We want to work as transparent as possible:
SchwuZ was founded in 1977 and is Germany’s oldest queer club and largest queer cultural institution. SchwuZ has been located in the rooms of the old Kindl brewery in Neukölln, its fourth location in 43 years, since 2013
The rooms are operated by SchwuZ Kulturveranstaltungs GmbH, which is 100% owned by SchwuZ e.V.. The SchwuZ therefore belongs directly to the community and not to any private person.
As a result of the move, around 1.5 million Euros have been invested on the premises at the Neukölln location to date. In addition, SchwuZ at this moment has around 100 employees and an average of around 300 freelancers working for the club, such as DJs, artists, external staff and technicians who all have to be paid per month.
How is the actual situation?
How is SchwuZ doing during the Corona pandemic? Will SchwuZ open again? Did the donations suffice? When can I finally go out and party again?
We have waited a bit with an update about our situation, so that the politicians have the possibility to turn the announced supporting programs into action. This is what happened with the Soforthilfe IV. Many days and weeks have now passed from the announcement in April and the decision-making in May. SchwuZ has also applied for Soforthilfe IV and had to go through an extensive audit, during which more than 200 pages of documents were submitted. This audit has been completed over 14 days ago, but we have not yet been informed of any result. Not a single Euro was transferred to us. Unfortunately there is also no feedback from the IBB about our application status despite enquiries at the Senate Department for Culture and Europe. However, we assume that we, as a club that has been running a stable business over the past years, will not receive the necessary financial support or will receive it with a delay. Why is this so?
SchwuZ had a revenue return of 1,8 % in 2019 and an average return of 0.7 % in the past 3 years. Despite these modest conditions, we have applied for and received approval for a credit of 300,000 euros from the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW). The guarantee for this credit is covered 100% by the federal state. We have received this credit and this means that it is debt. In 2 years we have to start paying back these debts. At the same time, this also means that we will probably not be able to count on Soforthilfe for the moment. Although the credit gives us a little more breath to cover the running costs for e.g. rent, electricity, insurance and fees until the end of the year – the credit remains a credit. We are also extending the short-time work allowance for our team for just 90 days – the processing at the Agentur für Arbeit is not exactly timely and appropriate to the crisis.
That’s why the donations from you have helped us extremely to avoid sliding into insolvency at the end of May. By June 8th, 2020 we have collected a total of about 85,000 Euros. About 8.000 Euro of this amount will be used for fees, commissions and taxes, so that we had about 78.000 Euro available to cover all the running costs. At the beginning of June the loan amount of 300,000 Euro was paid out, which provides us with the necessary liquidity.
Nevertheless, SchwuZ is far from being saved.
We have also started to keep our promise and transfer the first support payments for artists. About 30 applications for support have reached us and we would be happy if we could make a small contribution from your donations to support artists in particularly precarious situations. Also in the next few days a sum of about 4.000 Euro will be transferred to LESVOS LGBTIQ+ Refugee Solidarity to support the work of this NGO at the European border.
If the situation allows, we are also planning a second round of support in the autumn to help more people for whom there are no offers of help.
In the meantime most of the physical goodies from our StartNext campaign have been sent or handed out. For the booked adventure packages we ask for patience until the contact restrictions are cancelled or SchwuZ is open again. And for those who have not responded to their emails and are reading this: There are still a few things in the office that haven’t been picked up – we’d be happy to hear from you.
We know that the politicians are making every effort to get the pandemic under control. Now there is an announcement by Klaus Lederer to make further funds available to continue to support clubs and cultural institutions that are most affected by the pandemic. We think that is good and we call on them to keep their word. Because an accelerated club dying cannot and must not be the interest of our urban society. And politicians must understand that there is no time to wait. The breath becomes thinner. And our continuing optimism is fading with every day that no government financial support comes.
We also call for a solution on the rent for commercial properties. We want to reduce rents for commercial properties by 50% during the period when we are closed by the authorities, because we cannot use the premises for the actual purpose of renting.
We will also apply for all further public financial support that has just been announced – and hopefully will be passed in the Bundestag. However, we currently do not know whether we are even entitled to apply for these programs. We leave no stone unturned to save SchwuZ.
So we are still dependent on the support from the community and are happy about any financial support. How much we need in the end depends very much on the programs of the city of Berlin and the federal government. In any case, we promise, if there are donations left over, to manage them wisely. And we will continue to work hard for you to create an offer via our live-streaming, which brings a little distraction and entertainment into your everyday life. The team and the protagonists of our streaming offer all work pro bono to make the program possible. For this we want to thank you officially. Without this commitment it would be impossible.
Although parties and club business is not possible, we can use SchwuZ for certain types of events. For example, conferences, conventions, association meetings, digital product presentations, livestreams, hybrid event formats and small exhibitions can take place during the day, provided that the current regulations on hygiene are strictly observed. So if you are looking for a space for this purpose, or know a company that fits the description, then any contact will help us. This way we can at least try to generate a little bit of turnover, especially to get our employees out of short-time work and give them a better income.
The different possibilities to support us with donations are
SchwuZ Kulturveranstaltungs GmbH
IBAN: DE05 1004 0000 0534 5772 02
intended purpose: donation SchwuZ
We stay strong, you do too. And stay healthy.