The Outside Project is an LGBTIQ+ Community Shelter, Centre and Domestic Abuse Refuge in response to those within the LGBTIQ+ community who feel endangered, who are homeless, ‘hidden’ homeless and feel that they are on the outside of services due to historical and present prejudice in society and in their homes.
- Provision of identity responsive housing and spaces for the LGBTIQ+ Community
- Professional and ‘knowledge by experience’ peer-led support to LGBTIQ+ people in crisis
- Advocacy for LGBTIQ+ rights and needs within wider systems and services
- Promoting improved ‘social health’ and sobriety within the LGBTIQ+ Community
- Develop relationships with services to strengthen support for the LGBTIQ+ Community
- Share our knowledge to educate others on the unique & complex needs of LGBTIQ+ people
We are LGBTIQ+ colleagues, friends & activists who work in the Homeless sector & have lived experience of homelessness & the unique, complex issues our community face.
Having worked in high support hostels and daycentre services we recognised the disadvantage and gap in service provision for LGBTIQ+ people. We volunteered to launch the UK’s first LGBTIQ+ Crisis/Homeless Winter Shelter and Community Centre.
We received seed-funding from London Frontline Outreach Worker Network to develop the project.
We launch our crowdfunding campaign in the basement of Hackney LGBTIQ+ venue – The Glory. We attend Pride in London with Pride Punx.
London’s LGBTIQ+ cabaret, punk and activist community overwhelmingly support us to raise the £11.5k needed to buy a 12 bed tour bus to host our pilot shelter project.
Our pilot shelter opened from December to February. From this pilot we were able to demonstrate a need for a year round provision.
We launch a weekly community hub in Camden in partnership with Castlehaven Community Centre. We host our first Christmas Day Dinner Party, inviting 50+ members of the LGBTIQ+ Community to join us for Christmas dinner.
With funding from the Mayor of London we reopened the shelter as a year round service in partnership with Stonewall Housing.
We move into the former Clerkenwell Fire Station and open our LGBTIQ+ Community Centre in the fire engine garage. The Shelter and offices are based in the former fire fighters housing on the upper levels.
Alongside the Outside Projects weekly social, support and recovery groups the centre was a busy creative and meeting space home to many activist, community groups and creative projects:
Creme Anglaise Collective, Queerseum, African Rainbow Family, Black Cap Foundation, Friends of the Joiners Arms, Museum of Homelessness, Streets Kitchen, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants , London Intersex and Trans Community Healthcare Hub (LITCH).
The Centre supports new projects such as LGBTIQ+ Cancer Support and Advocacy Group – Live Through This; Queer Youth Art Collective; LGBTIQ+ Library Book 28 Library; Virtual Community Centre free/accessible party – Queer House Party; A London faction of the global Voices4 direct action group Voices 4 London; and the Trans Board Game Group.
We are funded by the Mayor of London to open ‘Cafe Queero’ – a 7 day per week drop in space at the Community Centre.
We form a partnership with Hej Coffee – a roastery in Southwark who provide coffee, hot chocolate and barista training. We host a pop-up flash tattoo event in the coffee shop and launch our own brand of ‘Cafe Queero’ coffee.
We launch a pop-up charity shop in partnership with Shelter for LGBTIQ+ History Month. We sell our campaign shirts alongside African Rainbow Family, Friends of the Joiners Arms and Pride Punx.
Cafe Queero and the wider Community Centre activities are forced to close due to COVID-19.
Due to daycentre closures and the risk of the virus our shelter remains open 24hrs. We begin to campaign for emergency COVID safe accommodation. Watch our campaign video here: #MAKESPACEFORHOMELESSQUEERS
In response to COVID-19 The Outside Project opened STAR Refuge. Initially funded in June 2020 this project has been refunded twice by MOPAC. The Outside Project hired a new interim CEO Maari Nastari in February 2021 to develop the service into a long-term provision. We are now looking for a high quality accommodation provider to partner with on this exciting project – finding this much needed service a long-term home in London. If this is something you are able to support us with then please get in touch with our CEO Maari Nastari.
In partnership with a national hotel chain we opened a hotel in Soho exclusively for the use of the LGBTIQ+ community from September 2020 – February 2021. Our Outreach team continues to support LGBTIQ+ people in the COVID-19 protect hotels today.
We are looking to develop this project into a LGBTIQ+ Pan-London Outreach and emergency accommodation provision. Please contact our Managing Director Carla Ecola if you are a hotel provider or a funder interested in supporting this project.