Mayor launches new fund to help local communities drive recovery from Covid-19

By December 4, 2020NEWS

Sadiq makes £500,000 available through innovative crowdfunding scheme 

More money for tactical urban interventions, grass-roots culture and bringing people together safely 

Communities across London will be able to access a share of £500,000 to help them recover from the Covid-19 pandemic under a new fund launched today by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

From securing new uses for vacant high street shops to creating new walking routes, Make London will support the delivery of a range of recovery projects led by the city’s communities. The initiatives will help improve public spaces, support community hubs and town centres, promote grass-roots culture and bring people together safely.

Open to Londoners, mutual aid groups, charities, business improvement districts and social enterprises, the scheme will use the well-established crowdfunding model – this also enables groups to secure additional funding from other bodies including local authorities, private companies, and a range of voluntary and philanthropic organisations.

Smaller-scale projects will be able to pitch for support up to £5,000, while larger initiatives will be eligible for as much as £50,000. The money will be drawn from Sadiq’s £6.6 million Recovery Fund, which is part of his wider work to support London’s long-term recovery from the impact of coronavirus.

The programme follows the recent launch of the Mayor’s Community Spaces at Risk Fund, which gives emergency advice and funding to venues facing closure due to the pandemic.

Make London builds on the successes of two Mayoral initiatives: Crowdfund London – through which 20,000 people have supported nearly 150 innovative projects with more than £4.4 million – and Culture Seeds, which supported nearly 250 community-led cultural projects in every London borough with more than £1 million.

The Spacehive platform, which helps deliver Crowdfund London, will also be used to support applications to Make London.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Coronavirus has had an impact on every Londoner and every area of our city, often with lower-income and ethnically diverse communities the hardest hit.

“We’ve already seen an incredible response to this challenging time from Londoners of all backgrounds. I firmly believe it is our communities who have the most innovative ideas on how to emerge from the pandemic and bring our city together.

“Creativity flows through London and it will get us through this crisis. That’s why I’m proud to launch this new fund which will allow Londoners to play a vital role in helping their local areas recover and tackle the inequalities which exist in the capital.”

Cllr Georgia Gould, Chair of London Councils, Leader of the London Borough of Camden and co-chairs of The London Recovery Board. said: “Covid-19 has shown the strength of London’s communities – coming together to support their neighbours, to reach out and care in new ways, to keep people safe and well and connected in hard times.

“London’s Economic Recovery missions are rooted in this community activity and in our neighbourhoods recognising that London’s creativity and innovation starts from the grassroots.

“I am excited to see how this funding will support arts, culture and civic projects on our high streets and in our business districts, on our estates, in community centres and small venues. It is great to see resources going directly into our communities where it can make the most difference”

CEO of Spacehive, Misha Dhanak, said: “Amid all the challenges this year, the way people have reconnected with their local area – and with each other – has been really inspiring. Communities across the capital are teeming with ideas for what their area needs and Make London is about channelling and supporting that creativity.

“Spacehive is proud to work in partnership with the Mayor to deliver this programme and can’t wait to help Londoners bring their ideas to life.”

Momtaz Ajid, Head of Leaders in Community at Bee-spoke Learning Centre – which was supported by a previous round of Crowdfund London – said: “We’re very grateful to the Mayor for his support through Crowdfund London. The funding has created a welcoming learning centre for young people and the local community to come together, learn and gain new skills in beekeeping and honey production.

“Through dedicated learning programmes and training courses, we’re now working with all corners and cultures of our estate, and the wider borough of Tower Hamlets, to make the necessary changes as a community that will safeguard our young people’s future.”

Mellezia, visual artist and Director of The RENA Initiative – which was supported though Culture Seeds – said: “With a grant from the Mayor of London we launched ‘The Women of White City (WoWC)’ project to reduce loneliness and improve the mental health and wellbeing of socially isolated, unemployed and older women in my community.

“Our intergenerational painting workshops create a fun, safe and inclusive environment where women from diverse cultures can form meaningful friendships. This grant has helped us to access further funding opportunities and expand services to deliver online and offline activities to marginalised communities across London.”

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