Online crowdfunding for the ‘Plush for All’ campaign to increase accessibility to the Oxford nightclub, has ended with a total of £2,096 As the only gay nightclub in the Oxford area, several colleges have donated to the campaign to prevent anyone from being excluded entry due to inaccessibility to the disabled. Wadham College donated the most at £1,000, followed by Pembroke College with £400, then Keble College with £300, and University College at £150. Several other college JCRs discussed motions to donate to the campaign, but they were denied.
Henna Khanom, LGBTQ+ Campaign co-chair, first proposed the motion at the Wadham SU, seconded by Juliet Shapiro, Wadham’s Disability Representative. The initial proposal was for a donation of £150, but escalated to become the largest donation by a College SU.
The motion included testimony from Quinn, an Oxford student and LGTQ+ Society representative who uses a wheelchair: “Wheelchair users constantly have to ask ‘but is it accessible?’ whenever invited out, and choose whether to be left out of the nightlife or risk injury trying to get into an inaccessible space, either by climbing, being carried, or walking.
Adding a stair lift to Plush’s new venue will mean no wheelchair user or ambulatory disabled person in Oxford has to sit out another night or be hurt trying to get in. Inclusive spaces are invaluable to the queer community, and too often disabled people get left out of the equation. Not in Oxford.”
Plush relocated from Park Street to Cornmarket Street in January and is now under the authority of the Oxford Union. At the previous location, Plush was the only level-access club in Oxford. It has allocated £5,000 towards a new chairlift, which the Union has matched, but it still needs another £8,500 to complete the project. Although the online campaign has finished, a representative from Plush told The Oxford Student that they are still receiving contributions “from college JCRs and societies, individuals, businesses, anonymous donors and the like.”
They continued to say: “That said, though, we are extremely close to having secured the requisite funds to initiate the works and equipment purchases needed to make Plush more accessible, and to this end we hope to make a more detailed statement in a matter of days. In sum, Plush is hugely grateful for the overwhelming support shown thus far, and anticipate an exciting announcement soon as we endeavour to make the safe space which Plush offers as accessible as possible, as soon as possible.”
Image credit: Roger Templeman