Bookmaker Ladbrokes has put the odds on Greenwich winning the title of London’s first ever Borough of Culture at seven to one as the council submitted its bid to Mayor Sadiq Khan’s office this week, writes Katherine Johnston…

On Friday, December 1, Greenwich Council brought together the campaign’s supporters at a celebratory event held in the historic Royal Arsenal buildings in Woolwich.
The old firepower museum is currently home to a seven metre art installation created using NASA imagery of the moon’s surface.

Over breakfast, Councillor Denise Scott-McDonald, Cabinet Member for Culture, Creative Industries and Community Well-Being, took the opportunity to announce the launch of a new Greenwich Cultural Forum, linking up artists and community groups to capitalise on the interest generated by the bid.

She said the new forum: “is about creating spaces where our community can come together and celebrate, giving all cultures a voice and opportunity.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced the new London Borough of Culture initiative in June 2017 and invited all 32 boroughs to compete for a £1m funding boost for the arts.
Bradley Hemmings, CEO of Greenwich and Docklands Festival, also took to the stage and echoed the desire to build a cultural legacy whether the bid is successful or not.
He said: “All of us in this room love Greenwich and all of us involved want Greenwich to be better.

“Something new has been kindled in Greenwich. We all need to ensure that the conversations continue.”

It is high on the council’s agenda that benefits are felt across the borough and not just the heritage site. Councillor Scott-McDonald and Mr Hemmings were joined on stage by Adriana Marques, head of Thamesmead cultural strategy for Peabody Housing Association, which is building 20,000 new homes in Thamesmead. Ms Marques said that the organisation would continue to work with cultural groups as “houses alone do not make communities, culture does.”

She said the bid was a “chance for less well remembered parts of London to get their moment in the limelight.”

L-R Eric MacLennan, artist; Nick Raynsford, former MP for Greenwich and Woolwich; Adriana Marques, Head of Cultural Strategy for Thamesmead at Peabody; Bradley Hemmings, Artistic Director of Greenwich+Docklands Festivals; Cllr Denise Scott-McDonald, Cabinet Member for Culture, Creative Industries and Community Well-Being; Ajay Chhabra, Mayor of London Cultural Ambassador; Kid Bookie

Rapper Kid Bookie, from Woolwich, is a vocal supporter of the campaign on social media, tweeting with the #GreenwichMeans hashtag.

The 25-year-old also known as Tyronne Buddy-Lee Ike Hill told the Weekender: “I believe in the borough, all you need to do is to look around and see the enthusiasm and commitment here today.”

Eve Horne, a singer, songwriter and producer from Woolwich said becoming Borough of Culture could help rebuild a community spirit she feels has been lost.
She said: “Where have all the street parties of the past gone? Let’s start talking again. We have to be open to conversations with each other.”

Greenwich’s bid has also received support from Olympians Gemma Gibbons and Zoe Smith, Squeeze singer Glenn Tilbrook and rapper Tinie Tempah.
This week Ladbroke’s put the odds on Greenwich taking the crown at seven-to-one, with stiff competition from Southwark and Waltham Forest at both six-to-one.
The winning boroughs will be announced in February 2018.

‘Museum of the Moon’ is open to the public Friday 1 and Saturday 2 December between 3pm and 10pm at Building 17 (old Firepower Museum), Royal Arsenal Woolwich, SE18. Admission free.