Deputy Mayor announces funding boost for community projects

Six community projects have been awarded funding to put art, culture and heritage at the heart of the major development and regeneration planned for Old Oak and Park Royal.
The Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) has awarded the first successful applicants of a new funding programme for community arts and culture projects – Small Grants: In the Making.
Delivered by OPDC, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England as part of the Great Place Scheme, the winning projects were announced by Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor for Business and Liz Peace CBE, Chairman of OPDC.
The six projects which have been awarded £5,000 each are:

  • Artwest Open Studios – Funding will support Artwest’s 2019 Open Studios, being delivered as part of Open House weekend 2019. This will also support mentoring for local students, a new publication for resident artists as well as the production of short films to showcase their work.
  • Creating Society with Dance – A series of free dance workshops, open to people of all abilities and culminating in a final performance.
  • Fashion Rebirth – A fashion networking group for local women looking to develop careers in the fashion industry; this will include seminars, workshops and talks/visits with industry professionals.
  • Talks and Tours at HMP Wormwood Scrubs – Exhibitions and arts at HMP Wormwood Scrubs, alongside tours of the prison’s Grade 2 listed chapel.
  • Talking and Exploring – Local history enthusiast, Joanna Dudzinska, will deliver eight new walking tours in and around Old Oak and Park Royal.
  • The Sharks at Park Royal – To deliver canoeing lessons on the Grand Union Canal, the Sharks have installed a shipping container adjacent to the canal in Park Royal which will be decorated by members of the local community. They will also be purchasing new equipment and subsidising classes for students from low-income backgrounds with the first lesson free.

The funding will enable a diverse range of artists and small businesses from Old Oak and Park Royal to deliver community projects in the area. Activities will be interactive with the wider community and include walking tours, open art studios, networking events and exhibitions. Applicants can request between £500 and £5,000 to support their projects, from an overall pot of £150,000.
The announcement was made as the Deputy Mayor for Business, Rajesh Agrawal visited businesses in Park Royal following a roundtable event to discuss how City Hall can support West London’s ambitions wider for inclusive economic growth.
Established in 2015 by the Mayor of London to deliver homes and jobs to Old Oak and Park Royal, OPDC’s vision for the area celebrates its existing character and heritage. OPDC will now work closely with grant awardees to help this diverse and talented group of people get their projects off the ground.
Successful applicant, the Sharks, is a canoeing club that provides lessons for local children. Its Club Manager, Neal Underwood said:

Small Grants: In the Making has made sure we can keep providing free canoe lessons to young people in the area. When we first established the Sharks, I never thought it would play such an important role in so many local kids’ lives, giving them the opportunity to take up a hobby and get closer to the heritage of the area on the Grand Union Canal.
Thank you OPDC for supporting us and giving something back to young people. Who knows, maybe the next Olympic canoe champion will come from Old Oak and Park Royal! 

Another project to take shape thanks to Small Grant funding is, Fashion Rebirth, a fashion networking group for local women looking to develop careers in the fashion industry. Founder, spokesperson and local resident, Tashmar Smith said:

We’re so happy to be chosen by OPDC to receive this year’s Small Grants funding.
“It’s given us the boost we need to get Fashion Rebirth up and running. It may surprise you, Park Royal industrial estate is home to many fashion houses which not only contribute to the area’s rich heritage but influence the whole industry! Fashion Rebirth is about connecting local people with the creative influences right on their doorstep, to build relationships, develop experience and share knowledge that could help them start a career in fashion. 

Deputy Mayor for Business, Rajesh Agrawal, said:

I’m proud to support OPDC’s small grants scheme, which invests in and champions community-led enterprises and the unique character of Old Oak and Park Royal.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the positive impact this funding will have for Londoners living and working in the area. Through this scheme we’re fostering entrepreneurship and celebrating creative talent, which will attract further investment into this part of west London and the capital as a whole.  

Chairman of OPDC, Liz Peace CBE, said:

One of the most rewarding parts of our regeneration work in Old Oak and Park Royal is being in a position to support initiatives driven by local people. These creative and exciting projects shine a light on west London as a hub of community enterprise and creativity. 

Notes to editors

About OPDC

  • The Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) is the Mayoral Development Corporation for the district and was established in April 2015 to drive forward future development plans for the wider area. OPDC has full planning powers within the 650-hectare site, which includes land in the boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham, Ealing and Brent.
  • Old Oak and Park Royal is one of London’s largest Opportunity Areas with a new High Speed 2 (HS2) and Elizabeth Line (formerly Crossrail) station due to be constructed at Old Oak by 2026. Redevelopment of the area has the potential to deliver 24,000 new homes and 55,000 jobs in Old Oak and 1,500 new homes and 10,000 jobs on the adjoining Park Royal industrial estate.

About the Great Place Scheme

  • The Great Place Scheme have funded 16 pilot locations across England. Funding comes from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Arts Council England, each of which have contributed £10m for projects lasting up to three years.
  • The scheme has two central aims: to ensure that the considerable investment in culture has the maximum positive impact on jobs, economic performance, educational attainment, community cohesion and health and wellbeing; and to enable ambitious civic organisations and local businesses and communities to invest in and put culture at the heart of their thinking.

About Small Grants: In the Making

  • A Great Place Scheme project, Small Grants: In the Making is a new funding programme for community projects that share OPDC’s aim of embedding art, culture and heritage at the heart of the major development and regeneration planned for Old Oak and Park Royal. 
  • The micro-grants are to support community arts, culture and heritage projects taking place in Old Oak and Park Royal, led by those living and working in the area. 
  • In the making has a funding pot of £150,000 which will be distributed from January 2019 to December 2020. OPDC will manage this budget across the two years to make sure money is available throughout. Local people can apply for a grant of £500 - £5,000.

About Fashion Rebirth

  • Fashion Rebirth is a networking group based in west London that was setup up bring together young women with an interest in fashion.
  • They run events to bring together people from the fashion industry and people that are interested in a career in fashion.

About the Sharks

  • The Sharks were established in 2007 to promote sport and to provide sporting opportunities for all ages.
  • They work with schools and other existing organisations to teach a variety of sports, enabling people to access sport for recreation, competition and fitness.

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