With Barnet launching its first-ever bid to be named London’s Borough of Culture, we spoke to Cllr Ammar Naqvi, cabinet member for culture, leisure, arts and sports, about what the scheme would mean.

He writes: "This would be an opportunity to lead the capital’s artistic life for one year.

"We’re a borough that cares for people, our places and the planet, and promoting culture and becoming a borough of fun is a big part of that mission.

"The cultural life of Barnet encompasses art, literature, film, theatre, music, spoken word, sports, food festivals and more. Our ambition is to celebrate and supercharge our artistic scene, so we become a beacon of creativity for all of London. Winning this bid will help us on that journey.

"As part of the bid, we’ve created the Barnet Cultural Canvas, an opportunity for residents to say what cultural experiences they love about Barnet – through our website at engage.barnet.gov.uk/culture or on social media using the hashtag #OurBarnetCanvas

"We want everyone in Barnet to share their ideas to help shape our borough’s cultural landscape.

"We’ve already been taking strides in promoting culture and creativity. We hosted more than 80 events during the London Festival of Architecture and are nurturing creative communities through our programs.

"A successful bid for the London Borough of Culture would be a golden opportunity, bringing £1.35 million in funding and boosting the artistic life of Barnet.

"Borough of Culture status would also drive economic growth, attracting visitors, creative professionals and businesses, boosting our creative buzz and status as a destination.

"This influx of innovation will bring significant job opportunities, bolstering the local economy. The spotlight on our vibrant cultural scene will help nurture our local talent, enriching Barnet as a breeding ground for successful creative careers.

"We are making this journey together as residents, drawing on all our heritage, interests and talents. I’m asking as many of my fellow Barnet residents as possible to say what culture means to us, how we secure the London Borough of Culture in 2027, and how we become a model for supporting a rich and inspirational cultural life for residents.

"Join us on the journey at engage.barnet.gov.uk/culture and fill out the questionnaire and fingers crossed with your help, we’ll win."