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.

Anti-racism work update

A response to comments from members that were posted on our Facebook page and emailed to us after our recent statement about our failings in dealing with a complaint about a coop member. Please see our updated Anti-Racism Action Plan relating to this work.

Wharf Chambers, like many DIY and cooperative spaces in the UK, is predominantly run and organised by white people. Wharf Chambers Workers’ Co-op and Club Collective do not want, and have never wanted, that. As organisational bodies we reproduce aspects of systematic racism often in our day to day practice. We are committed to trying to identify and lessen that and to try to be a supportive, caring, empowering and listening environment for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people. We recognise that this will always be a process of improvement, but we hope eventually to have a space and set of resources that is partly for, led and steered by BAME people with white members supporting and enabling that work.

In December 2015 Wharf Chambers requested an external facilitator to lead a meeting about racism and white privilege within the Club as well as the wider DIY scene in Leeds. We intended for the meeting to be a space within which people could share ideas and experiences, and for this to help steer our own internal anti-racism strategy. We learnt a lot about our failings in that meeting and we learnt them because BAME people had to point them out to us. It isn’t fair that BAME people have to teach us these things and remind us of things before changes take place. This has taken place since our recent statement too and while we are grateful for the generosity of posters/ contributors we do not want to rely on this going forward and are committed to proactive anti-racist work.

From this meeting Wharf Chambers developed an action plan which reflected the thoughts and feelings of some of our BAME members with short-term, medium-term and long-term actions. However, we were not communicative nor proactive enough about the findings of the meeting, and in the end some BAME people who contributed to the meeting ended up emotionally exhausted. We realise that our communication on this and the recent disclosure of abuse by a staff member have been inadequate. We are committed to continuing anti-racist work and communicating more clearly about what we intend to do and what we are able to do. We have updated the table created after the 2015 meeting with a point-by-point, honest breakdown of what we have and haven’t done, and what we intend to do moving forward (see attached). This, like our safer spaces agreement, is meant to be a live document that evolves over time in response to member input. If you want to suggest anything please email members[at]

We have been a reactive space, without foreseeing potential issues or how we might address members’ needs effectively. Our lack of defined boundaries has meant that we are not able to clearly state what we are able and not able to do. We have a responsibility to respond to any disclosure of abuse with both professionalism and compassion and we are working towards ensuring that we achieve that by developing a robust set of policies and processes that reflect our values. We want to reassure members that despite not always honouring this responsibility in the past, we will listen when issues are brought to us, even when they are about us, and we will take a proactive role in seeking resolution.

We are committed to making disclosures and complaints safer and easier for everyone, recognising that power structures make these harder for some people. Wharf Chambers is committed to responding appropriately to disclosures of abuse in relation to our staff and volunteers. We will also work to ensure that abuse which occurs between members or their guests on our premises is dealt with in line with our safer spaces agreement. Wharf Chambers cannot get involved responding to abuse that occurs between members outside of the premises, however we are committed to listening to our members when they express concerns around their safety, and we will always work proactively to help our members to feel safe when accessing our premises.

We are committed to working hard on our own responsibilities and failings, however we are also conscious that we do not exist in a vacuum. We’re aware that other spaces in Leeds have done their own work and we invite them to participate in a broader conversation to bring about change.

We would also like to draw attention to this document about accountability, produced by DIY Space for London. Although not all points are applicable exactly to us, we think this is an excellent document; one which reflects the need for compassionate, nuanced thinking around disclosures of abuse from survivors.

We have a lot to learn and are committed to educating ourselves. At our next members meeting all of this is up for discussion. We are also planning a members’ survey to inform our work. We will update members on this work at members’ meetings, on the website and on social media.

Thanks for reading,


What’s been going at Wharf… (23/1/16)

Wharf Chambers is committed to working to improve our space and people’s experiences in it. There are two layers at Wharf Chambers who work together to run the space:

  • A co-op of paid staff who – staff the bar, order stock, clean, keep accounts, keep us safe and legal and do all the other things you need to do to run a business.
  • A small group of volunteers, the club collective (all members of the club), also work with the co-op to support them in their role of running Wharf, providing advice on staying safe and legal and listening to members about what they want from the space

Wharf Chambers comes from a long history of DIY organising in LS6 and beyond, and when we first started we ran off the good will of many staff and volunteers who made it happen through putting in loads of their time and energy for free. We are proud of the fact we can now offer sustainable employment to a number of people in the co-op, however as a developing business there are limits to our capacity. We recognise that the pace of change can sometimes feel slow but we’re all working hard behind the scenes to keep afloat whilst making improvements.

Together over the last year we have been working to process feedback received and make progress toward Wharf Chambers being a better space for its membership. Through this we have undertaken a development day with staff and club collective to work through feedback received and put in place actions to improve the space. Here is a snapshot of what we’ve been up to:

  • We’ve redeveloped the website this year and added loads more information about the space and the club and how to use it – have a read and if you have any questions either email us or speak to the bar staff
  • We’ve developed a set of values that we believe inform the way we run the space
  • We’ve reviewed and updated our safer spaces agreement
  • We’re working on our processes to ensure everything is in place for Wharf to flourish in the future, including reviewing our policies and business planning for the future
  • We are working on our processes to involve members including making a members’ handbook, setting up a plan for how we communicate with members and reviewing our members’ meetings
  • We’re looking at our own skills and knowledge as a team and working to improve these through skill shares and workshops that we hope to extend to members too in the future

In terms of what happens at Wharf, it’s your club, you do the programming – you just need to be a member of the space and to adhere to its values and safer spaces agreement in order to book. We encourage bookings from any members and are committed to doing our best to help new promoters get involved – see our new promoters’ guide on our website or get in touch via bookings[at]

You can find out more about wharf on our website, through emailing us at members[at], following us on twitter, Instagram or facebook and through attending a members’ meeting.

Watch out for our annual members’ survey which should land in your email inbox in the next month and more regular updates to follow through email and this blog.

Thanks for your ongoing support of the space and we look forward to seeing you all soon.

Ellie, Co-Chair of Wharf Chambers Club Collective