Celebration of first year of Westfield East Bank Creative Futures Fund

Westfield Stratford City shopping mall played host to our special celebration event on Thursday 30 September to mark the first year of our Westfield East Bank Creative Futures Fund, a £10m five-year programme funded by the retailer that’s already transforming lives and careers and supporting communities. This impact was brought to life through moving testimonials, performance, video and speeches from grantees at The Line, Hear My Voice and Intermission Youth.

At the event, we also opened three grants as part of our Year 2 Community Strand: Small Grant SchemeMedium Grant Scheme, Large Grant Scheme, and Capital Grant Scheme, which are open to organisations based or working in Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

We heard from Maria Adebowale-Schwarte, CEO, Foundation for Future London, who talked about the progress we’ve made in Year 1 — so far we’ve reached 7,000 people from the community strands alone.

Alyson Hodkinson, General Manager, Westfield Stratford City spoke about the importance of the Fund in helping the organisation deliver on corporate social responsibility and playing a dynamic role in supporting the people and places of East London.

We heard from:

  • Simon Cane, UCL Executive Director Culture gave an update on the New Talent-Future Leaders Programme, a £3 million five-year creative employment and training programme for diverse young East Londoners.employment programme, led by a consortium of London’s major arts, cultural and education institutions — Sadler’s Wells, UCL East, UAL London College of Fashion, BBC and V&A East – who will make up the new East Bank cultural district in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
  • Megan Piper, Co-Founder and Director, The Line and a Youth Guide on their project in partnership with London College of Fashion and National Portrait Gallery, who said that being involved has helped her get work opportunities.
  • Pinny Grylls presented her project Hear My Voice, along with artist Aga Serugo Lugo, which takes a group of eight musically gifted local young people over eight sessions to compose, mix and record tracks for a new feature film that tells the story of a British Congolese choir boy growing up in Hackney who dreams of becoming an opera singer.
  • Lastly we had a moving poetry performance by Stevanie Matthews from Intermission Youth performing her poem”Part-time War, Full-time Battle”, which reflects on the impact of Black Lives Matter and the murder of George Floyd.

The performances received a standing ovation from attendees.

We are grateful for the support from the Westfield Stratford City team to produce the event and for being so engaged with the programme and to all our grantees and invited guests for making it such a special occasion.

Photographs: Anne-Marie Michel

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