London mayor launches £70m ‘good growth’ regeneration fund

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has launched a £70m regeneration fund to support community projects that create a “better city for all,” he says.

The aim of the “Good Growth” fund, says Khan, is to address the “stark inequality” that exists in London, a city that 8.8 million people call home.

London cityscapeThe Mayor of London says that for projects to qualify for funding under his new Good Growth scheme they must “bring together people, places, and prosperity.” Image: London cityscape pixabay 947410

Applications are invited from all public and private sectors, including small and medium-sized enterprises, London boroughs, charities, and community groups that want to regenerate their local areas.

The money for the Mayor of London’s new regeneration fund will come from sources that include the Local Growth Fund and European Social Fund, and will be delivered through the London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP).

As well as financial backing, the Good Growth Fund provides advice from regeneration experts, opportunities for knowledge sharing, and design support.

Khan is particularly keen to support creative projects that are inclusive and stand as examples of how to meet challenges faced by communities across London.

He wants to “build a London that is more accessible, affordable, healthier and resilient.”

“I want London to have more liveable places to live, learn, work and play,” says Khan.

‘Challenge preconceptions about regeneration’

Khan wants to use the fund to “challenge preconceived ideas about regeneration” and he declares that an “essential requirement for qualifying projects is that they bring together people, places, and prosperity.”

By this Khan means that projects must:

– Empower Londoners by creating opportunities for them to play active roles in community and civic life

– Improve London’s shopfronts, high streets, community and opens spaces as part of long-term efforts to make places work harder for the benefit of people and improve Londoners’ health and wellbeing

– Increase prosperity by supporting industries and activities that are open to the whole community and create new jobs and workplaces

For successful applicants, Good Growth funds up to 50 percent of the project value, the rest of the money must be found by the applicants.

Funding example: Centrepoint Café, Soho

The Good Growth fund follows several regeneration schemes that the Mayor of London has launched since he was elected in 2016. For example, the Centrepoint Café in Soho received £42,000 from the Mayor’s Crowdfunding London programme.

The funding has helped to create a social enterprise café and event space for hire at 54 Dean Street, London W1D 6AE, in the same building where Centrepoint, a charity for young homeless people, opened its first hostel in 1969.

The Dean Street Café, which is due to open later this year, will be run by homeless young people aged from 16 to 25 and will give them the opportunity to take an active part in the life of their community while gaining work experience.

The youngsters will also receive training and qualifications in food hygiene and customer service to help them get jobs in London’s thriving food and hospitality sector.

Economists who have researched the project suggest that its impact could benefit the public purse by as much as £20,000 per young person.