Black Lives Matter UK registers as a community benefit society after raising £1.2m

23 Oct 2020 News

Black Lives Matter UK (BLM UK) has registered as a community benefit society which will aim to tackle racism and white supremacy in the UK, organisers have said.

The movement raised more than £1.2m on GoFundMe on the back of the Black Lives Matter protests that started at the end of May.

BLM UK said the crowdfund, which had launched on 2 June, will close this month. The majority of it (more than £800,000) was raised in the first 10 days.

The organisation has not made it clear how the money will be spent yet. In an earlier update, it said a first round of funding would go to “black-led organisations and those working on issues affecting the black community, organisations we have previously worked with and/or have who an established history organising in the black community, organisations that align with our political demands”.

BLM UK also said it will “very soon” be launching its website, which was originally meant to go live by 5 August.

Questions around the organisation’s transparency were repeatedly raised on Twitter. BLM UK said in June: “Amongst calls for transparency and demands to reveal the leadership behind BLM UK, we are currently dealing with emergency legal matters following last week’s protests in addition to the hostility of far-right groups.

“This is a genuine threat to our safety and, whilst organisation and process plans for the fund are soon to be shared, we thank you for your patience, but cannot compromise our safety at this time. Some of us are already public-facing figures and have spoken out as members of BLM UK.”

It later added that its members have been “targeted” online and by media. 

It also said it was not going to be able to register as a charity because of the political nature of its work.

‘Thank you for your patience’

The organisation’s full statement yesterday reads: “Thank you so much to everyone that donated to our GoFundMe page. This month we will be closing donations to the page and relaunching BLM UK.
“BLM UK is run by a small group of volunteers committed to dismantling racism and white supremacy. We have been hard at work setting up the legal and financial structures we need to spend the funds responsibly and create the infrastructure our movement needs to take on racism in the UK.
“We are now registered as a community benefit society with a board of directors. We have an official BLM bank account and will be launching our website at very soon.
“Once our website is live we'll be announcing our plans for the fund, and for growing and strengthening out movement. When we created the GoFundMe page we never imagined the levels of support it would get. Thank you for your patience and support as we have laid the foundations for our next chapter.”

For more news, interviews, opinion and analysis about charities and the voluntary sector, sign up to receive the Civil Society News daily bulletin here.

More on