New Beacon Books, one of the last black bookshops, was set to close almost after suffering due to pandemic lockdowns.
THE UK’s first Black bookshop which has been around for almost 55 years has been saved thanks to a fundraising campaign.
New Beacon Books was established in 1966 by John La Rose and his partner, Sarah White, and is the only remaining independent Black publishing and bookselling entity in the UK.
The iconic store, which is based in Finsbury Park, North London
Thanks to a crowdfunding campaign spearheaded by academic and actor Francesca Gilbert donations came flooding in, netting over £76,000 from 2,400 donors in less than a week.
The appeal set a target of raising £35,000 by 24th February but quickly exceeded this amount.
In a statement, directors Michael La Rose, Janice Durham and Professor Gus John said the cash had provided “a lifeline to assist in moving forward.”
The bookshop was established in 1966 by John La Rose, and over the past 55 years has been pivotal to the growth of the black supplementary schools movement.
Several specialist black bookshops have closed over the past decade, including Centreprise in Dalston, and specialists libraries have also disappeared such as the one at the now-defunct Commission for Racial Equality.
New Beacon Books directors said: “Due to the amazing support from the community in response to our fundraising campaign yesterday and today, the bookshop has been given a lifeline to assist in moving forward.”
The money raised will be used to pay rent, rates, utilities and other overheads and hire a part-time member of staff to support existing management and volunteers, process online orders and carry out admin work.
They also have new plans for community outreach work and educational initiatives within the community as well as restoring New Beacon Books’ publishing platform.
The directors thanked their supporters, saying: “We have been overwhelmed by the positive response to the online crowdfunding campaign and the many in-person purchases by the community.
“We want to emphasise that all the funds received will be accounted for in a transparent and coherent manner. We will keep everyone informed on a regular basis as to our progress. We would like to express again our heartfelt appreciation and gratitude for this support.”