LEAP Funded Projects Update

11 January 2021

The final round of LEAP’s Good Growth Fund was allocated in March 2020, with £23.7 million awarded to 42 projects. The successful projects will create new jobs, support local businesses, help Londoners progress into work, and create and improve public real and commercial space across London.


FC Designer Collective opened its doors in Finsbury Park in November 2020, providing local fashion designers with a high street outlet to sell their work. Islington Council has partnered with Fashion Enter and garment industry co-operative who will manage the retail space and, in lieu of rent, provide business mentoring and training in tailoring and needlework to local creatives and community groups. A complimentary workspace on the Andover Estate will be completed in March 2021, providing access to industry standard machinery and training and affordable selling space which will boost the local economy, support small businesses and create jobs which pay the London Living Wage.


The main contractor has started construction works at the National Youth Theatre. The theatre engaged over 5,000 young people in interactive online workshops with some of Britain’s leading names and ran free live theatre workshops. The theatre reached over £1.5 million audience members through live-streamed youth-curated Sunday Sessions including RUSH, a celebration of young artists of colour, Front Room Film Festival, featuring shorts by young talent, and MIXTAPE, an online open-mic live-stream. Watch them here: https://www.nyt.org.uk/sunday-sessions-live-lockdown.


Volunteer It Yourself (VIY) combines DIY and volunteering by challenging young people aged 14-24 to help repair and refurbish local facilities. Young people are mentored by local professional tradespeople and can gain entry Level City & Guilds trade skills accreditations through participation. The Good Growth Fund is supporting VIY to work with 20 grassroots organisations in areas of deprivation. VIY has recently completed its eighteenth project, at The Sound Lounge in Sutton, a social enterprise community music and arts venue also that provides employment opportunities and AQA courses to local young people not in education, employment or training.


The Spark, Ilford will establish a new cultural quarter in Ilford Town Centre through delivery of new activities programmes at publicly owned assets in and around Redbridge Town Hall. Space Ilford, a new art centre, was opened in December 2019 with a free to access exhibition by artists Lindsey Mendrick. As of November 2020, all studios are occupied by creatives and artists, the majority of which are based locally. 


The Mercato Metropolitano community market has now commenced construction in Ilford. The prefabricated structure has been manufactured and will be delivered in December 2020. The project is due to complete in spring 2021 and open to the public shortly after that. In support of the project, Mercato has launched a business support programme for aspiring market traders and will create enterprise stalls within the market. 


Affordable Workspace for Creative Industries in Hackney: Planning permission has been approved for a new sports pavilion and multi-use games area in Hackney Wick, which will soon start on site. The pavilion forms part of the community facilities and public open space that is included in the wider workspace project. Muf Architecture has worked with Young Hackney and other local young people to develop the designs. During lockdown, workshops were held online to explore how the building might be used and how the young people would like to be represented.


The Kingsley Hall project will refurbish and modernise the campus in Becontree, Dagenham. Kingsley Hall is a critical piece of social infrastructure in Becontree, hosting programmes for social enterprise, charity and faith groups. The project will support these groups to host more events and activities. It will also bring new facilities to the centre, such as a training kitchen and a community workshop, mini-supermarket, children’s library and rooftop garden. The construction of the new community cafe and hall commenced by a local contractor in November. The project is due to complete in summer 2021, in time for Becontree centenary celebrations.


Mission Kitchen: The project will create a new form of open workspace, offering affordable kitchen space to food start-ups and SMEs and professional training to London, which currently does not exist in this capacity. Due to open in spring 2021, it will be the first element of New Covent Garden Market's transformation into a hub for food enterprise and a public destination that celebrates London's food culture. Construction continues and a project liaison officer is being appointed by Covent Garden Market Authority to bring extra resource for the project. A successful GLA Specialist Assistance Team (SAT) process will assist the project with creating a strategy for community engagement. Strong links with London Borough of Wandsworth are bringing connections with partners.


Pollards Hill: Funding to support London Borough of Merton to deliver a feasibility study and business plan for a disused site and public realm. Community engagement and on-site testing of potential appropriate programmes for the space will inform the proposals. A successful procurement process has taken place to appoint designers to deliver feasibility and engagement work with LB Merton. The LB Merton ‘Young Inspectors’ (local young people employed by the council to take part in their services) were involved in the scoring and interviewing of consultants.


Studio Voltaire: The refurbishment and extension of affordable artist studios and gallery in Clapham. ActionSpace, an arts charity working with artists with learning disabilities, will also move its headquarters to the new space. Construction is progressing well and an artist commission for the entrance courtyard will be submitted for planning in December.


The Bricklayers Arms Oasis is a new community space adjacent to the Bricklayers Arms Roundabout in Southwark. It has transformed an underused and gated podium space to one that enhances the lower Tower Hill Road area and provides a revived community garden, co-designed and planted by the residents working with horticulturalist Nigel Dunnett. The project aims to tackle issues of isolation, provide respite and build community capacity and social cohesion. Forma, a contemporary arts and production company, will take on new space created through the project on the lower ground floor; new artist studio spaces and a community café are being fitted out. Forma will develop training and employment opportunities with a focus on young people and the elderly, linked to the urban garden. A soft launch event took place in October to coincide with Black History Month. Artist Alberta Whittle, recipient of the Frieze Artist Award, was in attendance and will continue to collaborate with Forma at Bricklayers.