Beloved south-east London venue Matchstick Piehouse needs your help to stay open

If you’re local to south-east London, chances are you’ll be familiar with Matchstick Piehouse. Located in the Deptford railway arches, the grassroots bar, music venue, art space and theatre hosts a diverse range of events – including Steam Down’s iconic jam sessions, queer pottery classes, comedy nights and folk gigs.

Branding itself as an ‘anti-capitalist venue’, the space was set up, built and previously staffed by volunteers. These days, it employs artists, musicians, researchers and locals, and all of its stock comes from either south or east London. It’s one of the rare places in the capital that feels like a proper community and where anything goes. It champions art above anything else and has become a vital space for developing bands, musicians and performers. 

But now it needs your help. The venue is calling for supporters to contribute to a fundraiser to help it stay open, with an aim to raise £35,000. According to their crowdfunder page, the venue’s landlord is ‘threatening to essentially end the lease’ unless they pay the full sum by the end of the week, after falling into Covid-related rent arrears due to a fall-off in trade during lockdown and other pandemic restrictions.

A post on the venue’s Instagram said: 

‘Over the last week and a half, we have had to close the venue due to a sudden escalation of ongoing debt repayment with our landlord. They called bailiffs to the property and we had to make the decision to close our doors. We are deeply sorry to all of the event organisers who have been impacted by this. 

‘We have spent all of our time since them trying to find a resolution which would allow us to open our doors. Unfortunately it took us days to get a response from the landlord; when they did get in touch it was to say that we need to pay £36,000 by the 29th of November to stay on the lease.’

In the post, the venue said that they have since opened negotiations with the landlord, which they ‘hope to be fruitful’. 

The venue is also hosting an in-person fundraising meeting at the venue today at 4pm, and encourage people to come along if they’d like to help with organising fundraising events or in other capacities. ‘We have never run a fundraiser before, because the venue has simply managed with the sheer willpower of its volunteers and staff to keep going,’ the venue wrote in the post. ‘But the time has come when we need your help.’ 

The call for help comes at a time when another south east London arts venue, IKLECTIK, is under threat of closure due to planned redevelopment.

Find out more about Matchstick Piehouse and donate to their fundraiser here

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