In 2016 Wharf Chambers was approached by a POC member that disclosed they had been in an abusive relationship with one of our staff members. At the time we had no policies in place or training to know how to deal with this situation. Though the staff member was eventually fired, we failed to act promptly and effectively and as a result caused harm to that person and to our wider community and members who trusted us as a space.

policies have been made and can be found here:

Wharf Chambers’ Disclosure Policy & example scenarios

Wharf Chambers’ Disclosure Procedure Flowchart

Members and users of the space had also flagged up other incidents relating to racism and our lack of focus on anti-racism work.  As an organisation we are incredibly grateful for the patience and the feedback we received and continue to recieve and for the opportunity to improve as individuals and as a space. We have undergone staff training and sought external help to develop written policies that will help us proactively deal with any future situations. This work will always be ongoing for us and we are committed to listening and learning and doing as much as we can to make Wharf Chambers a safe and welcoming place to be for POC.

We hope that the documents that you can find on our website such as our ongoing accountability work document and our policies are open and transparent. We also hope these documents might help other spaces now, and in the future. If you would like to talk to us further about this, please get in touch via

November 2021

*This is a Live Document which continues to be updated*


We continue to be committed to practicing anti-racist behaviour both as an event space as well as a cooperative work force. We aim to be both accountable and proactive in our approach. The aim of this document is to update members on what we have been doing, whilst also highlighting the work that still needs to be done.

We have gathered a list of action points and suggestions from the sources below. This is not a definitive list, rather things that we have identified to be within our capacity at this moment. We thank everyone for their patience, input and support, especially POC, as we recognise the inherent difficulty in doing anti-racism work with white people.

Our action points come from the following places:

  • Our previous anti-racism action point table
  • Our email exchanges with Wharf Members Against Racism
  • Our training session with Racial Justice Network
  • Our consultation with an outside facilitator
  • Feedback gathered from our members surveys
  • Ideas from our own internal development meetings


    • We are committed to keeping open all avenues for communicating safer spaces issues. We continue to regularly check our saferspaces email address and reply in a timely fashion. We will ensure that this is widely publicised through social media as well as through posters in the bar.
    • We have reinstated the information board in the bar and we are making better use of it. It explains the structure of the workforce of Wharf Chambers and provides a space for any of our own in-house updates. We hope this will make our structure more transparent as well as make it clearer how to get in touch with us for issues beyond safer spaces.
    • We create a monthly email newsletter, updating members and reaching those who do not use social media. This consists of our own in-house updates, monthly event listings, events happening in and around Leeds, as well as any other external news.
    • We are putting more time into improving our social media presence. This means having dedicated members of staff replying to queries and updating members, as well as making more use of it to publicise the events which are taking place at Wharf.
    • We publish our accounts on the website to be more transparent about money.
  • The members survey (which happens twice a year) will continue to have questions regarding racism and accessibility. We hope this will keep us up to date with how we are meeting people’s needs and what needs to be changed if not. We have also published a digest of the results from the last members’ survey on social media in order to be transparent with the feedback we received as well as to demonstrate the action points we have come up with as a result. We will do this again after the next members’ survey in February. We are also going to include a question which gives participants the opportunity to disclose their identity in order to discuss any further issues they may have.
    (The last survey should have happened just as the first lockdown happened so we didn’t do one, but plan to do one after the new years closing period and will review/update the questions so that we can also gather some feedback on things that have changed via the pandemic)


  • We are going to make our safer spaces agreement more visible and easier to digest in the bar room. This means having more posters and signage in the bar addressing different aspects that the agreement touches upon (i.e. what are micro-aggressions/ what is the pyramid of white supremacy/ what does appropriation look like).
    (We want to pay artists and designers for these infographics. If you have any suggestions please contact us)
  • Our staff review system now asks each staff member to reflect and share what anti-racism learning/activism they have been engaging with. This goes alongside a question asking how each staff member is continuing to educate themselves. The staff reviews happen twice a year.
    (Next staff review in 2022)
  • We are keeping an in-house document of resources (reading material/ films/ podcasts) to share with one another.
  • Whilst doing any and all of these things we are going to be mindful not to place emotional burdens on POC in the organisation when challenging and discussing issues that affect them directly or indirectly.
  • From recent experience we have also learnt that a third party/ facilitator is invaluable at difficult meetings. Moving forward, we will make better and earlier use of this.
  • Anti-Racism Lending Library: During Lockdown we crowdfunded £500 and bought over 60 books recommended as reading material for people to learn more about racism and anti racism. This Library Is now in the Bar room and is free to use for anyone and will hopefully grow over time and become a useful resource for our members and others. All members of staff are anticipated to make use of the library


  • We have been and continue to offer reduced/waived room hire fees to events led by POC.
    • We will continue to challenge events organisers that are appropriative or have all-white lineups. The terms and conditions sent to promoters continues to include a section asking them to reflect on the diversity and representation of their event.
  • We are keeping better records of the events held at Wharf. In our weekly co-op meetings, we are looking back on what has happened that week and if we notice any events which have been led by POC, we encourage them to come back.
  • During The Pandemic we received Arts Council Recovery Funding, allowing us to pay people to host events at Wharf Chambers. We also opened a funded call out for events from promoters we had specifically not worked with before. In both cases we prioritised submissions from POC and underserved groups


    • Hiring POC. every time we are recruiting we are going to state that we particularly welcome applicants of colour.
    • Wharf will be closing for a longer break over Xmas and NY to reflect on the last 18 months and restructure how we work and something about the future.
  • External equality monitoring and reviewing the experience of our hiring process. We did equality monitoring last recruitment and will do it again, in the future when we find a suitable company to outsource this to. But we need to ask for further feedback on how accessible the hiring process was in general.
  • Applying for more funding; this year was the only time we have ever received any money from a funding body. It was an incredible opportunity which allowed us to host and encourage a wider range of events. Going Forward, we want to continue being able to offer this extra support and remuneration, particularly to POC and other underserved communities.
  • Continuing to Gather and Implement Ideas from our members feedback and our own internal development meetings

Here are links to our previous Anti Racism Action plans should you want to view how this process has come along

April 2021

November 2019

July 2019

January 2018

Values Statement

Wharf Chambers is an organisation that prides itself on being led by our values and we work to attain them in our day to day running of the space. We recognise that our values are a work in progress, but we feel that these are the things we are trying to attain.

Wharf Chambers is trying to be a safer space

Wharf Chambers strives towards being a Safer Space for its members and their guests. This means that there is zero tolerance to any form of oppressive, marginalising or aggressive behaviour against our members and their guests. Wharf is committed to challenging these behaviours and empowering our members to answer back to them when the need arises.

Wharf Chambers is trying to be accessible

Wharf Chambers strives to be an accessible space. This means we work to reduce or remove barriers that our members and their guest might experience when they use our space or attend our events. For example, these could be physical barriers such as providing gender neutral toilets or making our spaces accessible to wheelchair users. Or these barriers might be interpersonal, for example we try to be friendly towards and accepting of our guests and their members.

Wharf Chambers is a not for profit organisation

All money that Wharf Chambers makes goes into paying its staff, the upkeep of its building and the purchasing of its stock. Any extra money that Wharf Chambers makes it used to support other similar venues or activism/ projects which are in line with our values. Wharf Chambers strives to keep our prices as low as possible whilst remaining sustainable.

Wharf Chambers does not believe in bosses. But it does believe in respect, cooperation and mutual aid

We all share the responsibility of running Wharf Chambers – we recognise this might be a slow way of doing things but we prefer it to unnecessary hierarchy.

Wharf Chambers tries to be an open platform for its members

Wharf Chambers exists as a place for its members to use in different and creative ways. The members programme all of the events and we try to accommodate as broad a range of our members’ interests and needs as possible. Wharf Chambers is committed to helping its members do it for themselves.

Wharf Chambers tries to be accountable to its members

Wharf Chambers tries to be active in communicating with our members about their experiences and aspirations for the future of the club. We do this by sending out surveys, holding regular members meetings and responding to online forms of communication or conversations in the space. When we receive information about our members’ experiences and aspirations we strive to respond to that information honestly, fairly and promptly.

Wharf Chambers tries to be fun

We believe that at its heart Wharf Chambers is a place which is fun and wants its members to have fun and enjoy themselves. We believe that contributing to the happiness and well-being of our membership helps to make the world a better place for us all.

Safer Spaces Agreement

Introduction / Aim:

Wharf Chambers Members’ Club is committed to creating an environment in which we prioritise each others’ safety and harmful or marginalising behaviour is not tolerated. No space can be completely safe and free from oppression, but we can work towards making the space safer by clarifying the standards of behaviour that are expected from our members and their guests, supporting people in reporting unacceptable behaviour, and having clear processes for dealing with it.

Some of the behaviours we want to prevent are often seen as culturally acceptable. These can only be fully prevented by every member and guest being aware of and taking responsibility for their own behaviour.

Becoming a member of Wharf Chambers means that you are committed to our core values of co-operation, mutual aid and self-management. Amongst the ways you can demonstrate this commitment is looking out for each other’s safety and well-being, listening to and respecting the thoughts and feelings of others and changing your behaviour if someone indicates you are making them feel uncomfortable or unsafe.

Below, we clarify some of the behaviours we won’t tolerate. If you encounter any of these behaviours, or any other behaviour that makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, please report it to a member of staff.

Alternatively, you can report any incidents, behaviour or other concerns to us by either emailing saferspaces[at], using the Comments & complaints form, leaving a message in the suggestions box, or calling or texting 07523 307089.

Co-op staff will take any report of unacceptable behaviour seriously and take action as described below. They will treat anything sensitive confidentially, as outlined below.

This policy will be subject to an annual review done in consultation between Wharf Chambers and its members. If you are a member of Wharf Chambers your views on this document will be sought at least once a year via methods including Member’s Meetings, Email and on social media. If you have any immediate feedback you would like to give us about this document or any other aspect of your membership please either email saferspaces[at], message us on social media, call or text 07523 307089, or speak to a member of staff at the bar if one is available.

What behaviour is unacceptable?

Violent and aggressive behaviour

This includes physical violence and attempted physical violence, any kind of nonconsensual sexual behaviour, aggression and intimidating behaviour, and wilful or attempted damage to the space itself.

This behaviour risks causing harm, both to the those involved and potentially to those around them, and displays disregard towards others’ safety and boundaries and may intimidate those in the vicinity. It may also jeopardise our license.

Physical violence will always result in immediate ejection from the premises and a ban.

Prejudiced behaviour

Any kind of behaviour that exhibits prejudice, whether or not it is directed at any specific person. This includes making assumptions about people, implying their inferiority, or treating them with less respect, on the basis of any characteristic associated with marginalisation, oppression or discrimination.

This includes but is not restricted to (and in no particular order) discrimination of individuals due to their; age, disability, body shape/size, gender history, marital/civil-partnership status, pregnancy/maternity/paternity status, race, religious or philosophical belief, gender, sex, sexual orientation, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, social class/caste, asylum/immigration status, mental health, political affiliations, viral status, health status, care responsibilities or criminal conviction.

Discrimination is often something we do without thinking about it. Please be aware that you can hurt people without realising it, and listen to people if they say that you have.

Prejudiced behaviour reinforces oppression and discrimination, and as such it is actively harmful and can put people in danger. Refusing to tolerate it is an essential step towards creating a safer space.


Any behaviour that disregards others’ boundaries or aims to make them feel threatened and unsafe, including (for example) verbal abuse or threats, bullying behaviours, use of derogatory language to insult or undermine, deliberate unwanted intrusion into someone’s personal space, and willful misinterpretation of someone’s desires or behaviour (such as not leaving them alone when they clearly want you to do so).

This behaviour demonstrates a desire to cause harm and disregard towards others’ wishes and freedom to choose.

How will we respond?

At the time:

Wharf Chambers’ staff are committed to prioritising the safety of Wharf’s members and their guests – you are encouraged to seek their assistance at any time you feel unsafe in the space and they will aim to help you with the situation as soon as they can.

Once the staff become aware of any of the above behaviours occurring, they will intervene and request that the person involved desist, and remind them of the Club’s principles. they will aim to help you with the situation as soon as they can.

In more serious cases or if they persist, they will be asked to leave the premises, and ejected if necessary. Depending on the nature of the incident and the wishes of those affected by the behaviour, we may also contact (or support others in contacting) outside agencies such as the police.

After the event:

If the incident does not need to be treated confidentially, details will be passed to the wider Co-op, who will collectively decide what action to take, including whether to revoke the relevant person’s membership and for what length of time (minimum three months). In these circumstances the person concerned would not be permitted access to the premises even as a guest (ie they are banned/ barred). This will be clearly communicated to the person. If they, or any member, wish to query the ban or its length, they will need to contact us, ideally by emailing saferspaces[at]

In confidential cases:

If the incident is sensitive or confidentiality has been requested, we will arrange with the person concerned for a single staff member to discuss the incident with them and report back to a sub-group of the wider Co-op. The person raising the issue can request to speak to a specific Co-op member and this will be arranged wherever possible. This person will need to disclose to the Co-op the information necessary for the Co-op to respond to the incident. However, if the person raising the issue has expressed concerns about a member of the Co-op specifically, the member will not be involved with this process.

Wharf is committed to upholding your confidentiality, however, should the situation you disclose to us involve the abuse or neglect of a child or vulnerable adult then we are committed to our duty to disclose this to the relevant external statutory agencies.

At the end of the ban period:

At this point 2 or more designated staff members would meet with the person involved to make sure they have understood the reasons for their ban, this policy and the principles underlying it, and our Club ethos, before a decision is made on reinstating membership. The complainant will be informed at this stage and their input sought.

Paid opportunity: Editor for a Zine about the experiences of People of Colour

We as an organisation have been undertaking a series of conversations with our members about how we support People of Colour who use Wharf Chambers and beyond. The contributions of individuals and groups such as Wharf Members Against Racism have shown the need for the anti-racism work led by people who experience racism needs to be collated and distributed, so we are commissioning a zine and require an editor. The hope is that by providing a platform and funds People of Colour may be able to utilise these resources.
We as an organisation do not wish to influence the editing process and accept that submissions and printed contributions may be highly critical of Wharf Chambers as an organisation due to our ongoing institutional failures towards PoC and abuse survivors*
The editor will be responsible for finding suitable contributions, editing, layout, and administration of the project.
You must identify as a Person of Colour and/or BAME to apply for this role.**
You may have paid or unpaid experience of;
  • anti-racism
  • decolonoisation
  • activism
  • editing and blogging
  • zines
  • journalism
  • writing/poetry
  • photography and art
  • printing
This is a freelance role, with a fee of £200 for all work undertaken. There are additional funds allocated for the printing and contributor fees.
To apply or for an informal chat about this position, please send a cover letter and CV to The closing date is 6th August at 10am.

**The Race Relations Act 1976 (Amendment) Regulations 2003

Meeting minutes 16/4/18

Please see the minutes from our meeting concerning racism and response to abuse held on 16th April here.

This is a Google document at present as we’re aware not everything got minuted and would strongly welcome any input before publishing a final version.