MD2287 London Borough of Culture

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Date signed: 
05 June 2018
Decision by: 
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

Executive summary

The Mayor made a manifesto commitment to establish a London Borough of Culture award, inspired by the European and UK City of Culture, so that each selected London Borough is the focus of a celebration of its arts, culture and heritage. MD2107 approved expenditure of £3.537m over 2017/18 to 2020/21 to launch the competition and announce two winning boroughs for 2019 and 2020. This decision seeks approval for an additional £1m of expenditure. This would result in a total budget for LBOC of £4.537m up to 2020/21

Following a competitive application and selection process the two winning boroughs were announced on 27 February 2018 as London Borough of Waltham Forest for 2019 and London Borough of Brent for 2020 and six Culture Impact Awards to Barking & Dagenham, Camden, Kingston, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton.

The Mayor has committed to delivering a creative entrepreneurship programme for young people in his draft Culture strategy – Culture For All Londoners. It’s objective will be to support a diverse range of young people from the winning boroughs of Waltham Forest and Brent who will take the lead to deliver creative projects that create change in their own communities.


That the Mayor approves total expenditure of £1.1m on the following:

• £500,000 to the title winners (£250,000 to London Borough of Waltham Forest for 2019 and £250,000 to London Borough of Brent for 2020);
• £250,000 towards the Culture Impact Awards to deliver exemplary projects to be allocated between the six selected London Boroughs; and
• £350,000 to grant fund Battersea Arts Centre to develop and deliver a new creative entrepreneurs programme, supporting the next generation of culture leaders by investing in young people in the two title winning boroughs. £100,000 of this grant funding is already approved under MD2107.

This will bring the total LBOC budget up to 2020/21 to £4.537m.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

London Borough of Culture is an award that will celebrate the unique and distinctive character, people and heritage of London’s boroughs – a vivid tapestry of distinctive neighbourhoods that makes London one of the most culturally vibrant cities in the world - a City for all Londoners. This new award will deliver ambitious cultural programmes for Londoners. It will be underpinned by the active engagement of local residents as co-commissioners, placing culture at the heart of communities, inspiring new talent and creativity, and drawing visitors from across the city and beyond.

Under cover of MD2107, the Mayor previously approved expenditure of £3.537m of GLA funds from 2017-18 to 2020-21 to launch the competition and announce two winning boroughs for 2019 and 2020. £1.293m of the total budget allocated under MD2107 is currently profiled to be spent in 2018-19. The aims of the programme are to recognise London boroughs that:

• Identify the greatest ambition to deepen and broaden residents’ engagement with the arts;
• Use culture to transform people’s lives;
• Shine a spotlight on local areas that celebrate culture and communities;
• Deliver excellence and innovation in creative programming; and amplify the great work that takes place under the radar and in “every day” settings.

The GLA received applications from 22 London Boroughs. All bids were assessed against criteria agreed by a GLA Internal Working Group, the Partner’s Board and the Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Industries. The two winning boroughs were announced at City Hall by the Mayor on 27 February 2018. The London Borough of Waltham Forest was selected as London Borough of Culture 2019 and the London Borough of Brent for 2020.

Each winning borough will deliver an ambitious cultural programme and throw a spotlight onto important social projects that are often under the radar, and encourage all Londoners to explore the neighbourhoods in innovative ways. The Mayor announced extra funding for the London Borough of Culture award totalling £1m. Out of this additional funding £500,000 will be awarded to the title winners (£250,000 to London Borough of Waltham Forest for 2019 and £250,000 to London Borough of Brent for 2020).

As part of the London Borough of Culture award, and previously approved by MD2107, a further 6 boroughs were selected as winners of the Culture Impact Awards to deliver exemplary projects. A total of £1,004,700 grant funding for Impact Awards is to be split as follows:

• Barking & Dagenham £233,700
• Camden £225,000
• Kingston £90,000
• Lambeth £200,000
• Lewisham £216,000
• Merton £40,000

Out of the additional £1m funding, an extra £250,000 is to be made available in further grant funding to the boroughs listed above to supplement the Impact Awards. These additional awards will enable recipient boroughs to engage even more of their local residents in their projects and will maximise the total investment by creating an even greater positive social impact.

During September 2017, the GLA Culture Team hosted a Clore Cultural Leadership for three weeks to research and develop a framework that would best engage and meet the needs of young people who were least likely to be engaged in employment, education or training. The research found there were many programmes in London exploring ‘young leadership’ however very few really targeted young people who were from underserved communities. This research highlighted the innovative work of the creative entrepreneurship model The Agency, led by Battersea Arts Centre. This model represents the best match to deliver the entrepreneurship programme in the two winning boroughs.

As part of the London Borough of Culture the GLA will grant fund Battersea Arts Centre to deliver a creative entrepreneurship programme, based on The Agency model, for young people aged 16 -20 resident in the title winning boroughs of Waltham Forest and Brent. The programme will target young people who are least likely to be engaged in education, employment or training.

The Agency has a creative approach to developing social entrepreneurs for the future, shaping their own business ideas. The approach of The Agency is to focus on the young people’s desires and puts them in the lead. The Agency works with young people who live on local housing estates or in social housing to focus on those that are most in need of support. This also ensures that the business ideas that develop through The Agency are impacting on some of the UK’s most deprived communities. These communities are increasingly invisible in the mainstream economic and political life of the UK and The Agency seeks to empower young people within these communities to reimagine them with positive projects. Previous beneficiaries have included care-leavers; refugees; excluded pupils; NEETs & ex-offenders. It will be a requirement for Battersea Arts Centre to apply the same methodology in reaching a diverse mix of young people in the winning boroughs.

The Agency programme for London Borough of Culture will be part of the national programme delivered in Wandsworth, Manchester, Belfast and Cardiff. This will position this programme within a national context benefiting the young people as well as the local delivery partners in Waltham Forest and Brent. It will also enable the programme to form part of the national evaluation. The GLA will grant fund Battersea Arts Centre £350,000 towards the cost of setting up and delivering a programme based on The Agency model in the two winning boroughs. The £350,000 funding is broken down as follows:

• £250,000 to be approved under cover of this MD
• £100,000 which has already been approved under cover of MD2107

Objectives and expected outcomes

As detailed in MD2107 the original GLA investment in the London Borough of Culture programme will deliver:

• A two-year programme of high quality creative interventions across the city, which celebrate culture and communities, encourage participation and leadership, and amplify the value of arts, culture and heritage in transforming people’s lives.
• Leverage of up £2.5m potential match funding through partnerships with major funders and investors
• Partnerships with the City of London Corporation and major cultural organisations across the city to create a bespoke cultural offer to the winning boroughs
• Partnerships with businesses, community and educational organisations to develop new collaborations across boroughs
• High profile PR and media campaign, including programme launches in Autumn 2018 and Autumn 2019.
• Development of an evaluation framework for the award over the four-year programme.

The additional funding announced by the Mayor will enable further grant funding to the two London Boroughs which have been awarded London Borough of Culture for 2019 (Waltham Forest) and 2020 (Brent) of £250,000 each. This additional funding will further enhance the activities to be delivered as set out in each borough’s application. An additional £250,000 has also been allocated to the Cultural Impact Awards to deliver exemplary projects to 6 boroughs as detailed in 1.5.

The contribution from the GLA of £350,000 grant funding to Battersea Arts Centre to set up and deliver the creative entrepreneurship programme, based on The Agency model, in the two title winning boroughs will aim to:

• Identify, induct, support and build capacity in a local cultural organisation who will host and deliver the young leaders programme in the borough
• Support the local cultural organisation to deliver the Agency model in the respective boroughs
• Recruit a project manager in each borough, lead their induction and training programmes
• Oversee the recruitment programme for the young people
• Oversee the development and delivery of the year-round programme
• Support engagement with the national programme and communications
• Support the national evaluation of the programme

The following outcomes will be achieved as part of the Creative entrepreneurship programme:

• Enabling London Borough of Culture to meaningfully engage and support with up to 40 young leaders currently not accessing London’s cultural offer.
• Increase the diversity of cultural leaders in London, providing young people with the skills, knowledge and networks to become creative entrepreneurs.
• Delivery of a range of new business ideas and models developed with the creative entrepreneurs
• Pilot a model to support a diverse talent pipeline for London’s creative workforce.
• Increased business and creative skills, knowledge, networks and self-confidence within participating young leaders.
• Capacity building for local organisations in the two boroughs, contributing to the legacy of London Borough of Culture.

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 draft 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 London Borough of Culture programme has local communities and London residents at its heart and aims to increase Londoners engagement with culture and shine a light on the rich and varied stories of London’s diverse communities. We have already seen that through the application process, that London residents of all faiths and communities were brought together in support of their local borough’s application to become London Borough of Culture.

The grant funding to Battersea Arts Centre for the delivery of The Agency will specifically target young people who are least likely to be engaged in education, employment or training. Additional support will be provided to ensure that barriers to engagement and participation will be addressed. This includes signposting to support services, funding access costs for any young person who has additional support needs and providing strong and experienced pastoral care from the outset. Participants will receive a stipend when participating in the programme, this will counterbalance hidden privileges of being able to take part in unpaid work and will help with travel and subsistence.

To ensure that all who are able to participate in The Agency are aware of the programme, Battersea Arts Centre will deliver a recruitment campaign through a street team targeting referral pathways, community partners, colleges and schools and at local youth clubs. Young people from all backgrounds will be encouraged to apply to take part on the programme.

Battersea Arts Centre have a strong track record of working with the community and delivering accessible programmes and have confirmed they have an Equality and Diversity Action Plan in place.

Other considerations

Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities

The London Borough of Culture programme encompasses the following Mayoral commitments:

• A City for All Londoners, wherein culture is seen as the golden thread, key to our future success, both for integrating and strengthening communities and supporting more liveable and successful places.

• In addition, it also supports the Mayor’s vision for Healthy Streets, which are more welcoming to people and encourage them to make active and sustainable travel choices, for example by contributing to the healthy streets aspiration of ‘things to see and do’.

• With its focus on social inclusion and participation, creativity, and physical activity, it will be an important tool in helping to deliver two of the proposed priorities for the Mayor’s Health Inequalities Strategy: improving mental health and wellbeing and promoting healthy lifestyles.

In terms of economic development, the programme will help us work with businesses to improve productivity and growth. We want all Londoners to progress and reach their full potential and to ensure that London’s businesses can access the skills they need to succeed.

Through working with Battersea Arts Centre to deliver The Agency, we will offer young people a programme to improve and develop employability and entrepreneurial skills, creating opportunities for young Londoners.

The programme will provide opportunities for linking in with the London Plan’s strategic policies for supporting London’s night time economy and its diverse range of arts, cultural, and entertainment enterprises and the cultural, social and economic benefits they offer to its residents, workers and visitors.

The internal GLA Working Group is now well established and consists of GLA officers representing key policy areas, which overlap with the London Borough of Culture programme.

Financial comments

MD2107 approved a budget of £3.537m of GLA funds from 2017/18 to 2020/21 towards the London Borough of Culture programme (LBOC). This MD is seeking approval for an additional £1m expenditure within 18/19 resulting to an overall budget of £4.537m for the LBOC between 2017/18 to 2020/21.

This MD seeks approval to spend £1.1m as follows: £250k London Borough of Waltham Forest and £250k London Borough of Brent, £250k towards the Culture Impact Awards split between 6 Boroughs, £350k Battersea Arts Centre (of which £100k already approved through MD2107).

The £1m additional expenditure for LBOC will be met from the Culture and Creative Industries 2018/19 budget.

Planned delivery approach and next steps

London Borough of Culture award


Launch of 2019 Winner


Launch of 2020 Winner


Culture Impact Award projects 2019/2020 are delivered


Evaluation complete



2019 Young Leaders Programme:


Recruitment begins for partner organisations, project staff and young people

Spring  2018

Training and support programme

Sept 2018 – Sept 2019

Programme complete

Sept 2021

2020 Young Leaders Programme:


Recruitment begins for partner organisation project staff and young people

Feb 2019

Training and support programme

Sept 2019 – Sept 2020

Programme complete

Sept 2020

Final evaluation report

October 2020

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