Fund to support Hackney Wick and Fish Island creative community and create jobs after ‘devastating impact’ of pandemic

Poplar based The People Speak, pictured at an event in Newham, are teaming up with Hackney Tours to

Poplar based The People Speak, pictured at an event in Newham, are teaming up with Hackney Tours to celebrate the diversity of the Wick. Picture: The People Speak - Credit: Archant

A new fund will create work for freelance artists in Hackney Wick and Fish Island who have lost contracts due to the coronavirus crisis.

Wick Together - funded by the Mayor of London’s Creative Enterprise Zone (CEZ) programme - will equip the creative community to deliver training and courses that improve social cohesion, support businesses in the area and help people develop creative skills.

Four new commissions are among the first projects to be supported by the fund, which together will create work for 20 freelancers.

Hackney Wick and Fish Island, one of London’s first CEZs, has been hit hard by the pandemic.

Councillor Motin Uz-Zaman, cabinet member for work and economic growth, said: “Creative businesses are often the most vulnerable to sudden economic and social shifts.

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“They face a significant challenge following the unprecedented blow dealt by the coronavirus pandemic.

“However, we also know that it is those same fantastic creative minds who so often find inspiration and opportunity in times of struggle.

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“We will continue to explore ways we can provide assistance to the rest of the Hackney Wick and Fish Island CEZ.”

Each project supported by the fund, which is managed by Tower Hamlets and Hackney councils and the London Legacy Development Corporation, will employ at least four creatives paid at London Living Wage.

They include creative workshops for young people and training in digital content and community co-creation for artists.

The Poplar-based group of international artists The People Speak will team up with Hackney Tours to create an interactive tour of the area through the eyes of its community, which will be launched on October 17.

They will do this using Talkaoke - a live, pop-up talk show on the streets of the Wick, which begins September 27 - followed by training sessions for freelancers and community participants.

London’s deputy mayor of culture and the creative industries, Justine Simons, said: “Coronavirus has had a devastating effect on our creative industries, but these businesses will be key to our economic recovery and it’s important that we continue to do all we can to support them.”

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