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Outer London’s leading borough for arts

“Waltham Forest is aspiring to be the leading borough for arts and culture in outer London.”

This is the vision set out by Waltham Forest Council in its newly-launched strategy, Arts for All, detailing its ongoing commitment to provide great arts and culture in Waltham Forest and enhance the borough’s rapidly-growing creative sector. You can download the strategy here

The Council’s goal is for Waltham Forest to be known for an ambitious, high quality arts and culture offer, which involves local residents of all ages and from all walks of life, attracts visitors from across the capital, and makes an exceptional contribution to London’s vibrant cultural scene.

Council Leader Chris Robbins said: “Arts and culture are at the heart of the work we are doing now and in the future to help Waltham Forest residents enjoy a good quality life.

“In recent years we’ve taken huge strides in putting our thriving arts sector firmly on the map, providing and supporting an eclectic range of opportunities for residents to explore their creative sides and take part in cultural celebrations.

“Our strategy outlines our commitment to ongoing investment in artistic and cultural opportunities for all residents, while also continuing to support local groups and organisations that share our ambition to cement Waltham Forest as outer London’s leading destination for arts and culture.”

The Council aims to achieve the vision set out in its Arts for All strategy through a number of priority areas, including securing further investment in arts and culture through its regeneration projects.

It also intends to increase the number of local businesses involved in creative programmes, and to involve the boroughs vibrant community of artists and practitioners in developing fantastic arts for all.

Waltham Forest is home to a wide variety of cultural opportunities, and is called home by many talented artists, performers and craftspeople.

The Council owns and manages both Vestry House Museum, a local history museum telling the story of the borough through a series of permanent displays and special exhibitions, and the William Morris Gallery, which was awarded the Art Fund prize for Museum of the Year in 2013 and was nominated for the European Museum of the Year Award in 2014. 

The local authority continues to support local arts organisations and groups through grants and commissions. Since the Arts Development Grants for Waltham Forest were launched in October 2013, £128,000 has been awarded to fund creative activities in the borough. A further £25,000 has just been allocated to ten arts organisations, and applications for the next round of grants will open in May.

Another two innovative arts organisations were recently celebrating after being awarded Neighbourhood Arts Commissions to deliver exciting new projects to communities in Leytonstone, Leyton and Chingford. Each Council commission is for two years and worth a combined total of £60,000.

Each year, the borough’s Get Together programme offers residents and visitors the chance to come together in celebration at a wide variety of cultural events and activities, from festival days to Black History Comedy Night and from senior residents' Christmas lunches to the Waltham Forest Mela.

These are just some of the ways in which the Council is making arts and cultural opportunities accessible for everyone. 

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