Clifford Chance advises the London LGBTQ+ Community Centre as it opens its first community space
Clifford Chance has provided wide-ranging pro bono support to the new London LGBTQ+ Community Centre in Blackfriars, Central London. The Centre provides a safe, inclusive, sober, intergenerational, and intersectional space for the LGBTQ+ community.
The London LGBTQ+ Community Centre aims to provide a supportive and welcoming space for London's LGBTQ+ population, which has been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. With nearly 60% of LGBTQ+ venues in London closing in the last decade, LGBTQ+ people being more at risk of poor mental health, 24% of homeless young people identifying as LGBTQ+, and with hate crimes related to sexual orientation and gender identity increasing year on year since 2015, the need for a space like this has never been greater.
The Centre provides a cafe, lounge space, social space for events, and LGBTQ+ specific service provision, including mental and sexual health support. The Centre is also working with London LGBTQ+ service providers, including Mermaids, Gendered Intelligence and Tonic Housing, to offer a programme of services, events, talks and workshops. More information on these services can be found here.
Clifford Chance provided wide-ranging support to help establish the Centre, with partners, associates, knowledge directors and trainees across practice areas providing advice on financing and donor relations, employment matters, non-disclosure agreements, and its charity registration. Clifford Chance's Real Estate team assisted the Centre with negotiating and signing a six-month lease of the Centre at its current location in Blackfriars, London. Assistance was also provided by the Tax team who reviewed the tax aspects of the lease, the Planning team who provided specialist advice on planning permission, and the Property Litigation team who helped the Centre with ancillary issues relating to the property. The Clifford Chance team continues to assist the Centre with ongoing ad hoc queries.
Angus Waite, co-founder of the London LGBTQ+ Community Centre, said: "Clifford Chance has provided invaluable support for the London LGBTQ+ Community Centre project. From assisting our work achieving charitable status, to advising on rental leases, they have been a steady source of practical advice and wisdom on various key aspects of the project over the past few years and, we hope, over many years to come. The result of the efforts of their team has been the opening of our first centre in central London, which is providing a much needed safe, sober and friendly environment for the LGBTQ+ community who need it so much".
The Clifford Chance team consisted of Matt Fairclough and Head of Pro Bono for UK and Ireland, David Boyd. The Real Estate team consisted of Alis Pay, Tabby Pinto and Emma Carver. The team was supported by Ed Page in Tax, Michael Coxall and Georgie Evison in Planning, Ben Hatton and Tara McCarthy in Property Litigation, as well as Sarah Johnson, James Kelton, Joseph Sherlock, and Daniel Thomson across other teams in the firm and its Arcus LGBTQ+ and Allies network.
 London LGBTQ+ Community Centre, Press Release, available here.