Croydon has been named among the capital’s first Creative Enterprise Zones (CEZ) as announced by the Mayor of London on 14th December.
Whilst eleven boroughs were shortlisted, Croydon is one of just six to successfully bid for funding from the Mayor to develop their CEZ where creative industries flourish and grow.
Croydon has been awarded a grant of £500,000 to enable the growth of arts through provision of space, skills and support, policy and community. There will also be training and development for new creative businesses in the borough bringing the total investment to over £1m.
The backing from the Mayor shows that Croydon Labour Council’s policy of promoting culture and the arts is paying off and building a diverse local economy with the creative industries at it’s heart. Under the last Conservative administration creative industries and the arts simply weren’t a priority. They sold off our museum collection, slashed funding for culture and neglected the Fairfield Halls. An historic wrong Labour are correcting by investing £30m in the regeneration of the Fairfield Halls which we look forward to re-opening in 2019.
Croydon’s ambitious bid
Croydon’s CEZ will mean that some exiting projects will receive funding including:
• Developing Croydon as a music city – a place that encourages and nurtures emerging talent, breaking down barriers to success in the music industry
• Launching a pioneering new cultural internship programme, offering young people paid work placements with leading national and local arts organisations
• Creating a subsidy scheme for under 25s looking for studio space, which will cover up to 40% of the cost
• Encouraging creative businesses to move to Croydon, through the introduction of business rate relief for creative start-ups and those relocating to Croydon
• Collating an online list of available properties for creative businesses, and launching a start-up incubator programme providing tailored business support.
Councillor Oliver Lewis, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “Croydon is gaining a reputation as a borough that embraces creativity, invests in the arts and most importantly, breaks down barriers for emerging talent. We’re delighted to be among London’s first CEZs and look forward to developing our music city plans and other ambitious initiatives.”
Samuel Facey, founder and director of The Front Room, one of Croydon’s new creative spaces, said: ‘We are honoured to be a recipient of this award and thank all the team for their hard work behind the scenes. We look forward to contributing creative excellence that further puts Croydon on the map.’
Peter Flack, CEO of Artists Studio Company, which was part of the bid, said: “Artists Studio Company are delighted to be part of the successful Croydon creative’s CEZ bid. It is vital to maintain affordable studio space and encourage creative industries at a time when artists are being pushed out of London with ever-increasing rents. We are particularly delighted to be part of the Croydon scheme that will offer young and emerging creatives subsidised space. The local stakeholders who make up the CEZ consortium have worked closely together to devise models of support which we believe will help a wide section of local people.”