Break out the balloons and party poppers in north east London: Sadiq Khan has announced Waltham Forest as the inaugural winner of London's borough of culture. Coming in second place is Brent, which will take on the mantle in 2020.
Inspired by the European Capital of Culture programme, this new award promises to bring £1.35 million to each winning borough. 22 boroughs bid for the accolade and the grant that comes with it — which is to be used in delivering an ambitious set of cultural activities in the borough, celebrating the character of the local people and places.
Waltham Forest's winning bid for 2019, targets an astronomical 85% of households to participate. One of the planned installations is titled Molecules in the Marshes, on — you guessed it — Walthamstow Marshes. There are also plans for a fashion exchange and a manifesto for the future.
Brent's bid for 2020, focuses on young people, exploring what culture means to them, instead of a top-down approach. The year is set to be a colossal one for Brent due to the 2020 European Championships, when Wembley is to host seven games. Therefore it's the perfect chance to show people from across the world, a new side of the area.
Sadiq Khan said:
When I have been out and about in recent months around London, I've picked up a real buzz about the London Borough of Culture, with different parts of the city vying to win this prestigious title. We've seen in the bids that have been submitted the brilliant ambition of boroughs across our city to deliver real change in their local areas through the transformative power of culture.
London Borough of Culture is a game-changer for the capital. It will give all Londoners, regardless of background, the opportunity to enjoy the capital's fantastic cultural riches, discover places they never knew existed and will increase the level of participation in the arts across the city — especially in outer London boroughs.
All of London has two exciting Boroughs of Culture celebrations to look forward to, and I can't wait to see Waltham Forest and Brent's bids come to life and improve the lives of people in their local communities.