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Don’t rip the heart out of East London - Save The Joiners Arms & develop East London's only LGBTQI Community Centre

This petition had 1,262 supporters


The Joiners Arms has been at the heart of the East End community for nearly twenty years. It’s a pub in the traditionally British sense, a space for its people first rather than money, and a place that many foreigners have come to call home for its warm welcome. The values of venerable landlord David Pollard are painted above his punters’ heads: life, love and liberty. 

Aside from being a place of great fun and entertainment, where diverse crowds rub shoulders and hips on a thriving dancefloor, safe from the stresses, strains and hate crime rising elsewhere, the venue has been a central place for the Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) community. From hosting HIV testing days and fundraisers for Positive East, holding LGBT safety liaison sessions with local police, to holding debates and discussions on issues affecting LGBTQI communities in Tower Hamlets and across London, the venue has played a crucial role for so many people. The Joiners Arms is more than just a pub; it is a place in which a diverse community has come together to celebrate differences and confront issues that affect us all.

These values are now threatened by corporate profit margins. Like the Carpenters and Heygate Estates and much of Soho, The Joiners is currently en route to demolition, with plans to develop the land into another high-end, soulless apartment block - likely to be out of financial reach to many local residents. It fills locals, the LGBTQI community and allies with sadness that on the 15th January 2015, the lease expired on the building. The current owners are planning to sell the building to property developers who will turn The Joiners into luxury flats. The Joiners will become yet another victim of rapid, heart-breaking and ruthless gentrification of London, particularly in the East End. 

But there’s a way to fight this proposal. We have recently successfully secured the building to be designated with ‘community asset’ status, which means that we, as the local community, will have the first option to purchase the building if it is put up for sale. If the current owners were to accept our offer, and if Tower Hamlets Council block planning applications to make The Joiners into luxury flats, our plan is to make The Joiners Arms east London’s only dedicated LGBTQI democraticly-run, cooperative community centre, whilst continuing the legendary pub at its heart. An ambitious vision has emerged for the community centre to be democratically and cooperatively owned and managed, providing care, support and crisis intervention, open discussions and debates, planning campaigns and activism, providing a space to confront issues facing LGBTQI communities in unique ways in areas such as drugs, sexual health, misogyny and racism. 

To make this happen, a public group has been set up named ‘Friends of the Joiners’ and everyone is invited to join! We need your help to spread the word about the campaign through contacts, publications, and social media, through rousing community action, and through solidarity. This group aims to join others in resisting the gentrification of London, such as the E15 Mothers and the New Era campaign, and the closure of important queer and community spaces, such as the Save Soho campaign. 

Our hashtag is #JoinersLivesOn - please use and spread! Our Twitter is @joinersliveson, and our Facebook group is 'Friends of the Joiners’ - please follow us on Twitter and join the Facebook group to get involved with the campaign. You can also email us at thejoinersliveson@gmail.com.

PLEASE sign and share this petition now, because the genuine warmth of human hearts, brought together in a safe space for all, should win over the cold cash chased by an uncaring corporate world. 

By signing, you'll be joining us to lobby Tower Hamlets Council to stop any planning applications to demolish The Joiners Arms and tell Robobond Limited who own the property to NOT demolish a building and social space that has huge value and importance to thousands of people in the community. Friends of the Joiners Arms wants an opportunity to buy the building so it will remain in the LGBTQI community.

Join the fight to make sure the #JoinersLivesOn!

 

UPDATE:

The Joiners Arms has been awarded Asset of Community Value Status! Now we must keep fighting and need more support than ever.

Friends of the Joiners has been actively campaigning to save and evolve The Joiners Arms into a much-needed LGBTQIA community centre in Tower Hamlets, which would be the first in London. As a result, we have been granted Asset of Community Value status for the Joiners Arms. This first victory is an incredible sign that many people overwhelmingly support this cause. Now, we must keep fighting and we need more support than ever.

Friends of the Joiners is now vigorously embarking on our plans to design, create and operate this important and desperately needed community centre In Tower Hamlets for some of the city's most marginalised people. Succeeding in this endeavour will represent a strong stand against aggressive gentrification and the displacement of the rich cultural communities that make London, and particularly the East End, such a vibrant and exciting place to live and work.



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