A business incubator; a place to throw around ideas; a safe, pressure-free space; a way to galvanise a town’s creativity.

A Surbiton-based charity hopes its new working space, funded by a grant from the Mayor of London, will be all of this as well as a challenge to the idea of high street decline.

The Community Brain, the group behind events like Ski Sunday, the King’s Soup and Seething Sardine festival, has been given £17,000 by Boris Johnson’s high street fund for its Museum of Futures.

Director Robin Hutchinson said: “It’s going to provide a home for a lot of activities that at the moment are without location, and I hope it will have a big impact on the way people perceive Surbiton.

“It will reflect what our locality was like in the past, but help envision what it might be like in the future, by harnessing the energy and imagination of the broadest cross-section of our community to challenge any sense there is of inevitable decline.

“We’re extremely grateful to the high street fund for having confidence in us and sharing the same excitement about what’s possible.”

The dream is “a space in which people can feel comfortable and not feel that everything they say out loud has to be done”, he said.

Mr Johnson said: “London’s high streets are no longer about retail alone, and I am thrilled to be supporting projects that seek to diversify and unlock opportunities in our most prized urban assets.”

A home for the museum has not yet been found, but it will be set up inside a vacant shop somewhere in Surbiton.

Alison Persson, from the Surbiton Business Community (SBC), said: “I see this as a way of bringing together all areas of the community.

“There will be an underlying perception study of what people who live in Surbiton expect, want and need from their high street.

“We’re hoping in about a year’s time that we will have quite a lot of feedback that businesses can use.” SBC has contributed an extra £2,000 to the museum cause.