Merton libraries have been awarded £142,611 for a literacy, arts and culture programme for young people.
The funding from Arts Council England will be used to encourage more 11-18-year-olds to use the library service. In schools, all 11-14-year-olds will be challenged to read and review ten books borrowed from a library.
Teenagers will work with artists in a series of workshops to create their own pieces inspired by the theme My Library. Exhibitions and performances of their work will be held in a new youth space in Mitcham Library and at Merton Arts Space at Wimbledon Library. The youth space and Merton Arts Space will be developed using some of the funding to draw new audiences in.
Eight of the young people taking part will be trained as peer mentors for a future annual reading and arts programme.
Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Community and Culture, Councillor Nick Draper, said: “We are delighted to receive this grant from the Arts Council, which will enable us to significantly increase our work with young people in the borough and enable them to engage with new arts and literacy activities to support their life chances. Utilising expert youth workers and developing our libraries to be more youth friendly will help to further enhance them as safe, accessible places for the whole community.”
Arts Council England’s London Area Director, Joyce Wilson, said: “This project will inject a vital shot of energy into an area of outer London that will really feel the benefits. With our support, Merton Council will not only create cultural contact points for young people who may not have been able to access much art and culture before, but dedicated physical spaces that they can help shape and make their own.”