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New grant is a boost for Lewisham's high streets

Cllr Kim Powell, Cabinet Member for Business and Community Wealth Building, writes about a new grant to encourage shoppers back on to Lewisham’s high streets.

Shoppers on Deptford High StreetLewisham is a great borough for entrepreneurs. A huge 70% of our retail businesses are independent. If you walk through any of our town centres you will see a fantastic mix of shops, bars, restaurants, salons and more offering residents a diverse range of products and services. But, let’s be honest, the pandemic has been tough on them.

Since March 2020 we have offered a robust package of financial and practical support to not only help our businesses weather the storm but also to flourish as we start to rebuild our local economy post-Covid. These businesses will be pivotal to Lewisham’s growth and in creating employment opportunities for local people so it’s important that we do what we can to help.

Last year we unveiled the findings from our first-of-its-kind census of our high streets. We wanted to understand and address the unique challenges that local retailers face as they emerge from the pandemic. One of the key findings was that our independent businesses (two thirds of which are Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic-owned) rely mainly on in-person sales for their revenue. Yet they felt footfall levels were still lower than they were pre-pandemic.

We want to get people back into our town centres to Shop Safe Shop Local and support our fantastic businesses but we needed to be more creative in our approach. So in November we launched the Town Centre Small Grant, with a £49k investment through the Welcome Back Fund, offering payments of up to £2,499 for projects that would boost footfall on our high streets.

We encouraged applications from voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations, registered charities, arts organisations, business networks, education providers and more, and have been delighted with the fantastic response we’ve received!

We’re funding over 20 projects which are taking place right across the borough up until the end of March. They include everything from marketing support to markets; from arts festivals to poetry trails; from workshops to exhibitions; and from pop-up gym classes to mural paintings. There is something for everyone, all across Lewisham.

These are all brilliantly creative projects that will complement our London Borough of Culture programme and most importantly will bring some excitement and buzz to our town centres, which will be a huge benefit our local businesses. I’ve highlighted some of the upcoming projects below and would urge you to pop down to your high street and join in the fun.


 Organisation Project Name  Summary  Where  Delivery dates 
Hypha Studios Hypha Studios Catford Workshops, exhibitions, performances and artists' talks in the space in Catford where Peacock’s used to be. Catford 19 Dec 2021 – 31 March 2022
Migration Museum  Last chance to see ‘Departures’ and ‘Room to Breathe’ Support with social media strategy to support two exhibitions. Lewisham Shopping Centre 5 Jan – 12 Feb 2022
Ignition Brewery Saturday Markets A monthly Saturday market with free stalls for local businesses.   The Sydenham Centre, Sydenham Road 12 Jan – 29 March 2022

Eco Communities CIC

Women Arts & Crafts Exhibition Local artists will partner with local businesses to display their works prior to the main event – an exhibition at Crofton Park Community Library on Sunday 27 March. Crofton Park Community Library and various locations around Crofton Park 20 January – 28 March 2022
Lewisham Local
Lewisham Local Card Promotion  Promotion of Lewisham Local card to encourage visitors and residents to shop locally and support small businesses. Lewisham 23 Jan – 31 Mar 2022

Make Mee Studio

Make Mee & Mend Pop Up Workshops & Exhibition A six week pop-up promoting sustainable fashion and showcasing the talents of local people. Lewisham Shopping Centre 28 January – 11 March 2022
Inspiral London
A Sleepwalkers Guide to Deptford Three artist-led walks by Inspiral London exploring a different area of Deptford taking place on three dates between 29 January - 19 February. Various locations in Deptford 29 January – 19 February 2022
Downham Nutrition Partnership

Healthier Happier Downham

This local programme will promote healthy eating, ending in a day of festivities in March. Downham 30 January – 27 March 2022 

The Poetry Translation Centre

Vietnamese poetry trail and Open Day

Vietnamese poetry trail along Deptford High Street. Plus an Open Day at The Albany where people can learn more about creative translation Deptford High Street and The Albany  1 February – 20 March 2022 


10 young Black artists from the Be Seen Be Heard (BSBH) Forum will create an original artwork for their partnered business’ shop window. Various locations in New Cross  1 February – 31 March 2022 
Bank of Things Lewisham

Bank of Things launch event

A launch day of activities and engagement in Lewisham shopping centre where the community are invited to find out about the new service. Lewisham shopping centre 5 February 2022
Better/GLL Community fitness classes  Pop-up gym classes in a disused shop or underused public space Lewisham (TBC)  16 Feb – 30 March 2022 

Spread the Word

Deptford Literature Festival 2022

Promotional activities for the Deptford Literature Festival which will take place on Saturday 19 March in various locations across Deptford.  Deptford 1 - 19 March 2022

The MindBody Therapy Centre

Doing the Stanstead Walk  Leaflets and posters to promote "The Stanstead Walk" in March 2022 which encourage pedestrian visitors to support local businesses.  Forest Hill 1- 31 March 2022 

Jack Studio Theatre

Screen at the Jack  A two-week pop-up cinema and short film festival, with five free screenings at the Jack Studio Theatre. Jack Studio Theatre, Brockley Road 17 – 26 March 2022
Facework Group Hatch Maker space mural Design and installation of "Welcome to Hatcham" mural beside the post office to build civic pride and create a more positive profile of the area. New Cross Dates TBC 

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