Who we are
The center is part of the Laced-Up Project, a social enterprise that consists of Laced-Up Boutique, Laced-Up Institute and the social community UUP of which all branches except the boutique run at no profit. The Laced-Up Project puts people before money. The current team working on the community center consists of volunteers & staff of the Laced-Up Project and community members of the above mentioned communities.
Throughout the last years, our work at the Laced-Up Project has brought us in touch with different communities and showed us that there is a huge need for people that fall outside of what society considers to be “normal” to carve out a space where they feel welcome.
That’s why we’re delighted to share with you that we’re opening the community center ‘gezellig – A Safe Space’ in Utrecht at Korte Jansstraat 8 on February 14th, 2020.
‘gezellig- A Safe Space’ is for everyone that needs a soft place to land. We’re safe, sane & consensual and welcoming sex- & body positivity, LGTBQI+, neurodiverse, disabled & BIPOC* folks. We aim to create a space for people to live their truth and be themselves. Everyone that respects our boundaries is welcome.
By day, gezellig is a community center that’s an inexpensive café and fun hang-out space with board games & magazines. We’ll offer free wi-fi & uplifting educational material. The small earnings from the drinks, snacks & merchandise will help us to pay the rent, staff & other expenses.
Downstairs is a place where events like support groups can be held. For those that offer free events to our communities, the space can be used free of charge. For a small fee, we offer the space to ethical professionals to make use of the space for their own needs.
What we need
For more than a decade the volunteers & staff of The Laced-Up Project have been putting ourselves on the frontline. We are not martyrs, this is truly a labor of love. This is the realization of The Project’s mission & dream for Utrecht.
We’ve used every resource and every bit of money we could earn, beg or borrow to make this happen. We have everything ready to go: completed leases, permits etc. It’s all done!
Now we could really need your help. We are deeply grateful for every bit of support you’re willing & able to share.
We need to work on the accessibility of the building.
We obtained permission to do some major renovations to improve the accessibility of gezellig. It’s an old & neglected building but we hope to install a ramp to have the entrance wheelchair accessible and make the steps to the lower level safer. Our landlord requires that this work is done by a professional contractor under the supervision of an architect/engineer. We need to raise funds in order to be able to do that.
Paying a minimum livable wage to the center’s manager.
To be ethical we must pay the center’s manager a minimum livable wage. Up to this point we have mostly relied on the generous help of volunteers to get this far.