Mayor announces £500k investment into culture for 2023-24

Hackney culture meeting

Hackney’s cultural programme is receiving a £500,000 investment over the next 12 months to remain resilient, and relevant to local residents, as the borough navigates through the cost of living crisis. The announcement was made by the Mayor last week at a meeting of representatives from Hackney's cultural sector to discuss the impact of the pandemic and increased cost of living on  the borough's cultural and creative organisations.

The investment into projects including Discover Young Hackney, Windrush Festival, Hackney Circle, Hackney Pride 365 and Hackney Carnival showcases will also deliver programmes forming part of the Mayor’s manifesto commitments for 22-26, such as ‘Ten by Ten’ which aims to ensure that every child in Hackney experiences 10 cultural, community, and sporting activities by the age of 10.  

Representatives from 42 local cultural organisations, including Arcola Theatre, Castle Cinema, Grow Hackney, Hackney Empire, Peer Gallery, Rio Cinema, Shoreditch Town Hall, Tropical Isles and Village Underground, met with the Mayor and Cllr Chris Kennedy, Cabinet Member for Culture, to discuss the current challenges facing local arts and cultural organisations and the Council’s future business support provision and economic strategy.

 Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney

As we move on from the pandemic and navigate our way through the cost of living crisis, it’s vital that Hackney’s cultural sector stays resilient and engages our communities, creating opportunities to come together and produce vibrant art and culture that connects us with the people and places around us.

I am delighted to announce, in this year’s budget, the £500,000 cash injection that will go towards funding important community initiatives such as Discover Young Hackney and Ten by Ten. These programmes shine a light on the incredible work of the borough’s cultural organisations and offer our youngest residents the chance to discover and enjoy culture in a meaningful way.

Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney

While the Council faces its own funding challenges, and has to negotiate rising costs with reduced budgets, we remain absolutely committed to the sustainability of the culture sector. 

We are dedicated to supporting the cultural sector in getting through the cost-of-living crisis and look forward to working more closely and hearing more from cultural organisations in the borough to understand their biggest challenges and key priorities going forward.

Cllr Chris Kennedy, Cabinet Member for Health, Adult Social Care, Leisure and Culture

As a newcomer to the Hackney Arts scene this event was so helpful for me in making important connections and understanding how the sector is working in the borough. It was also inspiring to see so many arts organisations of all kinds in one space and to see how well the arts is supported by Hackney and our Mayor. It was a really productive, informative and inspiring event.

Stuart Cox, Chief Executive, Hoxton Hall

There is such a wealth and depth of cultural organisations in Hackney. It was a real pleasure to connect with our colleagues across the borough and share experiences and strategies.

Lissy Lovett, Executive Director, Mimbre

The meeting followed a series of initiatives by the Council to engage Hackney’s cultural businesses and organisations, including a survey about the current and long-term impact of the cost of living crisis and the legacy of the pandemic.

Notes to editors and background

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Council’s Hello Again Hackney fund distributed £450,000 to cultural venues to reconnect with Hackney-based audiences and participants as Covid restrictions were lifted. This was part of a £2.5m investment into Hackney’s business community designed to support local resilience, creativity and sustainability. Other funds from this pot included the High Streets and Town Centres Fund and the Hackney Central Ideas and Innovation Fund. 

In early 2022, the first round of the Hackney Community Fund was launched, £344,279 of which went to cultural organisations, facilitating the creation of innovative new community spaces, resources and engagement projects, all increasing access to culture across the borough, in response to the needs of local residents.

Over the last three years, £250,000 has also been invested in cultural organisations through the Shoreditch and Hoxton Arts Fund.