Small businesses and community groups on London’s high streets are set to receive a share of up to £9 million of funding from the Mayor of London to help revitalise and potentially reinvent the way we use our high streets. In an innovative move the Mayor has allocated a portion of the funding through crowdfunding website Spacehive, where community groups are able to post their ideas and ask for financial support.
It is the first time the Mayor of a major European city has used a civic crowdfunding website to directly pledge money for community projects. 83 groups submitted ideas and the Mayor will be pledging up to £20,000 each to 17 of these projects. Projects that have successfully bid for funding in this way include:
Making a Makerspace in Herne Hill – a project creating a long-term home for South London’s only member-owned and run community workshop where people can develop new businesses, discover new technology, and pursue their hobbies. The project is a good example of how the Mayor’s support for high streets goes well beyond retail.
Tottenham Fast Food – an ambitious restaurant initiative providing healthier alternatives to fast food and creating jobs and training opportunities in the centre of Tottenham. The project will create an outlet in the centre of Tottenham where young people can eat and learn about healthier food options whilst facilitating school visits from food experts, including farmers and leading chefs who will lead workshops.
The grants awarded through the Mayor’s High Street Fund today will be invested in 42 high streets across London, including 25 larger borough-led projects and 17 community-led projects. The Mayor’s £9 million investment has levered around £20 million of match funding from local authorities and private sector partners. £3.42 million of this match funding is specifically for culture related activities and is in addition to almost £3 million from the High Street Fund, making almost £6.5 million for grass roots cultural and creative activities.
The Mayor’s commitment to culture and the creative industries is clearly demonstrated through the award of nearly a third of the funding to projects with a cultural element. Cultural and creative projects feature strongly, with Mayoral funding supporting over 90,000sq feet of new workspace, 10 new festivals and 10 new works of art.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:
“The imagination, enterprise and creativity of Londoners has shone through in the array of ideas that were put forward to the High Street Fund. London’s high streets are no longer about retail alone and I am thrilled to be supporting projects that seek to diversify and unlock opportunities in our most prized urban assets.”