Making A Space For Marginalised People - Umbrella Lane

During the COVID19 lockdown, Umbrella Lane had to give up its community space in order to refocus its resources and move online. However, now that restrictions are beginning to ease Umbrella Lane is eager to create a new community space.
raised of £10,000 target
RCN SC045915

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Umbrella Lane is an initiative of the registered Charity SISU. Since its inception in 2015, Umbrella Lane has been working to empower the Sex Worker Community throughout Scotland and develop lived experience led projects that enable greater health, happiness and well-being of Sex Workers throughout Scotland.

Umbrella Lane aims to achieve its vision through activities focused on: Community, Connection and Conversation.

We build and empower the Sex Worker community through intentionally designing safe community spaces that enable peer-to-peer and specialist support in person and online. Services are designed in regular consultation with the community so they are tailored to Sex Workers needs and ensure holistic wellbeing using a trauma-informed and rights-respecting approach. To foster participation and inclusion of Sex Workers in the Umbrella Lane community, we run regular workshops designed to increase confidence and self-esteem in abilities, whilst offering upskilling opportunities and fun, creative events.

Umbrella Lane believes that partnership working and creating connection locally and nationally is vital to ensure Sex Workers can enjoy unabated access to a range of services and support. Through the lived experience led training of partner services, we develop safe and supportive referral pathways with aligned organisations and collaborate with partners to fill service gaps to ensure holistic support is available to all Sex Workers.

Through inciting positive conversations, in the media, academia, the general public and policy making and service planning spaces, Umbrella Lane works to humanise the people in our community. By amplifying Sex Workers voices and showing the diversity of their experiences within and outwith the sex industry, Umbrella Lane aims to foster a systemic cultural change in thinking, to ultimately remove stigma to enable greater happiness and well-being of Sex Workers.

Due to the COVID19 pandemic, Umbrella Lane had to give up its physical community space to adapt our services to provide crisis financial, health and emotional support. This included developing a crisis fund for Sex Workers facing financial hardship, moving peer support spaces online, and creating new virtual services to reduce isolation and support community well-being.

As restrictions are beginning to ease and people are starting to be allowed to meet in small groups, Umbrella Lane is eager to once again secure a safe physical space for our community where we can also resume delivery of vital services.

As Sex Workers, our community members are amongst some of the most marginalised in society. Many are single parents, migrant workers, disabled or transgender individuals. Each of these groups faces distinct challenges but when compiled with being a Sex Worker many will face even further isolation and stigma.

Thats why having a safe space - specifically a physical community space - is so important. Its a place for all of our community members to come together and to be safe from judgement or stigma. To share resources and knowledge but also to connect with other individuals that truly understand them and to create lasting and meaningful connections. The community space will also allow Umbrella Lane to resume services and create new ones in line with arising needs.

When we asked our community members how the Umbrella Lane community space made them feel these were some of the responses we got:

Having the Umbrella Lane drop-in space has been invaluable. Although I wasn't always a 'regular' of the drop-in, just knowing there was an easily accessible safe space made me feel so much more comfortable, and less alone doing sex work. I loved the sense of community at the drop-ins, and of course access to free condoms, and the delicious food that was supplied! The space felt homely and welcoming, and I loved that it was so close to the train station which made it really easy to travel to. - Gemma

When I began sex work I felt really isolated, and there were not many people I could talk to about my work - I'm so glad I found Umbrella Lane, as I have not only made friends with other Sex Workers, I have a safety net, people I can turn to for advice, people who understand me and who don't pass judgement. Having a dedicated drop-in space also meant Umbrella Lane were able to run workshops that helped me learn some really valuable skills. - Claire

The first time I went along to the Umbrella Lane drop-in I was pretty nervous. I only knew a few other Sex Workers personally and Id only really talked to people on the group chat so I wasnt sure what to expect. When I arrived I was immediately welcomed into the group and made so comfortable. Everyone was so friendly! There was good food, tea, books, condoms and so much else. It was really cool. Ive missed it so much since lockdown and I really hope we can start seeing each other again soon. - Alice

We hope that youll see how important having a community space is and will help us to raise funds to secure a new physical space for the rest of 2021 and beyond!

Whether you are able to give a monetary donation or not we would really appreciate it if you could take the time to share our fundraiser on social media and with your friends and family.

Looking to get more involved? Consider becoming a fundraiser for Umbrella Lane!

You can find all of the information on becoming a fundraiser - including access to our Fundraising Pack - on our website (

About the charity


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RCN SC045915
Founded in 2015 by Sex Workers & supportive allies, Umbrella Lane seeks to create safe community spaces for the sex worker community. Focusing on holistic care, well being and creating meaningful connections within the community. To help reduce the harms caused by stigma and discrimination.

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