Image: RISE - an outdoor performance to celebrate the launch of Brent's year as London Borough of Culture 2020 hosted by Wembley Park, Saturday 18 January 2020. Credit: Getty
This week, we’re sharing information about new investments being made through A New Direction’s Challenge London programme. We’re really pleased to be working with new partners and programmes based in five areas of London – Making Sense in Southwark; Haringey Cultural Education Partnership; Creative Bexley; Brent Local Cultural Education Partnership and Youth Culture Revolution Ealing - and to be continuing work already underway in Waltham Forest, Wandsworth and Islington.
Challenge London is A New Direction’s partnership investment programme. Through Challenge we are investing alongside other organisations (including trusts and foundations, the development community and local authorities) in local, place-based initiatives to benefit cultural learning. Support is geared towards programmes specifically designed through local join-up, facilitating connections between organisations and individuals working in local places; sharing practice, learning and understanding; and addressing inequities together to further develop this local partnership working.
Programmes new to Challenge this year join 12 brilliant programmes already underway – you can find out more about all of them here.
We’re now over halfway through Challenge London’s four-year cycle, and a lot has changed since the programme launched in 2018. In her recent blog, Challenge London evaluator Hannah Wilmot shared some reflections about challenges facing young people in the city today in the wake of events of the past few months. Hannah discusses shifts or changes of emphasis we might have seen relating to our six Challenge London themes of Wellbeing, Fairness, Pressures on Institutions, Preparing for Work, New London and Influence and Power.
As will be very familiar for colleagues, we have seen significant exacerbation of these issues. Questions rising to the surface include: how can we continue to maintain the safe spaces and connections for children and young people offered by the arts? How do we find mechanisms to continue to hear regularly from children, young people and families to understand their experiences? And do we need to think about infrastructure planning in a new way, taking into consideration our new hyper-locality and the digital divide?
Hannah also shared examples of some of the responsive work that has been shaped quickly and swiftly by partners involved with Challenge London. As with other organisations across the sector, Challenge London partners have adapted with agility and generosity at a difficult time; shifting emphases while continuing to support the communities they’re working with, providing spaces for schools and cultural partners to connect, moving online, and sending physical resources to those who need them. Strong local connections and communication are now more important than ever.
We’re really looking forward to the work getting underway in the places who are joining the Challenge London programme. You can find out more about their plans and ideas here, including contact details if you’d like to get in touch. Please do also get in touch with us at A New Direction if you have any questions about Challenge London or any of our other areas of our work, or if there are other things you think we can help with: firstname.lastname@example.org.