We’ve been totally blown away by the support this project has received; most importantly from the 870+ of you all who have invested and those who have given us their support, time and talent to be a part of making this happen.
We’ve had some superb support from Lewisham Council and the GLA, as well as from Co-operatives UK, Power To Change, National Lottery and Social Investment Business’s Reach Fund, which has all played a part in getting us to this stage. We’re convinced - more than ever - that we can make this happen, and that there’s a really amazing appetite for our plans.
We had initially set out to acquire the freehold of a disused local pub, The Ravensbourne Arms, as a permanent home for our venue. Disappointingly, it became clear that the owners of the pub were seeking to sell for nearly double the market value, and we felt that using our shareholders capital to fund substantial private gain raised serious ethnical questions, and was clearly not in line with out organisational ethics.
In light of a looming recession, the cost of living crisis, and a highly competitive property market, we've had to adapt our plans. We've decided to reposition our aim of owning our building as a long-term goal. With the support of our shareholders, we've pursued the option of securing a meanwhile space for our venue.
We've been offered the opportunity to bring a disused formed working men's club located in Catford Centre back into use as an interim home for Sister Midnight where we can grow our community, build a track record of delivering upon our social aims, and strengthen our financial position with a view to pursuing our ultimate goal of owning a permanent space in the future.
The Building is owned by Lewisham Council and we have been able to negotiate a 10 year lease (with a minimum term of 7 years) at a peppercorn rent for the entire duration. In exchange for the rent-free lease we're being granted, we will need to fund the renovations needed to bring the site back into use as a thriving music venue and cultural community hub.