“If the thing you need doesn’t exist, you should make it happen.” Adam Hemmings writes about MoH, The Outside Project and a Comedy Fundraiser.

Comedy Fundraiser. Sunday 25 February, 7:30 pm – 10:30 pm, at The George Tavern, 373 Commercial Road, London E1 0LA, United Kingdom.

Adam Hemmings writes about the work of Museum of Homelessness, The Outside Project and the Comedy Fundraiser by Quantum Leopard that will raise money to support their vital work.

“If the thing you need doesn’t exist, you should make it happen.” –  Adam Hemmings

What do a museum and an LGBTIQ+ homelessness shelter have in common? More than you may think. In 2019, The Outside Project gave space to us, the new Museum of Homelessness, in their shelter and community centre, which at the time was based in Clerkenwell Fire Station. 

Since then, our two organisations have worked together throughout the pandemic and beyond. We’ve done creative work together: exhibitions, talent nights, and workshops. We have also done direct actions, campaigning, and solutions for the problems that our communities are facing. 

Both our organisations know that if the thing you need doesn’t exist, you should make it happen. We are a campaigning museum founded and run by people with direct experience of homelessness, and we don’t subscribe to the antiquated model of glass cases and hushed halls; in fact, we take pride in smashing through those barriers and recording our own history. 

The Outside Project’s shelter, community centre, and STAR refuge are other examples of the community rewriting the script and providing what is needed. 

Along the way, we have learned that we are stronger together. Sharing space, resources, and knowledge can save lives at a time when our communities are facing significant oppression. When the first lockdown hit, we were able to pool resources and knowledge and form the Homeless Taskforce, which delivered 13,730 hot, nutritious meals and care packs to the streets and emergency accommodation, set up and ran a grassroots vaccination programme, street legal clinics, domestic violence services, a shelter, and a seven day a week taskforce hub. 

This all began because The Outside Project Director, Carla Ecola, knows how to build community. Looking back at 2019, they said, “I could see working class people with lived experience of homelessness working their ass off to set up an organisation in London – a world of overly corporate and bureaucratic charity structures fighting over space and money.” 

At a time when queer community spaces are hard to find, the Outside Project has had a huge impact. As well as the Museum of Homelessness, they have also hosted African Rainbow FamilyStreets KitchenSave the Black CapQueerseumLesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, and Book 28, the queer library. Carla says, “Finding free space to hold a meeting, stash a box of project stuff or test out ideas is the hardest thing. I want the Outside Project to always make space for ‘homeless’ by and for led homelessness and Queer organisations.” Since they founded The Outside Project in 2017, they have been doing just that, as well as providing essential services to LGBTIQ+ homeless people. 

Fast forward to 2024, and you’d be forgiven for thinking the world was on fire – both figuratively and literally. Our communities have been systematically attacked by policies and legislation that seem designed to make life impossible. Part of our work is counting the deaths of people experiencing homelessness, and we are devastated to see these spiking by 80% over two years. All forms of homelessness are steeply rising at the moment, and LGBTIQ+ people are disproportionately affected. 

Matt Turtle, Director of the Museum of Homelessness, said: “The last fourteen years have seen sustained attacks on our communities. However, we can fight back together, as our work with the Outside Project since 2019 shows. We do not stand alone as individuals or organisations: we are united in purpose and hope for a shared future.”

So rather than despair at the current situation, we are together in solidarity. But it really helps when others stand alongside us. To that end, we are thrilled to be receiving the magnificent support of the stars at Quantum Leopard, who will, on the 25th of February, be hosting a comedy fundraiser for us. 

Comedy Fundraiser in aid of Museum Of Homeless and Outside Project in London.

Support Quantum Leopard’s Comedy Fundraiser in aid of Museum of Homelessness and The Outside Project.

Featuring the fabulous talents of Desiree Burch, Sam Nicoresti, Jen Ives, and William Stone and hosted by James Ross, this night is guaranteed to be full of laughs. James from Quantum Leopard said, “I started Quantum Leopard nine years ago as a no-punching-down, pay-what-you-like alternative to the sort of cruel, ladsy humour that’s so prevalent on the circuit. There were so many gigs that seemed to be a terrible time for acts and a terrible time for punters, with acts laying in to the front row and biting the hand that claps. I run a night that tries to solve that problem and show that comedy can build bridges of solidarity and not walls of hate.” The evening will support both organisations in our shared mission. 

We would love you to join us, fight back and have a great time doing it. 

Buy tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/comedy-fundraiser-tickets-795550913197

Sunday 25 February, 7:30 pm – 10:30 pm, at The George Tavern, 373 Commercial Road, London E1 0LA, United Kingdom.



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