Council cash aid for threatened venues

Delighted: Kwame Kwei-Armah © Leon Puplett

Hootananny in and Market House in Brixton are among the beneficiaries of Lambeth council’s fund to support local cultural organisations, including hospitality venues, hit by lockdown.

The awards are part of the Lambeth council local economy hardship fund, providing £4.2m in grant support to over 370 organisations, including restaurants, pubs, cafes, clubs and music venues. Other recipients include the Royal Vauxhall Tavern in Vauxhall.

In a statement from City Hall, London mayor Sadiq Khan said research estimates that, without specific support, the entire supply chain of creative industries faces the loss of 82,400 jobs with £3.3bn wiped off the value of London’s economy.

“London’s creative and cultural sector will play a vital role in our economic and social recovery, but it is essential that the government supports the whole cast, not just the headline acts,” he said.

Lambeth council said it is committed to supporting the borough’s world class cultural sector. Choosing grant recipients, it looked for at-risk organisations with a track record of providing opportunity to residents experiencing inequality.

Sunshine Arts International children in carnival costume
Carnival costumes at Sunshine International Arts

Brixton arts establishments to receive grants from the council include the Block 336 art space in Brixton Road; Kinetika Bloco performance group; Reprezent Radio in Pop Brixton; Slaughterhaus Print Studio in Alphabet Mews; Strongback Productions performing arts based in International House; and Loughborough Junction’s Sunshine International Arts.

Other recipients include the Artists Studio Company which has studios around London – 120 0f them above the Barnado’s store in central Brixton; Omnibus and Bread and Roses theatres in Clapham; and ThinkTank Theatre based at the Streatham Space Project.

Brixton-born Victoria Ijeh, the founder of Iconic Steps; Kwame Kwei-Armah, artistic director of The Young Vic; and Matthew Warchus and Kate Varah from The Old Vic welcomed the awards.

Matthew Bennett, council cabinet member for planning, investment and new homes, said: “This funding represents an important investment in our social, creative and community sectors.

“They play a critical role in Lambeth’s thriving local economy, support thousands of jobs and are an important part in what makes our town centres, and Lambeth as a whole, so vibrant.

“In awarding these grants to at-risk cultural groups we have worked to ensure the that the benefits are felt across our diverse communities.

“Our local grants support the wider investment the government announced. We welcome this funding and will continue to lobby the government on behalf the sectors in our local econo Covid-19 pandemic.”

Collectively, local not-for-profit arts and culture organisations awarded funding employ 487 full-time staff and commission 3,708 artists, freelances or other arts and creative businesses. 

Kwame Kwei-Armah said: “The Young Vic is delighted to have been awarded a grant by the Lambeth Arts and Culture at Risk Fund. These funds will be put directly towards ensuring our outreach team continues their vital work in the borough.

“For almost 50 years the Young Vic has been welcoming the people of Lambeth into our building to create and participate in theatre and, thanks to this grant funding alongside rent relief from the council, we are confident of remaining a crucial resource for our neighbourhood as we come out of this crisis.”