St Helens’ year as Liverpool City Region’s Borough of Culture enjoyed a fitting finale as the title was handed to Wirral at a spectacular event on Saturday 8 December, as a dazzling light projection brought St Helens Town Hall to life.
Speaking about the handover, Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said: “It is very exciting to see Wirral officially take over as our Borough of Culture for 2019. I know that they have a very exciting programme of cultural events planned for the year ahead.
“It has been a great year for St Helens, as they have celebrated their 150th anniversary, and this event was a fitting finale.
“Culture and creativity are an integral part of our city region’s DNA. They are what we are known for and integral to achieving our vision for a prosperous, fair and exciting place to live, work and invest. The Borough of Culture celebrations are just one element of boosting culture and creativity across the whole of the city region.”
Speaking at the event, Phil Redmond, Chair of the Liverpool City Region Cultural Partnership, said: “The beauty of the Borough of Culture programme is that, as well as giving all areas of the city region the opportunity to showcase their cultural highlights, it also stimulates creativity by giving people the chance to join in and get involved.”
Commenting on the past year, St Helens Council Leader Derek Long said: “We’re proud to have been Liverpool City Region’s first Borough of Culture.
“Our 150th anniversary year has been packed with award winning cardboard castles, a tribute day to commemorate the unsung heroes of the borough, and a tasty International Food and Drink Festival attended by thousands of residents, as well as a 70 strong delegation from Stuttgart to celebrate 70 years of a successful twinning partnership. I’m sure our friends in Wirral will have as great a year.
“This experience will certainly leave a lasting legacy in St Helens, and as a council that is looking to capitalise on the borough’s growing reputation as a centre for excellence for arts and culture, we will now build on this success and lay the foundations for a thriving future.”
Cllr Phil Davies, Leader of Wirral Council, said: “We are thrilled that Wirral has been awarded the title of Borough of Culture for 2019. We’ve had a fantastic response to the highlights we’ve revealed so far but we know that there is so much more to come and we’re looking forward to unveiling the full programme in the new year.
“We have set ourselves a high bar following the success of this year’s Imagine Wirral programme but I am confident that 2019 will be bigger and even better.”
The Borough of Culture title is awarded by the city region’s Combined Authority to one of its six local authorities (Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral) on a rotating, annual basis.
The title is part of a £300,000 funding package to support cultural events through the year, delivered as part of the city region’s pioneering 1% for Culture programme.
The 1% for Culture programme saw Liverpool City Region become the first in the country to commit to spending the equivalent of 1% of its annual £30 million devolution funding from government to support cultural activities.
A competition has just been launched to find a winning design for the official logo for the Borough of Culture to be used by each borough in their year of the award.
The competition is open to anyone aged 16 years or over, amateur or professional, living in the Liverpool City Region. More details on the logo competition and how to enter are available at http://liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk/logo-competition