The Brighton Rainbow Fund, which raises money and distributes it to the city’s LGBTQ+ projects, today officially acquired a ten-year renewable lease, giving the green light to next phases of the Ledward Centre‘s (TLC) development.
It comes just days before the start of the annual LGBT History Month, which runs throughout February to highlight LGBTQ+ achievements, provide education, and highlight the ongoing fight for LGBTQ+ rights in the UK and around the world.
The path to this point has been the culmination of years of work and will see TLC become a much needed and long overdue community and cultural centre for Brighton & Hove’s sizeable LGBTQ+ population. The Centre’s official home is now on Brighton’s Jubilee Street, adjacent to the city’s celebrated Jubilee Library.
Building work can now commence to create multi-use spaces that will house a 60-cover café lounge, a 70-seat cinema/public meeting room/performance space, an exhibition foyer, studio for TLC Community Radio, an LGBTQ+ library and bookshop, and flexible rooms of various sizes to host events, supper and lunch clubs, a drop-in café, classes, workshops, meetings, therapy, and counselling.
These spaces will provide a safe, social space, and an alternative to the commercial scene – an environment where ‘birds of a feather’ really can flock together and find support and friendship.
Chris Gull, Chair of the Brighton Rainbow Fund, said: “We are thrilled that we have secured a venue for TLC, following many years of work I worked with James Ledward, who died in 2019, to source a venue, and then to create the structure of a team, including centre director Duncan Lustig-Prean, to make our dream come true.
“This marks a new beginning for our team, which is now enhanced with many volunteers, to make a start on the fit out, apply for funding that relies on having a lease in place, opening membership, which will be free, and to launch fundraising campaigns.
“It is fitting that we can name the Centre after James, who was so central to LGBTQ+ life in Brighton for over 30 years, as founder and editor of Gscene magazine, and of the Brighton Rainbow Fund itself.”
Duncan Lustig-Prean added: “The Ledward Centre has a lovely acronym – TLC – which encompasses what we’re all about: caring for the LGBTQ+ community and reaching those who are isolated within it.
“From the light, modern and accessible building itself to the services and cultural activities for which it will be home, TLC will live and breathe the values that make the full spectrum of Brighton’s LGBTQ+ communities so confident, vibrant and proud.”
It’s clear that TLC is needed: despite advances in rights legislation, studies show that LGBTQ+ communities experience disproportionate levels of social isolation, health issues, and discrimination. Therefore, a welcoming, safe space where support, community, and uplift are available under one roof is key.
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