Mayor pledges £285,000 for local community projects

15 September 2015

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, today pledged £285,000 to local community projects as part of his £9 million High Street Fund, including £10,000 to the Peckham Coal Line, which aims to transform disused railway sidings into a new 1km stretch of green space.

The High Street Fund, launched in March, is re-energising the capital’s high streets by embracing the city’s incredible talent for creativity and innovation. This is the first time the Mayor of a major European city has used a civic crowdfunding website to directly pledge money to community projects.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “The eclectic range of projects I have seen over the course of the High Street Fund is a remarkable testament to the creativity and enterprise of Londoners, and I’m delighted to announce pledges towards 20 of those today.

“The Peckham Coal Line project is a fantastic example of how we can harness the enthusiasm of civic crowdfunding and work more directly with Londoners to improve their neighbourhoods. I urge you to go online and help your local project reach their total.” 

Chairman of the Mayor’s Design Advisory Group, Daniel Moylan, visited Peckham today to announce the groups who will receive funding and to take a tour of the Coal Line with its designer, Nick Woodford. The Peckham Coal Line will connect the communities of Queens Road and Rye Lane with a new urban park that will transform walking and cycling connections around Peckham, changing the lives of residents and businesses by bridging busy roads and creating a more direct link between two high streets. 

The 900m-long route will run on disused coal sidings alongside the railway line through the heart of Peckham, framing views across London and passing through beautiful Victorian brick viaducts before dropping down to a little-used nature reserve. As well as providing a beautiful setting, the improvements will bridge the gap in a wider network of cycling and walking greenways between Brixton and the Thames. 

The Mayor’s funding will contribute to a full feasibility study examining how the Coal Line will be built, any planning issues involved and build costs, as well as engaging residents, businesses schools and commuters in further workshops. There will also be events in Peckham to showcase the Coal Line’s history, context and potential.

Peckham Coal Line designer, Nick Woodford, said: “The Coal Line is a way of connecting people, whether that be traders benefitting from greater numbers of visitors, or creating and building on networks of local community groups. Peckham has a heritage of grassroots activism, in influencing planning projects and turning disused spaces into cultural destinations. We see the Coal Line as part of this tradition.”                                                                             

20 projects across 15 London boroughs will receive a share of the £285,000 to kick-start their ideas. The winning projects from 62 applications will receive pledges of up to £20,000 each from the Mayor. These include:

·         Good Food Catford in Lewisham – The Mayor has pledged £14,000 towards the group’s target of £33,000 in order to bring a vacant high street shop back into use as a social enterprise community grocery store, selling affordable local and surplus vegetables grown in community gardens and allotments as well we providing workshops, training and advice on healthy eating.

·         Literally in Tower Hamlets – The Mayor has pledged £15,000 towards the group’s target of £66,000 in order to transform a disused alleyway on Whitechapel High Street into free public library and forum with a long bookshelf containing a book exchange, a curated library, seating and planters.

·         The Renovation of Wanstead Playground in Redbridge – The Mayor has pledged £11,000 towards the group’s target of £25,000 to help a group of local parents who have got together to renovate a dilapidated playground off Wanstead High Street.

For each project the remainder of the required funding will be raised through crowdfunding website Spacehive, where community groups are able to post their ideas and ask for financial support. Spacehive founder, Chris Gourlay, said: “Spacehive puts power in the hands of the people by giving individuals a direct say over community projects in their area.  It is a more democratic way of shaping our towns and cities that grasps the creativity and wealth of local people and businesses.

“From high street water slides to free public wi-fi networks, sports facilities and major new parks, Spacehive has already had a huge impact on local areas up and down the UK.

"With the support of the Mayor's High Street Fund, we are pleased that we can help more great projects - like the Peckham Coal Line - become a reality.”

During the first round of the High Street Fund, the Mayor pledged £315,000 to 17 projects across 15 London boroughs. Both rounds represent £600,000 worth of support to local community projects from the £9 million High Street Fund, supporting 37 communities across London and bringing nearly £700,000 of match funding and in kind support.

The Mayor has secured a further £20 million for London’s high streets and employment areas through the London Enterprise Panel’s Growth Deal funding from government. The London Regeneration Fund will give local authorities, traders’ associations, workspace providers, and community groups the chance to come forward with exciting proposals that will help new and traditional places of work thrive in a rapidly changing city. Funding will be available from 2016/17. Bidding is currently open for larger projects, with a further round of crowdfunding pledges opening in early 2016.

Notes to editors

  1.        The find out more and view the projects visit the Mayor’s Spacehive page:
  2. More information on the fund can be found at or by emailing [email protected]
  3. Details of the 20 projects receiving funding are available on request. The projects are:
  •                      Peckham Coal Line Urban Park, Southwark: £10,000
  •                      A New Creative Hub for Wood Street, Waltham Forest: £18,000
  •                      Twist Pop Up on Station Rise, Lambeth: £14,000
  •                      Ten Grand Arcade, Barnet: £16,000
  •                      Fixshop, Kingston: £15,000
  •                      Good Food Catford, Lewisham: £14,000
  •                      The Community Kitchen, Kingston: £17,00
  • Making Wembley Wonderful, Brent: £18,500
  •                      Converting a Water Tank to an Art Space, Lewisham: £12,500
  •                      Blossoming Rose Rosehill Traders Market, Sutton: £13,000
  •                      Creating an Event Space, Camden: £10,000
  •                      Playonthegreen, Streatham: £6,000
  •                      Our Kilburn Digital Noticeboard, Brent: £18,000
  •                      Merchant of Venice, Barking & Dagenham: £10,000
  •                      Sustainable Bridges, Southwark: £18,000
  •                      Hello Hoxton High Street, Hackney: £19,000
  •                      Green Trafalgar Road, Greenwich: £18,000
  •                      A Shared Space for Stories in Tottenham, Haringey: £12,500
  •                      Literralley, Tower Hamlets: £15,000
  •                      Wanstead Playground, Redbridge: £11,000


4.       In July 2014, the Mayor’s ‘Action for High Streets’ identified the next big challenges London’s high streets face and pledged to continue to invest in, support, and champion them. At the same time the Mayor also released  ‘Learning from London’s High Streets’ to describe how high street projects already funded under the current Mayoralty are making a huge difference in the capital. ‘Culture On The High Street’ published in July 2013 highlights some of the ways in which councils, high street and town centre teams are collaborating with artists and the creative community to create better and distinctive places

  1. The High Street Fund is part of the Mayor’s £129 million investment  in high streets that has already helped 85 high streets across London and attracted £75 million of match funding from public and private sector partners and delivered:
    •           Over 1000 jobs created (and over 1000 safeguarded)
    •           over 500 temporary jobs created
    •           support to 1,289 businesses
    •           training to 894 young people
    •           199 apprenticeships
    •           over 105,000 m2 of public space improvements (nearly 15 football pitches)
    •           722 buildings improvements
    •           reactivation of 66 empty shop
    •, launched in 2012, is the world’s first crowdfunding platform for civic projects. The London based start-up has successfully funded 63 projects across the UK worth £1.8 million.  Over 450 projects are currently in development and Spacehive is working in partnership with cities across the UK including Manchester, Cardiff, Liverpool as well as a number of London boroughs, and the Mayor of London. Spacehive has received awards from IBM, Nesta, Cabinet Office, Deloitte, UnLtd, and the Big Venture Challenge
  2.        The Mayor’s pilot initiative to use a crowdfunding platform (Spacehive) to deliver support directly to communities as part of the High Street Fund, was informed following work with The Future Cities Catapult who compiled research on innovation in 21st governance arrangements and advised on crowdfunding strategies. Further information on the Catapult can be found here:

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