The future of culture in Croydon was the focus of over 200 delegates who yesterday attended the borough’s inaugural Congress on Culture.
As Croydon awaits the outcome of its bid to be crowned London’s first Borough of Culture in 2019, a wide range of partners, local arts organisations and stakeholders came together to explore the role culture can play in Croydon’s future success. The event took place at Croydon Clocktower and the Town Hall, and was made up of a number of sessions on topics including the role culture can play in health, which discussed the findings from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts and Health; how local businesses can support culture in Croydon, and the benefits of the borough’s arts organisations and businesses forging a relationship and working together.
The important role the arts play in the lives of young people was also explored, during which some of Croydon’s youngest residents spoke publicly about the value of being involved in the arts. A group of young musicians showcased their talents by performing for guests, who were also treated to concert from St Nicholas Special School Choir. Other topics discussed included the future of Fairfield Halls which is currently undergoing a £30 million refurbishment. The new venue director Neil Chandler was there for discussions on the future plans for the venue ahead of its reopening at the end of this year.
Further details were also revealed about the ambitious programme planned for Croydon if it’s successful in its Borough of Culture bid. Croydon2019 will celebrate Croydon’s diversity, innovation and talent through a series of festivals, concerts and exhibitions. The winning borough will receive just over £1 million funding from the Mayor of London. Croydon aims to match that with £1 million of partnership funding raised locally, which will be combined with £500,000 from other partners, bringing the total investment for the arts in Croydon to £2.5 million.
Councillor Timothy Godfrey, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “Culture is at the heart of Croydon’s growth agenda and yesterday’s congress was a wonderful opportunity to share ideas, passion and knowledge as we build a strong foundation for culture to thrive.”