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11 East London community capital projects get off the ground with Westfield East Bank Creative Futures Fund

  • New and improved spaces and support for green economy, live and music performance, queer arts and creativity, food businesses, social mobility in young people, theatre, business incubation and more
  • The Capital Grant Scheme supports new creative jobs, businesses and skills development for employment through capital and equipment
  • Over 12k people will benefit from £786k investment in the Fund’s third year

What do a community garden, catering enterprise for Asian women and a soon-to-come LGBTQ+ venue all have in common?

Abbey Gardens, Tiffin Walli and Friends of Joiners Arms are some of the newest grant recipients of Foundation for Future London’s Capital Grant Scheme, which this September has awarded £786,000 to 11 projects as part of its third year.

The scheme is part of the Westfield East Bank Creative Futures Fund, a £10 million five-year creative programme, launched in 2021 with founding partner Westfield Stratford City to provide new jobs, learning, training and educational programmes for the people and communities of Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest in the arts, culture, innovation, public realm and creative placemaking.

The 11 projects will make a significant impact for East London, generating:

  • 114 new paid employment opportunities
  • 6 new start up companies created
  • 12,000 participants/users
  • 260 artists/creatives engaged
  • 35 schools engaged
  • 450,000 audiences reached digitally

Abbey Gardens is an open-access community in the East London borough of Newham where anyone is welcome to participate in the communal growing of flowers, fruit and vegetables.

“This will be a huge moment for Abbey Gardens and the community who use the space” said Alice Walters, Project Manager at Abbey Gardens. “We plan to rebuild our wooden plots for the gardeners to encourage more of the community to grow, learn and harvest together. We also plan to build an awning and decking for Spring Cafe so that it can trade during the colder months to generate more income as a new business and help people enjoy communal growing, cooking and eating together. We will also create a bee enclosure build to enrich the biodiversity of the borough with honeybees and wild bees.”

All 11 Capital Grant Scheme grantees will provide free and subsidised space, facilities and services to the most marginalised groups in East London, including children and young people, unemployed and low waged, Black, Asian and ethnically diverse, LGBTQ+, single mothers, and also helping the wider community get new jobs, training and skills in the creative sector.

The Switch is a charity committed to helping children and young people in Tower Hamlets to fulfil their potential. Working with 40 local schools and 100 local employers, The Switch provides a vital link between education and the world of work.

“Tower Hamlets is a borough of significant contrasts. Home to many of the world’s leading FTSE companies, it’s also a borough with entrenched levels of deprivation and disadvantage. One of the key barriers to employment for Tower Hamlets youth is their lack of networks (family and friends) to lean on and learn from. Many of the young people we support grow up in poverty in households where no one has ever had sustained employment,” said Abi Whitehouse, Alumni Project Manager at The Switch.

“One of the core aims of the programme is to promote non-traditional career sectors, such as creative, media, digital, the arts, the green economy, well-being and self-employment so our website gives insight into roles and careers. The website acts as a marketplace for employers wishing to recruit local young talent, and it also signposts young people to school leaver programmes, apprenticeships, paid internships and work experience. “

Year 3 Capital Grant Scheme recipients are as follow:

  • True Cadence – True Candance Music Industry Masterclass Programme, all four boroughs
  • Idea Space- Idea Space, Newham and Waltham Forest
  • Abbey Gardens – Abbey Gardens, Newham
  • Ruff Squad – Ruff Squad, Newham
  • The Switch- The Alumni Portal, Tower Hamlets
  • Tiffin Walli – Tiffin Walli, Newham
  • Social Convention – Community Culture Lab, Newham and Waltham Forest
  • The Yard – The Yard
  • East Side – East Side
  • FOJA – FROJA, all four boroughs
  • UCL – Trellis, all four boroughs

Maria Adebowale-Schwarte, CEO, Foundation for Future London says:

“The Foundation for Future London is pleased to award 11 Capital Grants to these outstanding inclusive and innovative capital projects as part of our Westfield East Bank Creative Futures Fund, in partnership with Westfield Stratford City. Many of these socially engaged and locally rooted projects match our focus and commitment to equality and social inclusion, as well as skills, employment and place making agenda. We look forward to continuing to support these projects for the benefit of all.”

Alyson Hodkinson, General Manager and UK Head of CSR at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield says:

“The Capital Grants are an important investment in the creative programme and the funding will create new jobs, businesses and skills and empower the recipients to deliver fantastic projects that will enable their local communities to prosper and thrive. We’re incredibly proud to see the difference the Westfield East Bank Creative Futures Fund is making – to grant holders, the people they work with and the wider East London community.”

Foundation for Future London is a major funder, fundraiser and creative placemaker for East London.

Year 4 of Westfield East Bank Creative Futures Fund will open for applications in 2023 https://future.london/programme/westfield-east-bank-creative-futures-fund/.

For more information about the Capital Grant Scheme see https://future.london/grant/capital-grant-scheme/.

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