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Welcome to our new website!

You’ve probably noticed that things have changed a bit. We haven’t finished updating all our pages yet, so some sections are still using this design. Please bear with us...

Developing your creative business or project

Your creative business

You are starting up or continuing your creative business - a gallery, theatre, performing arts venue, creative project. Or you may be hosting a one off event, activity or workshop. If so, the following agencies can provide you with the relevant information, resources, support and advice, for new starters and for business as usual.

Business planning and development

Southwark business team

If you own a business located in Southwark or you are thinking about starting a business, and you would like to find out more about the business support and advice services available in the borough, please call 020 7525 5353 or email Business Support 

Community Southwark  

Community Southwark  is the umbrella organisation (or Council for Voluntary Services) for the voluntary and community sector in Southwark. CAS fulfils three key strategic functions for the voluntary and community sector in Southwark: support, influence and providing connections. CAS have a wealth of resources to support organisations from inception to resilience and sustainability.  

Creative Cultural Skills  

Creative and Cultural Skills provide an A to Z of creative skills, information and resources you need to develop and sustain your creative practice.  

Southwark Chamber of Commerce and Industry 

Become a member of the Southwark Chamber of Commerce and Industry along with over 12,500 registered businesses in the borough.

Business registration

Charities Commission

Thinking of setting up a charity? This is where you do it. The Charity Commission holds all the resources you need, online, to register and start running your charity. 

Companies House

If you are thinking about setting up a Limited Company, Companies House is where companies go to incorporate and dissolve themselves.

Companies House examines and stores company information delivered under the Companies Act and related legislation; and makes this information available to the public.

Income generation

Grants and funding

Capital and project funding is out there, it’s just about knowing where to look. A good starting point is our grants and funding page, we’ve complied regular funders and trusts, support and advice services, search sites and alternative routes.

Legal advice


LawWorks supports lawyers to volunteer their professional skills to assist individuals and community groups who cannot afford to pay for legal help and who are unable to access legal aid or other forms of financial assistance.  

Lawyers Volunteering for the Arts  

Lawyers Volunteering for the Arts (LVFA) is a pro bono legal project set up in 2012 by a group of London law firms who wanted to offer pro bono legal support to the arts community. LVFA aims to encourage solicitors to provide free legal advice to low income and not-for-profit arts and cultural organisations or community groups.

LVFA are looking to work with arts organisations that would otherwise not be in a position to afford legal advice and might have suitable issues or projects that would benefit from free advice from a qualified solicitor.

"We are interested in helping organisations active in any aspect of the cultural sector, including abstract, conceptual and performance art, visual arts, and performance arts such as music, dance and theatre."  


Property and space

Find a property or space via Southwark Council's property team, local commercial agents, to arts and cultural venues with space for hire.

The Ethical Property Foundation  

The Ethical Property Foundation can support you to manage and negotiate the right terms for your business when securing a property. The Ethical Property Foundation offers free one to one, impartial property advice to charities, voluntary groups, and not-for-profit organisations.  

Business rates  

If you are a charity you can automatically receive an 80% reduction in rates. However if you are not you can apply for a reduction, however this is discretionary and rarely awarded so this should not be assumed when making any financial calculations.

More information about rates can be found on our business rates page.

Business use

Does your brand new property have the correct ‘use’ category for your business? Not sure what that is, or what the current use is? Want to change it? Take a look at our planning permission for business premises page, and click on the link for the use classes.


A launch, event, private view, performance; any one off event will need a licence. If you decide to diversify take a look at what else you will need to apply for a licence.

Audience development

Audience Agency  

The Audience Agency are the people to speak to if you want to reach a specific, or any audience. They have the audience research and insight data for London to give you a detailed analysis of local audiences. So if you are looking for more bums on seats, or footfall to rival a stampede, contact the Audience Agency


Aligning your business with the right network can prove fruitful if you choose to collaborate, fundraise and raise awareness of your business activities. There are a range of networks operating in the borough that specialise in locality and different art forms.  


Before you take out a two page spread in the Guardian, why not take a look at some cost effective ways of marketing what you do.

Planning an event

Check out our comprehensive checklist of things to consider when planning an event - large or small.

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Southwark Council
PO BOX 64529
London SE1P 5LX

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