The impact of London Creative Network

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BOP Consulting has been evaluating the impact of London Creative Network during its first phase. Here BOP summarises its findings for us:

Over the last four years, we have been working with SPACE to evaluate the ERDF funded London Creative Network (LCN) – a professional development programme for creative practitioners from across London, delivered by SPACE, Four Corners, Cockpit Arts, and Photofusion. It supports micro-businesses from the visual arts, craft and photography sub-sectors to build resilience and sustainability. Over the four years, it worked with over 690 creative practitioners.

Published late last year, our evaluation showed the LCN programme has… 

  • Led to improved business performance – participants on the programme experienced an average turnover uplift of 18% and earnings for self-employed participants rose by an average of 29%
  • Stimulated innovation – nearly 143 participants introduced new processes, products or services during the programme. Some firms are already seeing sales from these new products and services, while others see intrinsic value in their experimentation during the programme in developing their creative practice, even if it does not have direct commercial value
  • Developed new creative direction a supportive peer network facilitated a ‘safe space’, where participants felt confident to test and develop new creative ideas and production methods. Highlighted in the report’s case studies, the LCN has led to new exhibitions, markets, funding opportunities and collaborations for practitioners
  • Filled a gap – Half of the respondents indicated that no other support provision offers the same level and quality of support
  • Facilitated effective partnership working – the four delivery partners recognised the value of working collaboratively, sharing best practice and learning from one another.

Our research indicated only a moderate uplift in net Gross Value Added (GVA), which is a measure of the programme’s contribution to wider economic growth. However, this should be seen in the context of the participants of the programme, which are overwhelmingly sole traders who operate in precarious conditions. They have very low turnover and wages, where financial growth is complex and not solely driven by profit. Instead of being targeted at businesses and sectors where there is the biggest expected growth, the programme targets where it is needed the most. 

These findings show that when funding for culture is prioritised and delivered through specialised and strategic partnerships, a range of benefits can be created; from the purely economic to the social and cultural.

These impacts have since unlocked additional funding for the LCN programme, extending its delivery until September 2021, supporting a further 280 businesses. 

Read the full LCN Evaluation Report.

Further insights from the LCN programme video here.

Written by Joshua Dedman, Senior Researcher, BOP Consulting.

ERDF
LCN is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund Programme 2014 to 2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. 

For more information visit here.

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