Sister Midnight announce plans for Lewisham’s first ever community-owned live music venue

Sister Midnight will be located at the former working men’s club, The Brookdale Club, in Catford Centre, and will be Lewisham’s first community-owned live music venue. The 250-capacity music venue is due to feature a private outdoor yard, a community cafe space, and affordable rehearsal/recording/artist studios on the upper floors.

Plans for the Sister Midnight venue come after Sister Midnight, aka Lenny Watson, Sophie Farrell and Goat Girl’s Lottie Pendlebury, attempted to create Lewisham’s first community-owned venue in 2021 by trying to buy the freehold of a disused local pub, the Ravensbourne Arms. Although they raised £260,000 through community investment and donations, as well as having more than 800 investors, the owners of the Ravensbourne Arms were not willing to sell for a fair price, leading Sister Midnight to focus their attention on finding a “meanwhile space”.

99% of the original contributors were up for continuing their support and investments for the newly-announced Sister Midnight venue. The location is owned by CRPL (Catford Regeneration Partnership Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lewisham Council), and is expected to be redeveloped after 2030. Until the redevelopment, CRPL have granted Sister Midnight a 10-year lease with a minimum term of seven years, with free rent for up to 10 years. The building does require significant work to reach trading standards, but Sister Midnight aim to raise the remaining funds required and plan to open the new venue by the end of 2023.

A press release states that Sister Midnight will be a “democratically run, community owned business” and profits will be “reinvested into the venue.”

Sister Midnight’s Lenny Watson says, “We’ve faced some pretty huge challenges with this project, but we’re determined to see this through. Securing a space was always set to be the biggest obstacle, but with Lewisham Council’s support we’ve managed to achieve above and beyond what we expected; securing a seven-year rent-free lease on a space that meets all of our needs and more.”

Later today (25 January) Sister Midnight will be hosting a presentation of the proposals, a Q&A with the society directors at Lewisham’s Fox & Firkin, which starts at 7pm.

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