Be social and active at The Furzedown LGBT 50+ Coffee Morning.

furze down project
5th Birthday

The Furzedown Project is an older people’s activities centre based in Tooting. It was established in 1975 with the ethos of reducing social isolation in older people. 

In 2017, a 50+ LGBT Coffee morning was added to the project’s diverse program as a joint initiative with the Wandsworth LGBTQ+ Forum. It has gone on to be a huge success, attracting people from all over Southwest London to its weekly Thursday morning session. 

David Robson (The Group Facilitator) told QX,

“It was only meant to last six weeks, yet here we are, almost six years later. I think Coffee mornings have a bit of a bad reputation. Like we’re in a dusty church hall, this couldn’t be further from the truth at Furzedown. We bring people together with an engaging program of guest speakers, monthly trips out and a space to offer people the chance to be with their peers. It’s a place to come and make friends, old and new. It’s a really special project.” 

Since the project was formed in 1975, a lot has changed for LGBTQ+ people in the UK, but some battles still need to be won. Especially for older LGBTQ+ people. Despite organisations such as Opening Doors London, the Furzedown group is the only weekly service for older LGBTQ+ people in SW London. However, other similar activities are popping up in the borough monthly at the Katherine Low Settlement and Age UK Wandsworth

Vito Ward (Founder member of the group) added: 

“This is a much-needed group that should be in every area in the country as older LGBTQ people are more likely to be more isolated than their straight peers.

Mainly because most services and activities for older people are unaware of or provide our cultural needs for lives lived differently.”

LGBTQ coffee morning
Visit to Hampton Court

Other members go along for the friendship:

“I go along because the people are so nice!”

“It is the one place locally where I feel loved for my sexuality rather than despised, from the moment I walk in.” 

The challenges of COVID were a real worry for a project whose very existence is to tackle isolation. But the group found a way through it by adapting to modern apps such as What’s App and Zoom, but even the old landline came in handy to keep members engaged. 

Since returning to in-person meetings after ending all COVID restrictions, the group has bounced back stronger than ever, with membership now at record levels. 

Furzedown Project LGBT
Jill Nalder “La.”

They recently hosted their busiest session when Jill Nalder from Channel 4’s ‘It’s a Sin’ popped in to discuss her new book ‘Love from the Pink Palace’. 

Project Director James Atkins told us, 

“Here at the Furzedown Project, we are immensely proud to offer a safe and inclusive space for LGBT Older adults in South London. Due to David’s outstanding work in facilitating the group, 25% of our members for our overall membership identify as LGBT. We hope the service continues to develop and grow in the years ahead.”

Upcoming visits for the group include Battersea Park Fireworks, Battersea Power Station, Kensington Palace and even a Drag Bingo Christmas Party with Drag Legend Topsie Redfern.

If you’re interested in joining the project, contact David at [email protected]



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