Fundraising December update

It’s been a few weeks since we launched our Big Rebuild campaign and laid out a plan to stop Freedom from slowly dissolving in the rain, making nine campaigning and support service groups homeless. So it’s high time for a roundup!

In short we’ve made at least some progress and there’s been some good news in the form of donations and pledges, but there’s also some worries and shortfalls.

The good news

There’s been some income, and many thanks to everyone who’s donated! So far we’ve had:

  • Cheques and donations worth £1,014
  • Pledges worth £3,000
  • £153 pledged online

Total: £4,167

Which makes our year one targets look something like this:

Freedom-Fund-2911.jpg

One thing keen-eyed building project types will note about this list is that the repointing (fixing up the bricks and mortar so that they’re protecting against leakage and damp) is a big chunk of the money, but isn’t a massively skilled job — there’s even people in the building who already have some experience of doing it. And this is true. In theory, we could save a big whack of the necessary money by getting in volunteers to do the work.

However, as anyone who’s run a volunteer-led rebuilding project will tell you, what people will promise to do and what actually happens is not always one and the same. If we spend £2,500 on scaffolding for a month but no-one shows up to work it’s just a massive waste of funds. So we’re playing this one safe. We need enough money to make sure that when the scaff goes up, the job gets done regardless. If people then show up to make the job cheaper that’s all good  — we have another £30,000-worth of works to be done which isn’t so immediately pressing like fixing the windows, the stairs, the inside walls etc. This is a multi-year project and all the money will get spent on things that are needed.

What we’re doing next

Various kind people have helped put together graphics and print runs for other bits and pieces, some of which you may have seen at this year’s anarchist bookfair, including a range of tote bags, T-shirts and stickers which can be picked up either from the Freedom shop, or bought online.

Following on from this, we’re looking at setting up a gofundme campaign with some interesting tweaks on what you can get hold of. Author-signed merch, that sort of stuff. When we have more details on that we’ll pass ’em straight on.

There’s also been a couple of very welcome offers to put on gigs, which if they come off will help both to raise funds and get the campaign noticed — as we also have a year two and year three to sort out at some point that’ll be no bad thing!

And of course along with running this blog soliciting people like you for cash we will be needing to send off funding applications to various grants organisations, and good old begging letters to people who we think might be able to  get our totals looking a bit less daunting.

The worries

Essentially our main worries at the moment revolve around the very ordinary problems of long-term volunteer organising. The Freedom Building user group has nine member organisations (more on them another time), but all are typically quite stretched doing useful stuff like investigating corporate malpractice, or helping people to not lose their homes, or sending books to prisoners.

So while we have various people seconded to the fundraising group it’s quite difficult to, for example, be volunteering at a group in a core capacity, working to keep heads above water and running quite time-intensive fundraising campaigns.

So we could very much do with a hand if there’s anyone out there who is enthusiastic and/or skilled at:

  • Letters asking folks for a bit of money
  • Writing grant applications
  • Organising fundraising events
  • Coming up with good ideas (and acting on them!)

You can get in touch via freedombuildingcollective@gmail.com or via the shop.

How you can pay in

This is the bit where we ask you to put in a few quid to get rid of all the red on our building graphic (hmm maybe we should reverse the colour scheme so you can add red…) Any donation no matter how small helps us get to our target. A handy paypal button is at the top of this page, or you can send a cheque payable to “Freedom Press” to 84b Whitechapel High st, London E1 QX, or call the shop to get details for a direct transfer on (07952) 157-742.

We’ve got a unique resource in central London to bring back to its best, a building that has been in the hands of the anarchist movement for nearly 50 years providing space and support for innumerable libertarian projects and which today provides a home for many important organisations. We hope you can join u in making it ready for the next few decades!

Year One.

There are many buildings we would like to see topple and fall over, but we would also like to think you share our view that Freedom is one worth keeping. To make sure that this happens, and the building at 84b Angel Alley remains a resource for all of the great anarchist groups to come, we’re afraid to say that it’s in need of some pretty serious repairs.

A survey carried out at the end of 2015 highlighted that emergency repairs are needed to the roof and walls that will total around £13,000 — more details can be found of this work on page 12. Our aim is to raise this figure by August 2017 so that the building works can take place next summer.

As of the beginning of October 2016, we’ve raised over £3,000 to get us started. And the fun doesn’t stop there — over the coming three years we will need a lot more money to treat dampness in the walls, insulate the building, install a boiler and look into making the whole place more accessible.

In the long term, costs could be between £40,000-50,000 to bring the building back to its best, including things like fixing up the lovely (but old-style) sash windows.
We would really like to take this opportunity to not only do the emergency repairs to keep it from falling apart, but to also push to make the space the best resource it can be for the wider London anarchist scene.

How can you help?

  • You can donate via cheque, made payable to “Freedom Press,” online via PayPal at http://www.paypal.me/fbuildingcollective (though they take a 3% slice of donations) or via direct bank transfer (call the shop for details).
  • Or if you have skills/time you would like to donate, drop us an email.
  • Come along to one of our monthly socials held in the bookshop on the second Friday of every month, 7-9pm.
  • If you are organising benefit gigs you could consider adding us to your list of beneficiaries.
  • And you can help advertise the building and the fact we need money via social media — or even in real life.