Sister Midnight is a not-for-profit co-operative organisation based in south east London. Since 2021, we've been campaigning to create Lewisham's first community owned music venue, bringing a much needed cultural community hub to our local area.
At the core of Sister Midnight's work is our understanding of the sociopolitical power music holds. Music can unite and create communities, it helps us understand our identity and relate to the world around us, and it can act as a driver of social change. We believe that a grassroots music venue, like the one we want to create, can have a transformational impact at a local and city-wide level, providing creative opportunities for all, increasing participation and access to live music, and fostering a sense of belonging and pride for our community.
Creating a great local music venue is a collective community effort, so to us it makes complete sense to put power into the hands of our community by structuring ourselves as a Community Benefit Society, meaning our venue will be owned and democratically run by our members.
Sister Midnight's is led by women under 30. Lottie, Lenny, and Sophie met through their work in South East London's music scene, and are now Directors of our Community Benefit Society and form Sister Midnight's core team.
Lenny founded the original Sister Midnight in Deptford back in 2018, and has co-ordinated the campaign to re-establish Sister Midnight as a community owned music venue. She is a lecturer at ICMP teaching on their Live Events Management course, and also works as a co-operative and community business advisor.
Sophie is one of the founding members of Social Records Society, a DJ collective that started out in Sister Midnight's Deptford venue. A Brit School alumni, professional videographer and photographer, and a vinyl DJ, Sophie joined the Sister Midnight team in 2021 as a Co-Founder of our new Community Benefit Society
Lottie is a professional musician and the front woman of South East London band Goat Girl. She became part of the Sister Midnight community through playing at the Deptford venue with her side projects Lobby & Mushy P. She also has a background in social care and mutual aid work.
This autumn we newly elected two new Dircectors:
Alex Karol and Sam Gowens
Over the years our team has been made up of Community Advisory Committee and our volunteer group. This year we'd like to welcome the following CAC members
Rohan Rakhit, Cat Walsh, Luke Cartledge, Sophie Chapman, Tom Taylor, Amar Patel,
Jamie Brown, Imogen Clarke, Andrew Chatterton, Colm Doyle, Antonia lines, Charlie Fenemer
As well as our radio team:
Tom Willis, Enya Sullivan, Rohan Rakhit, Riya Mistry, Tom Fuller, Alex Karol
Live music is the beating heart of South East London, but for too long we've seen venue after venue close their doors for good, so it's time to try something new. Sister Midnight is South East London's answer to a growing movement of cultural & community businesses who are pioneering new ideas and ways of working that combat the tired capitalist models that have been failing our cultural institutions for decades.
Our vision is of a music venue that is owned and democratically controlled by the community; a space that champions local creative talent, and prioritises people above profit. Sister Midnight is a chance to re-imagine the role of a contemporary music venue, providing a transformational opportunity for our local area setting a precedent for how things can be done differently.
We want the creation of Lewisham’s first community owned music venue to incite positive change for the people who use it and the community it exists in. We aim to;
-> Create opportunities for musicians by platforming local emerging talent, and championing South East London’s music culture.
-> Increase participation in live music by creating an accessible, affordable and inclusive space
-> Empower our community to play an active role in shaping our space
-> Facilitate networking by operating as a creative community hub where people can meet, exchange ideas, and organise.
-> Improve community cohesion and combat social isolation by offering a space that welcomes everyone and encourages people to come together
-> Increase employability and skills locally by offering volunteer opportunities, work placements and skills training workshops
-> Support the local economy by working closely with other local businesses
-> Foster a solidarity economy in South East London by working with other organisations to support community wellbeing
We’ll make our venue functional and autonomous for neurodiverse users and users with a disability by integrating accessible design into the fabric of the space. We’ll implement measures to widen participation in live music, and we’ll always work to meet access requirements.
As a not-for-profit organisation our focus will be on keeping prices low for the benefit of the community, not on inflating profit margins for private gain. We’ll always strive to keep prices affordable, so that no one is financially excluded from our space.
Grassroots music venues are community assets, and the best way to protect them is to put their ownership in the hands of the communities they exist within. Community owned businesses are statistically more likely to succeed because they give their members a genuine say in how they are run, making them better able to serve the needs of the community.
Ethical Business Practice
We’ll centre ethical decision making and ensure that our platform is used to further social good. By putting our organisational ethics into practice, we’ll ensure that the work we do contributes to the wider change we want to see in the world.
Fair pay of staff and musicians will be central to our ethos. Staff will be paid London Living Wage, with no zero-hours contracts. We’ll be a Fair Play venue, meeting the criteria set by the Musician’s Union, ensuring all performers receive a fair cut of ticket sales.
We are proudly LGBTQ+ inclusive, Anti-racist, and intersectionally feminist, operating a zero tolerance policy towards racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, islamophobia, ableism, fatphobia and other forms of discrimination. We’ll engage in a continuous process to uphold these values and create a space that celebrates Lewisham’s diverse communities.
We’ll build a strong sustainability plan and work to reduce our environmental impact, working with local breweries and suppliers to reduce food (and beer) miles, using renewable energy, and reducing waste and single-use plastic. Long term, we’ll work towards producing our own green energy on site, and becoming carbon neutral.
A COMMUNITY OWNED MUSIC VENUE FOR CATFORD
We're on a mission to create the first community owned music venue in Lewisham Borough. We've secured a site for our venue in a former working mens club in the heart of Catford Town Centre.