16 initiatives to receive Challenge London Legacy Funding

New funding will embed a legacy of self-assured, sustainable partnerships in London

10 June 2022

After four years of successful investments, Challenge London – A New Direction’s partnership investment fund from 2018-22 – will draw to a close in July 2022. Challenge London investment has funded 17 programmes across 14 boroughs and one pan-London project, awarding over £1.1m and raising nearly £1.4m in match funding, to represent a total of £2.5m committed investment in cultural education for young Londoners.

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Challenge London has supported local leaders across London to build partnerships in their communities, reach under-served young people, and make a compelling case for place-based cultural education. Of the 17 awards made, 14 went to Local Cultural Education Partnerships – consortia that support children and young people to fulfil their creative potential and access high-quality cultural experiences where they live and go to school.

For the remaining three awards, Challenge London funded Talking Planning, a creative programme with the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation designed to engage young people in local planning processes; Creating Justice, an initiative with London Bubble Theatre which supported children and young people at risk of being involved in, or who have experience of, the criminal justice system; and the Cities of Learning London Competition, a project that connected London boroughs with the RSA’s flagship learning innovation programme.

Challenge London was driven by three core aims:

  1. To construct sustainable, innovative partnerships to support young people’s creativity and cultural engagement

  2. To enable strong cultural and creative outcomes for young people in London

  3. To generate new investment for culture and creativity

With these aims in mind – alongside refreshed commitments to youth voice, collaboration, and equity – we are pleased to announce the launch of Challenge London Legacy Funding, two new programmes of investment that will build on the successes of Challenge London and embed a legacy of self-assured, sustainable partnerships in our city. Through these two funds, we will invest in 16 initiatives for 2022-23: 12 partnerships will be supported through our Transition Fund, and four through our Powerful Partnerships Research Programme.

Transition Fund

Over 2022-23, A New Direction will focus on maximising the impact of established local partnerships and securing the sustainability of local place-based work. Throughout the Challenge London period local partnerships have achieved significant successes for cultural education in their local areas and across the wider region. Our new Transition Fund will work to consolidate these successes and secure the future of local cultural education in London.

The Transition Fund comprises £225,000 to invest in continuation grants for places to consolidate and sustain their partnerships. The fund will primarily support places currently receiving partnership investment through Challenge London, or established Local Cultural Education Partnerships resourcing their work through other means. Our recent research into place-based working – captured in our Place Strategy – highlights the importance of long-term investments in local cultural leadership for the benefit of local cultural education. We have learnt that a combination of strong local leadership, improved organisational connections, and a clear and common vision for change is powerful. We have also learnt the importance of taking a long-term view and giving place-based programmes time to breathe and grow.With the launch of the Transition Fund, A New Direction will be embarking on its eighth consecutive year of partnership investment.

Partnerships receiving Transition Fund investment will deliver work that focuses on one of the following themes:

  1. Securing transition from existing resourcing. For example, embedding capacity with local partners, establishing future investment relationships, or transitioning programmatic focus based on local need and opportunity

  2. Capacity building. For example, investing in community leadership to drive change and sustain outcomes

  3. Cross borough/partnership collaborations. For example, drawing from best practice across two or more local authority areas to establish an improved partnership model in order to sustain and consolidate partnership work

Through the Transition Fund we are investing in local partnerships in Barking & Dagenham, Barnet, Camden, the City of London, Ealing, Haringey, Havering, Islington, Southwark, and Wandsworth. We are also investing in the East London Cultural Education Alliance (covering Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Newham, Barking & Dagenham, Redbridge and Havering) and the South West London Music Education Partnership (covering Hounslow, Richmond, Kingston, Merton, Sutton, Wandsworth and Croydon).

Powerful Partnerships Research Programme

Alongside the work of the Transition Fund to cement place-based work in London, A New Direction is also funding four action research projects that will explore the wider potential of cultural and creative partnerships.

Working with B&G Partners as Lead Researcher, A New Direction is investing in four partnerships in north, south, east and west London to deliver action research projects in order to build sustainability and develop collaborative approaches to monitoring, evaluation and systems thinking. These projects will follow two themes:

  • Cultural leadership and creative strategy to improve health and wellbeing

  • Cultural leadership, capacity, and skills building

Each partnership has been awarded £10,000 to design, deliver and document an action research project on their chosen theme, and a further £20,000 has been allocated for designated researchers to work closely with each partnership. Together, four partnerships and two researchers – alongside B&G Partners as Lead Researcher – will form an action learning network, designed to share learning among themselves and with the wider place-based community in London. This research will be hosted on A New Direction’s Powerful Partnerships Resource Library – our online portfolio of research and resources for partnership work.

Through the Powerful Partnerships Research Programme, we are investing in the Ealing Arts & Health Alliance, ELEVATE, the Greenwich Cultural Education Partnership, and the Enfield Cultural Education Partnership. The researchers for this project are Dr Carolyn Defrin and Dr Meg Peterson.

Together, these two investment funds form our Challenge London Legacy Funding. The work undertaken via these funds over the next nine months will build on the widespread successes of place-based partnerships in London to date, and consolidate the aims of Challenge London to embed a legacy of self-assured, sustainable partnerships in London. We are excited to work with these partnerships and researchers through 2022/23 as we continue to pursue our vision of a world where all children and young people achieve their creative potential. Keep up to date with the achievements of our funded partnerships through our social media accounts and by subscribing to our newsletters.

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