Croydon hoping for success in London Borough of Culture bid

A group supporting Croydon’s bid to become the first-ever London Borough of Culture believe the campaign is revitalising community spirit in the area.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan will announce the winning boroughs for 2019 and 2020 on Tuesday February 27.

CR7 Culture, the steering committee behind some of the events linked to Croydon’s bid, feel the last few months have showcased incredible talent and brought the community closer, giving both young and old the opportunity to get involved.

Chetna Kapacee, volunteer on the steering committee, believes the bid has given talented artists the chance to network with like-minded creators.

She said: “It has galvanised the community.

“It has been magical in so many ways and the potential to go on from here is amazing especially as it has been driven by locals.

“CR7 Culture isn’t just about the arts it’s about culture in its widest sense, from the arts and music to health and well-being events as well.

“There is just so many things going on and with a bit of funding, the quality then improves as does the output.”

The Lights Festival last month is Croydon’s calling card, showcasing local performers while giving residents the chance to create and experience a piece of the Lumierre Festival up close.

Over 5000 people attended, equating to almost a third of the Thornton Heath Population.

In total, 22 boroughs submitted bids, with Kingston, Lambeth, Merton and Hammersmith and Fulham also in contention.

Alongside the two winning boroughs, up to six others will also receive funding to deliver bespoke projects.

No matter the result, CR7 Culture are confident this is just the beginning and represents a changing tide in the cultural perspective of the community.

Chetna said: “What this has afforded us to do, it would have happened anyway, but is a lot more quality-control, a lot more profile. The bid will give us added impetus and added flair.

“There’s so much happening in the local community, driven by the local community. CR7 Culture basically gives an overview to people who are already on the ground, supporting them by creating as much of a cultural map as possible and just joining the dots.”

“The legacy of it won’t just finish after the year of culture is up, if we win it, it will go beyond that really.”

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