£2 million investment announced to boost young Londoners’ creativity and cultural engagement


A New Direction is pleased to announce £900,000 investment in 12 new cross-sector initiatives, through Challenge London, our four-year partnership investment programme supporting cultural education across London between 2018 and 2022.

Led by A New Direction, with funding from Arts Council England, Challenge London aims to develop sustainable, innovative partnerships to support young people’s creativity and cultural engagement in London.

For every £1 invested, partners will contribute another £1. With around £1 million in additional funds already committed, this represents a total of around £2 million investment in cultural education for young Londoners over the next 3 years.

Importantly, young people have been at the heart of investment decisions through the involvement of the Young Challenge Group – our youth advisory and advocacy group – alongside a panel of industry experts in conjunction with A New Direction and Arts Council England.

London’s cultural, heritage, artistic and creative opportunities are rich and varied. Londoners can access world-class and cutting-edge experiences in concert halls, arenas, parks and streets. However, London is also city with challenges around inequality, and we know that not everyone feels empowered to shape culture and be involved with the breadth of opportunities available. Challenge London aims to address this by making investment across six key themes affecting young people’s capacity to be creative in the capital:

  • Fairness
  • Wellbeing
  • Influence and power
  • New London
  • Preparing for work
  • Pressures on institutions 

You can find more about the focus and underlying evidence for these themes here:

Lead partners include: artsdepot (Barnet), Camden Spark (Camden), Create London,  Croydon Music and Arts (Croydon), Enable Leisure and Culture (Wandsworth),London Borough of Barking & Dagenham, Education Service Development (Barking & Dagenham), London Bubble Theatre (Southwark), London Borough of Islington Cultural Enrichment Team (Islington), London Borough of Lambeth Business, Culture and Investment (Lambeth), London Borough of Waltham Forest Culture Team and Waltham Forest Music Education Hub (Waltham Forest), Lyric Hammersmith (Hammersmith & Fulham), RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce).

Through Challenge London, we are supporting nine Local Cultural Education Partnerships, alongside three cross-sector partnerships, which includes ‘Park Royal Young Planners’ – an ambitious three-year creative programme led by Create London in partnership with the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation. Working in Brent, Ealing and Hammersmith & Fulham, the project will work with local young people to demystify, engage and influence the planning process of London’s largest regeneration project.

London Bubble will lead ‘Creating Justice‘ – a research led project looking at theatre-based interventions and activities to support children and young people who are at risk of being involved in, or currently have experience of, the criminal justice system.

The RSA will put young people’s voice, agency, and wellbeing at the centre of their initiative – ‘Cities of Learning: Design Competition London’ – a London-wide competition to identify three leading ‘boroughs of learning’ through its flagship place-based learning and skills programme, Cities of Learning. The competition will champion the most compelling prototypes for connecting young people into learning and work opportunities in the cultural and creative industries.