REDBRIDGE Council has officially launched its bid to become the first London Borough of Culture.

This Is Redbridge launched at Redbridge Drama Centre on Monday, October 9, with councillors and campaigners urging artists to get behind the bid to win the Mayor of London’s prize of a million pounds for cultural projects.

Dancer Theo Oloyade, of Leytonstone, who is backing the bid, said the project is “an amazing opportunity that will encourage artists to promote their work”.

Mr Oloyade, 26, who has run hip-hop dance classes at Redbridge Drama Centre in South Woodford for four years, threw his support behind Redbridge Council’s campaign to be crowned London’s Borough of Culture.

The choreographer and creative director known professionally as “Godson”, hailed the “massive” opportunity to get more young people to discover his passion.

He said: “It’s amazing to get the opportunity. It’s a massive for me to get involved in the campaign. It will build up the area. If I could see hip-hop build through this campaign then it would be a dream come true for me.

“I went to Norlington School for Boys in Leyton there were no classes for what I do. There wasn’t that when I was growing up.

“It will be a massive boost for the other boroughs. I always feel like it will encourage other artists to push their art more. People are not aware of what’s available.”

Andy Donald, chief executive of Redbridge Council, said the campaign gave participants a chance to showcase what was good about the borough in difficult economic circumstances.

“Culture means a lot of different things to me. It’s a celebration of everything good about Redbridge. It celebrates the things going on every day whether it’s drama, music or sport. All those things combine in this thing called culture. It feels fantastic.

“Redbridge is the fourth most diverse borough in the country and it has so many hidden gems. Culture is supposed to reach people and in a world focused on austerity it’s great to be able to give back something positive.”

Fate was leading Redbridge towards the title, Mr Donald claimed.

He added: “I’m a great believer in time and place and I believe this is Redbridge’s time. For many years it has been a hidden part of London but it’s changing for the better, with night tube links for example. We have a chance to say come and discover what’s great about Redbridge.

“We passionately believe that if you engage with local people you will create a successful formula for the bid.

“For the rest of the borough, if we won, it would mean we were in the spotlight. For me, as a huge consumer of culture, it would be fantastic to have a large range of things that I could enjoy with my friends and family.”

He urged artists to get involved as a collective and seal a stable financial future for cultural projects in the borough.

“It’s important for people to get involved because it’s an opportunity to promote culture. Ultimately, it’s providing an opportunity to promote what they’re passionate about and secure resources for the future.”

Tate, Shakespeare’s Glove, London Mela and Film London have all agreed to partner on projects.

Click here to contribute your ideas to the campaign.

The deadline for submissions is Friday, December 1.