People in outfits playing instruments outside Tooting Market in London

Wandsworth wins London Borough of Culture 2025 bid

Wandsworth was announced as the London Borough of Culture 2025 at a City Hall ceremony on Monday by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

The south west London borough will hold the title from next April for a year-long cultural celebration with the theme: ‘culture connects, unites, heals, nourishes and activates’.

Sadiq Khan launched the London Borough of Culture award in 2017 and winners are given £1.35 million towards commemorating local communities and heritage.

Khan said: “Cultural programmes like the London Borough of Culture form a crucial part of our work to provide positive opportunities for young people, who have seen youth clubs taken away from them due to more than a decade of government cuts. 

“I’m excited to see Wandsworth and Haringey’s fantastic ideas come to life as we build a better London for all.”

The borough of Haringey won the London Borough of Culture for 2027 with a focus on celebrating their rebellious history.

Wandsworth houses notable cultural institutions, including Battersea Arts Centre, the Royal College of Art and the National Opera Studio.

It was also the first time Wandsworth entered the cultural competition and they beat eight other London boroughs in this year’s bid.

Chief executive of Battersea Arts Centre Tarek Iskander said: “Wandsworth has always been a home for the pioneering and the under-represented, the visionary and the mischievous.

“It’s that uncompromising, radical and rebellious spirit that positions us to deliver an outstanding year as London Borough of Culture.”

The London Borough of Culture prize was inspired by the UK City and European Capital of Culture programmes.

It is a prize which also helps spotlight work done by deaf, disabled and neurodiverse creatives through Liberty Festival.

So far the award has involved nearly £20million of cultural funding alongside more than 22,000 opportunities for young people and 2200 artistic partners.

One such young person is Koko, 17, who presented Wandsworth’s bid to the Greater London Authority.

After Monday’s announcement Koko said: “The opportunities for young people will be pivotal in unlocking potential and aiding wellbeing, and we are excited to share what is going to be an action-packed and grounded year that puts the people of Wandsworth first. 

Previous winners of the London Borough of Culture include Croydon (2023), Lewisham (2022) and Brent (2020). 

Simon Hogg, leader of Wandsworth Council, celebrated the victory and promised the £1.35million funding would deliver a year to remember, recognising those that made the successful bid possible.

He said: “A massive thank you to the hundreds of community organisations, creative venues, schools, businesses and residents of all ages who helped shape our bid.

“Our year as London Borough of Culture will supercharge our already vibrant, diverse sector made up of world class institutions and grassroots talent.”

Featured Image Credit: Wandsworth Council

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