Sister Midnight Records, a grassroots music venue and record shop based in Deptford, have launched a community consultation on their plans to convert to community ownership and raise funds to save the Ravensbourne Arms in Lewisham.
It wants to buy the disused Lewisham pub on Lewisham High Street and transform it into a thriving community-owned space where it can provide an accessible, affordable and inclusive platform for music and creative culture in South East London.
Sister Midnight owner Lenny has been running the music venue, record shop, and cafe in Tanners Hill since June 2018.
But they say the Covid pandemic means they now need to adapt so that they can continue to deliver live music safely.
“That means leaving Tanners Hill and looking for something more suited to running gigs in a post Covid world,” says Lenny.
Sister Midnight believes the Ravensbourne Arms, empty since 2016, would be an ideal space for a community-owned live music pub for Lewisham where they can continue to provide a platform for musicians and creatives in southeast London.
It says this kind of venture has been successful in other communities in Britain.
“We want to convert Sister Midnight into a Community Benefit Society, a not-for-profit business structure that is community owned and run to the benefit of the wider community.
“We are being supported in this process by a wonderful Community Shares practitioner & Plunkett Foundation.”
Community Benefit Societies:
- Raise capital through a mix of grants, fundraising, loans and issuing Community Shares (a form of withdrawable share capital)
- Anyone who buys a share becomes a member of the society
- Have a democratic structure, where each member has one vote, regardless of how many shares they own in the society
- Re-invests profits in the local community
You can read more about their plans to transform the disused pub into an accessible, affordable and inclusive community space for live music and complete the consultation survey on their website. www.sistermidnightrecords.co.uk/communityconsultation
You can read more about Community Shares here: http://communityshares.org.uk/guide-investing-community-shares