”