Mayor launches new culture strategy with small grants for bright ideas

23 March 2018
  • Culture Seeds will offer £1million in small grants to support brilliant grassroots cultural activity across the capital
  • Grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 will be made available to individuals and small organisations – particularly those who may not have access to public funding
  • Plans for summer campaign in the capital – Sounds Like London – with gigs and events promoting grassroots music venues

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today launched Culture Seeds – a new £1million micro-grant programme which will bring bright ideas to life by supporting creativity in all of London’s communities.

Culture Seeds is being launched on the same day as the Mayor publishes his draft Culture Strategy – Culture for All Londoners. Sadiq’s strategy lays out a bold vision to sustain London’s position as a global capital of culture, while also ensuring that all Londoners have access to culture on their doorstep.

Culture brings communities together and helps create a strong sense of identity. Culture Seeds will support grassroots organisations, artists and creatives with up to £5,000 to make their ideas a reality.

Culture Seeds will reach communities who don’t ordinarily access grant funding, especially individuals and smaller grassroots organisations working locally. Successful applicants will receive support from City Hall and will be invited to join the Culture Seeds Network to help them make the most of their project.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London is overflowing with talent and imagination. Thousands of artists have made the capital their home and their creative influence is felt in all corners of the city.

“However, I know how difficult it can be for emerging artists and small creative organisations to get quick access to funding to support some amazing grassroots cultural activity in communities around the city.

“That’s why I’m launching Culture Seeds and calling on all Londoners to let us know how a small grant could make a big difference in your neighbourhood. From kickstarting a new arts festival, to funding a pop-up cinema screening in your local park – the possibilities are endless.

“Today, I’m also launching the draft of Culture for All Londoners – my strategic vision for culture in the capital. I want all Londoners to access the capital’s cultural riches and all young people in the city to feel they can pursue careers in the creative industries. My strategy lays out a bold approach for culture to be central to city life, celebrating and supporting London’s diverse heritage, people and places.

“I have invested more in culture than any other Mayor because I believe in its transformative power. I will continue to support culture and the creative industries and today’s draft strategy sets out an ambitious plan to keep London at the top of its creative game.”

Sadiq visited Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) with Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Industries, Justine Simons, to launch the programme and take a tour of the newly-refurbished building. The tour included the Grand Hall which reopens in September, after a fire in 2015, and the new Scratch Hub - a co-working space for up to 150 start-up enterprises. Sadiq also watched performances from Battersea Community Choir and BAC Beatbox Academy.

Artistic Director and CEO of Battersea Arts Centre, David Jubb, said: “We set out to inspire people to take creative risks to shape the future, and we think it’s important to support projects at a grassroots level. Initiatives such as Culture Seeds, and Battersea Arts Centre's own Agency programme, enable people to transform lives by unleashing their creativity and making a positive difference to communities.”

Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Industries, Justine Simons OBE, said: “Culture Seeds is the perfect project to demonstrate what the Mayor’s draft Culture Strategy is all about – using the power of culture to make a real difference in communities across the capital. Small grants can make big things happen and we want everyone to have great culture on their doorstep.


“Our draft Culture Strategy recognises the central role culture plays in the capital’s success – as well as its economic contribution, it drives tourism, improves the quality of our lives and our health and it brings us together. Culture is London’s DNA and we plan to protect and grow this valuable asset today and for the future.”


Culture and the creative industries contribute £47bn to London’s economy every year and account for one in six jobs in the capital1. London is the world’s most googled city for culture, and four out of five tourists to the capital say the city’s culture and heritage are the main reasons for visiting.

Culture for All Londoners – the Mayor’s Culture Strategy - includes details of new projects and initiatives already underway in the capital including:

  • London Borough of Culture – the winners, Waltham Forest (2019) and Brent (2020) were recently announced at a ceremony in City Hall
  • Creative Enterprise Zones – a bold new initiative to provide artists and creative businesses with long-term affordable workspace and help them put down roots
  • Museum of London – Sadiq has granted £70m to the new Museum of London site in West Smithfield, the biggest single cultural investment of any Mayor
  • Developing London’s night-time economy – Sadiq has appointed London’s first-ever Night Czar, Amy Lamé and published a vision of London as a 24-hour city
  • London Plan – Sadiq has launched the most pro-culture draft London Plan, which will protect culture and heritage across the capital, including pubs and music venues

Culture for All Londoners also contains plans for a new summer campaign in the capital – Sounds Like London – with gigs and events promoting London’s grassroots music venues and shining a light on emerging talent and young women in the music industry. The campaign will involve partners including Airbnb and little concert, BBC Music Introducing, Boiler Room, Fabric and Music Venue Trust, and the full programme will be announced in May 2018.

The consultation period for Culture for All Londoners opens today (Friday 23 March) until Tuesday 19 June for Londoners to have their say.


Notes to editors

1 London’s creative industries – 2017 update:

Culture Seeds:

Culture Strategy

Further information on Sounds Like London:


  • Sounds Like London is a month-long celebration of live music in the city -– taking place during June 2018 – helping to support and protect the capital’s grassroots music scene.


  • As well as championing London’s grassroots music venues, Sounds Like London will shine a light on women working in the music industry


  • Events include ‘Fightback London’ gigs with the Music Venue Trust to support grassroots music venues and young women promoters, and a series of concerts in partnership with Airbnb and little concert profiling emerging women. There will also be workshops for women musicians and DJs across the capital.


  • Sounds Like London is supported by artists Vanessa White and Abbie McCarthy, Airbnb and little concert, BBC Music Introducing, Boiler Room, Fabric and Music Venue Trust, amongst others. Further partners will be announced in due course.


  • The full programme will be launched in May. More information at:


About Battersea Arts Centre


  • Battersea Arts Centre is a public space where people come together to be creative, see a show, explore the local heritage, play or relax. The organisation’s mission is to inspire people, to take creative risks, to shape the future.


  • Battersea Arts Centre encourages people to test and develop new ideas with members of the public – a process called Scratch. Scratch is used by artists to make theatre, by young people to develop entrepreneurial ideas and as a helpful process for anyone who wants to get creative.


  • The area of South West London and the old town hall in which Battersea Arts Centre is based, are rich in heritage. In 2016 the organisation became custodian of the Wandsworth Collection, using creativity to explore the past and imagine the future.


  • In 2018 Battersea Arts Centre’s Grand Hall reopens with the Phoenix Season, featuring work by Bryony Kimmings, Gecko, the National Theatre of Scotland, Lekan Lawal, Dead Centre, Little Bulb Theatre, BAC Beatbox Academy, Daniel Kitson, Touretteshero and others.


  • Each year Battersea Arts Centre:
    • Welcomes over 160,000 people to its building
    • Inspires the local community to get creative including 3000 young people
    • Works with over 400 artists to put on over 800 performances and tour at least 10 shows and projects


  • | @battersea_arts


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