Budget boost for South Bank and Bankside 'cultural quarter'

Gordon Brown's Budget last week included £1.8 million to make sure that young people in Lambeth and Southwark benefit from the cultural activity on the South Bank and Bankside.

The South Bank and Bankside Cultural Quarter brings together 21 cultural organisations in SE1.

The consortium's project – funded from the Treasury's Invest to Save budget – seeks to give every young person aged between 3 and 19 yrs in the two boroughs the chance to experience cultural activities around themes including performance, art, film, learning, employment, life skills and the environment.

"These innovative projects will test and develop new ways of delivering cultural services and new opportunities for more people to take part in cultural activities," said culture secretary Tessa Jowell, welcoming the Treasury announcement. "They will show how organisations in the cultural sectors can work with each other and with others in the public, private and voluntary sectors to improve people's access to culture and demonstrate how cultural activity can make an important contribution to education, health, economic development and social cohesion."

During 2005, 17 (now 21) cultural organisations in the SE1 area came together to form the South Bank Cultural Quarter consortium. The organisations include the Architecture Foundation, Design Museum, Globe Theatre, Jerwood Space, National Theatre, British Film Institute, Rambert Dance Company, Siobhan Davies Dance Company, Southwark Playhouse, Tate Modern, Unicorn Theatre, Young Vic Theatre, Old Vic Theatre, South Bank Centre, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, King's College London, London South Bank University, London Eye, South Bank Employers Group, Better Bankside, Lambeth and Southwark Councils.

The collective reach and profile of the Cultural Quarter is extensive. Taken
together, the organisations attract more than 12 million visitors per annum and provide education services to more than three quarters of a million users
each year. They employ more than 2,000 staff and have a combined annual spending capacity of 133 million.

The same Budget announcement also included 450,000 for the South Bank Partnership Grey Water Scheme. This pilot project will utilise a very large volume of grey water from an existing borehole cooling system at the Royal Festival Hall, for the benefit of the South Bank Centre and its neighbours.

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