Entry: "Waheed Alli to support development of Rich Mix, a 19m creative arts factory in East London"

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Leading British Asian businessman Waheed Alli, the Labour peer and media entrepreneur, has agreed to Chair a development group to help raise 6m for Rich Mix, a major new creative arts factory in East London opening in 2004.

Lord Alli will be working for the Rich Mix Cultural Foundation which was launched in April 2002 to create a 19m arts, culture and education centre near Brick Lane in the East London Borough of Tower Hamlets, focusing on the promotion and celebration of British arts and cultural diversity. The Rich
Mix complex will be the largest project of its kind in the UK and will include 3 cinemas, a gallery, recording studios, IT suite, cafe-bar, business units for creative industries, artists studios and a spectacular rooftop live performance venue with panoramic views across East London.

The buildings that will house the project have been secured as part of over 13m funding that has been raised to date, including 3.8m from the Millennium Commission and 3.5m from the London Development Agency. Lord Alli will be supporting the efforts to deliver the project and the remaining 6m required. He will also help scrutinise the Rich Mix business plans and proposed funding structures to ensure that they are continually tested to be workable and financially sound.

Lord Alli said: Creative vitality is crucial to the future of Britain, economically and socially. We need to develop cultural facilities which nurture creativity, understanding and skills, and - importantly - we must ensure that access to these is available to all, regardless of ethnic, economic or social background.

Rich Mix is just such a project. For me it represents the future of cultural activity in Britain, a new kind of arts centre for the 21st century. I see it as a 'Creative Arts Factory', a place of exchange between different artforms, communities and cultural traditions; a place to foster learning, professional development, enjoyment of all cultural forms at all levels and for all people; and a ladder of opportunity for engagement in the arts and access to the cultural industries.

It is the scale and ambition of Rich Mix which impresses me and I want to do everything I can to ensure that the project is a success and delivers fully on its massive potential.

If you want to know more about the Rich Mix Project you can visit their website www.richmix.org.uk or write to them at:

The Rich Mix Cultural Foundation, 26 Calvert Avenue, London E2 7JP.