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Funding for flagship dance centre at the Elephant

SRB funding of £750,000 over three years has been agreed for internationally acclaimed choreographer Siobhan Davies to create a world-class arts facility at the site of the derelict Charlotte Sharman School Annexe.

The facility, already in receipt of 2.6 million from the Arts Council Lottery fund and run by the Dancers Studio Trust, will be a flagship cultural project for Elephant and Castle and will provide a permanent home for Siobhan Davies and the performers of her dance company.

The Dancers Studio Trust will have a year-round programme of dance activity and educational support, regular dance workshops and classes and opportunities for the local community to participate. The project will provide an important focal point for local dance networks and communities.

Danny McCarthy, councillor for Cathedrals ward and member of the Elephant Links community partnership board, said: "The Dancers Studio Trust will contribute to Southwark's emergent cultural strategy and play a role in delivering the long-term vision of the Elephant and Castle as a significant cultural quarter".

Siobhan Davies CBE said: "We are really looking forward to making our new home in Southwark. This building will provide me with an appropriate professional environment that can house the next stage of my Company's development. More than that, it will have a long-term effect beyond my artistic life. It will be a permanent and vital place for the development of contemporary dance"

Sarah Wigglesworth Architects has designed the new dance centre.

The Elephant Links community partnership board has also approved a second major project. The Elephant and Castle Community Information Exchange (CIX) is an innovative web and information technology project that will enable local small businesses, community and voluntary organisations and the general community to interact in new ways, such as through web kiosks. Its backers claim that CIX will have significant implications for boosting employment and training, reducing crime and creating investment into the Elephant and Castle.

Both projects will now be submitted to the London Development Agency for final approval.

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