Mayor announces £20m fund to help London businesses & boost innovation

21 January 2016

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson MP has today announced 24 businesses and community groups in the capital are to benefit from a new £20m London Regeneration Fund.

The London Regeneration Fund aims to re-energise the capital’s places of work and high streets by embracing the city’s incredible talent for creativity and technological innovation. It was launched by the Mayor through the London Enterprise Panel (LEP) following a successful bid to Government in January 2015 as part of the LEP’s Growth Deal.

The Mayor revealed the successful bids while visiting the Building BloQs workshop in Edmonton which offers shared facilities for professional makers, designers and small creative businesses.

Building BloQs is already London’s largest open workshop and the £1.35m that it will receive from the London Regeneration Fund will allow it to move to a larger site, offering members the opportunity to use professional standard machinery and processing on a pay-as-you-go basis.

London’s 800,000 small and medium-sized businesses account for nearly half of the capital’s jobs and generate approximately £430bn turnover. The Mayor believes they hold the potential for much of London’s future enterprise, innovation and economic growth, but are struggling to find workspace. A key ambition for this latest round of funding was to help tackle the shortage of affordable creative workspaces and a number of the winning applications will create new spaces for artists and creative entrepreneurs.  

Since he became Mayor, Boris Johnson’s dedicated regeneration funds have invested £189m and levered in around £131.5m in match-funding that has helped more than 85 high streets adapt to changing circumstances and thrive. This funding has also seen almost 1,000 shopfronts improved, 1,577 jobs created, and training and support received by over 3,000 businesses and young people.

Along with Building BloQs, other recipients including local authorities, traders’ associations, workspace providers, and community groups will use the funding to help new and traditional places of work thrive in a rapidly changing city.

Innovative ideas include introducing contactless payments to a 700 year old street market in Romford, turning the former Peckham Road Fire Station into an art gallery, and refurbishing a Grade II listed railway station to include a community garden in North Woolwich.

The Mayor of London and Chair of the LEP Boris Johnson MP said: “High streets and town centres the length and breadth of London are a hive of economic activity fuelled by creative minds. It’s important that we make sure they continue to meet the needs of a rapidly evolving city and the talented people who are key to its future success. It’s fantastic to see so many applicants to this fund, offering innovative ways to nurture and support the dynamism and creativity that will power our economy in the years ahead.”

Al Parra, Co-Founder, Building BloQs"Building BloQs is creating a powerhouse of making for London. We seek to realise a vision, redefining both making and the approach to space, resource and community. We have proved the model, and now with this far sighted support from the GLA, we will provide greater resources for more freelance makers, small businesses and designers to find both a home and a springboard for innovation and growth for the future of our city."

Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration and Business Development, Cllr Alan Sitkin, said: “The Enfield Council and Building Bloqs backed project will provide 300 jobs in the area and create a hub of high quality commercial activity.

“We expect this project to provide 300 jobs within the wider £2.5 billion Meridian Water development which will provide 8,000 homes, 3,000 jobs, a new train station and other community facilities over the next 20 years.”

The Mayor was particularly keen to see proposals that create new open workspaces such as incubators, co-working spaces, maker-spaces and artists’ studios, or secure their long term affordability. This is seen as key to the continued growth of London's creative economy and its global reputation as a leading city for creativity.

Poplar HARCA (Housing and Regeneration Community Association) has been awarded almost £1.8m to convert 81 underused garages and surrounding land into a new fashion hub, which will include a garment manufacturing unit and incubation space for designers. The scheme will help to provide skills and training opportunities in the local community and is being led in conjunction with the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. Catalysed by London College of Fashion, UAL’s planned move to Olympicopolis in 2021, the project will form an integral part of the Mayor's East London Fashion Cluster ambition, which recognises the longstanding heritage of the garment industry and recent growth in the fashion sectors in east London.

Steve Stride, CEO, Poplar HARCA: “The Fashioning Poplar project will create a unique end-to-end opportunity for the fashion sector, combining design, enterprise, tech, making and manufacturing and selling.  It will be embedded in the community providing jobs, training and workspace locally, ensuring talent is created and nurtured in this hugely exciting part of East London”.

Notes to editors

1. The London Regeneration Fund is being launched by the Mayor through the London Enterprise Panel following a successful bid to Government in January 2015 as part of the LEP’s Growth Deal. Allocations are subject to grant agreement and confirmation of funding. The Fund forms part of the LEP’s work to champion small and medium sized enterprises and builds on the Mayor’s longstanding belief that London’s high streets are great places to visit, live in and do business in.


2. Chaired by the Mayor, the London Enterprise Panel is the body through which the Mayoralty works with London's boroughs, business and Transport for London to take a strategic view of the regeneration, employment and skills agenda for London.


3. The London Regeneration Fund builds on the Mayor’s longstanding belief that London’s high streets are great places to visit, live in and do business in. Over two Mayoral terms, his dedicated regeneration funds have invested £189m and levered in about £131.5m in match funding that has helped more than 85 high streets adapt to changing circumstances and thrive. This funding has also seen almost 1,000 shopfronts improved, 1,577 jobs created, and training and support received by over 3,000 businesses and young people. Other funds include:


-       The Mayor’s £9m High Street Fund, which aims to make the capital’s high streets even better places to visit, live in and do business in. Grants awarded in 2015 are now being invested in 42 high streets. The investment has levered around £20m of match funding from local authorities and private sector partners, with £3.42m specifically for culture related activities.


-       The Mayor’s Regeneration Fund, launched following the 2011 riots to invest in some of the worst affected areas, continues to work with a £70m pot to drive growth and prosperity in Croydon, Tottenham, Hackney and other parts of the capital.


-       The Mayor’s Outer London Fund, a three-year initiative dedicated to strengthening the vibrancy and growth of London’s high streets and town centres, has invested £50m in 55 places across the capitals outer boroughs.



Summary of successful applicants


Dalston Works, LB Hackney LRF: £1,024,950 match: £3,090,000

Dalston Works, a partnership between Bootstrap Company and Hackney Cooperative Developments CIC, will focus on Bunker House, a new build 6 storey development with two floors for anchor tenants, two for managed workspace and two for community projects and youth services.


Loughborough Junction, LB Lambeth LRF: £1,644,388 match: £1,681,241

This workspace project, in partnership with Network Rail and Meanwhile Space CIC, will create a new building on a borough-owned site built from containers including studio space, makerspace, coworking offices and shared workshops/food production, and horticultural research.


Poplar HARCA, LB Tower Hamlets LRF: £1,779,250 match: £2,130,456

Poplar HARCA with the University of the Arts London: London College of Fashion will bring forward a fashion-led workspace ecosystem. 81 vacant garages will be converted into a 2,000m2 hub comprising of; a garment manufacturing unit, incubation space for 70 fashion design and tech SMEs, affordable commercial workspace, makery workspace,  and public facing events/market space.


Battersea Arts Centre, LB Wandsworth LRF: £538,000 match: £1,046,684

A new high-spec incubator hub for start-up and early-stage creative businesses will be created within Battersea Arts Centre. The hub will include; an open studio for flexible working; a private office suite with flexible partitions to accommodate businesses growth; and a flexible workshop with movable partitions for learning, workshops and ideas sharing. Each member will be required to offer two hours of their time and skills per month to other hub members and to participants of complementary initiatives.


Meridian Water Workspace, LB Enfield LRF: £1,350,000 match: £1,350,000

Two industrial sheds will be transformed into open workshops for makers and artist studios with shared facilities and services including outreach and training. It addresses space and affordability issues challenging emerging enterprises and arts communities.


Beddington, LB Sutton LRF: £447,000 match: £489,000

This project will pilot a new approach to working with landowners and businesses through a range of interventions to reconfigure and unlock land for economic activity and intensify industrial areas.


Harrow Town Centre, LB Harrow LRF: £1,510,000 match: £1,767,000

This group of projects focuses on regenerating Wealdstone through the creation of a new business and community infrastructure. The proposal is linked to the future relocation of Harrow Civic Centre to Wealdstone.


West Ealing, LB Ealing LRF: £283,320 match: £301,790

An open workspace of 120m2 will be created in West Ealing on the two upper floors of St. James House to attract and sustain a new ecosystem of start-up, micro and small businesses, particularly those that provide social value. It will accommodate co-working space for homeworkers and possible crèche provision.


Cell Project Space Limited, LB Hackney LRF: £75,000 match: £75,000

Cell Studios, with support from LB Hackney and LLDC, will provide artists' studios in Hackney Wick through the conversion of the former Carless Institute. The project will create 650m2 interim workspace in a currently vacant heritage building into low cost studio space for 5 years specifically for artists relocating from their current premises.


Richmond RACC Workspace, LB Richmond Upon Thames LRF: £331,500 match: £331,500

Richmond is experiencing high levels of permitted development of office to residential, however demand for offices is still strong, and a number of digital and publishing companies such as Ebay, Paypal and Haymarket are based in Richmond. The project will transform the rear annex to a 1970s Magistrates Court in the town centre to accommodate office activities and the ground floor car park will be turned over to creative making uses.


Blackhorse Lane, LB Waltham Forest LRF: £1,105,952 match: £1,105,952

The 'Blackhorse Lane Enterprise Zone' performs an important role in reaching employment targets in the Housing Zone. The project will see 3 buildings and 2,300m2 on Blackhorse Lane refit for creative industry use. Affordable studios, co-working space and business resource centre, with improved street forecourt and frontage in Uplands House; shared workshop with private bench space in Lockwood Unit 1; and private workshops, café and yardspace.


Erith, LB Bexley LRF: £1,961,600 match: £1,961,600

As part of concerted regeneration efforts in Erith, this project will set a tone for development quality in providing a new mix of town centre uses, training and work opportunities and resolving some of the connectivity issues in the town  at this important stage in Erith’s regeneration. The project includes design work for developments and establishing a JV partnership; a training centre with Erith Group and meanwhile uses on Bexley Road; and improving poor connectivity between the river and the station.


Elephant and Castle, LB Southwark LRF: £86,900 match: £86,900

The project will create 812m2 of affordable work space for creative entrepreneurs across five newly refurbished railway arches in the Elephant & Castle Opportunity Area, which will provide space for 80–100 users in the form of a graduate incubator and accelerator space for growing SMEs. Long leases have been agreed with Network Rail. The project will fit out the arches to required standards and provide a flexible and adaptable working environment.


London Riverside, LB Havering LRF: £270,000 match: £283,300

CEME - a skills, innovation, research and business campus in the London Riverside Opportunity Area - looks to provide a short-term and long-term solution for sustainable start-up and move on space in the area. The project will refurbish the 357m2 former nursery in the East Point Building. The Micro Business Accelerator will offer smaller units on affordable, flexible terms for 20 Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology (MET) sector start-up and early stage businesses. The project will also provide intensive business support in the new facilities via 'Oxford Innovation' as Growth Accelerator delivery partner.


North Woolwich, LB Newham

LRF: £362,995 match: £597,076

This Grade II listed Old North Woolwich Station building will be refurbished, reopened and reanimated, and, with the support of Crossrail, develop 3,450m2 of adjacent land to create outdoor workspaces for creative enterprises alongside a new community garden open to all.


Bow Packing Works, LB Tower Hamlets LRF: £400,000 match: £400,000

The Bow Packing works site has been vacant for over 10 years and is now secured on a 20 year lease. Mainyard Studios will refurbish the building for co-working space, artist studios, workshops, event space and bar/restaurant, unlocking 7,600m2 of workspace.


Romford Market Place, LB Havering LRF: £1,000,000 match: £2,100,000

Established in 1247, Romford’s historic market has been in decline, from 300 regular traders to less than 90. The project will revitalise Romford Market by attracting and establishing new retail and catering businesses, creating a covered section, installing new stalls and catering facilities, and constructing a featured play and dwell space. In addition they plan to introduce cashless transactions and digital marketing. Businesses will be supported through a visible hub located in the Market Place.


Peabody Trust Abbey Wood, LB Bexley LRF: £1,000,000 match: £1,100,317

This project will help create an emerging high street in Abbey Wood, a major strategic regeneration area with Crossrail and a Housing Zone leading to over 1,800 new homes delivered in the area from 2019-2024. The project will create an Abbey Wood High Street Incubator campus, using a series of modular units, and deliver complementary public realm improvements, planting and new green space around Coralline.


South Kilburn Enterprise Hub, LB Brent                                                                       

LRF: £1,800,000 match: £2,159,182

The project involves the construction, establishment and long term management of an innovative workspace / community scheme aimed at serving both the local community and businesses by addressing the lack of good quality, small workspace provision in the borough. It will include a mix of creative workspaces, including a business club, and dedicated self-contained office suites available at market and affordable rents, operated by the South Kilburn Trust. A café will be located within the business club space, which can be used by the local community. The project will also include good quality youth space and community areas, which can be booked and used by both the business occupiers and the local people for events and cultural gatherings.


Anerley Town Hall, LB Bromley LRF: £360,000 match: £360,000

The project will create workspace in the Anerley Town Hall building, operated by Crystal Palace Community Development Trust who are taking a 40 year lease of the building from Bromley Council. The project will provide small business incubator space, alongside the existing business space provision in the building. The Trust are also entering into an agreement with a nursery provider to co-locate on the site.


The former Peckham Road Fire Station, LB Southwark LRF: £600,000 match: £2,399,678

The project will bring the vacant building back into public and community use by creating a new contemporary art centre model and annexe to South London Gallery’s (SLG) main base. The project encompasses SLG’s archives which will be made publically accessible and a permanent gallery space on the ground floor, plus a variety of flexible gallery, social and studio spaces on the upper floors, providing learning and creative opportunities throughout the year. An open kitchen and dining room will enable artists, curators and community groups to develop projects around food and culture.


Uxbridge Town Centre, LB Hillingdon LRF: £800,000 match: £1,295,798

The project will make improvements and bring activity to the eastern end of the High Street to connect it to new housing and a theatre on the former RAF site, and make it function as an extension of the town centre. Proposals include public realm in front of the Civic Centre, lighting and active frontages for blank areas such as the side of the civic centre on the high street, enhancements to Vine Street in front of a 30s department store, and lighting and sound installations for the roundabout underpasses. Shopfront grants, business support and apprenticeships will be focused on these areas, and opportunities for temporary markets will also be explored.


Barking Town Centre, LB Barking & Dagenham LRF: £250,000 match: £3,830,000

A Creative Industries Zone at Linton Road will deliver work on a vacant site owned by the Council behind the Barking Enterprise Centre, off site construction scheme, delivered within 16 months (including planning) and provide 12 two bed apartments at 65-80% of local market rent prioritised for artists with a new artist’s hub and workshop at ground.


Royal Docks Silvertown, LB Newham LRF: £459,145 match: £457,689

The project will create a local arts hub in the Carlsberg & Tetley Building. Creative professionals and new enterprises will be supported with priority given to existing local businesses whilst also attracting creative professionals and SMEs. The project would run for 7-10 years with a plan to move established businesses into the long term development by Quintain. The area under the DLR will be developed into a pavilion with seating to create an outdoor area, with improved public realm forging connections to the adjacent and existing Waterfront Studios.  

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