A Stoke Newington female-owned music venue is putting an emphasis on the safety of its LGBTQ+ and female community members.

Doña was founded in 2019 by Lucia Massey and Thea Cumming as a space allied to the queer community, with a focus on "empowered feminine energy".

Lucia said that the venue is committed to providing a safe space to its community, where everyone feels welcome and respected.

She continued: "It's such a deep and complicated problem that nightlife is a space of danger because nightlight is also a space of safety. For a lot of marginalised communities, it's the only space where you can come together and express yourself and explore your culture.

"As a woman - I'm a born and bred Londoner who grew up in Camden - I have had so many unpleasant experiences in nightlife spaces. So have all of my female friends and a lot of my queer friends.

"It really bothers me as someone who loves nightlife, loves the night and loves being out at night that a lot of spaces do not take into account the safety of their community.

"Oftentimes, the emphasis is put on the victim to protect themselves rather than thinking about how you can design a space to make it really hostile for predatory behaviour.

Hackney Gazette: Doña's interior is decorated with velvets, rich pinks and flowersDoña's interior is decorated with velvets, rich pinks and flowers (Image: Pasco Photography)

"The point of Doña and the reason it's overtly feminine is we wanted it to be really sexy but also really safe. We wanted it to be a nurturing space, somewhere that's the antithesis to my experience of London nightlight as a woman and as an event producer.

"We're very overt in our messaging; all our staff are trained to be vigilant, we have a total zero tolerance policy for any behaviour that is at all untoward or disrespectful and we have no hesitation about throwing anyone out.

"I feel like it's a huge responsibility if you have a venue that the people in it are safe. You're also dealing with people that are getting inebriated and having a good time so you need to contain the space even more to ensure that all goes on without an unpleasant thing happening."

Doña received a PRS award for Music's Back to Live Music Venue Prize for London on November 2, giving them £10,000 that will go towards improving their live music facilities.

Thea and Lucia plan to use the prize money to develop their stage area, from improving lighting and adding stage monitors for enhanced sound to offering musicians guitar amps and a stage piano.

Hackney Gazette: Doña will use their prize money to improve their sound and lighting systemsDoña will use their prize money to improve their sound and lighting systems (Image: Adam Frost)

Lucia added: "Running a small, grassroots space is not hugely profitable and it's hard work so having an organisation like PRS turn around and award you the prize out of the whole city that you live in is massive. It validates everything that we do at the space and makes it seem worthwhile."

Doña is located in Stoke Newington High Street.