A group of artists and musicians have launched a crowdfunder to buy the the building they are using as a housing co-op.
They moved into the former Rising Sun pub, in south east London, six years ago and have transformed it into a cultural hub, studio complex and home, allowing them to develop an art and music collective.
They say the Rising Sun collective “is a growing diverse network of talented creatives, who believe in sharing resources and supporting each other.
“Our open-door policy facilitates collaboration across the arts. We built a recording studio in our basement and made it accessible to emerging talents, early in their career. This is vitally important as music facilities are usually prohibitively expensive. Crushed Beaks, Shame, Lightningboy, Sheiva, Deja and Badgirl$ are just a few of the people who have recorded here.”
The collective has pooled resources to invest in professional equipment and created rehearsal and performing spaces for DJs, musicians and visual artists. For many of these artists, having space to rehearse and perform was a springboard for their careers.
They now want to buy the building in co-operative ownership, “in the spirit of DIY, collectivism, and community … Snatching the property out of the grips of luxury developers and guaranteeing that it remains an LGBTQ+ friendly interdisciplinary cultural hub, affordable housing and studio complex for south-east London forever”.
They have a mortgage in principle from Ecology Building Society and have received support from Co-operative and Community Finance, but need to raise £230,00. But there is an urgent need to raise £47,500 of this total to secure the exchange contract before they are evicted in July.
The Rising Sun collective have been registered by the FCA as a co-operative society under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 using the Radical Routes Fully Mutual & Common-Ownership rules.
They add: “Once we have paid off our debts we aim to fund other similar start-up co-operatives, with the goal of widening access to affordable housing for future generations. We believe that the dark days of this crisis can lead to a better future, and we can make better, fairer cities that support people and diverse ways of life if we construct them together.
“The Rising Sun co-operative housing can embody an alternative to both private renting and owner-occupation, in democratic control, while providing an environmentally pioneering building where artists can develop and perform.”
The crowdfunder comes against a backdrop of a dramatic decline in affordable housing and cultural spaces. In the last 15 years, London has lost more than a third of its grassroots music venues and more than half of LGBTQ+ nightlife spaces. Due to the pandemic, the number of clubs in operation is expected to fall by as much as 50%, according to the Night Time Industries Association.
“This means that alternative spaces for the creative community to come together are more important than ever,” the co-op adds.
A mixtape has been issued on Bandcamp featuring artists from the Rising Sun Collective, including Lynks, Sweat, Lightningboy, Henny Seear, Olan Monk, Byfyn, Ramara, 13XL, Hoyah, scotthatesyou, Nissan Microdose, Gummi, acab brik, Chevy Blazer, Allison’s Gate, Boyan Levchev, Issermann, Glows and Crushed Beaks. The tape follows the theme of ‘emo songs’, reflecting the mood of over a year living through the coronavirus pandemic.
All the artists featured have agreed to donate proceeds towards saving The Rising Sun.
Investors can contact with Scott at [email protected]