Barnet loses out on London Borough of Culture title – but gets consolation prize

Wandsworth and Haringey will instead be bestowed with the honour in 2025 and 2027 respectively

Barnet has missed out on becoming a ‘London Borough of Culture’ but will still receive some cash to deliver “smaller scale” projects locally.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced today (Monday 11th) that both Wandsworth and Haringey were the winners of a competition among boroughs to be named London Borough of Culture for 2025 and 2027, with each council receiving £1.35m to deliver a year of creative and cultural activities.

Barnet Council had been one of the other bidders for the title, having carried out a consultation last summer including ten engagement workshops with arts, culture, heritage and community organisations, to help inform the borough’s bid.

Although their bids were not successful, Barnet, Merton and Greenwich boroughs have instead been named as Cultural Impact Award winners, and will receive up to £200,000 to deliver smaller scale creative projects within their communities.

In 2025, Wandsworth Council will focus “on the positive transformation culture and heritage can have on people’s health and resilience” with a wide range of events and activities planned.

In 2027, Haringey Council will host a celebration of the borough’s “rebellious past and present” with plans to honour Haringey’s working-class history, LGBTQI+ community, and music scene. It will include a free family festival, a fashion and design show, and a ‘homegrown’ concert.

The mayor created the London Borough of Culture award in June 2017, inspired by the UK City of Culture and European Capital of Culture programmes. Waltham Forest became the first London borough to hold the honour in 2019, with Brent, Lewisham and Croydon following.

To date, City Hall says the programme has provided more than 22,600 development, employment and leadership opportunities for young people; involved 419 schools in twelve boroughs, 2,200 artistic partners and 3,986 volunteers; and leveraged more than £18.8m in funding for culture, as well as supporting work by deaf, disabled and neurodiverse artists through Liberty Festival.

Khan said: “I am thrilled to be announcing the London Borough of Culture for 2025 and 2027. This prestigious award has become a cornerstone in the capital’s calendar, using the power of culture to unite communities, transform young people’s lives and boost the local economy.

“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.

“We’ve seen the difference that it’s made in Waltham Forest, Brent, Lewisham and Croydon, and I’m excited to see Wandsworth and Haringey’s fantastic ideas come to life as we build a better London for all.”

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