The Africa Centre, which has a 50-year legacy of supporting writers from Africa and its diaspora, has been awarded a £1.6m grant by the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund.
The grant will help develop The Africa Centre’s Gunpowder House development on Great Suffolk Street, SE1.
The Africa Centre’s director Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp said: “We’re absolutely thrilled at the news. This comes at a very pivotal time in The Africa Centre’s development. Our new home in Southwark is located in the third largest inner-London borough, which is also home to the largest black population in London. 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. Our dream for the future of The Africa Centre is now one big step closer to reality.”
The £1.6m will fund a ground floor cafe, kitchen, event space and outside terrace as well as a bar/event space and terrace on the first floor. On the second floor, Centre bosses plan to install a gallery/ event space as well as a third floor learning and research centre with the grant also helping to create meeting rooms and broadcast suite on the fourth floor.
Jules Pipe, deputy mayor for planning, regeneration and skills, 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.”