November 30, 2021
World Heart Beat Music Academy and Wandsworth Council have been awarded £800,000 from the government’s Levelling Up Fund (LUF) towards the creation of an innovative new music education centre and concert venue in Nine Elms.
The registered charity was awarded space in Embassy Gardens in 2018 as ‘cultural anchor tenants’ by Wandsworth Council and local developers EcoWorld Ballymore from a competitive field of 42 cultural organisations. The building has a 50-year lease at £1 a year.
World Heart Beat joins several other ‘cultural anchor’ tenants such as Matt’s Gallery, Chocolate Films and Theatre503 as they begin to move into the regeneration area.
Councillor Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, said: “Securing £800,000 of the Levelling Up Fund is a huge milestone for Wandsworth Council and World Heart Beat. As ‘cultural anchor’ partners, this money will go towards cementing a musical base into the very fabric of Nine Elms, a place that is fast becoming a destination for arts and cultural organisations. We look forward to continuing the fantastic work that World Heart Beat are already doing in the Nine Elms community to reach new audiences and bring music to our vibrant neighbourhood.”
Sahana Gero, Founder and Artistic Director of World Heart Beat Music Academy, said: “We are overjoyed to have received this transformational award from the Levelling Up Fund, which brings us close to our fundraising target. We believe that our new building, which is cutting-edge, will be a blueprint for the future of music education and an incredible asset for the community, in an area desperately in need of concert venues. Our vision is to create an inspirational space for music, which is truly outstanding. And now, with the final £600,000 to raise, we hope businesses and individuals will jump in to support us. We have a ‘shopping list’ which includes everything from microphones to naming the auditorium!”
The news comes as World Heart Beat start work on the construction of their new premises which is situated next to the US Embassy and near the new Nine Elms Tube station. The new space will benefit thousands of young people, many from disadvantaged backgrounds in the local area and across the borough of Wandsworth.
The money raised will go towards World Heart Beat’s new Embassy Gardens site and to extend their work at their existing music academy in Kimber Road, Wandsworth. The total project cost is £3.2m and to date £2.6m has been raised to include the LUF award. To reach their target, World Heart Beat has now launched the final phase of its fundraising campaign, to raise the last £600,000 to enable them to fully realise their vision.
The new Embassy Gardens music centre will be a centre for musical excellence, providing thousands more students with music education whilst doubling teaching capacity each year. It will allow World Heart Beat to continue with their community-informed approach to engage young people and residents in the Nine Elms area including those living in the nearby Patmore, Savona, Carey Gardens, Doddington and Rollo estates.
Funds will also help provide top quality recording studios and kit, enabling the charity to record students first EPs and together with their industry partners, teach a breadth of music industry skills such as sound engineering.
The new centre will be the first public concert hall to open in London since 2008, equipped with state-of-the-art technology. The high-quality acoustics and performance space will provide a platform for an array of artists, from students to young people at the very start of their careers, and ‘household names’ performing everything from western classical, to Indian music, jazz, and more.
Main construction on the site began on Monday 8 November with a view to being completed in the spring, ready for launch in autumn 2022.