Backing the bid

Fabula Festival 2017 at Wanstead LibraryFabula Festival 2017 at Wanstead Library

As we wait to see how Redbridge has fared in its bid to be the London Borough of Culture, Steve Wilks showcases the work of Vision RCL, which provides leisure and cultural facilities on behalf of the council.

Redbridge Council officially launched its bid to become the first London Borough of Culture in October and submitted its entry in December last year.

This Is Redbridge launched at Redbridge Drama Centre, with councillors, artists and community representatives urging the borough to get behind the bid to win the Mayor of London's prize of a million pounds to stage a programme of world-class events. Two winning boroughs will be named London Borough of Culture (for 2019 and 2020).

Redbridge is a diverse borough and has so many hidden gems. Vision RCL is pleased to be able to support the bid process and looks optimistically to a successful outcome. As we await the results – to be announced in February – it is important to look at past successes of Vision RCL, which illustrate why Redbridge should be in a strong position.

The annual Fabula Festival takes place in October and is a celebration of libraries and the arts. Last year, the festival was launched with sold-out events at Fullwell Cross Library and Wanstead Library. There were also over 7,000 visitors to the festival's main weekend programme at Redbridge Central Library.

In November and December, Redbridge Drama Centre in South Woodford enjoyed the longest run of its Christmas show, The Christmas Tale of the Pied Piper, with 36 performances for schools. It was also their first Christmas show with live music.

Playing With Fire is a social media play, which aims to tour all Redbridge schools in 2018. This project is supported by the Redbridge Safeguarding Board, aiming to combine culture with safety issues.

Redbridge Music Service is preparing for the biannual Redbridge Choral Festival in March, showcasing the talent of young musicians in the borough. This year's festival will recognise a number of celebrations and commemorations that will take place during the year.

A good example of where the Redbridge Museum and Heritage Service works in close partnership to support community-based organisations is Ilford Football Club. In partnership with Redbridge Museum, it has been awarded £48,400 by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The grant will fund various strands of work, including a partnership with Redbridge College around oral history and the digitisation of the club's archives.

It is clear to see that Vision RCL has been proactive in delivering a diverse offering of activities and leisure services across the borough. Hopefully, with a successful outcome from the bid, we can continue to build on this to deliver even more and really show people that This is Redbridge.

For more information about Redbridge's London Borough of Culture bid, visit

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