William Eichler 27 February 2018

Waltham named first London Borough of Culture

Waltham Forest will be awarded over £1m as it is named the first ever London Borough of Culture.

The London Borough of Culture award was an initiative launched by mayor Sadiq Khan in June 2017 as a way of promoting the capital’s cultural programmes.

Inspired by the UK City and European Capital of Culture programmes, each winning borough will be awarded £1.35m of funding to deliver a programme of cultural activities.

In total 22 boroughs submitted proposals to be named the London Borough of Culture in what was a six-month bidding process.

‘When I have been out and about in recent months around London, I’ve picked up a real buzz about the London Borough of Culture, with different parts of the city vying to win this prestigious title,’ said Mr Khan.

‘We’ve seen in the bids that have been submitted the brilliant ambition of boroughs across our city to deliver real change in their local areas through the transformative power of culture.’

Waltham Forest’s bid included a number of proposals such as a digital installation called ‘Molecules in the Marshes’ on Walthamstow Marshes developed by local artist Zarah Hussain.

It also included plans for a fashion exchange highlighting stories about the heritage of Pakistani makers in the textile trade.

Brent has also been announced as the London Borough of Culture for 2020 for a bid that included a summer-time street party for 200,000 people, centred around London’s oldest and straightest road.

‘Huge congratulations to Waltham Forest and Brent for their superb bids,’ said Mr Khan.

‘I know that both will deliver a programme of work that will benefit residents and make the whole city proud.

'I am particularly happy to see both bids have placed such importance on young people. It’s vital that young people get access to culture, regardless of their background, so that they can aspire to be our performers, artists, entrepreneurs and cultural leaders of the future.’

Commenting on the win, leader of Waltham Forest Council, Clare Coghill said: ‘Waltham Forest’s culture lies in the hearts, hopes and dreams of our people.

‘This award will transform lives and empower our people and our borough to even greater achievements.

‘The Borough of Culture Award has tapped into the thriving cultural melting pot that makes London such a unique place in the world.

‘To win in such a hugely competitive contest, against other boroughs that put together fabulous bids, is a humbling experience but one I know the whole community will use to spur us on to create a fabulous year of culture that London will be proud of.’

Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, said: ‘With the eyes of the world already on Wembley for Euro 2020, becoming London Borough of Culture represents an amazing opportunity to celebrate the huge diversity of Brent and of our great city to a massive international audience.’

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