Culture is important to Lewisham. It has helped shape the borough that we now know, supports the health and wellbeing of our residents, brings communities together and provides employment for many. The benefits of Council investment over a period of many years are apparent and we want this to continue. The importance of continued investment is further highlighted by the way that art and culture has suffered so badly during the Covid pandemic, with an estimated 152,000 jobs at risk within London’s culture and creative industries together with its supply chain Creative Industries Supply Chain COVID-19 Impact | London City Hall. A report from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee warned that the pandemic presented “the biggest threat to the UK’s cultural infrastructure, institutions and workforce in a generation” Impact of Covid-19 on DCMS sectors (parliament.uk) .
This funding programme is in line with the Council’s overall approach to recovery and follows the themes of Lewisham Council - Future Lewisham: Our borough's recovery. These are:
- A greener future
- A healthy and well future
- An economically sound future
- A future we all have a part in
Lewisham’s Borough of Culture year in 2022 comes at an opportune moment, providing a much needed boost to the sector and a means of supporting recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. As well as attracting funding for the core programme, being Borough of Culture has also put Lewisham in the spotlight with other funders, providing the opportunity for organisations to benefit directly through their own fundraising endeavours. Longer term planning is essential if we are to maximise benefits and this is why outcomes for the year have a strong focus on future legacy with the aim of ensuring that the sector continues to thrive beyond 2022. This funding programme is framed within that context and designed to best meet the needs of arts and culture in Lewisham for the next phase.
At a time when many other local authorities have completely cut their voluntary sector grants programmes we are pleased that we can continue to offer this support. Government cuts mean that we have to operate with reduced budgets and for this reason we are adopting a more targeted approach to the allocation of funds in the following way:
- Investing in cultural infrastructure
This priority focusses on delivering support to the arts and culture sector as a whole through strong infrastructure, coordination and fundraising services rather than trying to directly fund everything that is needed in the borough. In the context of scarce public resources it is essential that we seek to future-proof the local arts and culture sector by cultivating a climate of self-sufficiency, where leadership comes from within.
In order to achieve this we will provide annual funding of up to £150,000 to a cultural anchor organisation.
2. Investing in diversity
Investing in diversity is a key priority for this funding – tackling inequality and barriers to participation in arts and culture. Applications will be expected to demonstrate how they will increase and diversify participation, nurture talent and provide progression pathways, including developing outreach links into other settings such as schools. We want to continue to encourage innovation and the ongoing development of an atmosphere in which new things can emerge.
We are likely to fund approximately 8 organisations with grants of up £30,000 to deliver services that focus on:
- Economic disadvantage
- Age (young people and older people)
Please read this guidance document and fill out the application form below.
For more information about how to complete your application, sign up to attend one of the Main Grant workshops. There will be a specific presentation as part of this event that will cover the Arts & Culture Fund. Click on one of the dates to sign up.