Tender Invite: Pilot UK-Based Cultural Exchange Programme

Executive Summary

Foundation for Future London is an independent charity established in 2015. We fund and fundraise for grant-making opportunities for East London communities and partners and facilitate creative placemaking, to support local places, learning, training and employment through arts, education, culture, and innovation.

We believe that inclusive places, creativity, culture, arts, innovation and education matter for people, places, local economy, and wellbeing. This is why our focus is to develop and invest in creative placemaking and delivery of a culture, education and innovation quarter that invests in the aspirations of and opportunity for underserved communities in East London. We want to build back better with no one left behind and so invest and collaborate with East Bank, Stratford Waterfront and City of London to ensure that the cultural quarters across London create a connecting corridor to open opportunities to our East London communities.

Equitable collaboration is at the forefront of all our work, which includes positive relationships with:

  • The diverse local communities living and working in the boroughs of Newham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Waltham Forest
  • East Bank Institutions
  • Donors, programme partners, sponsors, grantees, and ambassadors

In 2020 Foundation for Future London, through generous funding from Westfield Stratford City, opened the first community grant strand of the Westfield East Bank Creative Futures Fund. The fund aims to support local organisations and individuals to create new jobs, learning, skills, training, and educational programmes through the means of arts, culture, innovation, public realm and creative placemaking.

The Westfield East Bank Creative Futures Fund is an ambitious five-year programme that aims to invest £10 million into the local communities of Newham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Waltham Forest. Year 2 of the fund saw on investment of over £1,000,000 into local communities and organisations with over 90 projects now being in full swing. We are now heading into Year 3 with the community grants opening in July 2022.

As part of this fund, we have a ringfenced pot to trial a UK Cultural Exchange programme, and we now seek to appoint a local organisation/consultant/consortium to co-design, implement and manage along with the Foundation what this pilot may look like.

Background to UK Cultural Exchange

The Foundation had a strong funding and engagement role to play in the previous success of the STEP into Smithsonian project. Foundation for Future London would now like to explore growing and adapting this programme to include a UK-wide element.

With the current Levelling Up Agenda, the Foundation feels it would be a missed opportunity if not to test a UK based cultural exchange programme. Although London is not readily recognised within the Levelling Up Agenda, it cannot be disputed that pockets of London, and most certainly East London, are still very much in need of building back better and creating a level playing field, particularly in terms of opportunities, pay, jobs and living standards.

Building back better for the UK refers to boosting productivity, pay, jobs, and living standards, spreading opportunities and restoring a sense of community and local pride, whilst also empowering local leaders and communities. This too is still needed in East London, and an exchange programme has the ability to foster and grow these aspirations for all involved, being mutually beneficial. It certainly aligns with the Foundation’s core aims, along with the aims and objectives of the Westfield East Bank Creative Futures Fund.

Coupled with the DCMS committee considering evidence for the role that culture can take in building back better, the Foundation recognises that its own strategy to create a level playing field aligns closely. The Foundation also shares a strong commitment to sharing knowledge and opportunities, these being at the forefront of how the Foundation invests into removing barriers, opening up shared learnings, improving economic opportunities, increasing jobs and training and expediating strong stakeholder partnerships.

The UK Cultural Exchange Programme has the potential to offer this, both in terms of East Londoners sharing experience, knowledge and the vast cultures of East London; and the role this can play in facilitating a level playing field for other cultural-based cities, but it will also work towards removing the barriers (or perceived barriers), perception and stigma London sometimes hold for other UK cities and communities. The UK Cultural Exchange Programme would also benefit young East Londoners’ experience of different cultures, knowledge sharing, , institutions and cultural and political backdrops.

The exchange will also shine an additional light on East London’s East Bank as the largest, most ambitious culture and education district and the opportunities this can bring for all.

The Foundation sees this innovative approach with key UK-wide cities and cultural partners being able to produce positive and impacting outcomes, particularly following the devastating effect the pandemic has had on all communities, predominantly for culture and education opportunities.

We invite you to submit a proposal for this pilot project of the UK Cultural Exchange Programme. Further information on the Foundation’s vision, role and programme activities and criteria for the tender submission follows.

1. Organisation Background

1.1 Foundation for Future London

Foundation for Future London is an independent charity. The Foundation’s role is to ensure that local communities and the broader public fully benefit from the social and economic value that the new East Bank, with its globally renowned, arts, innovation and culture brings. At the same time, we want to ensure there is a strong connection between the local and underserved communities of the four London Boroughs of Newnham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Waltham Forest. We challenge all forms of discrimination and inequality and safeguard any future shaping of the East Bank to be achieved through the collective.

The Foundation’s purpose is to fundraise, expand and facilitate grant making opportunities for social value, good growth economy and supporting the environment for all East Bank communities and partners. We invest in art, innovation, education, culture, and place making that transforms lives, ensuring communities and stakeholders are heard and listened to; and valued and recognised.

We believe by offering access to quality cultural experiences, opportunities for young people and lifelong learning can be provided. A driver for the Foundation is to improve the case for social and economic change. We champion innovation, research and development whilst supporting inclusive growth through investment into education, learning, jobs, entrepreneurship, arts, culture and placemaking. The Foundation also looks for partnerships with innovative and progressive grant funders, corporates, and philanthropists who share our vision.

1.2 Vision

Our vision is to Build Back Better and Fairer with No One Left Behind. We do this by underpinning our values and strategic pillars to achieve our set goals and deliverables creating outcomes and impact for the communities. We are able to do this through our existing funded programmes. As our strategic fundraising plans develop, along with growth in the team we have an increased focus on fundraising, prospect, and donor relations along with platform raising for the Foundation.

2 Westfield East Bank Creative Futures Fund

2.1 The Programme

The Westfield East Bank Creative Futures Fund is a £10 million programme powered by Westfield Stratford City (WSC) that will provide 19,000 new jobs, learning, training, and educational opportunities through the means of art, culture, innovation and creative placemaking. Co-funded by the Foundation, the programme has a strong focus on the vibrant and diverse stakeholders: people, organisations and the communities of Newham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Waltham Forest with the aim of creating impactful partnerships between these boroughs and the world-renowned arts, culture, education, and innovation of East Bank.

Mission, Principles and Outcomes

There are several strands to the Westfield East Bank Creative Futures Fund that all aim to develop a far-reaching catalyst change that creates inclusive social and economic value for the diverse boroughs. The Fund has a strong focus on young people, but also provides learning and employment opportunities from early learning, higher education, post education through to entrepreneurship, job opportunities and lifelong learning for older people. These will be achieved through a variety of programme strands.

The Foundation for Future London is ensuring the Fund:

  • Is inclusive accessible, agile, and collaborative
  • Supports economic development, local employment, and communities
  • Strengthens partnerships with local organisations, communities and East Bank partners
  • Has equality and inclusion running throughout

The expected outcomes for the Fund to be reported on are:

Learning, Training and Employment


  • People gaining access paid work experience/internships
  • People gaining access to apprenticeships
  • People gaining access to jobs

Learning opportunities

  • Accessing lifelong learning opportunities (early learning and schools through to late career, and post retirement)
  • Bespoke career and higher education path support
  • Training and secondments, employment, and access to next level careers

Young people

  • Participation in career workshops and related learning offers
  • One to one careers and relevant coaching/ mentoring

Business and entrepreneur support

  • Freelance and entrepreneur set up, development & training
  • Business set up and development support

Strands of Fund

There are several strands within the Westfield fund that all contribute towards meeting the set KPI’s and wider social impact outcomes. The UK Cultural Exchange Programme will be one of these strands.

  • Community Strands (Small, Medium, Large Grants)
  • East Bank Partnership Collaborative Employment Strand
  • Community Capital Strand

East Bank Collaborative Capital Strand (Year 3 onwards)

  • Capacity Building Strand
  • Exchange and Employment Strand (Year 3 onwards)

These strands are continually revisited and refreshed with feedback and a co-design approach with grantees and stakeholders.

2.3 Diversity and Inclusion

The Foundation has a strong commitment to equality, inclusion and breaking down barriers for underrepresented groups. All our programmes and activities embrace all diversity and inclusion, tackling and challenging all forms of inequalities at all levels. Our programmes especially encourage applications from Black, Asian and ethnically diverse/LGBTQ +/disabled/and other underrepresented individuals and organisations. We encourage all communities to be heard and listened to and that they are valued and recognised equally.

The Foundation is a proud member of many partner organisations such as Stonewall and Inclusive employers. We have also committed to the disability confident scheme and the Association of Charitable Foundations, Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Pillars. Alongside this the Foundation has a strong commitment to protecting the environment and increasing sustainability, being members of the Funder Commitment on Climate Change.

The Foundation supports all partners and stakeholders who are able to deploy skills, resources and/or funding for community led equity-based solutions. As such the Foundation actively looks to work with organisations who have direct equity experience where possible.

3 Tender Specification

3.1 Tender Prerequisites

This Invitation to Tender has been prepared by the Foundation for the purposes of inviting initial proposals from candidates for the provision of the below elements.

The successful applicant will lead on the co-design, implementation, and management, including collateral and communication support for a four to six-month pilot UK Cultural Exchange Programme. The tender contract will be for 12 months to factor in design and implementation.

Aims and Focus areas

Through the lens of arts and culture, the programme will aim to promote respect and understanding for other cities and community’s cultures, history, political backdrop and knowledge in key areas synonymous to East London and East Bank. Amongst the backdrop of education, training and employment, these focus areas will be:
• Art
• Theatre and Production
• Culture and History
• Fashion
• Journalism
• Digital
• Placemaking

The programme will add value to lives by inspiring new forms of artistic expression and views, upskilling through mentoring and training, whilst also creating and embedding new networks and opening up new opportunities.

Through the fostering of such different UK wide cities, exchange of ideas; and giving an insight in to wide-ranging arts and culture, the aim will be to create meaningful and productive learnings in this sector. Participants’ potential will be unlocked through creative collaborations via the aspiration of shared purposes, interests and experiences all leading to early life and career learning and innovation.

Participants will also build on the ability to think locally, nationally and globally when exploring the cultural sector and their future paths/choices.

Through genuine multi-faceted education and training, an enhanced understanding of the creative sector will be developed, whilst at the same time creating ties between East London and the wider UK.

Potential Structure

The appointed tender winner will take a proactive lead in designing the operational process of the exchange programme and the Foundation will take guidance of the expertise and knowledge of the appointed provider.

However, the following should be considered:

  • UK city/towns selected to take part should be based on; a) areas identified through the Levelling Up Agenda (those awarded Town Deals); b) previous shortlisted areas for ‘City of Culture’ applications and c) also matched against those areas identified by the Arts Council – ‘Levelling Up for Culture Places’
  • A minimum of two other cities/towns/areas should be included – priority focus should be England for this pilot unless a strong case can be made for other UK cities/towns
  • Lead cultural partners should be identified in each area
  • Group numbers in each area should be a minimum of eight young individuals from those groups that are underserved in their local communities (to be defined by the lead partner) and in the cultural sector, and who have a keen interest and passion about pursuing a career in the sectors of the key areas identified above
  • The programme could take a hybrid approach with online and in person visits for the following suggested activities:
    • Visual Tours of institutions/exhibitions/events
    • Specific culture training workshops from varied industry experts across the cities taking part
    • Talks and seminars
    • Topic exploration
    • Send/receive cultural packages
    • Investigate polices, funding, government attitudes, barriers and opportunities towards arts and cultural sector
    • Explore how history, cultures, beliefs, society and language and dialect affect and develop arts and culture in each country
    • Celebratory event/exhibition of the varied cities coming together through the cultural sector
    • Live project brief
    • Networking opportunities – exchange of ideas and practices
    • Exposure to new audiences
    • 121 career advice
    • Work with other local cultural organisations that reflect underserved communities
  • All East London participants should be provided a bursary to take part in the programme along with an additional pot to produce an end of programme innovative report in the style of their chosen interest, demonstrating learnings and knowledge shared – this can be used for their ongoing portfolio. For example this could be a journalistic style podcast, film production, a theatre style production, a digital design or any other creative and innovative formats. All of these will be shown at an end of programme celebration event.

The responsibilities for the appointed provider will be to:

  • Lead and develop the programme with the Foundation for Future London, keeping the above aims and objectives at the heart of the programme
  • Develop and manage partnerships of UK engagement with the Foundation’s involvement
  • Work with the identified local organisations/institutions/person to structure the programme
  • Design and delivery of programme activities
  • Recruitment and ongoing pastoral care of students/delegates/participants in the UK
  • Work with identified partner UK organisations/person to align recruitment processes and programme design for their participants
  • Analysis and propose any physical visit possibilities
  • Development of expected impact and ongoing measurement of outcomes
  • Work with cohort for end of programme showcase event
  • Manage risk register
  • Management of budget
  • Provide end of programme report including recommendation for the future of the project and potential to replicate both further in UK and potentially internationally

3.2 Applicants

Applications will be accepted from organisations, freelancers, consultants and/or consortiums who can demonstrate the below attributes, however we would encourage applications from local East London suppliers specifically based in Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets or Waltham Forest:

  • Experience/knowledge of working with charity/third sector
  • Experience/knowledge of designing and managing a similar style project
  • Experience/knowledge of delivering training/skills/employment lead projects
  • Experience knowledge of working with local and/or UK-wide cultural organisations/areas
  • Potential experience of equity partnership building
  • Demonstrate knowledge of East London with particular focus on the boroughs of Newham, Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets and Hackney
  • Knowledge or experience working with creative, cultural, educational and innovation sectors
  • Evidence of experienced team members with experience within the above sectors
  • Commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion
  • Commitment to environment, social and governance
  • Ability to work within timelines set

3.3 Terms and budget

This tender award is for a period of 12 months.

The expected resources would be to design, manage and deliver a UK Cultural Exchange Programme that runs for a minimum of four to six months with an end of programme event. This includes all management, administration, collateral and communications, health and safety and legal needs such as insurance and participant support. An end of project monitoring report with recommendations for future programmes to also be submitted.

As can be expected, as a small independent charity our budget is limited.

We seek tender applications for proposals within a £150,000- £200,000 bracket inclusive of VAT.

Payment schedules will be on discussion of awarding the contract.

Tender applications should include a clear breakdown of costs, associated time and personnel time and cost breakdown.

3.4 Application Details

We will accept applications from all organisations, freelancers, consultants and/or consortiums but would encourage applications from local providers who have a good understanding of the local area, third sector charitable fundraising activities and the arts, culture, innovation, education and/or placemaking sectors.

It is also important to the Foundation that you can demonstrate a strong commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion as well to the environment, society and good governance.

Tender opens: Monday 4 July 2022
Tender close date: Monday 22 Aug 2022
Tender assessment: week commencing 5 September 2022
Tender awarded: End of September 2022
Expected commencement of contract: October 2022

Applications should be no more than eight sides of A4 and address the following with allocation of assessment weighting:

  • Understanding of the brief and the Foundation’s core vision, aims and objectives (30%)
  • Approach and proposed methodology, including approach to diversity and inclusion (35%)
  • Expertise and experience (15%)
  • Price and budget breakdown (20%)

Contact Details

Sarah Nelson
Director of Programmes and Communication

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