Hackney Wick and Fish Island,

Funding for creative businesses in Hackney Wick

Music and podcast studios for use by the Hackney Wick community, expanded space for local artists and makers, and improved communal gardens for craft and nature workshops are among the projects to be granted funding as part of an initiative to support creative businesses in Hackney Wick and Fish Island.

Successful projects for the ‘Space Makers Grants’ programme will see community benefits such as inclusivity initiatives, access to new and improved community facilities and opportunities for learning, with nine creative businesses awarded a combined £100,000 of funding to improve their premises and community offer by purchasing equipment or expanding their space.

The project is funded through the Mayor of London’s Creative Enterprise Zone programme. These are designated areas of London where help is given to artists and creative businesses to start-up and grow; find permanent affordable space to work, and where local people are helped to learn creative sector skills and find new jobs. The Hackney Wick and Fish Island Creative Enterprise Zone was established in 2018.

Managed jointly by Hackney Council, Tower Hamlets Council and the London Legacy Development Corporation, the programme is part of a commitment shared by the local authorities to preserve creative workspace and provide more inclusive opportunities in the creative sector, through a combination of rent cap policies, provision of employment space in new developments, local recruitment and training, and Council-led projects such as Wick Workspaces. As well as enabling businesses and enterprises to modernise and diversify, the programme aims to stimulate innovation, helping to preserve and enhance an area known for its diverse and successful creative economy.

Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville

Hackney Wick and Fish Island is widely recognised as one of London's most successful creative communities. This funding is part of our commitment to keep it that way - allowing businesses to diversify and enhance their offer and contributing towards our aims for a fair recovery after the pandemic.

Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville

These grants are very welcome at a time when our creative and cultural industries have suffered so heavily in the wake of the pandemic. Investing in the infrastructure creative businesses need to grow in this area will help provide jobs for residents – it’s really important to support a positive future for our community.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs

These grants are very important to help support some of the long-standing and unique industries that have developed in Hackney Wick. The grants will also help to open up opportunities for more entrepreneurs and businesses to make the area their home and support the local economy.

Paul Brickell, Executive Director of Regeneration at LLDC

After coming out of such a difficult time, it is very exciting to be building a space for collaborative projects to bring local people and our studio holders together. The best of the arts unites our communities and shows us new ways forward. I can't think of a better time to be fostering this than right now.

Tara Cranswick, Director of V22

The grant will allow us to upgrade the audio-visual recording facilities of our space, and allow us to further our remit of creating safe and accessible creative recording facilities for women and non-binary people - upgrades that would not be possible without this grant. We are incredibly excited to start the work.

Nicole Logan from Dutchie Studios

“[This] will give us some much needed protection from the elements as we are in the garden through all seasons and all weather. The covered space will make a huge difference when we are running volunteer sessions, workshops and courses and open days. It will also be a great opportunity to showcase eco-building techniques as it incorporates upcycled materials, collects rainwater and will have a green roof.

Nat Mady, from Hackney Herbal, who will use the grant for a new shelter for the group’s classroom

Spacemaker grant projects in Hackney Wick and Fish Island 

£20,000 allocations 

Marshmallow Laser Feast (Tower Hamlets)

The renovation of an affordable and accessible co-working production space like no other in the area, with cutting-edge Virtual and Augmented Reality technology such as Mocap Space, VR Headsets and AR devices. The space is a 4,000 sq ft warehouse, with basic amenities to facilitate the workforce - but no windows; ventilation and sound proofing. The grant will be used to fund part of the studio renovations to address these issues.

V22 (Tower Hamlets)

The space is used by artists, makers (metalworkers, cabinet makers and furniture designers), creative businesses (architects, graphic designers and photography studios), social enterprises and charities (publishing, green energy and art therapy) working in a variety of sectors. The grant will be used to partially sub-divide larger spaces within the building to make them more affordable for artists and start-ups with more smaller spaces on offer. In addition, a disused room at the side of the building will be repurposed to create a community studio for use by the studio holders, local residents and community groups and organisations.

£10,000 allocations

Hackney Herbal (Hackney)

A new sheltered outdoor classroom area to improve the garden spaces at Trowbridge Gardens, making the site accessible and comfortable for hosting educational workshops, events and activities in all weather. The eco-building will be made of sustainably sourced and upcycled materials and designed to provide insect habitats. There will be a green roof section and rainwater harvesting and a new dye-plants area in the garden will respond to requests from local artists interested in collaborating.

London Centre for Book Arts (Tower Hamlets)

The replacement of hard-to-find machines and equipment for users of an artist-run, open-access studio and education centre in Fish Island. With “a mission to promote and foster book arts in the UK through collaboration and skills sharing”, the grant will allow the studio to replace a second-hand machine which has long-past its recommended life-cycle. The new model will improve the speed and efficiency of print projects.

Open House Hackney (Hackney)

The development of a music studio where local artists can create, produce and perform  music at low cost and in a collaborative environment. The studio spaces are currently set up as three small/medium sized soundproofed pre-production and recording rooms, and one larger mix room which sits opposite a “live room”. The grant will help complete the kitting out of each studio with industry-standard music and production equipment.

Arbeit/The Trowbridge Local (Hackney)

The conversion of one of the Trowbridge Gardens units and the public area at Thingy Cafe into a podcasting and recording studio (non-live instrumental music), dedicated to the local community, organisations and individuals. Trowbridge Gardens is home to a range of community- focused facilities, such as the Mens’ Shed, Hackney Herbal, Trowbridge Gallery and more. The new facility will allow more engagement with new people.

Big Face Arts (Tower Hamlets)

The upgrade of studio and equipment to develop productions based around artists, the heritage sector and the creative industries. The grant will allow those working at the studio to produce content with higher production values for TV broadcast audiences rather than just online. 

£5,000 allocations 

Dutchie Club (Hackney)

New audio and audio visual equipment for music and podcasts. Additional equipment will allow users of the space to record more instruments, vocal styles and use industry standard software to produce, mix and master their work. The studio is a creative recording space, made especially for women and non-binary audio artists.

Trident Digital Media (Hackney)

A new set at an online video recording studio to be built by a local carpenter using recycled wood, and updating of equipment through the purchase of new lights, camera and microphones.

About the Hackney Wick and Fish Island Creative Enterprise Zone

Creative Enterprise Zones (CEZ) are a Mayoral initiative to designate areas of London where artists and creative businesses can find permanent affordable space to work; are supported to start-up and grow; and where local people are helped to learn creative sector skills and access pathways to employment.

HWFI CEZ is delivered in partnership by LBH, LBTH, and the LLDC. Since its designation, the authorities have worked closely with the local communities and creative stakeholders to develop the overall resilience of the cluster by securing affordable creative workspace in perpetuity; providing targeted support to creative businesses; widening access to creative sector opportunities for local people; developing local infrastructure, supporting local networks and developing partnerships.