Community projects funding boost

Thu 12 December 2019, 2:06 pm

Funding boosts for six community projects have been awarded to celebrate art, culture and heritage at the centre of a major development project planned for Old Oak and Park Royal.

Photo courtesy of OPDC, delivering canoeing on the Grand Union Canal with The Sharks.

The Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) has awarded the first successful applicants of a new funding programme for community arts and culture projects – Small Grants: In the Making. 

OPDC delivered the scheme with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England as part of the Great Place Scheme, and each project was awarded between £4,400 and £5,000.

Applicants could request between £500 and £5,000 to support their projects, from an overall pot of £150,000.

Artwest Open Studios received funding that helped support its 2019 Open Studios event, which was part of Open House weekend held in September. The money will also support an exhibition, a new publication for resident artists and the production of short films.

Creating Society with Dance was awarded funding for a series of free dance workshops and another project to benefit is Talking and Exploring where local history enthusiast, Joanna Dudzinska, will lead eight new walking tours in and around Old Oak and Park Royal.

Another project is Fashion Rebirth that is a networking group for women developing careers in the fashion industry that includes seminars, workshops and talks or visits with industry professionals.

Founder, Tashmar Smith, said: “It’s given us the boost we need to get Fashion Rebirth up and running. It may surprise you, Park Royal industrial estate is home to many fashion houses which not only contribute to the area’s rich heritage but influence the whole industry!

“Fashion Rebirth is about connecting local people with the creative influences right on their doorstep, to build relationships, develop experience and share knowledge that could help them start a career in fashion.”

An additional successful project to receive funding is The Sharks who are providing canoeing lessons on the Grand Union Canal. The Sharks have installed a shipping container adjacent to the canal, which will be decorated by a local artist.

The funding will help with getting new equipment and subsidising classes for students from low-income backgrounds with the first lesson free.

Club manager, Neal Underwood, said: “Small Grants: In the Making has made sure we can keep providing free canoe lessons to young people in the area.

“When we first established the Sharks, I never thought it would play such an important role in so many local kids’ lives, giving them the opportunity to take up a hobby and get closer to the heritage of the area on the Grand Union Canal.
“Thank you OPDC for supporting us and giving something back to young people. Who knows, maybe the next Olympic canoe champion will come from Old Oak and Park Royal!” 

Deputy mayor for business, Rajesh Agrawal, said: “I’m looking forward to seeing the positive impact this funding will have for Londoners living and working in the area. Through this scheme we’re fostering entrepreneurship and celebrating creative talent, which will attract further investment into this part of west London and the capital as a whole.”  

Chairman of OPDC, Liz Peace CBE, said: “One of the most rewarding parts of our regeneration work in Old Oak and Park Royal is being in a position to support initiatives driven by local people.

“These creative and exciting projects shine a light on west London as a hub of community enterprise and creativity.” 


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