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The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today pledged £1.2m funding to enable workspaces in London’s nine Creative Enterprise Zones to become greener and more sustainable, as small

creative businesses and organisations struggle with the pressure of rising energy bills. 

Local authorities with accredited zones are invited to apply for grants of up to £200k to invest in practical and achievable measures that will improve energy efficiency, resulting in more environmentally-friendly creative workspaces across the capital and helping to reduce their reliability on energy. 

The move comes as businesses, who are not protected by the energy price cap, face up to the reality of the cost of living crisis with up to five times higher energy bills, and UK inflation rising above 10 per cent for the first time in 40 years, driven by soaring prices for food and fuel.

Sadiq established Creative Enterprise Zones across London in 2018 to ensure that artists and creatives have affordable places to work, are supported to start-up and grow, and where Londoners can develop the skills required for work in the creative industries. By 2025 the Creative Enterprise Zones will have increased new, permanent, affordable workspace by more than 65,000sqm.

This latest funding will support creative enterprises to explore and implement solutions to improve their sustainability. For example, grants could be used to help replace a building’s older heating system with heat pumps and install new windows, or conduct an ‘eco audit’ to investigate ways for organisations to become more energy efficient. 

The Creative Enterprise Zones programme has so far invested £14m to support London’s artists and creative businesses and has already established nearly 1,000 creative training, work placements, and jobs across the nine zones - Croydon, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Hackney and Tower Hamlets, Haringey, Hounslow, Lambeth, Lewisham, and Waltham Forest. Earlier this summer, the Mayor announced further investment to help support 5,000 young Londoners to enter the creative sector. 

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The capital’s world-leading arts, cultural and creative industries help to drive our economy and inspire young people, but the energy crisis is hitting the sector hard and it is vital that it is supported to become more energy efficient, especially as these businesses are not protected by the energy price cap. This latest investment reaffirms my commitment to placing the environment at the centre of our economic recovery and will help workplaces deal with burden of the cost of living crisis and spiralling energy bills as we build back a fairer, greener city for all.”

Sir Antony Gormley, Sculptor, Antony Gormley Studio, said: “I am delighted to hear that Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, continues to prioritise the future of London’s vital and inimitable art community at this moment of environmental crisis.”

Asif Khan MBE, Director, Asif Khan Studio, and Deputy Chair of the Design Museum; said: “Creative Enterprise Zones are delivering the spaces we need to cultivate creativity and ideas. Our city has a history of producing the boldest ideas for the world and creativity is the force most needed to deal with the extraordinary challenges of ensuring a zero carbon city by 2030. Transforming our cities' workplaces into temples of creativity will not only enhance well-being but also give opportunities for the next generation of Londoners to develop and express the values which mean the most to them.”

Hajni Semsei, Director, Arbeit Studios, said: “Having been located in Hackney Wick for many years, working with and supporting hundreds of local creatives as well as bringing in an audience to the Hackney Wick and Fish Island zone, we have witnessed the area going through rapid transformation, putting its creative community at risk. The Creative Enterprise Zone programme has meant that now there are specific mechanisms in place to protect the local community and support its long-term permanence in the area, as well as putting emphasis on enhancing environmentally conscious communities.”

Gordon Seabright, Chief Executive, Creative Land Trust, said: “Creative Enterprise Zones, alongside the work of the Creative Land Trust, are securing long term affordable workspace for artists in London. We're delighted about this new funding from the Mayor of London; improved energy efficiency in artists' studios will make them more financially as well as environmentally sustainable, and artists and makers will welcome the Mayor's help in tackling the climate emergency.” Photo by Policy Exchange, Wikimedia commons.