Culture Mile BID stages first community event

This is first of three posts about community engagement in the Culture Mile area of City of London. Links at the end to the other two posts.

I was delighted the other day to receive an invitation from the Culture Mile Business Improvement District to a community event on July 18, particularly when I found out more about the agenda.

The BID covers an area from Moorgate to Smithfield. The boundary is outlined in blue.

I gather there are likely to be three main items on the agenda:

The BID began operations in April last year, and a key aim is to support business development, since local companies fund its work. The strategic themes, listed here, are Sustainable Environment, a Connected Business Community, Inspiring Places, and Cultural Destination.

The BID took over programmes previously developed in-house by a City Corporation team, as I reported here.

The event on July 18 is the first major community event organised by the BID.

The latest community grants were first announced at a recent breakfast event (below), and there is a list here in a Linkedin post. Further information is being added to the BID website. There is a video with highlights from the earlier awards.

I’m glad that the event it is being held in St Bartholomew the Great for two reasons. First it signals a commitment by the BID to the Smithfield area, as well as the main residential estates of Barbican and Golden Lane. They already have their own Neighbourhood Forum, which is doing well.

Secondly, one of the grants is going to the church to fund another Great Disputation in September. Last year’s debate that ‘This House believes that the love of money is the root of the nation’s evils’ was a great success, and formed part of Cloth Fair, organised locally to complement the bigger Bartholomew Fair. More here about that, and other ideas to celebrate and promote Smithfield. An earlier grant supported development of the church’s Hidden Garden, which I wrote about here.

The grants programme attracted scores of applications from local groups, and these connections should be useful in establishing the forum.

Discussion about the public realm study will be particularly interesting because the City Corporation has just published a revised programme for its own developments in Smithfield, as I wrote here. I’m keen to find out how the two approaches will work together.

In developing the forum I hope that the BID will take account of the Barbican Library plans for an information hub, involve local councillors, and provide ways for residents to engage online beyond formal meetings. At the moment there are various exchanges on WhatsApp groups, email lists, Twitter/X and Instagram, but no sense of online community.

I’m checking in with the BID to see if the above information is correct, and will amend if necessary. I wanted to get the post up because we have a Wardmote later today in Farringdon Within, to hear from candidates for a Ward election tomorrow. If community engagement comes up, I can mention the BID event.

If you plan to come to the event on July 18, rsvp to Sarah@culturemilebid.co.uk. Hope to see you there.

Update 1 Here’s news of grants from the Linkedin post:

We are excited now to announce the recipients of the Community Fund grants for the 2024-25 cycle and these are:

Update 2: I’ve now written more about the public realm programme here and also Culture Mile: what is it, where is significant, and who is accountable?

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