ADD2407 Culture Hub LDN: building capacity of community grant holders

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Code: 
ADD2407
Date signed: 
18 March 2020
Decision by: 
Shonagh Manson, Assistant Director of Culture and Creative Industries

Executive summary

The Mayor’s Culture Strategy, Culture for all Londoners, outlines the Mayor’s ambition to put culture at the heart of local communities. Culture is London’s DNA, part of London’s identity as a city. The creative economy generates £52 billion each year, and 1 in every 6 jobs in the capital is a creative one. Yet for too many Londoners culture remains out of reach.
This decision seeks to use £22,500 from the 2019-20 London Borough of Culture budget and £2,500 from 2020-21 London Borough of Culture budget to pilot a new capacity building support and training programme for individuals and organisations. The focus will be on those people from underserved communities and non-professional backgrounds, who are engaging with the GLA’s support through micro-grants and the Culture at Risk office. Culture Hub LDN will build organisational and individual capacity for people to make the most of their funding and advice, and to lever future funding. The Culture Hub LDN pilot programme will:

• test a new programme of support with grant funding beneficiaries (previous and current) from Culture Seeds, Africa in London and the Culture at Risk office;

• test a programme of capacity building events, networks and training;

• build links with existing training providers and online support such as the GLA’s London Growth Hub; and

• evaluate and share findings from the pilot with the cross-policy GLA Small Grants Working Group and the Mayor’s Cultural Leadership Board.

Decision

That the Assistant Director of Culture and Creative Industries approves:

expenditure of £22,500 from 2019-20 and £2,500 from 2020-21 budgets from the London Borough of Culture allocation to support the delivery of the Culture Hub LDN pilot.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

The Mayor’s Culture Strategy, Culture for all Londoners, outlines the Mayor’s ambition to put culture at the heart of local communities. Culture is London’s DNA, part of London’s identity as a city. The creative economy generates £52 billion each year, and 1 in every 6 jobs in the capital is a creative one. The GLA’s Intelligence Unit research shows that participation in cultural events significantly reduces the risk of social isolation – for example for people not employed full time, participation in culture reduces the risk of social isolation by around a third. Yet for too many Londoners culture remains out of reach.

To support the delivery of the Mayor’s Culture Strategy: Policy 1, ‘the Mayor will help build and strengthen communities by investing in local culture’, the Culture and Creative Industries Unit has initiated a range of programmes to support individuals and organisations to activate cultural engagement within communities and grassroots venues. These include: London Borough of Culture, a flagship initiative for local authorities to increase residents access to culture; Culture Seeds, a micro-grants programme supporting community-led cultural projects at the grassroots; and London’s first Cultural Infrastructure Plan, which responds to the need to safeguard existing cultural and community facilities which are under threat, for example from development and rising rents.

Since 2018, the Culture and Creative Industries Unit has been monitoring the impact of Culture Seeds and Cultural Infrastructure Plan activities such as the Culture at Risk office. Consultation with a range of stakeholders shows that aside from funding, individuals and organisations need help, training and access to networks to skill up so they can create more sustainable, ongoing delivery of their activities.

In autumn 2019, GLA officers reviewed the findings of evaluations from awardees from Culture and Creative Industries programmes and other GLA small grant schemes including:

• Culture Seeds evaluation and feedback survey;
• Young Londoners Fund arts and culture applications;
• Africa in London feedback from mentoring sessions and event; and
• London Borough of Culture evaluation including surgeries with local authorities.

A wide range of people are applying to these programmes with limited knowledge of fundraising or organisations development knowledge and they are often non-professional or volunteers. For example, 39% of the 114 evaluation reports from the Culture Seeds programme show 39% have only applied for funding 1-2 times before their Culture Seeds application. A range of common training needs was identified in order to help beneficiaries secure funding from elsewhere beyond support from the GLA; the need for peer to peer networks; connections to potential partnerships with existing training providers; and the need for bespoke specialist advice e.g. how to use data effectively, develop communications strategies, evaluate projects and business planning.

As a result, the Culture and Creative Industries Unit seeks to establish a pilot programme, called Culture Hub LDN. This pilot will build organisational and individual capacity to enable people to make the most of their funding, lever further funding and increase civic engagement. Culture Hub LDN will test the viability of a cross-GLA approach to supporting awardees with similar requirements from different programmes across the Culture and Creative Industries Unit and Communities and Social Policy. It is hoped that this approach will improve connections between grassroots creative organisations and more established organisations and as a result increase the sustainability of diverse cultural participation opportunities across London.

The pilot will include:

• Procurement of a four-month programme of training and networking for a cohort of up to 30 individuals and small-scale companies. This intervention will address identified barriers for making projects sustainable in the long-term including fundraising support and how to scale up projects.

• An expansion of Special Assistance advice and Premises Ready Training which is being delivered through the Cultural Infrastructure Plan, so that more individuals from these programmes can be referred to it. This will include access to bespoke advice regarding board development, legal advice and loan advice together with training on topics such as licencing, planning, managing a building, delivering food and beverage operations, financial forecasting and more.

The pilot will be targeted at awardees (previous and current) from Culture Seeds, Africa in London and those seeking advice from the Culture at Risk office. Culture Seeds is the Mayor’s £1m micro grant programme supporting individuals and small organisations to deliver grassroots arts, culture and heritage projects in London’s communities. Since its inception in 2018, the programme has been widely viewed across the GLA as a successful and best practice intervention to support individuals and communities to deliver creative projects that are relevant and embrace diversity. It has awarded £937,955 to 220 community-led creative projects, with grants in every London boroughs. Examples of funded projects include: mosaic making workshops at a foodbank in Bromley, music sessions in residential care homes in Islington and Redbridge, a Latin American Festival in Seven Sisters Market and a new choir for Turkish and Kurdish women in Haringey.

Culture Hub LDN aims to build capacity at the grassroots. Initial data supporting the development of this approach includes that from the following programmes:

Culture at Risk: London has lost 35% of its Grassroots Music Venues and 62% of LGBTQ+ workspace and pubs have closed which has led to the need for a rescue plan which includes supporting an estimated 90 grass roots venues to build resilience;

Culture Seeds: 76% of completed projects stated that they only received between 0-2 small grants prior to their Culture Seeds application. 33% had never applied for funding before. For example, following their Culture Seeds award, The RENA Initiative were shortlisted for a Local Authority Enterprise Award, secured funding to run their art workshops for isolated women in White City and have submitted applications to three other funders to expand their work. However, not all recipients are in the position to achieve such immediate onward success without additional support. Currently, 37% of grants have a focus on engaging Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME) participants, and 42% of grant holders come from BAME backgrounds. 79% of projects take place in the 50 per cent most deprived areas of London (with 39% in the most deprived 20 per cent);

Africa in London mentoring programme: 100% of the participants in the programme said that further networking events and development support would be beneficial to grow their capacity in the sector and welcomed follow up support.

The pilot will also explore links with the newly developed online resource, London Growth Hub. The London Growth Hub brings together the capital’s business support into a single online resource. It is delivered by the LEAP, the local enterprise partnership for London.

The pilot will be evaluated and the findings will be shared with the GLA Small Grants Working Group and the Mayor’s Cultural Leadership Board. This baseline will enable the measurement of the impact of Culture Hub LDN pilot’s first cohort of participants with a focus on: resilience, strengthened networks and diversity of participation.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The objectives for this pilot project are to:

• offer targeted support for awardees (previous and current) from Culture Seeds, Africa in London and those seeking advice from the Culture at Risk Office so they can become more sustainable as a result of enhanced project management skills; and
• build networks and links for the participants with expert training providers and online support such as London Growth Hub.

The expected outcomes for this pilot project are:

• Creation of a cohort of up to 30 small scale organisations and individuals and delivery of a four-month bespoke programme of capacity building training and expertise;
• Creation of a Culture Hub LDN Task Group to monitor deliver and draw out findings; and
• Internal evaluation of the pilot recommending future systems and activities for a one-stop shop for specialist creative and culture advice for the sector.

Equality comments

Under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as a public authority, the Mayor of London must have ‘due regard’ of the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation as well as to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who have a protected characteristic and those who do not.

Through the development of the Culture Strategy, the policies and commitments set out have
undergone an Integrated Impact Assessment to identify the impact of these on a range of objectives for sustainable development including equalities, health inequalities and community safety. The assessment found that all policy and commitments had a positive or neutral impact on these areas.

The Culture Hub LDN aims to increase Londoners engagement and participation with culture and to open up more opportunities to London’s diverse communities and talent by offering training and support with the priority of reaching the less well served communities.

The pilot will be used to target individual grassroots creative and cultural practitioners in the capital and will include support for those with protected characteristics that are under-represented in the culture and creative industries.

Other considerations

Key risks and issues

 

Risk

Impact

Mitigation

Lack of programme participation from the grant holders

Unable to prove need for service.

Early engagement and surveys with key programme participants. Early communications and promotion.

Large demand for programme. Not enough resources to meet demand

Places excessive demand on current resources.

Shared project plan. Provision of online resources. Pilot will work with targeted initial cohort of existing beneficiaries.

Lack of buy in across GLA teams

May reduce level of participation by grant holders.

Early engagement and co-design of programme with programme leads, formation of Task Group.

Duplication of service with other areas

Confusion for participants, lack of demand.

Early engagement, research and communication with relevant teams.

 

Culture Hub LDN contributes to the following Mayoral objectives:       

Mayor’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, Inclusive London, aims to support effective ways to involve communities in the development of their neighborhood’s and the wider city, as well as to work with London businesses, boroughs and the voluntary sector to create more opportunities for young people to gain work experience and wider career and employment opportunities, especially in the STEM, digital, cultural and creative sectors. Strategic Objective 10, 17 and 18.  

 

Mayor’s Economic Development Strategy, aims to work with communities to create vibrant local economies outside central London, including successful town centres, markets, high streets and industrial areas, providing funding opportunities to support innovative approaches. It also aims to help more Londoners to engage in culture through the London Borough of Culture competition, Culture Seeds and engagement pilots. Section 4.1, 4.5 and 5.2. 

 

Mayor’s Social Integration Strategy, All of Us aims to develop participatory approaches to develop and deliver policies and programmes for Londoners. Policy 2.2

 

Culture Hub LDN helps to deliver the Mayor’s Culture Strategy, Culture for All Londoners, making sure that everyone can access high quality culture on their doorstep and that Londoners from every background can pursue a career in the creative industries if they choose. The strategy sets out its priorities for increasing participation and helping more Londoners get employment in the creative industries in policy actions ‘Love London, Policy 1.5, and Creative Londoners, Policy 12.

 

There are no conflicts to declare from officers involved in the drafting or clearance of this decision.

 

Financial comments

Approval is being sought for total expenditure of £25,000 from the London Borough of Culture budget to support the delivery of the Culture Hub LDN pilot. The expenditure is split across two financial years with £22,500 from 2019-20 and £2,500 from 2020-21.

The London Borough of Culture budget is held within the Culture and Creative Industries Unit.

Activity table

Activity

Timeline

Procurement of contracts [for externally delivered projects – Culture At Risk and Culture Seeds]

March 2020

Draft Project Plan and Evaluation Framework

March 2020

Project review

Summer 2020

Final evaluation

Autumn 2020

Project closure

Autumn 2020


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