DIY Space for London at Ormside Street has been open for half a year! Here’s a recap on what’s gone down so far since September 2015, and a link (here) to fill in our anonymous survey of what you think of this six month old baby so far. It’s also embedded at the bottom of this round-up report.
We have been able to offer organising space for vital groups doing vital things from across London, enabling them to raise thousands of pounds for their own causes. Groups such as Sisters Uncut, Living Staff Living Wage, Housing Action Lambeth and Southwark, Green and Black Cross, Solidarity Federation, Radical Assembly, Strike! Magazine, Novara Media, Right to Remain and many others have all used DSFL for everything from meetings to lunch clubs, club nights to conferences. We have also hosted a several zine festivals, clothes swaps, and independent film screenings. We now host weekly pay what you can Vinyasa Yoga sessions on Monday nights, and during the day our community room is now a shared office space, already providing a base for Concrete Action (organising around London’s housing crisis) one day a week, and we hope to welcome new tenants for the other days in the coming months.
After some bring-your-own fun (including an unforgettable Halloween covers band party) in November we secured our club premises certificate from Southwark Council, allowing us to serve alcohol, including our signature cocktails, and act as a members’ club from 6-11pm (12 on Fridays and Saturdays!) We developed a regular volunteer crew for the bar, and the membership desk, which is growing every day, and now offer everyone working events bar discounts and travel expenses.
Then there’s the live music! In six month, we’ve hosted over a hundred live gigs in our live music room, from the mesmerising tones of the London African Gospel Choir to sold out gigs for the likes of Total Control (Australia) indie poppers Allo’ Darlin and Martha, to Icelandic rap group Daughters of Rekjavik. We’ve had Punk, Metal, Indie, Spoken word, Pop, Hardcore, Hip-Hop, Folk and soundsystem evenings, as well as poetry, book launches, talks and discussions. Then there’s our legendary karaoke nights!
In February, we had our first of what is now a regular fixture on the last Sunday of every month – our General Collectives meeting. Any and all members are welcome to hear an update from our collectives about their work this month and how to get involved. We moved from unwieldy emails to using online organising tool Loomio to organise, and added a handy form to the site which massively increased volunteer help.
DSFL is run voluntarily by its members and is completely independent community arts and resource centre in one of the most expensive cities in the world. These events have helped us to begin paying off debts from the build process, but we are still far from sustainable, and need over £1000 a week just to stay open. Small regular contributions will make sure we can continue, so this month, we’ve relaunched our Friends of DSFL scheme. Please sign up if you can spare a few pounds a month to help keep us open!
In the next six months, we are focussing on building our Print and Darkroom and Band Practice spaces, and really need new hands on deck to make them work – drop us a line via the Get Involved form if you want to join in. This project is bigger and better than we could ever have imagined, so if you can give an hour a week or more to helping make it work, we’d love to hear from you. Whether you’ve been down once, or are here every week, tell us what you think the space needs next. You can do this by taking a minute to fill in our anonymous Six Months Survey below. ALL opinions very welcome!