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Kingston secures GLA funding for community-led regeneration

Kingston Council and The Community Brain Community Interest Company have been awarded £385,239 from the Greater London Authority to deliver SHEDx, a community-led regeneration project in Tolworth.

The GLA’s Good Growth Fund is a £70 million regeneration programme to support growth and community development in London. It will fund creative, inclusive projects that champion innovation, high-quality design and collaborative working. SHEDx is expected to launch later in the year and will run for a year.

Robin Hutchinson, Director of The Community Brain, said: “This is a remarkable demonstration of faith from the GLA in our plans to engage the communities of Tolworth in reimagining the area and ensuring that the local voices have an active say in our futures. The people of Tolworth and its surrounding areas have lots of ideas, energy and enthusiasm. We hope to create the opportunities to enable them to realise their dreams and ambitions. It will build upon the work we are already doing to enable more people to join in.”

The SHEDx programme is designed to harness and develop Tolworth’s spirit, talent and ambition, to ensure that communities are actively involved in shaping change in the area. It will use unique mobile sheds themed to incorporate ‘play’, ‘ideas’ and “greenness’ in the area to encourage residents and visitors to reimagine the spaces around them. The project also aims to bring back into use a vacant shop on Tolworth Broadway, as well as delivering a programme of community-led cultural events including pop-up night markets and a new Brazilian Festival to showcase the history of Corinthian Casuals Football Club that call Tolworth home.

Cllr David Cunningham, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Regeneration at Kingston Council, said: “This is very exciting news for the borough; this outcome demonstrates Kingston’s commitment to good growth. SHEDx will ensure that those who live and work in Tolworth will have the opportunity to play their own part in shaping the regeneration and transformation of this area which is outlined in our emerging Tolworth Area Plan.

“This outcome for SHEDx, along with our £90,000 exemplar project award as part of the Sadiq Khan’s London Borough of Culture award, demonstrates our commitment to embed culture into placemaking and economic growth, which has been put at the heart of our recently published Economic Growth and Development Strategy 2018-2025.”

SHEDx will help to deliver some the aspirations identified in the Tolworth Area Plan which was open for public consultation in late 2017. Kingston Council partnered with The Community Brain last year to develop a funding application for the project, which will also provide a case study about how the council can better work with and support community organisations in the borough.

Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, Jules Pipe, said: “The Mayor and I are determined to use the Good Growth Fund to challenge preconceptions about how regeneration takes place. This project is a great example of how we can work with local communities on projects in a way that will help ensure the benefits are felt by all.”

Kingston Council also recently secured a £50,000 grant to support stakeholder engagement and research for another project called ‘Re-imagining Kingston Town Centre’, which aims to provoke thought as to how Kingston town centre might evolve and better support its users. Kingston town centre is one of the best performing retail centres the country, but like all retail environments is under threat from the rise of internet shopping and changing consumer patterns.

Picture: ‘Pulling the Yatai’, constructed for the Seething Festival by The Community Brain and Kingston University MA Architecture students. The Yatai helped to distribute bee-friendly flowers, herbs and seeds.