London’s newest LGBTQ+ Community Centre will open for a six-month pop-up to provide a safe space run by the community for the community.

Based in the heart of the city on Bankside near the Tate Modern, the Centre is supported by the Mayor of London and Southwark Council.

It will work with partner groups such as Mermaids, Gendered Intelligence and Tonic Housing to provide a cafe that will be open to the public, as well as a lounge and social space for events.

LGBTQ-specific services will be at the heart of the Centre, which will include services focusing on mental health, sexual health, and services supporting trans, youth and older members of the community.

Funded through a crowdfunder in 2018 and the National Lottery, the space will be informed by the latest research into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on London’s LGBTQ+ communities.

According to the Evening Standard, 60% of London’s LGBTQ+ spaces have closed down over the last 10 years.

The LGBTQ+ Community Centre will allow relationships between members of the community to flourish, as well as provide a place for those living with family members who do not accept them or in environments that are not safe or welcoming.

Matthew Riley, Tonic Housing’s Communications and Marketing Manager, explained: “From experience, we know how crucial LGBTQ+ affirming spaces are to our community’s safety and quality of life.

“We’re super excited to see the London LGBTQ+ Community Centre pop-up open, and can’t wait to see how this much-needed project grows!”

Despite opening as a pop-up, the Centre intends to transform into a permanent LGBTQ+ Community Centre to serve the needs of the community in London.

To design the space, the Community Centre team is working with queer architect Martha Summers.

“It’s so exciting to take part in the creation of this much-needed space, in such a central location,” Summers said. “The pop-up is a great opportunity to test things out in real space and real time and hopefully take lessons forward into a permanent venue. We want to make a space that the community can make their own.”

The project has received support from Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who pledged to support the creation of an LGBTQ+ Community Centre in London in his election manifesto.

He said: “We know LGBTQ+ Londoners have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and the loss of so many of our LGBTQ+ venues means that it has never been more important to have a safe, inclusive, all-day space for all LGBTQ+ communities to be themselves, reduce isolation and improve wellbeing.

“London will always be a beacon of inclusiveness, acceptance and diversity and I’m really proud to support the creation of this LGBTQ+ Community Centre in the heart of our city and will do all I can to transform it into a permanent space.”

London’s LGBTQ+ Community Centre will open on 1 December on Bankside and more information can be found by clicking here.