House of St Barnabas to open 'not-for-profit' members club

The homelessness charity will charge a membership fee of £600 and a joining fee of £150 for the club, which will be based at its historic premises in Greek Street, London

The charity's grade 1 listed building
The charity's grade 1 listed building

The homelessness charity the House of St Barnabas is opening a "not-for-profit" members club in its grade 1 listed building in London.

Funds raised by the annual membership fee of £600 and the £150 joining fee will go towards the charity’s work getting homeless people into sustained employment.

The historic building in Greek Street, Soho, which dates back to the 1600s, is being renovated over the next few months to create a new restaurant and bar, before the club opens in the summer.

Sandra Schembri, chief executive of the charity, which has been based in the building since 1846, said it had been planning to open a members club on the site since 2009 but gained permission from the council only in April.

The charity, which used the building as a hostel for homeless people until 2006, used to run an events business in the downstairs area of the building and provided life skills programmes for homeless clients upstairs.

Schembri said the club would bring together the charity’s work and the organisation’s commercial side. Money raised from the club will go towards the charity’s employment academy, which will provide work experience at the club. The charity will run three programmes a year at the club, accommodating up to 25 people per programme.

"It is a wonderful, positive cycle that the building services the charitable side," Schembri said.

The charity has raised £650,000 for the renovation work from grant-making foundations and Charity Bank. It is aiming to raise a further £500,000 once the first stage is complete.

Schembri said the membership type expected to join the club was "architects of social change".

"We are looking for people who are not only interested and interesting, but who also want to make a difference in some capacity," she said.

Founding members include the DJs and producers Gilles Peterson, Andrew Weatherall and Rob da Bank, the writer and actor Richard Strand and the photographer Rankin.

Members will have access to meeting rooms, event spaces and a secluded courtyard garden.

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