The Ideas Kitchen logo


We’ve listed a few common questions and answers below. If you don’t see what you are looking for, feel free to get in touch here.

What is The Ideas Kitchen?

It’s is where great ideas become great projects in your community. Our mission is to promote and encourage creative ideas and people that benefit the borough of Waltham Forest. Find out more here.

How did The Ideas Kitchen start?

The Ideas Kitchen started as a community project at the Barbican Centre in 2016. It was initially developed alongside a Community Board made up of representatives from Bebop Baby, Gnome House, The Mill and X7eaven Performing Arts. In 2017, The Ideas Kitchen merged with Apex Arts, a local charity that seeks to promote great art and culture in the borough of Waltham Forest. You can read more about our journey here.

When does The Ideas Kitchen happen?


For full dates and to book tickets for The Ideas Kitchen, please see here.

Can anyone apply for The Ideas Kitchen?

If you are aged 18+ and live, work or study in Waltham Forest The you can apply for The Ideas Kitchen. We are looking for local people who have creative ideas that will benefit the local community. To submit an idea, please see here.

What can my idea be about?

Your idea can be anything from storytelling in an elderly care home, to a dance flashmob in the park – as long as it is creative and benefits the Waltham Forest community. We are particularly interested in new ideas that have not received funding before.

What are you looking for?

Ideas that…

  • are original
  • benefit the community
  • have a creative element
  • involve more than one person
  • can be delivered by you, the lead applicant
  • cost between £1000-£1500 to make happen

For specific guidelines, please see here.

Can I get help submitting my idea?

The Barbican Community Ambassadors will be running drop in workshops locally to help you complete your application. You can read more about these workshops here.

They are also available to visit community centres and libraries in the borough, so if you would like to book a visit, please get in touch.

Who will shortlist the applications?

All submitted ideas are read by the Community Board which you can read more about here. The board will select four ideas to be presented at the next Ideas Kitchen.

What happens if I am shortlisted?

You will be invited to pitch your idea at the next Ideas Kitchen in front of a live audience made up of friends, family and local people who want to support projects in their community.

What if I have never pitched in front of people before?

Don’t worry, if you are shortlisted we will run a pitching masterclass to help you develop your presentation.

How does it work on the night?

You will have four minutes to share your shortlisted idea and answer four questions from the audience. Once everyone has pitched their ideas, the attendees will vote for the project that they want to see happen in their community.

What is the prize?

The project with the most votes gets £500 funding, plus all the money donated on the door, which will be doubled by Apex Arts. So in total, you could walk away with up to £1,500 plus mentoring from the Barbican and support to make your idea happen. So the more people that attend, the more money there is to take from donations on the door!

You can read more about how it works here.

What support is included?

The winner will receive mentoring from Apex Arts and the Barbican to develop their idea from the page to the final moment of delivery. This can include support with budgeting, marketing the project and expanding networks.

What happens after I have delivered my idea?

The winner will be invited back to a future Ideas Kitchen to to share how they got on. They will also write a feature blog on the website which will be shared with everyone who voted for and supported their project.

Has this happened anywhere before?

Yes! The Ideas Kitchen is modelled on the Detroit Soup Kitchen which has been really successful and is now a global initiative that has benefited lots of community groups across America.