About Crowdfund London

About Crowdfund London

I want to help you crowdfund ideas that make your area better. Get up to £50k for your project.

Crowdfund London gives you the opportunity to pitch your ideas, big and small, for projects which will make your local area even better. We want communities across London to come together to create, fund and launch projects that make a positive change in their local area. We know that our diverse communities are well placed to propose creative, distinctive and inclusive solutions to local challenges and opportunities. We’ve seen some fantastic ideas already – from a community garden in the heart of the city, re-establishing a historic market or the creative use of unloved spaces, to ambitious plans to construct elevated parks and uncover forgotten lidos. Now it’s your chance to play a part in shaping the place that you live. If you have an idea which will make your local area special, celebrate its character and bring people together then the Mayor could help you make it happen - upload your idea today!

Areas of interest

Sport & Play Parks & Gardens Arts & Culture Buildings Food & Farming Streets & Infrastructure
Helped the environment Boosted the economy Increased volunteering, jobs & education Supported arts, culture & heritage Promoted activity & leisure

Created by Mayor of London


The Mayor is responsible for making London a better place for everyone who visits, lives or works in the city. One of the Mayor's main responsibilities is to provide citywide leadership, setting an overall vision for London and creating plans and policies to achieve this goal.

Crowdfund London is an initiative of the Mayor's Regeneration Team, supported and funded by the London Economic Action Partnership. Find out more on our website www.london.gov.uk/crowdfunding

More Information


We are looking for innovative proposals that benefit the whole neighbourhood and show community support through a spirited crowdfunding campaign.

The best could attract a pledge of up to £50,000 from the Mayor to help you hit your target and bring your idea to life.

In 2017 we have up to £500,000 to support your projects.

To be considered for a pledge, you need to have a project page finalised on Spacehive and have applied to our fund by Monday 5th June, but you should aim to begin your campaign and secure your support as soon as possible.

Create. Fund. Launch.

Let’s make your local projects happen!

 

Crowdfund London is supported and funded by the London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP). LEAP brings entrepreneurs and business together with the Mayoralty and London Councils to identify strategic actions to support and lead economic growth and job creation in the capital. For more information visit www.lep.london.

We want to see more Londoners actively engaged in the process of improving our city.

Thanks to new technology, people now have the chance to directly shape their city like never before. From social media to crowdfunding platforms, we can now all readily obtain the tools to organise, design, fund and realise civic projects that were once only accessible to professionals.

City Hall can help ensure everyone has the opportunity to play a part in crowdfunding, amplifying the civic enterprise of Londoners. It also means together we can help create a fairer, more integrated society.

We know that almost 40 per cent of Londoners have some involvement in local community activity. Over half feel community groups should play an active part in local community projects with nearly 80 per cent suggesting that this role should go far beyond basic consultation.

What have we done so far?

City Hall has pledged over £800,000 to 57 crowdfunding campaigns across the capital, run by people just like you. Nearly 5,700 Londoners have come together to raise an extra £984,500 in pledges towards these projects..

Together, we’ve helped fund a range of community projects. For example, a study to turn an old rail track into a city garden, a community grocery store, a market to help unemployed people back into work and a community-led museum and training kitchen. All these projects show innovation and enterprise. They demonstrate active citizenship with an aspiration for wider social good.

​​​​​​​What have we learned? 

The impact of our experiment has been inspiring. These projects are helping people into work, improving health and wellbeing, breaking down cultural barriers, and bringing communities together around a common purpose.

We are also seeing how the crowdfunding process is about more than just raising money. It’s about reaching out to the wider community, getting more people actively involved in their area, and building skills and knowledge through volunteering. This means the benefits go far beyond just the projects themselves.

The real legacy is the community groups that have been formed and strengthened through the process. Crucially, it’s what they’ll go on to do for their places in the future that makes Crowdfund London so worthwhile. 

What happens next?

This year, we have £500,000 to pledge to your projects. Keep reading for more information outlining the Mayor's offer and then create your project and pitch to our fund

Follow our Movement, to be kept up to date with this and future opportunities.

We'd like to back projects that:

  • Celebrate and strengthen the special character of your area
  • Respond to a local challenge or opportunity in a creative way
  • Give an unused space a new lease of life
  • Help the local economy
  • Give local people lasting skills and opportunities
  • Improve environmental sustainability
  • Make everyone in the community feel welcome and involved
  • Attract strong support from the community - shown via a spirited crowdfunding campaign and other evidence

Projects could help to make your high street a better place to visit or do business, improve or establish a local market, give a new lease of life to an unloved space or empty building, improve access to healthy and affordable food or create a beautiful new green space or cultural feature that attracts people to the area.

We're looking for ideas that show innovation and enterprise and aspire to achieve a wider social good.

To get a better feel for the type of projects we’ve supported in the past, check out our success stories section.

We are open-minded about the projects we pledge to, but they have to be:

  • in Greater London
  • Have clear plan and well considered budget
  • Be managed by a constituted organisation that represents the local community (if you're an individual, you'll need to partner with an appropriate local organisation)

We will not fund:

  • Local services (such as those under pressure from constraints to public spending)
  • Proposals that could be equally applicable anywhere (such as Christmas lights) 
  • 'business as usual' activity (keeping things going that already exist)

The best projects will aim to combine a few different elements and activities to improve impact and make a compelling case for Mayoral support. 

When considering whether to pledge to your project, we will assess four key areas; the quality of your idea and its likely impact, how you will get it done, the value for money and the level of local support. 

1. Quality of the idea (40%)

Make sure you explain how your project will improve your area and help the Mayor create a city for all Londoners. The best ideas will have qualities that respond to the following themes:

Empowering people, by:

  • Giving more people the opportunity to participate in local activity
  • Bringing the community together and strengthening civic pride
  • Celebrating London’s diversity and culture

Making better places, by:

  • improving environmental sustainability
  • making better use of buildings, streets, green and public spaces
  • celebrating special local character

Growing prosperity, by:

  • Providing opportunities to develop new skills
  • Creating more reasons to visit or invest in places
  • Strengthening local independent business, markets or places of work

2. Deliverability (20%)

Projects should be ready to begin once funded. Tell us why we should be confident that your project will be a success and show that you have a clear plan (your milestones) and a team with the time and skills to get things done. If things are uncertain, or there are some risks, say so but explain how these will be managed as the project develops. 

3. Value for money (20%)

Tell us why your idea should receive public funds. How will you maximise your impact? Can you ensure a longer term legacy for your project by considering maintenance and running costs from the outset? If it is a temporary project, can you recycle things once you have finished, to help someone else? Do you have any donated materials or labour that you don't need the cash for, but bring added value to your idea? If people are learning new skills, what will be the impact of that? How will the Mayor's pledge go a long way throughout the project? You will have chance to demonstrate this once you are pitching to our fund. 

4. Strength of support (20%)

Clearly outline any local support that you have for your idea. We will look at the number of pledges your campaign attracts (it's not about the money pledged, but the number and range of local backers) but you should also tell us why your local community are behind you. Have you done any surveys? Can you show support through comments on your project page or by signposting a blog or website with more information about those backing your idea? You will have chance to demonstrate this once you are pitching to our fund. 

We can only fund projects that are being delivered by a constituted organisation – we can’t fund individuals. If you are an individual, you would need to partner with an appropriate local organisation and develop your idea together.

These types of organisation are OK:

  • Local community group acting inclusively to represent a diverse range of local people
  • Resident or trader association
  • Social enterprise
  • Local charity
  • Town Team
  • Neighbourhood Forum
  • Business Improvement District
  • School or university
  • Business - as long as it's acting in the community interest

The host organisation will need to lead the project and:

  • Be able to enter into legal contracts with the Greater London Authority
  • Demonstrate clear and representative governance arrangements (your mission statement, who you represent, how you conduct yourselves and your membership, key roles and responsibilities etc.)
  • Provide details of a bank account registered to the organisation
  • Provide a charity or company number where applicable
  • Demonstrate that you have the capacity (resources) and determination to deliver

We will not fund:

  • Individuals or start-up businesses acting in a ‘for-profit’ model with no social contract 

The Mayor will be pledging to projects that are pro-actively crowdfunding on Spacehive.

The Mayor will only pledge up to £50,000 and no more than 75% of your total project cost, so you’ll need to raise at least 25% from the rest of the ‘crowd’ – people, businesses, pubic funders and so on. In reality the Mayor’s pledge will likely be less than this, so you need to think about the budget you need and what could be achievable when pitching your project as a campaign.

To be considered for a pledge from the Mayor, you will need to complete the following steps:

1. Prepare. Before you get started pease take the time to read through the information we have provided about the kinds of projects we are looking for, who is eligible, and the key timings of this initiative. Sign up to one of our workshops to come and find out more.

2. Create your project page. You need to create a project page on Spacehive. This is your pitch for funding to everyone (us and the rest of the crowd). Use it to explain your vision clearly, get across your passion for your project, convince us you can make it happen and show how it will have a positive impact on the area. You should look to create your project page early, so you can refine it alongside your community and get assistance from Spacehive before finalising it.

3. Pitch to our fund. You'll be automatically matched to our fund when you create your project. You can then pitch for a pledge from the Mayor. You will need to answer a series of questions about you and your project and provide evidence for us to assess the eligibility and deliverability of your proposal. This should help you think through your project, but you must have completed your pitch by 5th June 2017 to be eligible for our funding and it will take you some time to scan and assemble documents to upload and answer our questions. You should aim to create your project and pitch to us well before 5th June so you have time to change things if you need to.

4. Get verified. Before you can start fundraising on Spacehive, your project will be verified. The verifiers will check through your project details on Spacehive to ensure you have all necessary permissions to deliver it. You must have submitted your final project for verification on Spacehive by 5th June 2017. After this date your project details will be locked and you wont be able to change anything.

5. Crowdfund. Get as many people as possible to show their support for your project by making a pledge - it doesn't matter whether they pledge £2 or £2,000. For us, the number of community backers you attract is as important as how much you raise.

Key campaign dates:

  • The latest date you can begin your crowdfunding campaign if you want to be considered for a pledge from the Mayor, is 19th June 2017. The sooner you can start your campaign, the more likely you are to hit your target.
  • The Mayor's team at City Hall will assess your project, and check how much support your campaign is getting, in July.
  • The Mayor will pledge directly to successful projects on Spacehive on or before 20th July 2017.
  • You must hit your crowdfunding target before your deadline to secure your pledges from the crowd. This is an 'all-or-nothing' model. 
  • Set your campaign deadline somewhere between 21st August and 25th September to give yourself enough time to hit your target following a decision from the Mayor.

6. Make it happen! If you hit your target you’ll need to deliver your project before the end of March 2018. The regeneration team at City Hall will be on hand to offer advice and guidance but you must have resource in place to hit the ground running. You should plan your project delivery on the basis that you won’t receive any funds until September or October at the earliest.

Crowdfunding Stories introduces the Mayor’s Crowdfund London programme and brings together the experiences of the first wave of pioneering project creators helping to make their part of London better.

Download your copy of Civic Crowdfunding Stories here.

Read on for some more of the amazing array of projects that have been successfully crowdfunded with the Mayor's support.

The Coal Line urban park (Peckham)

The Coal Line is a community-led project that aims to better connect Peckham’s neighbourhoods: a 900m long park to link Queens Road and Rye Lane. The line will run on disused coal sidings alongside the railway line, through the heart of Peckham.

The Peckham Coal Line captured the imagination of the whole community and reached its funding target after a successful crowdfunding campaign that also engaged businesses and the local council. They raised £75,757 from 928 backers.

The Community Kitchen (Kingston)

The Community Kitchen enables local start-up or home-based food businesses with the opportunity many have been seeking to explore the potential for a sustainable business future in cooking and catering. The Mayor pledged £17,000 alongside 60 local backers.

Livesey Exchange / Old Kent Road Studios (Southwark)

Livesey Exchange is transforming 60 vacant garages on the Ledbury Estate into spaces for workshops, studios, cooking lessons and cultural activities where people can learn and socialise. The Mayor has pledged £20,000 to a total fundraising target of £53,252.

Well Street Market (Hackney)

An innovative model of a community market, locals will access healthy, affordable, good quality food along with a Teenage Market, Student Makers Market and live music stage. The Mayor pledged £20,000 to a total fundraising target of £82,763.

Weavers Kids Cafe and Community Pizzeria (Tower Hamlets)

A not-for-profit cafe will teach kids to cook and sell affordable healthy meals, with costs funded by a Community Pizzeria also helping to sustain Weavers Adventure Playground. The Mayor pledged £13,000 to a total fundraising target of £24,617.

Twist on Station Road (Lambeth)

A monthly pop-up market event that puts a TWIST on the use of the road by Tulse Hill Station, creates a buzz for locals and provides a much-needed economic boost for the area and local residents. The Mayor pledged £14,000 to a total fundraising target of £34,072.

Punch and Juicy Market Place (Brent)

Healthy juice academy and Root to Market programmes with a pop up market stall, helping the social enterprise to become self sufficient and teaching young participants valuable skills. The Mayor pledged £10,000 to a total fundraising target of £23,569.

The Phoenix Garden Blooms (Camden)

Re-landscaping and refurbishing the garden for new visitors, as the Garden is about to reopen after the construction of a new community building. The Mayor has pledged £10,000 to a total fundraising target of £18,683.

Hello Hoxton High Street (Hackney)

PEER makes the experience of great art part of daily life. This project maximises visibility from the street, to entice and welcome audiences to enjoy exhibitions and participation programmes. Dramatically transforming the outward appearance, through replacing shopfronts with elegant, single-entrance facades and see-through shutters. The Mayor pledged £19,000 alongside 187 local backers to a total fundraising target of £44,657.

Colour in Romford (Havering)

A campaign to bring street art to the town, brightening up a grey High Street and creating community spirit. The Mayor pledged £11,000 to a total fundraising target of £24,701.

Eel Pie Island Museum (Richmond)

Celebrating the island’s unique working boatyards & how it helped the British blues explosion of the 1960s. The Mayor pledged £8,000 alongside 138 local backers to a total fundraising target of £14,832.

Kitchenette Karts (Tower Hamlets)

A healthy, sustainable fish & chips truck in the heart of the East End, will create pathways into entrepreneurship for young East Londoners. The Mayor pledged £15,000 alongside 186 local backers to a total fundraising target of £30,952.

​​​​​​​​​​​​

The following is advice was given to us by groups who have been on this journey over the last few years. They all successfully crowdfunded their target and then went on to realise a fantastic project. Not all of it will be relevant to you and your specific idea, but you may find it valuable...

Think about:

  • your idea - why would it make a positive contribution to the whole community? Have you thought of alternatives? What are the strengths, weaknesses and risks? Why would others want to back it?

  • the budget you require once you set your campaign target, you will need to deliver the project with the money raised. Get at least three quotes for large cost items.

  • the roles in your team and the skills you require - what does each person bring and what else do you need to source from your community?

Encourage:

  • people to engage with your project campaign building local relationships now will help you find support to help realise your project later on.

  • bigger pledges to your campaign by offering people rewards if they pledge over a certain amount. For example, a guided tour of your project, or a one-off discount on your services/goods.

  • local businesses to sponsor you or be a partner throughout the campaign: promotion for you and promotion for them!

Use social media:

  • to create a Twitter page, website or Facebook page as soon as your project is up - people hear about your project through word of mouth, these will be the first things they search for.

  • put someone in charge of social media promotion - this will be particularly helpful if you have a large/ambitious project and will be vital to your crowdfunding campaign.

Involve lots of people:

  • share the load: perhaps have someone looking after the budget and another the day to day management? 

  • host fundraising events which can get lots of local people involved:  you’ll raise the profile of your project as well as raising funds and you will be able to demonstrate that you have broad local support for your idea

  • ask us or Spacehive if there have been similar projects to yours before. If there are, get in touch and ask them for their top tips/some advice

...and don't forget

  • there will be ups and downs:   during your crowdfunding journey, especially in the middle. Don’t be disheartened; this happens to most projects. Just keep going and aiming for the funding finish line.

For more guidance on putting together your project download our Crowdfunding Overview here and start developing your idea into a concrete proposal with our Community Projects Handbook here.

Key Dates at a glance

10 April – Fund Launch

Warm up events:

11 April - Matthews Yard, Croydon - Register here.
12 April - The Library at Willesden Green, Brent - Register here.
13 April - Angel Community Centre, Enfield - Register here.
18 April - Stonegrove Community Trust, Barnet - Register here.
19 April - St. Laurence Centre Catford, Lewisham - Register here.
20 April - Hackney Empire, Hackney - Register here.
25 April - Chiswick Town Hall, Hounslow - Register here.
26 April - Old Kent Road Studios, Southwark - Register here.
27 April - Osmani Centre, Tower Hamlets - Register here.
2 May - The Centre Banqueting, Southall, Ealing - Register here.

09 May – Workshop: Project Review (Expert Advice for your idea) – Register here

22 May – Workshop: How to run a crowdfunding campaign – Register here

05 June – Deadline to submit project for Verification on Spacehive & Pitch to our Fund

*(you should create a project and pitch to our fund as soon as possible to find out what is required, then refine your idea before ratifying by 5th June)*

19 June – Deadline for crowdfunding campaign to have started

10 July – GLA / Spacehive will assess crowdfunding campaigns

20 July – Mayoral Pledges announced on or before 20th July

25 July – Pitch and Pledge event (for projects receiving a pledge from the Mayor – a chance to pitch to an audience of potential backers)

21 August – Earliest date for crowdfunding campaigns to end – do not set your campaign to end before this date.

25 September – Latest date for crowdfunding campaigns to end

September – Celebration Event for successful campaigns

 

FAQs

What is Civic Crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding allows anyone to propose an idea and make an open, public call for people to come together to fund it. The Mayor’s partnership with Spacehive - the world’s first crowdfunding website dedicated to civic projects – means community organisations have the chance to pitch an idea that benefits their local community and attract financial pledges from other Londoners and the Mayor.

Civic Crowdfunding is about more than just money. It’s a collective effort by people who network and pool resources. They invest skills and time together to make projects happen in their community. Backers might be local residents, local businesses, or even local government. They can pledge as much or as little as they choose, and only have to pay if the project reaches its target. If enough people like an idea and pledge a small amount of money, funds can grow quickly. With the Mayor’s support at an early stage, civic crowdfunding can help innovative local ideas get off the ground.

Crowdfunding campaigns can require a lot of time, energy and enthusiasm to run successfully. However, the reward for making your idea happen, and attracting the support of everyone from local people and businesses to big brands and the Mayor, can be huge.

Are there any fees to use Spacehive?

It does not cost anything to register your project or make donations on Spacehive.

However, Spacehive does charge projects some fees but only if they successfully reach their fundraising target. All fees are included within the project budget and clearly displayed.

There is an admin fee of 5% of the total project cost that pays for web site maintenance and for independent experts vetting projects.

Then there are transaction fees charged to projects by the secure payment systems that Spacehive uses - PayPal and GoCardless. Transaction fees are estimated on a ‘worst case scenario’ - all funders use the more expensive payment system (PayPal) and all funders make pledges of £20 (attracts the highest fee rate of 3.4% + 20 pence per pledge). In reality the funding scenario is more favourable with many funders using Go Cardless and pledging higher amounts which can bring the fee down to 1.4%.

No transaction fees will be charged for cash or in-kind contributions secured by projects before the start of their online campaign on Spacehive.

Can I raise more than my project's goal?

No. You can only raise as much money as you originally ask for.

What kind of permissions will I need?

This depends on the project, but you need to find out. In the first instance you need an in-principle consent from the landowner to support the project. Various planning permissions and licenses may be required and could be secured as the project progresses, but you need to be clear in your pitch that these will need to be resolved.

How much detail should I put in my project budget?

As much as possible. This will give clarity to your funders and help you plan. You should aim to split your budget into capital and revenue items where possible.

The Mayor will be looking for specific items in your budget to fund as we will largely have capital funding available. 

You should aim to get three quotes for large items or services and check the cost of smaller items with reputable suppliers. This is to ensure value for money and a realistic budget.

You need to think about VAT – often not included on quotes, but you will probably have to pay this in the first place even if you are registered to claim it back later. If you are registered to claim back VAT, City Hall will not pay VAT with our pledge and you will need to cash-flow this appropriately.

You should plan some contingency into your budget for unforeseen extras / issues. This should be between about 5-10% revenue depending on the project.

Most of City Hall’s money is for capital expenditure. This means that we will be looking for clear capital elements of the budget when considering our pledge. If your project is revenue based, that should not put you off, but be aware that you will be in strong competition for this. A project with a blend of elements is more likely to receive a pledge.

Remember, all of your crowdfunding pledges will act as flexible revenue cash which can be used to support anything in your budget.

What do you mean by capital and revenue expenditure?

Capital refers to funds used to build, refurbish or fit out indoor and/or outdoor structures or spaces. This can include:

  • Construction materials, labour, tools and safety equipment
  • Fees for architects or designers
  • Bought equipment such as  computers, staging or kitchen equipment
  • Furniture
  • Utilities costs relating to building or creating the project
  • Licenses related to building the project
  • Skip hire and waste removal

Revenue refers to funds that can largely be used for anything, but typically it describes funds for programmes of activity or day-to-day costs.

This can include:

  • Rent and business rates
  • Event costs such as hire of stages, sound equipment or entertainment
  • Marketing materials such as posters and leaflets
  • Website or social media costs
  • Staff
  • Utilities costs related to running the project
  • Consumables for running the project, such as stationary, raw materials for food and drink
  • Maintenance costs

If my campaign is successful, how will I receive my pledges?

If your campaign is successful, most of your pledges from the crowd will be transferred in the week or so after the date that you hit your target.

If you received and accepted a pledge from the Mayor, you will need to claim this from City Hall upon delivery of your project milestones. This means that you will need to manage a cash flow, purchasing goods and services with your other pledges, keeping the receipts and claiming back from the cost from City Hall to allow you to continue with later elements in the project.

In some cases a group may not be able to cashflow a project effectively (such as a significant item that needs purchasing up front, without existing funds held by the group). In exceptional circumstances we can look for a solution, and you can flag this when applying to match to our Movement fund.

How do I plan my cashflow?

You need to think about splitting your project down into milestones (distinct deliverable tasks that would proceed in order) and mapping your budget and spend to these activities. This will help you to plan a strong project with the best chance of success.

You should keep records of all of your spend and any receipts related to the project as you will need to show evidence to City Hall to receive your pledge. Your pledge from City Hall can be claimed in stages linked to your milestones.

Do I need to report on progress?

Yes. In general, it is good practice to keep all of your supporters updated as you progress. They will want to know how you are getting on and celebrate in the success. If you are having difficulty, the crowd may also be able to help you out. The Regeneration team will expect to see regular progress updates in a way that suits each project and we would expect you to record all of your achievements. This will be useful in the future (when you might be applying for other sources of funding) to demonstrate that you can deliver a project and that it has had impact

Once our project has been delivered, do we have to do anything?

One the project has been delivered you will be required to fill out a simple evaluation of your project at the end which shows how you have delivered against your initial ambition, any challenges or issues you faced along the way, and lessons you learned as part of the overall experience.

Join us for one of our interactive workshops across London and you will:

  • Find out what the Mayor is offering and what you need to do to get involved
  • Learn from successful projects and access key advice / lessons to ensure your idea can succeed
  • Get insight into the exciting journey you’ll begin and what you can expect from running a crowdfunding campaign and delivering a local project

Sign up for a workshop near you and find out more:

11 April - Mattthews Yard, Croydon - Register here.
12 April - The Library at Willesden Green, Brent - Register here.
13 April - Angel Community Centre, Enfield - Register here.
18 April - Stonegrove Community Trust, Barnet - Register here.
19 April - St. Laurence Centre Catford, Lewisham - Register here.
20 April - Hackney Empire, Hackney - Register here.
25 April - Chiswick Town Hall, Hounslow - Register here.
26 April - Old Kent Road Studios, Southwark - Register here.
27 April - Osmani Centre, Tower Hamlets - Register here.
2 May - The Centre Banqueting, Southall, Ealing - Register here.

Whether this is your first time creating a project or you're a seasoned community organiser, this event will tell you everything you need to know to join in and have the best chance of attracting a pledge from the Mayor!

Following these events, we have a couple of workshops to help you refine your idea before finalising things:

09 May – Workshop: Project Review (Expert Advice for your idea) – Register here

22 May – Workshop: How to run a crowdfunding campaign – Register here

17 May and 7 June - Webinar: How to run an awesome crowdfunding campaign – Register for the May webinar here or register for the June webinar here

Be part of Crowdfund London

Get involved

#CrowdfundLDN