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August 8, 2019

Crowdfund London: coming to a street near you?

by M J Farah

Imagine a space where you can grow food, watch films, eat well, learn carpentry, experience camping and make new friends. Just for starters. A place that inspires and welcomes. An urban oasis. And all down the road from where you live.

Step forward Tottenham Café Connect. Formerly an unloved bowling club, now a community hub serving a diverse community and – crucially – a safe space for young people to hang out, learn new skills and not get bored – thanks to £37,000 funding from Crowdfund London.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, recently visited the café in Haringey to launch his £1 million Crowdfund London 2019 Programme. He described the café as an inspirational example of how crowdfunding works in relation to civic projects and called on the capital’s businesses, foundations and philanthropists to rally behind the programme.

“We want to harness that entrepreneurial spirit and apply it to the challenges and opportunities faced by communities across the capital. So I urge anyone with a creative project to consider applying to this year’s crowdfunding programme.”

Get involved

For the uninitiated, Crowdfund London uses crowdfunding technology to raise funding for community-led projects across the city. Civic crowdfunding platform Spacehive is helping deliver the programme and entrants have until May 1 to apply for up to £50,000 in funding.

You don’t have to have done anything like this before to get involved.

If you have an idea – or the seed of an idea – about how to make your neighbourhood better, you’ll be pushing at an open door. The whole point of Crowdfund London is to trigger the creativity, harness the experience and build the confidence of local people.

It’s called people-powered regeneration and it’s supported by London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP).

In the words of Alexandra Depledge MBE, LEAP member: “Real magic happens when communities come together. Local people know best what’s best for their communities and Crowdfund London is all about getting these voices heard.”

Successful projects so far have included a self-build community space in Lewisham, a library of things in Crystal Palace, a light installation celebrating local culture in Southall and a market run by and for teenagers in Barnet.

Read more from Arimaha Bulshada

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