Mayor launches vision to make culture and sport open to all Londoners

13 December 2018
  • Mayor outlines his vision for using culture and sport to transform the lives of all Londoners
  • Culture for all Londoners will sustain London’s position as a global capital of culture
  • Sport for all of us will use the power of sport and physical activity to bring Londoners together


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today published two landmark new strategies that will bring Londoners together through improved access to culture and the opportunity to take part in sport and physical activity.


Culture and the creative industries contribute £47bn to London’s economy every year and account for one in six jobs in the capital1, and Sadiq’s strategy – Culture for All Londoners – details how he will keep the city at the top of its creative game and ensure there are cultural opportunities in every corner of the capital.


The culture strategy – which was first published as a draft for consultation in March – outlines the transformative power of culture and how it can be harnessed to create positive opportunities for young Londoners. The Mayor’s approach includes helping all young Londoners to experience the capital’s cultural riches and pursue creative careers, supporting and saving cultural venues, investing in the flourishing creative industries, and recognising the central role culture plays in the capital’s success.


London hosts internationally-renowned sports events and is home to some of the world’s most popular sports teams, and the Mayor’s sports strategy is designed to make London the undisputed sporting capital of the world. It will get more Londoners involved in supporting grassroots sport and for the first time ever highlight its importance in breaking down barriers and building stronger communities.


The sports strategy – which was first published as a draft for consultation in July – highlights the amazing impact sport and physical activity can have in bringing together communities and how it can transform the lives of young Londoners - giving them structure, purpose and a sense of direction. This also includes a wide variety of physical activities that bring people entertainment, enjoyment and relaxation, such as dance, yoga and running.


Since launching the draft culture strategy, Sadiq has revealed the programme for London’s first-ever Borough of Culture and worked with the screen and theatre industries to increase diversity in their workforce. In addition, 49 grassroots creative projects in all corners of the capital received micro-grants in the first six months of his Culture Seeds programme, from visual arts workshops for volunteers who helped in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire, workshops examining gang culture for young people in Southwark, music performances in residential care homes in Redbridge to film screenings in Farsi for newly arrived Iranians and Farsi speakers in Barnet.


Culture for All Londoners includes details of many of the projects and initiatives already underway across the capital including:


  • London Borough of Culture: the winners for 2019 – Waltham Forest – have revealed their programme for a year-long celebration of art, music and local culture, putting culture at the heart of the local community and inspiring a new generation of creative talent.
  • East Bank: a new £1.1 billion powerhouse of culture, education, innovation and growth being built on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford. With funding of £385m from the Mayor of London, East Bank will build on the area’s existing creative credentials to establish an area of thriving arts, fashion and community organisations, boosting local jobs and visitors to this new east London destination.
  • Culture at Risk office: stemming the loss of vital cultural infrastructure for communities across the city from artist studios to music venues
  • 24-Hour London: appointing London’s first Night Czar, Amy Lamé, and the Night Time Commission as champions for a 24-hour city, highlighting the needs of night-time workers and launching the Women’s Night Safety Charter.
  • 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.
  • 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 Seeds: £1m worth of grants of up to £5,000 awarded to community-led arts, culture and heritage activities on a rolling basis. The Mayor is calling on community groups in Brent, Bromley, Bexley, Hounslow, Richmond-Upon-Thames, Sutton, Harrow and Hillingdon to explore what could be available to them through the Culture Seeds fund, as these boroughs have seen fewer bids for funding.


Since the publication of Sadiq’s draft sports strategy, he has launched Sport Unites, an innovative £8.8m fund that uses the power of sport to boost social integration, increase participation and improve the physical and mental health of Londoners. This includes £3m ring-fenced specifically to benefit young Londoners aged between 10-21 as part of the Mayor’s Young Londoners Fund.


This work has already included:


  • Partnering with Comic Relief, Laureus and Nike, securing £2.5m of funding for the programme.
  • Allocating £1m of funding to projects with Comic Relief
  • Made awards to 18 projects under the Young Londoners Fund, totalling almost £1m.
  • Working in partnership with SportsAid to award £1,000 each to 70 of London’s most promising talented athletes


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Culture and sport have the power to improve lives and health and to bring us together as a city.


“We’re lucky that we live in one of the most culturally rich cities on the planet, with our creative industries playing a key role in our economic success, but sadly too many Londoners are still missing out. That’s why I’m working hard to expand access to culture into every corner of our city, supporting a broader range of cultural facilities and involving communities at the heart of my programmes.


“We are renowned across the globe for hosting the biggest sporting events and playing home to hugely successful sportsmen and women and teams, but we also need to get more Londoners involved in sport. I’ve seen the amazing impact it can have in our communities and how it can transform the lives of young Londoners, and that’s why I want London to be the most socially integrated and active city in the world.


“I’m determined that all Londoners have the opportunity to gain from the benefits culture and sport can bring to their lives, and to use both as a tool to steer young Londoners away from crime and gangs and towards education and employment.” 


Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Industries, Justine Simons, said: “Culture matters to London. It’s in our DNA. It generates jobs, boosts the economy and is the reason tourists visit. It also shapes our story as a city, with every corner of London overflowing with cultural talent and imagination. Yet too often young Londoners are not able to play their part in the cultural riches our city has to offer and creative workers are forced out as the capital develops and prices rise. So Sadiq’s plan is bold and ambitious. It hardwires culture into our city – growing the vital cultural infrastructure we need. It supports talented Londoners to pursue careers in the creative industries and brings culture right to our doorsteps. I am delighted that so many cultural leaders have backed our approach, because working together, we will be able to unleash the transformative power of culture for the whole city.”


Deputy Mayor for Social integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement, Debbie Weekes-Bernard, said: “There is no doubt that sport has an incredibly powerful role to play in bringing our communities together. It has the power to break down barriers and unite people through a common purpose and sense of direction. That’s why the Mayor has made fostering social integration and building stronger communities such a key goal of his strategy, so together we can harness the power of sport to nurture the next generation of sporting talent, keep Londoners healthy and build links between our diverse communities.”


Ben Evans, Director of London Design Festival and Chair of the Mayor’s Cultural Leadership Board said: “London is home to one of the largest cultural and creative sectors of any capital city in the world. Employing over one in six of London’s workers and contributing £47 billion, it is an economic success story that helps to define our city globally. But the Mayor has also prioritised the sector because it contributes greatly to the quality of life of Londoners. This strategy seeks to sustain the sectors success and make it accessible to all Londoners.”


Moira Sinclair, CEO of Paul Hamlyn Foundation Vice Chair of the Mayor’s Cultural Leadership Board, said: “Access to culture is a human right, one that recognises that participation can be a powerful force for change, enriching people’s lives and wider communities. So I am particularly proud to see in this strategy the emphasis on supporting grassroots projects and on working with the boroughs to bring the best of inspiring artists and creative expression to every Londoner. Culture for All is ambitious and visionary, and all the better for that.”


Notes to editors

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