Libraries in five London boroughs to benefit from £60m funding

Barnet libraries are among those set to benefit from the Cultural Investment Fund  (ES Composite)
Barnet libraries are among those set to benefit from the Cultural Investment Fund (ES Composite)

Libraries in five London boroughs are set to receive a share from a Government investment pot of £58.8 million.

Kingston, Brent, Croydon, Barnet and Meron libraries are among the 70 cultural venues, museums and libraries in the UK set to benefit from the Cultural Investment Fund.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced the sum this week to help “level up” access to the arts for different areas across the country. It follows on from last week’s Spring Budget.

In London, the pot will break down to include:

  • £255,554 to Kingston Libraries

  • £231,500 to Brent Libraries

  • £150,000 to Croydon Libraries

  • £125,000 to Barnet Libraries

  • £73,354 to Merton Libraries

Culture secretary Lucy Frazer said: “This investment will help to level up access to arts and culture for everyone, no matter where they live.

“Culture helps us create lifelong memories with our families and friends, provides entertainment and joy, and allows us to explore the world around us in new and exciting ways. It can also boost tourism, support local business and drive local economic growth.

“This funding will support brilliant arts organisations to upgrade their venues and create new projects that will be at the heart of their communities.”

Among the highlights of the national announcement is that Bradford will receive £4.9 million to redevelop the intercultural arts centre as part of its remit for being UK City of Culture 2025. Basildon Borough Council will receive £4.4 million to turn empty properties in the town centre into a creative facility for screen and immersive digital industries.

The announcement was trumpeted widely by the department but has received mixed reviews online.

One wrote: “When will you consider how terribly underpaid those working in ACE-funded organisations are and factor this into the size and scope of your investments?

“UK cultural workers’ poor pay is a crisis — the sector brings billions into the economy yet is sustained by paying exploitative wages.”

Another added: “Do you not think in times of financial hardship, that money would be better spent feeding kids and heating homes?”