Wandsworth Council Wins Borough of Culture Bid

Mayor announces funding to be given for series of events in 2025

Wandsworth school children celebrating the Borough of Culture bid

March 11, 2024

Wandsworth will be the next London Borough of Culture, it has been announced. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced this Monday (March 11) the borough will receive £1.35million to host a year-long series of creative and cultural activities in 2025, including a Strictly-style mass dance.

Haringey will also receive £1.35m to hold the title in 2027. Waltham Forest, Brent, Lewisham and Croydon have all previously won the award since Mr Khan created it in 2017.

Nine boroughs submitted bids to be the London Borough of Culture for 2025, with Wandsworth entering the competition for the first time. Wandsworth‘s plans include hosting a Strictly-style mass dance, a catwalk celebration of local stories and a concert celebrating 50 years of local music.

Mr Khan said the award has become a “cornerstone in the capital’s calendar”. He added: “We’ve seen the difference that it’s made in winning boroughs Waltham Forest, Brent, Lewisham and Croydon, and I’m excited to see Wandsworth and Haringey’s fantastic ideas come to life as we build a better London for all.”

Wandsworth Council said winning the bid for 2025 will help it to develop the borough’s cultural and heritage sector by attracting investment, creating jobs, improving creative programmes and widening access to culture for residents. The borough is home to world-famous organisations Battersea Arts Centre, the Royal College of Art, National Opera Studio and Royal Academy of Dance, along with grassroots companies including Tara Theatre, Baked Bean Theatre Company and Sound Minds.

Labour Wandsworth leader Simon Hogg said: “Wandsworth is a fantastic place to live. Our strong, diverse communities represent the best of modern Britain. Our year as London Borough of Culture will supercharge our already vibrant, diverse sector made up of world-class institutions and grassroots talent.”

He added: “This is brilliant news for our borough. As a result of the Mayor’s funding, we’re going to deliver a year to remember – using the power of culture to transform lives, connect people and improve wellbeing, never more important than now.”

Tarek Iskander, Battersea Arts Centre’s artistic director and CEO, said: “Wandsworth has always been a home for the pioneering and the under-represented, the visionary and the mischievous. It’s that uncompromising, radical and rebellious spirit that positions us to deliver an outstanding year as London Borough of Culture.

“It’s an opportunity that will bring together the rich tapestry of local creative and voluntary partners, with the collective purpose of transforming the health, prospects and happiness for the people of Wandsworth. The legacy of this vital work, and what it will do for redressing inequalities, will be felt for decades to come.”

Haringey’s offering includes a free family festival and fashion and design show. Labour council leader Peray Ahmet said its bid focussed on Haringey’s “rich and diverse heritage as a rebel borough”. She said: “We look forward to using this fantastic opportunity to celebrate our radical heritage and the vibrant, dynamic and diverse place we are today.”

Barnet, Merton and Greenwich were also named as Cultural Impact Award winners. They will receive up to £200,000 to deliver smaller-scale creative projects.

Charlotte Lillywhite - Local Democracy Reporter