More information about the programme
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What is Challenge London?
Challenge London is a four-year joint investment programme managed by A New Direction with funds from Arts Council England.
London’s cultural heritage, artistic and creative opportunities are rich and varied. As Londoners we can access world-class and cutting edge experiences in concert halls, arenas, parks and streets. However, we’re also a city with challenges of inequality, and we know that not everyone always feels empowered to shape culture and be involved with the breadth of opportunities available.
Through Challenge London we will invest £1.1m in partnership work in London between 2018 and 2022, to move towards our ambition of all young people being able to develop their creativity and play an active part in the culture and heritage of the city. For every £1 we invest, we’ll ask a partner investor to contribute another £1, doubling the pot.
What is the application process?
Applications to Challenge London are now open. Between January and September 2020, we’re inviting applications for investment through Challenge London from emerging or developing Local Cultural Education Partnerships in London. For more information and to express your interest, click here.
A New Direction is currently investing in 12 programmes through Challenge London. Investments were made across two programmes strands. Strand 1 aimed to support a local area approach and the potential for 'place-based' working to respond to our Challenge London aims and themes. Strand 2 aimed to support strategic alliances passionate and committed to enabling new opportunities and the best outcomes for children and young people in London at scale. You can find out more about these programmes here.
What issues will Challenge London address?
A New Direction have identified six key areas we think affect young people’s capacity to be creative in our city. These represent the starting point for Challenge London. They are:
- Influence and power
- New London
- Preparing for work
- Pressures on institutions
You can find more about the focus and underlying evidence for these themes here.
In identifying these themes, we have started from a range of reports and documentation, and our experience of working with young people and those professionals supporting them in London.
Who is involved with Challenge London?
A New Direction is the lead organisation for Challenge London and seed financial support from Arts Council England is in place. Organisations are invited to become part of the Challenge by proposing, developing and delivering programmes and interventions which would help further the aims of the programme over the medium to long-term.
What are the eligibility criteria?
To be eligible to apply to Challenge London, applicants have to:
- Be working towards establishing a Local Cultural Education Partnership in your place
- Create a clear and strategic programme of work which will be supported by investment from A New Direction, to be completed by July 2022 (please note this has been extended from December 2021)
- Be based in London
- Demonstrate how your initiative would support our programme aims
- Demonstrate how your initiative and identified programme of work responds to your local context, drawing on our identified programme themes, and will bring about positive outcomes for children and young people within the investment period and longer-term
- Be able to demonstrate matched funding from other sources (100% cash rather than in-kind)
- Include at least three partner organisations, and have a nominated lead partner who will act as the main point of contact and must be a registered charity or non-profit-distributing
- Show that a range of stakeholders have contributed to the design and implementation of your programme, including young people
- Demonstrate the necessary expertise within your partnerships to contribute significantly to the cultural and creative education landscape
What are the requirements for match investment?
Proposals to Challenge London must demonstrate match investment to an equivalent amount to that requested from A New Direction. We’re particularly interested in opportunities to unlock new investment opportunities for arts and cultural activity. The parallel investment cannot be in-kind or originating from other Arts Council sources, for example from Youth Music, National Lottery Project Grants or National Portfolio investment.
Can Challenge London investment be used to support responses to Covid-19?
There are a few options for this relating to context, strategic development and practical activity.
Firstly, you might want to incorporate factors affecting your programme design and development when answering the question asking you to share information about your context. How have measures in place as a result of the virus affected children and young people, teachers and other partners in the place in which you’re working?
Secondly, you might want to discuss impacts of the measures in place as a result of Covid-19 for children and young people as they relate to our six Challenge London themes. Do you foresee an impact on wellbeing for children and young people or additional pressures on institutions? And finally, how have these contextual factors affected your programme planning?
Can Challenge London support capacity building in this time of change?
Absolutely. Partnerships might want to consider what they need now as well as what the need in the future, and how they will bridge that gap.
It may be there are aspects of delivery within the duration of your bid that you don’t feel able to confirm at this stage as the situation continues to shift. That’s absolutely fine – for programmes new to Challenge London we would anticipate a ‘set-up’ phase of at least two months before activity started (this would form the first two months (or another set period) of your activity timeline). At the end of this time we would plan to look at a full activity schedule building on your bid.
For the bid we’re interested in hearing about the shape of your programme, the change you’re setting out to make, the partners you’re working with, how your ideas respond to your context, how different voices are represented in your planning, and your match investment and budget.
I’d be interested to work as a strategic partner in the Challenge, how can I get in touch?
We’d love to hear from other organisations who offer investment whose work connects with ours to discuss opportunities to work together. Please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
How can I get more information about Challenge London?
How can I find out about programmes that received investment between 2015 and 2018?
Between 2015 and 2018 A New Direction invested almost £900,000 in initiatives through our London Cultural Education Challenge. You can find out more about the London Cultural Education Challenge and the programmes in which we invested here.