BY SHUJAUL AZAM
A town hall has submitted its bid to be named London Borough of Culture, with a £1.1million prize up for grabs.
It has described its bid “an ambitious and far-reaching proposal” entitled Radical hearts. Open minds. Lambeth council says the bid aims to build on Lambeth’s cultural history of radical thought, openness and activism and explore how culture can help address big social and economic inequalities.
In developing the bid, Lambeth said it has held events with thousands of residents and more than 70 organisations across the borough offering their support.
Supporters range from international institutions like the National Theatre, the Southbank Centre and the Old Vic theatre, to groups like West Norwood Feast and the Streatham Space Project.
A programme of activity would aim to greatly increase participation in cultural activity across the borough, particularly among hard to reach or vulnerable groups that have traditionally felt excluded or unable to access culture.
Marking the bid submission, Councillor Sonia Winifred, cabinet member for equalities and culture, said: “This bid represents everything we are proud of about our borough and everything we aspire to bring to Lambeth residents.
“We feel Lambeth is a great place to live, with such a diverse and welcoming population, more than 150 languages spoken, and art, drama, music and personality from all over the world.
“This has brought with it a fantastic cultural offering. From the local street to the international stage, Lambeth’s culture has always been radical and innovative. We want to spread these cultural benefits to everybody.”
Council Leader, Cllr Lib Peck, said: “Our borough has led the way in provoking social change through culture and the London Borough of Culture is an opportunity to lead the way again.
“I want to thank everyone for their support.”
Pastor Lorraine Jones, of Dwaynamics community boxing group in Brixton, said: “I love Lambeth. It’s a mini world for me because it’s got so much diversity of culture. I really want Lambeth to win, to support our young people – we want them to maintain that rich history of culture that Lambeth has.”
If successful the bid would attract a £1.1million grant from the Mayor of London, and the council is confident of attracting a further £5.3million of sponsorship investment from supporting organisations to deliver a programme of cultural activity that would have a lasting impact long into the future.