Last updated: 16 February 2024

Next review: 15 January 2025

Banner with Make it Happen 2024 text

Make It Happen is our flagship grants programme offering seed funding for new cultural and creative projects in Waltham Forest. The funding celebrates the diversity of local communities and shines a light on creative talent across the borough in the process.

The scheme has been designed to support cultural and creative activities taking place in Waltham Forest between May 2024 and January 2025. The refreshed focus of Make It Happen is to get new and sustainable creative ideas off the ground across the borough. The projects need to demonstrate that they can continue to grow after receiving Make It Happen investment, so we can continue to support more innovative ideas.

What we want to see in your application:

  • Legacy: your project has a long-lasting legacy (a pilot project which continues, a tour or further presentation of new work, the beginning of a new creative venture, etc.)
  • Social Impact: your project benefits local communities across Waltham Forest
  • Diversity & Inclusion: your project platforms different perspectives and backgrounds. We are committed to invest in projects from applicants from diverse backgrounds (see below)
  • Local Economic Impact: your project supports other local businesses, creatives and residents (local suppliers, work opportunities, etc.)

You can see some previous Make It Happen projects at the bottom of this page.

Applications Open15 January 2024
Workshops and feedback sessionsVarious dates between 24 January and 6 February 2024
Applications close 25 February 2024 at 5pm
Application review panels March 2024
Successful bidders announced March 2024
Projects begin May 2024

How to apply

The Make It Happen application process will open on 15 January 2024.

We recommend that you read the Make It Happen 2024 guidance pack in full before making a submission: this outlines our funding aims for the grants programme, alongside questions you will be asked to address in your application. 

To apply you will need to complete an application form discussing your proposal in full.

You will also need to complete a budget spreadsheet and a project timeline to indicate key milestones outlining how you will spend the grant – please see the attachments section for templates. 

Make It Happen: Creative Grants Workshops

We held two training sessions for applicants to find out more about the Make It Happen 2024 grants, the wider funding landscape, and ways to strengthen applications. There was an in person session hosted at Good Shepherd Studios in Leytonstone for applicants to come together and develop their ideas through group activities. There was also an online session that was recorded and you can watch below.

Both sessions were facilitated by Hassan Vawda, a lifelong Waltham Forest resident and experienced arts professional who has worked for Tate, Greater London Authority and Arts Council England, and Lewis Toumazou & Niamh Tuft, Programming Managers at Waltham Forest Council coordinating the Make It Happen 2024 grants. The sessions also involved presentations from past recipients of the Make It Happen grants discussing their brilliant projects.


If you have any queries about eligibility or making a submission in another format please message us at

Previous Projects

Group of people listening to music outside

Sound System & Reggae Culture’ exhibition and dance by Don Sinclair Reggae Vibes, 2023 

Don Sinclair Reggae Vibes received funding to deliver an outdoor exhibition and dance that was held at Uplands Business Park exploring the eclectic history and traditions of Afro-Caribbean Sound System culture within Waltham Forest since its arrival to the UK with the Windrush Generation. The event involved 30 participants and attracted 500 visitors to enjoy an original authentic sound system, Caribbean food, performances, talks and interviews with influential members of the Afro-Caribbean community to tell their stories. Following their successful grant, Don Sinclair has applied for Arts Council funding to deliver a sound system festival in Summer 2024.


Person standing next to a Quilt display

Leytonstone LGBTQI+ Quilt Makers’ by Simon Olmetti, 2023

Simon Olmetti brought together 15 members of the LGBTQI+ community of Leytonstone to create a celebratory quilt banner through 6 weekly meetings hosted at the Stone Mini Market's community room. The idea was to create a space where younger members of the queer family can meet the older generation, where people from different backgrounds and walks of life can socialise and share their stories. The quilt is on display inside Stone Mini Market and the quilting group continue to grow and get together once a month.

Group of children doing acrobats on a plank of wood balanced on a wheel

Wing Scuffle Spectacular 2.0’ by Revel Puck Circus at Leyton Jubilee Park, 2023

Revel Puck Circus are a collective of circus professionals, homegrown in Waltham Forest and internationally renowned. They received Make it Happen funding in 2019 during the London Borough of Culture and have gone on to deliver shows in Paris & Edinburgh, including a sold-out show in Leyton Jubilee Park in 2023 that attracted 8,200 visitors. They are now looking for a home in the borough for the House of Puck.