Croydon has launched its bid to become London’s first ‘Borough of Culture’ in 2019.
The initiative, sponsored by the Mayor of London, will see two winners (one for 2019 and one for 2020) each receive over £1m to deliver a huge programme of events.
The project, inspired by the UK City of Culture and European Capital of Culture programmes, will see the honour awarded to boroughs which show how they can best use the investment to enact real change.
This has already taken place in Croydon in recent time with recent innovations including Boxpark, the summertime rooftop cinema at Centrale and the month-long Warhol Croydon exhibition. The Croydon International Mela in Wandle Park was used to launch Croydon’s bid for 2019 at the weekend.
Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the council, said: “2019 will be the first full year of the newly refurbished Fairfield Halls after we spend £30m bringing the venue back to life. It also marks 70 years of the London Mozart Players.
“There can’t be a better time for the cultural spotlight to shine on Croydon and this is a truly fantastic opportunity for arts organisations across the borough to share in this project.”
In addition to the Mayor’s promised funding, a further £500K is also expected to be handed to the top borough by backers including the Heritage Lottery fund and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.
Croydon will also look to match the cash with £1 million of partnership investment.
In total that would put £2.5 million into Croydon’s cultural potto deliver a series of events and activities aimed at leaving a lasting legacy.
Councillor Timothy Godfrey, cabinet member for culture, leisure, and sport, said: “Saturday’s Mela really was a very special event and it signalled how as a council we are really serious about using culture to bring our communities together and be at the heart of our regeneration plans.
“I am sure the Mayor of London will appreciate the road we are travelling down in rebuilding our cultural offer and grant us the title in 2019.”
Due for submission in December, Croydon’s bid will set out a framework to demonstrate how the 2019 programme will meet the aims of the programme to improve life chances for young people, build stronger communities, bring about reputational change, put people at the heart of physical redevelopment, and enhance the vibrancy of the local cultural sector.
The bid website has full details at http://croydon2019.london