London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s £70m Good Growth Fund has awarded The Africa Centre a grant of up to £1.6 million. Since moving from Covent Garden to new base in Southwark, they want to continue working on their rich and important legacy and are committed to continuing to play a vital role for London’s diverse communities. Since opening in 1964 The Africa Centre has been focal point for African foreign affairs, culture, and intellectual development. The vision is of a contemporary 21st century Africa – vibrant, global and firmly seated at the table.
The successful development of Gunpowder House on Great Suffolk Street SE1, is a unique chance to create a powerful legacy for the African and Diaspora community and for all those interested in African and Diaspora culture and heritage.
The transformation of Gunpowder House will provide:
- a ground floor Café, Kitchen, Event-Space and outside terrace
- a 1st floor Bar/Event-Space and terrace
- a 2nd floor Gallery/Event-Space
- a 3rd floor Learning & Research Centre
- 4th floor Meeting Rooms & Broadcast Suite
This will complement the existing use of two railway arches:
Arch 28 – Africa Centre Offices, Colourful Radio, Hub for Entrepreneurs Arch 29 – Event and performance space
Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, Jules Pipe, said:
“This is a great example of a project which aims to give Londoners of all backgrounds the opportunity to be actively involved in shaping how their city develops. The Mayor and I are committed to supporting ‘good growth’ by building a city where all Londoners have access to the same opportunities and I look forward to seeing the positive impact this project has in the future.”
Commenting on the news, The Africa Centre’s Director, Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp CBE said:
“We’re absolutely thrilled at the news. This comes at a very pivotal time in The Africa Centre’s development. It is vital for the BME community to have access to places that create a sense of belonging and the revitalised Africa Centre will represent just that for many.
Our aim is to make the new Africa Centre the most welcoming cultural space in London, both as a cultural beacon and as a natural home for the growing BME community in the Borough, and across London. This support from the Mayor’s Good Growth Fund will help us to achieve this.