The London Road Town Team was able to launch a new arts grant scheme to harness local creativity, improve the cultural offer of London Road, support existing arts venues in the area and attract more visitors. Five grants of £1,000 were available to individuals and/or organisations, and all activities took place in the London Road Portas Pilot area before the end of 2014.
London Road in Brighton has been changing. The rate of empty shops has dropped from 16% to 8% over the 24 months of the Portas Pilot Project. We have developed branding, marketing and a website for the area (www.visitlondonroad.co.uk) to shout about the positive changes taking place in London Road. On-street security and a Town Team Coordinator were employed, and two arts projects were initially delivered in the area: “Shine On London Road” and a series of street-art murals around Elder Place.
One of the biggest strengths of London Road is the cultural activity in the area that has gone from strength to strength over the lifetime of the Portas project. In the last two years we have welcomed a new theatre, music venue, numerous galleries and exhibition spaces to help create a cultural offer that is transforming London Road during the day and night. This small programme of grants was designed to continue this progress.
The grant scheme was open to any arts or cultural organisation that is based in or around the London Road area, and proved to be very successful. It is hoped that the Town Team will be able to apply for similar funding in future.