Blackpool awarded £80,000 for cultural high street projects

Posted on Wednesday 19th May 2021

open square in town centre with sunny blue sky

Blackpool Council is delighted to announce that it has been awarded an £80,000 grant from Historic England as part of the High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) and Community Cultural Programme.

Blackpool’s HSHAZ is one of more than 60 high streets in the country to receive a share of £6 million for their proposed community cultural programme for a local high street which is aimed at delivering events to re-engage local communities within the high street. Activities will be focused around St John’s Square, Blackpool and potentially the wider town centre. 

It is part of the four-year-long High Streets Heritage Action Zones’ Community Cultural Programme, led by Historic England, in partnership with Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The national Cultural Programme aims to make our high streets more attractive, engaging and vibrant places for people to live, work and spend time. All activity will include elements that specifically seek to engage communities on how they see the future of their high street and their place in it as part of a Heritage Action Zone.

Delivery programme for Blackpool

The delivery plan for the programme for Blackpool has been developed by Blackpool Council in partnership with the Winter Gardens Trust, Blackpool Civic Trust and the Friends of the Grand.

Four main themes

There will be four main activity strands and themes developed for years 1 and 2 (to allow for coronavirus restrictions) which will include Theatre & Performance, Creative, Film and Heritage.

Ideas that are being developed (with specific details being announced later when available) are:

  • Encouraging theatre productions into the street to engage and promote productions to a wider audience
  • Promote Blackpool’s vibrant community of artists and crafts people to showcase their talents and encourage greater participation through workshops
  • To develop film offerings within Blackpool’s venues for diverse audiences including families, dementia friendly groups and other community screening events
  • Delivery of tour and talks on the architectural and social heritage of Blackpool

Cllr Lynn Williams, Blackpool Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Tourism and Culture, said:

“We are delighted to receive this funding and to be working in partnership with three of our local heritage charities to deliver this programme.

“The cultural programme and funding offers very clear opportunities to engage local communities in a number of different ways and on a number of levels with both Blackpool’s heritage and its dynamic and exciting artistic community. We will be revealing more details about the programme as soon as we can.

  “It’s also important that communities are allowed to shape the cultural programme moving forward. The themes that have been proposed are intended to be reviewed at the end of the first year through continuous feedback on individual events. There will also be a year-end review workshop, where communities will be invited to bring forward suggestions for additional or alternative activities or to confirm their support for the continuation of the existing programme into the following year.”

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive, Historic England, said:

“The high street cultural programme is a step change in the way we think about bringing high streets back from the brink. As we start to see these important historic spaces become regenerated through building work, it is the community-led cultural work that helps people to enjoy their high street again and also have a say in what the future of their high street might be.” 

Cllr David Owen, Chair of the Winter Gardens Trust, commented:

“We’re delighted to have been awarded this money and it will be good to be working with our partners at the Civic Trust and Friends of the Grand on a project which we all have a real interest in, particularly as the main Heritage Action Zone project is focused on the Winter Gardens and other significant buildings in the conservation area.”

Posted on Wednesday 19th May 2021

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