The creative sector in Hackney Wick and Fish Island is set to be given a boost thanks to a new coronavirus recovery programme funded by the Mayor of London and managed jointly by Hackney Council, Tower Hamlets Council and the London Legacy Development Corporation.

The area, one of London’s first Creative Enterprise Zones (CEZ), has been hit hard by the economic impact of the pandemic and while government support schemes have softened the blow, many creatives are falling through the gaps.

We are the Wick is a new initiative that will allow businesses, charities and community organisations to apply for funding to deliver high-quality arts, culture, skills and business support projects. £5,000 is available per project and a condition of the funding will be a commitment to employ local creative freelancers and sole traders in the delivery of their vision.

Applications for the programme opened on Friday 17 July.

The Hackney Wick and Fish Island CEZ focuses on protecting one of the world’s most recognisable ‘at risk’ communities of creators, including artists, makers, designers and performers working across the cultural, creative, digital and tech industries. Its designation has provided increased protection from invasive planning proposals, while maintaining affordable workspace and increasing training and skills for local people.

The key aims of the We are the Wick programme include:

  • Support local small businesses, freelancers and sole traders to become more resilient by developing their skills and capacity.
  • Encourage interactive arts and culture projects that help residents from the area’s diverse communities to be part of the local creative offer.
  • Employ local freelancers and sole traders who have lost work as a result of coronavirus to deliver creative projects

The successful projects will demonstrate an ability to improve social cohesion, develop creative skills and resilience, support creative businesses and build relationships across the CEZ. Applications for funding are open until Friday 14 August.

We are the Wick funding is conditional on the successful project employing a minimum of four local creative freelancers and/or sole traders who have lost work due to the coronavirus pandemic. As a minimum, all involved must be paid the London Living Wage.

For further information and to apply, visit

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