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Creative Enterprise Zones expanded by London Mayor

The Mayor of London has announced the expansion has announced the expansion of the Creative Enterprise Zones scheme in order to continue the good work being done to help creative industries recover faster from the pandemic.

New zones will be established in Brent, Islington, and Westminster, allowing artists and creatives access to affordable workspaces and improved skills and employment in their own communities. Across these zones, a share of £1.2 million will be allocated to nine projects that are helping to make workspaces more sustainable, which will benefit over 500 businesses in the creative industries.

Creative Enterprise Zones were originally established to help artists and creatives to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn, however a new report has identified that they have been a success. The zones were shown to have recovered faster than London’s wider creative economy and are performing better, whilst continuing to reverse the trend of artists being priced out of some areas of the city. The report, conducted by consultants We Made That, showed that the effects between 2018 and 2021 included:

  • Creative jobs in Brixton grew nearly four times faster than in London’s wider creative economy.
  • Croydon’s music, performance and visual arts sector grew twice as much in the zone than across the wider London.
  • The music, performance and visual arts sector in Deptford and New Cross made a dramatic recovery from a 36% drop to a 12% increase in creative jobs over pre-pandemic levels.
  • Nearly all sectors of the creative industries in the Hackney Wick and Fish Island zone experienced an increase in jobs and businesses and saw their turnover grow year on year.
  • The Hounslow zone screen and digital industries now account for nearly 89% of creative industry turnover in the area.
  • In Tottenham, creative businesses grew by 35%, despite challenges of the pandemic and cost of living crisis.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said:

“Creative Enterprise Zones have been a game changer for culture in London, and I’m proud that our investment has helped these areas to protect local artists and enable them to bounce back from the impacts of the pandemic faster and stronger than the wider industry.

“These zones ensure that artists and creatives have affordable places to work across the capital, are supported to start-up and grow, and can help Londoners develop a range of skills. I am delighted to announce three new Creative Enterprise Zones in Brent, Islington, and Westminster.

“It is vital that we continue to invest in our creative future, providing opportunities for young and emerging talent to thrive as we continue to build a better and fairer London for everyone.”

Young Londoners will also be supported in the new zones, as they look to embark on creative careers, thanks to a share of £210,000. This will be done by delivering information, advice, work experience and practical training, whilst new permanent, affordable artist studios and creative spaces in the community will be created, in turn supporting 200 businesses and providing 3,000sqm of affordable workspaces.

Creative businesses and workspaces across the zones are to also be supported by the Creative Enterprise Zones Sustainability Capital Grant Fund, worth £1.2 million. This funding will help to improve energy efficiency and contribute to the mayor’s goals of the city becoming net zero by 2030. Nine projects across the zones will be supported in this way, with funding being awarded to improve the efficiency of more then 7,500sqm of workspace through improved insulation and more energy efficient heating systems.

Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, Justine Simons OBE, added:

“London is a thriving creative capital, which is powering out economy and bringing people from all different background and communities together.

“Central to our success is a super talented and committed creative workforce – artists, designers, craftspeople, and photographers, but what they need is affordable space. So, I am delighted to see the impact our Creative Enterprise Zones are having – reversing the trend of artists moving out of London.

“The Zones are on track to deliver more than 70,000sqm affordable long-term space by 2026, supporting hundreds of creative businesses, jobs and thousands of young Londoners into the creative industries.”


Image credit: iStock


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