Kingston Council is finalising its bid to become the first London Borough of Culture, with its application set to be submitted by December 1.

The London Borough of Culture is a new scheme launched by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, to strengthen the city’s international reputation and highlight hidden gems.

Each winner will receive £1.1million to fund cultural programmes, and six runners-up will also receive a share of £600,000 to fund individual projects.

Kingston Council has been busily preparing its bid, with local artists, communities and the many and various cultural events at its heart.

Councillor Kevin Davis, leader of Kingston Council, said: “To be the first London Borough of Culture would not only be an outstanding accolade, but would also build on what the council is already doing, including creating new strategies to focus our efforts on economic growth and development, community engagement and culture.

“We’re at the start of a journey to having deeper and richer conversations with local communities, the results of which will shape Kingston’s future. It’s an exciting time for our royal borough and its communities, and my hope is that Kingston becomes the first ever London Borough of Culture.”

Earlier this month, the council held a “state of the borough” meeting, which included culture as one of its main topics.

At the meeting, Robin Hutchinson, chair of Creative Youth, said: “My younger self would be so pleased and proud to know that this borough has put culture and creativity at the heart of its growth strategy, because this is a borough full of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.

“Our past is littered with examples; our heritage is written by people with dirty fingernails, who made things, designed things, sold things, invented – something we should be infinitely proud about.”

Surrey Comet passionately believes Kingston has what it takes to receive the title, and be recognised as a beacon of culture within the capital.

The Rose Theatre, not yet 10 years old but already drawing world-class talent, the Korean Festival, the Carnival, the markets, whacky events like Surbiton Ski Sunday, the International Youth Arts Festival, celebrating its tenth anniversary next year – all of these and many more mean Kingston is a borough to be proud of.

Executive producer at the Rose Theatre Jerry Gunn said: “At the Rose we collaborate with the best theatre-makers, musicians and artists in order to contribute to Kingston’s rich cultural scene. Collaborators include Trevor Nunn, John Malkovich and Judi Dench who starred in A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by our Founding Artistic Director and giant of British theatre, Sir Peter Hall.

“As well as being the biggest producing theatre in south west London we also house world-renowned musicians such as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and regularly host the nation’s favourite comedians including Ed Byrne, Jenny Éclair and Stewart Lee. We think Kingston is a hugely deserving candidate for the title of London Borough of Culture and are proud to be part of such an artistic community.”

The winners will be decided in February 2018.