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Mayor expands Creative Enterprise Zones

by LLB political Reporter
14th Jul 23 6:03 am

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced the expansion of his ground-breaking Creative Enterprise Zones as a new report reveals they have recovered faster from the pandemic and performed better than London’s wider creative economy, while helping reverse the trend of artists being priced out of areas.

Brent, Islington and Westminster are set to become the latest dedicated areas in the capital where artists and creatives are supported to put down roots at the heart of their communities through affordable workspaces and improved access to creative sector skills and employment. Sadiq also announced that nine projects across the zones will receive a share of £1.2m to make workplaces greener and more sustainable, benefiting more than 500 creative businesses.

The Mayor made the announcements as a new report published today shows that the Mayor’s first six Creative Enterprise Zones have become centres of the creative economy, creating jobs and business throughout the pandemic and recovering faster than the wider creative economy.

The Creative Enterprise Zone Impact report, by consultants We Made That, shows that between 2018 and 2021:

  • Creative jobs in Brixton grew nearly four times faster than in London’s wider creative economy.
  • Croydon’s music, performance and visual arts sector grew twice as much in the zone than across the wider London.
  • The music performance and visual arts sector in Deptford and New Cross made a dramatic recovery from a 36 per cent drop to a 12 per cent increase in creative jobs over pre-pandemic levels.
  • Nearly all sectors of the creative industries in the Hackney Wick and Fish Island zone experienced an increase in jobs and businesses and saw their turnover grow year on year.
  • The Hounslow zone screen and digital industries now account for nearly 89 per cent of creative industry turnover in the area.
  • In Tottenham creative businesses grew by 35 per cent, despite challenges of the pandemic and cost of living crisis.

The new zones in Brent, Islington and Westminster will join Croydon, Haringey, Hounslow, Lambeth, Lewisham, Hackney and Tower Hamlets with London Legacy development Corporation, Hammersmith & Fulham, Ealing with Old Oak Park Royal Development Corporation, and Waltham Forest to fulfil the Mayor’s manifesto commitment of creating 12 zones.

The new zones will receive a share of £210,000 to help support young Londoners to embark on creative careers through information and advice, work experience and practical training. The zones will also create new permanent, affordable artist studios and creative spaces in the community – supporting 200 businesses and creating 3,000 sqm of affordable workspace.

Brent will celebrate the diversity of South Asia’s culture, building upon existing specialised skills in jewellery, textile and fashion by creating more than 2000 sqm of new affordable workspace and 30 new jobs. Islington will focus on emerging talent, increasing affordable creative workspace and helping nearly 300 young people into creative careers. Westminster will kick start new creative businesses and jobs, providing free business support to 20 creative SMEs.

The Mayor’s £1.2m Creative Enterprise Zone Sustainability Capital Grant fund will support creative businesses and workspaces across the zones to improve their energy efficiency and contribute to the Sadiq’s net zero target for 2030.

The nine projects awarded funding will improve the energy efficiency of over 7,500 sqm of creative workspace, including improved insulation and a more energy efficient heating system for the new Creative Campus at Chiswick House and Gardens in Hounslow and give access to high quality materials that will make the new Sutherland Studios in Waltham Forest’s Blackhorse Lane zone a ‘best in class’ for retrofitting existing buildings to meet energy standards.

The grant will also see a new energy efficient workspace created on the top floor of cultural organisation, Raw Materials in Brixton, supporting its membership of local artists and makers.

The Mayor launched his Creative Enterprise Zones in 2018 and has invested £14.7m to help the areas support artists and creative businesses find permanent affordable space to work, provide support to new creative businesses and improve access to creative sector skills and employment. By 2026, the 12 zones will deliver 71,000 sqm of affordable creative workspace – the equivalent of 10 football pitches – support 800 creative businesses, deliver 500 jobs and help 5,000 young Londoners to enter the creative industries.

The Mayor of London. Sadiq Khan, said: “Creative Enterprise Zones have been a game changer for culture in London, and I’m proud that our investment has helped these areas to protect local artists and enable them to bounce back from the impacts of the pandemic faster and stronger than the wider industry.

“These zones ensure that artists and creatives have affordable places to work across the capital, are supported to start-up and grow, and can help Londoners develop a range of skills. I am delighted to announce three new Creative Enterprise Zones in Brent, Islington and Westminster.

“It is vital that we continue to invest in our creative future, providing opportunities for young and emerging talent to thrive as we continue to build a better and fairer London for everyone.”

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