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Boris Johnson pumps £285,000 into 20 London projects to embrace creative enterprise

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The UK’s creative industry is thriving, as demonstrated in July when British film studio Pinewood – home to James Bond movie Spectre – admitted it can’t accept all of the big Hollywood business it’s being offered.

“Construction has begun on the first phase of the Pinewood expansion. This is an exciting development for the group and we are pleased with the support and commitment given to us through the placing,” said Pinewood’s chief executive Ivan Dunleavy.

“Although we have hosted the three largest film productions of the year, being Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, Avengers: Age of Ultron and the 24th Bond film Spectre, we continue to be unable to meet all the demand from large films.”

With these types of developments, the UK government is advised to do more to “cement the future success of one of the UK’s prized assets”, backing ventures in music, art, film, TV, design and gaming.

Of course, London is the UK hub of creativity. Mayor Boris Johnson has recognised this with his latest investment from the March-launched, crowdfunded, £9m High Street Fund, which has the task of “re-energising the capital’s high streets by embracing the city’s incredible talent for creativity and innovation”.

He has parted with £285,000 to fund 20 projects in local communities, and one of the more innovative campaigns, a plan to turn the disused Peckham Coal railway line into a 1km-long urban park space, secured £10,000.

“The eclectic range of projects I have seen over the course of the High Street Fund is a remarkable testament to the creativity and enterprise of Londoners, and I’m delighted to announce pledges towards 20 of those today,” said Johnson.

“The Peckham Coal Line project is a fantastic example of how we can harness the enthusiasm of civic crowdfunding and work more directly with Londoners to improve their neighbourhoods. I urge you to go online and help your local project reach their total.”

The creation of the green space is said to not just transform walking and cycling around the town, but also provide more direct links between high streets to benefit businesses which can expect a greater number of visitors.

Read more on creativity and social enterprise:

Elsewhere, Good Food Catford in Lewisham is a social enterprise that secured £14,000 towards its £33,000 target to revamp a disused shop into a community store, selling affordable vegetables from local allotments. It would also provide workshops and advice on eating well.

Based on the backing National Fitness Day received on 9 September, this particular move could generate interest from health organisations and companies alike, with Fitness First, schools and more involved in promoting wellbeing this month.

Literalley in Tower Hamlets has bagged £15,000 to support its mission to turn an alleyway into a free public library, while Wanstead Playground in Redbridge received £11,000 to help a group of parents out to renovate a run-down park for their children.

Each project has the outstanding amount of required funding raised through civic crowdfunding website Spacehive, which also acts as a hub for ideas and guidance.

“Spacehive puts power in the hands of the people by giving individuals a direct say over community projects in their area. It is a more democratic way of shaping our towns and cities that grasps the creativity and wealth of local people and businesses,” said Spacehive founder, Chris Gourlay.

“From high street water slides to free public wi-fi networks, sports facilities and major new parks, Spacehive has already had a huge impact on local areas up and down the UK. With the support of the Mayor’s High Street Fund, we are pleased that we can help more great projects – like the Peckham Coal Line – become a reality.”

The 20 projects to receive funding are:

Hello Hoxton High Street, Hackney: £19,000

Making Wembley Wonderful, Brent: £18,500

A New Creative Hub for Wood Street, Waltham Forest: £18,000

Our Kilburn Digital Noticeboard, Brent: £18,000

Sustainable Bridges, Southwark: £18,000

Green Trafalgar Road, Greenwich: £18,000

The Community Kitchen, Kingston: £17,000

Ten Grand Arcade, Barnet: £16,000

Fixshop, Kingston: £15,000

Literralley, Tower Hamlets: £15,000

Good Food Catford, Lewisham: £14,000

Twist Pop Up on Station Rise, Lambeth: £14,000

Blossoming Rose Rosehill Traders Market, Sutton: £13,000

A Shared Space for Stories in Tottenham, Haringey: £12,500

Converting a Water Tank to an Art Space, Lewisham: £12,500

Wanstead Playground, Redbridge: £11,000

Peckham Coal Line Urban Park, Southwark: £10,000

Creating an Event Space, Camden: £10,000

Merchant of Venice, Barking & Dagenham: £10,000

Playonthegreen, Streatham: £6,000

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