Mayor gives extra £1m boost to London Borough of Culture award

16 February 2018
  • Sadiq Khan commits £1m of extra funding to London Borough of Culture
  • An extra £500,000 will be split evenly amongst the two winning boroughs – ringfenced for projects that get more young people from different backgrounds involved in culture 
  • £250,000 will boost funds available to up to six landmark projects submitted by bidding boroughs
  • A further £250,000 will fund a new Mayoral creative entrepreneurs programme, supporting the next generation of culture leaders by investing in young people in the two winning boroughs 


With just days to go before the winning boroughs are crowned the capital’s first London Borough of Culture, the Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced a further £1million boost to the hotly-contested scheme. 


The London Borough of Culture award, a flagship manifesto commitment, is a major new initiative launched by Sadiq in June 2017 which offers more than £1million of funding to the winning boroughs to stage a programme of world-class cultural events and initiatives, and to develop a plan to make culture an integral part of the boroughs’ future.


The two winning boroughs for 2019 and 2020 will now each receive an additional £250,000, specifically to help young people from diverse backgrounds get involved in creative projects.


This is on top of £1.1m already committed to each winning borough, to deliver a programme of ambitious cultural activities, placing culture at the heart of communities and celebrating the unique character of local areas. This brings the total award available to each winning borough to £1.35million1.


Twenty-two boroughs have applied to become the London Borough of Culture and the winning boroughs for 2019 and 2020 will be announced on Tuesday 27 February by Sadiq Khan at a special ceremony at City Hall.


A further £250,000 will boost the funding available for up to six exemplary projects2, bringing the total fund available for exemplary projects to £850,000. These projects were highlighted by boroughs in their bids. This ensures that as many Londoners as possible are able to benefit from the Mayor’s record investment in culture.


The Mayor has also committed £250,000 to launch a new creative leadership programme for young people from diverse backgrounds. This will enable young Londoners in the two winning boroughs with creative talent and entrepreneurial flair to develop the next generation of creative businesses – providing the mentoring and investment they need for success. More information about this programme will be announced in due course.


Only a third of Londoners feel that they make the most of the culture on their doorstep. From the outset of his Mayoralty, Sadiq pledged to make growing the capital’s cultural industry a core priority. Culture and the creative industries are worth £42bn to London's economy and the sector accounts for one in six jobs.  


This extra boost to the London Borough of Culture award will ensure the capital’s cultural riches are celebrated throughout the entire city and are accessible to as many young Londoners as possible.


In particular the Mayor is encouraging young Londoners from BAME communities to get involved in cultural projects. Research by the Creative Industries Federation3 suggests that the creative industries are failing to reflect the diversity of the populations where they are based. Eleven per cent of the UK’s creative industries workforce is BAME – a similar level to the BAME workforce in the UK economy as a whole. However, 32 per cent of all creative jobs are based in London, where 40 per cent of the workforce is BAME – so the industry is yet to reflect the diversity of the city.


Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Despite London’s position as the world’s culture capital, too many young Londoners do not have access to the city’s exceptional cultural institutions and don’t get involved in cultural projects. 


“That’s why I’m delighted to be able to allocate an extra £1million of funding for cultural projects aiming to unlock young Londoners’ creative potential and inspire the next generation of artists, performers and creative talent.


“From the outset of my Mayoralty, I made culture a core priority. That’s why I’ve invested more in culture than any other Mayor.”


Nii Sackey, CEO of Bigga Fish and member of the Mayor’s Cultural Leadership Board, said: “The lack of diversity is at the centre of the challenges and opportunities facing the creative and arts sectors in London. These initiatives offer a response particularly for young Londoners to develop experience, pathways and new models for the future of our creative economy.”


Hilary S. Carty, Director, Clore Leadership Programme, said: “Young people from diverse backgrounds are crucial to London’ s energy and vibrancy as a cultural capital.  They are our future culture makers, entrepreneurs, leaders, audiences and critics. This presents an opportunity to raise aspiration and ambition, recognise and nurture talent, and enhance the chances for young leaders to flourish.”


In total 22 boroughs have bid to be London Borough of Culture in 2019 and 2020. A full list of bidding boroughs is available at:



Notes to editors


Notes to Editors



Funding for London Borough of Culture


1The two winning London Boroughs of Culture (2019 and 2020) will receive a guaranteed fund of £1.35 million. This comprises of £1.25m pledged by City Hall with additional support from the City Bridge Trust of £100,000.


2In addition, a total of £850,000 has been allocated to up to six additional Boroughs for landmark individual projects. This comprises £750,000 from City Hall and £100,000 from the City Bridge Trust.


Diversity in Culture


3According to Diversity in Culture (Creative Industries Federation):


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