‘Borough didn’t win the award but culture is everywhere here’


South London has been snubbed by the London Borough of Culture Awards.

Ladbrokes put Southwark as odds-on favourite last week but it was pipped by Waltham Forest in north-east London, which will get the £1.35million pot as London’s 2019 Borough of Culture.

Sadiq Khan made the announcement, accompanied by a dramatic drum roll as The Clash’s London’s Calling blasted out as the winners took to the stage. Southwark councillor Johnson Situ, cabinet member for business, culture and social regeneration, said: “Although Southwark wasn’t successful, we do have an exciting programme of arts and culture unfolding already.”

Brent was awarded the LBC grant for 2020. It wasn’t all bad for South London, though. Lambeth and Lewisham cashed in on two of the six Culture Impact Awards, sharing a £850,000 pot with Merton, Barking and Dagenham, Kingston, and Camden. Lewisham picked up £216,000 to invest in its Festival of Creative Aging.

The festival’s centrepiece will be Christopher Green’s 48-hour immersive theatre production, The Home, co-devised with older residents at The Home in Beckenham Place Mansion. The aim of the festival will be to give older residents the chance to take an active part in civic life. It will reach more than 400 older residents and will target deprived wards where life expectancy is lowest.

Cllr Chris Best, cabinet member for health, wellbeing and older people, said: “Culture is everywhere in Lewisham, from the brilliant Broadway Theatre to our annual summer festival, People’s Day.

“The Mayor’s funding will give thousands of people in Lewisham the chance to take part in cutting edge arts and culture on their doorstep.”

Lambeth’s Next Generation scheme aims to work with young Bame Londoners to help them develop arts careers in the arts with £200,000 funding. The council will work with some of the borough’s biggest cultural institutions such as the Southbank Centre, BFI and the National Theatre to develop curriculum modules for Lambeth primary schools.

Council leader Lib Peck said: “While Lambeth isn’t the official Borough of Culture, we will continue to work together with all our cultural organisations to be a beacon of cultural brilliance and aspire to deliver as many parts of our bid as possible.

“The Next Generation project will empower people, develop skills, provide jobs and, I’m confident, inspire a new generation of cultural leaders, one that is more diverse and representative of our wonderful communities.”

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