Waltham Forest launches free Virtual Culture programme to support community resilience

Published 06 April 2020 by Charlotte

Waltham Forest Council launches its Virtual Culture programme, to support residents during this challenging time. 

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the council’s summer events 2020 programme has been cancelled however, Waltham Forest, which was the Mayor’s first London Borough of Culture in 2019, has a vibrant cultural community who have put forward a range of exciting projects for our residents, as part of our Virtual Culture programme, in partnership with the William Morris Gallery. 

Last year, through the London Borough of Culture programme more than 1,000 events were held across Waltham Forest, attracting over 500,000 visits to our corner of London. The programme involving local arts and community groups, encouraged residents to come together to volunteer and participate. Our aim is to maintain our cultural community network during this time, through our Virtual Culture programme.  

The arts and culture programme will support residents who are in isolation, and also reflects the Council’s ongoing commitment to investing in the borough’s local creative and cultural sector during this challenging time. Phase one of this programme begins on Monday 6 April and will include filmed or live-streamed workshops and interactive projects available for all residents across the borough.  Residents will have a range of enjoyable and fun activities, opportunities to learn new skills, safely interact with others during isolation so they will still feel involved and included with their community. This programme will be completely free to residents and will feature workshops for all ages and abilities. 

30 local artists and creatives have been shortlisted for the programme which includes book clubs, music lessons, photography, African dance, bag making and so much more. 

Cllr Douglas, Cabinet Member for Culture said: ‘This is an extremely challenging time for our residents, local businesses and creative community and it’s vital that we maintain these artistic outlets during isolation.  We have a strong sense of culture in Waltham Forest and we feel it’s extremely important for our residents to stay connected with their communities. The programme will allow residents to get involved with these free sessions, learn new skills, feel supported and engaged across the borough.’ 

Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Industries, Justine Simons OBE, said: “These are extraordinary times that we face and now more than ever, we need our creative community in London to pull together. That’s why I am really pleased the Virtual Culture Programme has been launched to help support residents, artists and all those involved at a time of great uncertainty. Culture can be the catalyst for fostering our great community spirit during isolation and it’s crucial we also work to support organisations and creatives across the capital.”

To stay up to date with the Virtual Culture programme, visit www.wfculture.co.uk/virtual and make sure you’re following along on twitter @WFCulture19 

Cllr Douglas is available for interview, please contact media@walthamforest.gov.uk for more information. 

About Waltham Forest Council
Waltham Forest Council is a local authority in north east London named in June 2019 as the Local Authority of the Year at the prestigious Municipal Journal Awards and the Mayor’s first London Borough of Culture 2019. Bursting with energy and opportunity, it is a place changing rapidly with business growth up and employment at its highest rate ever. It is a place people want to live, raise a family and start a business.  We are creating liveable neighbourhoods, where people have access to quality housing and the services and facilities that they need, along with vibrant town centres that have thriving shops, restaurants and entertainment. 
If you would like to contact the press office call 0208 496 4521.  Email enquiries can be directed to media@walthamforest.gov.uk    

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