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Birmingham’s Rainbow Venues launches campaign to help fund appeal against closure

By | Published on Monday 22 January 2018

Rainbow Venues - Educate Not Revocate

Birmingham’s Rainbow Venues has launched a campaign to raise funds for its legal battle against the revocation of its licence last year.

Similar to the situation in which London’s Fabric found itself in 2016, the Rainbow Venues complex had its licence revoked in November following a drug-related death on its premises. Nineteen year old Michael Trueman died at a Halloween event due to the drugs he had taken, and was the second person to die at the venue due to drugs in two years. A police spokesperson said that this left them with “no option but to call for Rainbow’s licence to be revoked”.

However, like Fabric, Rainbow had very strict anti-drugs policies and had worked with police to try to limit the amount of drugs that entered its venues. Despite this, the local council decided to revoke the company’s licence, effectively putting it out of business.

The venue argued that this was counterproductive in many ways. Closing down a club will not stop people from taking drugs, and may put them in more dangerous situations, where specialist medical support is not on hand. Also, it added, it had invested a lot of money in regenerating warehouse buildings that were previously derelict, and invested profits from its main venue into cultural events less likely to make money.

Launching its Educate Not Revocate campaign last week, Rainbow called for donations to help it launch an appeal against the decision to take away its licence. As well as paying for lawyers, the company says, money raised will go towards covering rent and rates while the venues are out of action, and supporting the venues’ suppliers, who are at risk of going out of business themselves while the venues are closed.

The company also plans to launch a new festival, aiming to improve drugs education, change government and local authority views on youth culture and nightlife, and encourage investment in the nighttime economy.

“The authorities need to acknowledge the huge significance The Rainbow Venues have, to millions of visitors to Birmingham, and what impact [the closure] will have on the city’s nighttime economy”, says The Rainbow Venues in a statement. “We want our voice to be heard and we want to see if we can make a difference”.

On its appeal, the company says: “We did not breach our licence conditions, we were informed that we were completely compliant, yet still had our licence revoked. This is why we will be appealing”. However, it goes on, the appeal may take up to four months and cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Similar to calls made on national government by Fabric during its campaign, Rainbow also adds: “Premises in Bristol and Plymouth have also had tragic losses of life [but] they haven’t had their licences revoked. We need some consistency across the country”.

It goes on: “If someone breaks the law, should the premises lose its licence or should the individual be held accountable? The Rainbow Venues has some of the most stringent drugs policies and measures in place in the country to help prevent the use of illegal drugs. Is closing down venues that pro-actively [work on drug safety initiatives] the sensible thing to do?”

You can donate to the campaign here, and watch a video detailing the effect the closure of The Rainbow Venues has had here: