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Creative People and Places funds projects in the Thames Estuary

10th December 2021

Eight projects across the Estuary have been awarded a share of Arts Council England’s Creative People and Places fund to make arts and culture more accessible.

Creative People and Places is a three-year programme, that will invest £38.3 million from National Lottery funding to boost access to arts and culture in areas where engagement is far lower than the national average. Creative People and Places has added 39 projects in total across the country to its 2022-25 portfolio. Eight of the fifteen projects in London and the South East that were awarded this funding are in the Thames Estuary.

Ray Mia, Thames Estuary Growth Board lead for Culture, Digital and the Thames Estuary Production Corridor, said “This is great news for boosting creativity across the Estuary. The Thames Estuary Growth Board recognises the enormous value of arts and culture in making brilliant places to live.

This funding aims to make creative arts more accessible to everyone, it is revealing that over half the projects in London and the South East that were awarded this funding are in the Estuary which provides further evidence of the distinct and multi-faceted need to level up this region.

This funding is another string to the Estuary’s creative bow and the fantastic work being done by our colleagues across the region, particularly at Creative Estuary and the Thames Estuary Production Corridor to unlock the potential of the region to become a world leader for the creative industries. To truly unlock the richness of creativity, everybody needs to have a stake.”

Estuary projects that will benefit from Creative People and Places funding:

1.     Barking & Dagenham | Creative Barking & Dagenham

Project partners: Studio 3 Arts (Lead), Barking and Dagenham Collective, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, Barking and Dagenham College.

Creative Barking and Dagenham: with a growing network of local resident Cultural Connectors at its heart Creative Barking and Dagenham wants to see local people choosing, creating and taking part in brilliant arts and cultural experiences in the borough.

Find out more >

2.     Basildon | BasildON

Project partners: Things Made Public CIC (lead). FutureCity, Basildon Borough Council, Eastgate Shopping Centre, Essex Library Service, Basildon Street Science, Therapy In Music Expression.

BasildON: will redefine what culture means to the people of Basildon. Rather than aiming to give residents a voice, BasildON wants to empower residents to make a stronger, louder and braver sound than ever before.

3.     Bexley | Three Rivers

Project partners: Peabody Trust, The Exchange Erith, TACO!, Orbit Housing.

Made in the Estuary: Three Rivers bring people together to work out how to use art to make a difference. This project will develop community run platforms such as radio stations, festivals and workshops to increase participation in the arts.

Find out more >

4.     Havering | Havering Changing

Project partners: Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch (Lead), Clarion Futures (the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group), Havering Colleges, Havering Interfaith Forum, Havering Volunteer Centre, Havering Youth Services and myplace, Rainham Association for Village Events (R.A.V.E.), The Mercury Shopping Centre.

Havering Changing: Havering is changing fast and this funding will be used for additional activities informed by a rapidly developing programme of innovative, community-led arts and culture happening in disconnected communities.

Find out more >

5.     Newham | World on our Doorstep

Project partners: Community Links (Lead), Caramel Rock, Faithful Friends, National Cricket League, University of East London.

World on our Doorstep: Celebrating the richness of the most culturally diverse borough in the country, World on our Doorstep places the community at the heart of decision-making around access, participation, creation and curation of arts in local spaces.

6.     Redbridge | Creative Redbridge

Project partners: Vision Redbridge, Culture & Leisure (Lead), Friends of Loxford, Muslimah Sports Association, Redbridge Council Volunteer Service, SPACE Studios, Mercarto Metropolitano.

Creative Redbridge: Creative Redbridge will build a people-led programme, using creativity to empower and enable lasting positive change with a measurable effect on people’s well-being and levels of social energy and activism.

7.     Swale and Medway | Ideas Test

Project partners: Test CIO (Lead), Medway Voluntary Action, Swale CVS, Arches Local Luton, University for the Creative Arts, Matthew Andrew Photography, Medway Arts Forum, Medway Community Healthcare.

Ideas Test: Is ambitious that in 10 years’ time Swale & Medway will be known as a vibrant and creative place. This investment will extend the current programme until 2025 and support an exciting, new seven strand programme for the people of Swale and Medway.

Find out more > 

8.     Thurrock | START: Thurrock

Project partners: Tilbury on Thames Trust (Lead), Thurrock CVS, Royal Opera House, Thurrock Lifestyle Solutions and Thurrock Council.

START: Thurrock will energise residents to create a confident arts-led narrative post pandemic. ‘Kickstarters’ will hold control locally and – inspired by their motto ‘By Thames to all peoples of the world’ – they will form, write, tell and review their story over the next decade.

Find out more about Creative People and Places

Watch this video to find out more about the programme or visit