Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of the Council, met up with a new tenant of Barking’s unique ‘A House for Artists’ today (Monday 14 March).

Cllr Rodwell met local photographer Jimmy Lee who is set to move into his new apartment in the Grayson Perry backed arts development.

Cllr Rodwell said: “It’s great to meet Jimmy, a hugely talented local photographer who I am glad to see is settling in so well in this brilliant House for Artists.”

Jimmy said: “I am really happy to finally be moving into this superb development, it is personally really important to me as I was born and bred here and work with a lot of the community.

“Not only has it helped me stay in the borough close to my parents, but it will also enable me to produce art with local residents that reflects a borough bursting with local talent, culture and attitude through all generations that live here.

“And hopefully the east end art from this house will inspire more working-class people like myself from this borough and beyond to express themselves and get creative.”

A House for Artists is the only development of its type in the country. It features 12 apartments at subsidised rent for artists and features ground floor studio space for the artists to work with the local community, initially in partnership with Create London.

It forms part of Barking and Dagenham Council’s plans to support home-grown talent and to attract artists and craftspeople to the borough, and has been supported by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who has invested £690,000 towards the project.

Cllr Rodwell said: “The House for Artists is not only great for creatives but also for the wider community who will be able to access educational projects provided by artists living there.

“It’s also part of our drive to make Barking and Dagenham a creative powerhouse in London – we already have Eastbrook Studios in Dagenham on the way and also The Wharf Studios alongside a vibrant arts community along the banks of the River Roding.

“So, it’s a case of move over Hoxton, Hackney or Berlin – it’s Barking and Dagenham where the art’s at.”

A House for Artists is commissioned by Create London and funded by the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham (LBBD) and the Mayor of London, and delivered by Be First (working on behalf of LBBD).