Introducing Blackhorse Collective

15 November 2023

A historic industrial district of Waltham Forest, Blackhorse Lane, has been accredited as a Creative Enterprise Zone, a pioneering initiative by the Mayor of London.

The Creative Enterprise Zones are one of the Mayor of London’s flagship cultural programmes, dedicated to ensuring artists and creatives are supported to put down roots in local areas and giving them opportunities to grow their careers and businesses.

The designation recognises the area’s unique artisan spirit and future-proofs its creative community.

Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries and Cllr Grace Williams, Leader of Waltham Forest Council officially unveiled the identity of the zone as Blackhorse Collective in a ceremony at Yonder community space on Thursday 23 March.

The area around Blackhorse Lane, Walthamstow, was chosen for its long-standing history of craft and industry, as well as its high density of creative businesses and the huge potential for growth in the area.

Cllr Grace Williams, Leader of Waltham Forest Council, said:

Creativity is everywhere in Waltham Forest, which is why the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, named us the first Borough of Culture in 2019. Nowhere is this easier to see than in Blackhorse Lane, which I’m proud to partly claim within the boundaries of my ward.

Everywhere you turn, there’s a creative business or collective of artists doing something inventive and extraordinary, and this creativity is what Blackhorse Lane stands for. I’m so happy that Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, and Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creativity industries, have seen this and named Blackhorse Lane as a Creative Enterprise Zone.

How will it help?

Blackhorse Collective, run by Waltham Forest Council and in partnership with local creatives will encourage creative growth in three main ways:

  • using Council powers to keep workspaces affordable for artists and creative businesses
  • giving expert business support to creative start-ups, including a platform for collaboration
  • connect creative businesses to the local workforce through apprenticeship schemes, pathways to work and public skills sessions

Blackhorse Collective is one of nine Creative Enterprise Zones set up across the capital.

What does a CEZ do?

Artists and creatives play an important part in creating good growth by bringing new opportunities to an area and attracting new development. Artists seek out affordable areas in the city, which then helps these areas to grow and become more desirable. But artists often find themselves priced out by the very success they have helped create.

The goal of the zones is to disrupt a cycle in which creative businesses make an area increasingly attractive for new residents, which risks pricing them out of an area they helped create. By taking steps to ensure creatives can continue to thrive, areas like Blackhorse Lane are able to maintain their distinctive spirit.

Photo: Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Industries, Justine Simons OBE; Cllr Grace Willams, Leader of Waltham Forest Council; Emily Selwanes, Final-year Media student at Big Creative Academy

Visit blackhorse collective.