St John's Church and Square

New Cultural Events for Blackpool Town Centre

Blackpool Council has been awarded £80,000 for a programme of new Cultural Events for Blackpool Town Centre, to support high street community cultural engagement.

The £80,000 grant from Historic England is part of the High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) and Community Cultural Programme.

Activities in St John’s Square

Blackpool’s HSHAZ is one of more than 60 high streets in the country to receive a share of £6 million. The proposed community cultural programme aims to deliver events to re-engage local communities within the high street. Activities will focus around St John’s Square (above) and potentially the wider town centre. 

It’s 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.

New Cultural Events for Blackpool Town Centre

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

A Great Opportunity

Cllr Lynn Williams is Blackpool Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Tourism and Culture. She said: “We’re delighted to receive this funding. And to be working in partnership with three of our local heritage charities to deliver it.

“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. Both with 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 proposed themes will be reviewed at the end of the first year through continuous feedback on individual events. There will also be a year-end review workshop. There, 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.”

How we see our High Streets

Duncan Wilson is Chief Executive, Historic England. He said: “The high street cultural programme is a step change in how we think about bringing high streets back from the brink. We’ll start to see these important historic spaces become regenerated through building work. But it’s 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 is Chair of the Winter Gardens Trust. He said “We’re delighted to have been awarded this money. 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. Especially as the main HAZ project is focused on the Winter Gardens and other significant buildings in the conservation area.”

More about the High Streets Heritage Action Zones’ Cultural Programme

The £7.4 million Cultural Programme is part of the £95 million High Streets Heritage Action Zone initiative. It’s currently working across over 60 English high streets. The programme’s funded with £40 million from the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport’s Heritage High Street Fund. £52 million from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Future High Streets Fund. Plus a further £3 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Cultural activity funded by the local grants scheme will take place over the next three years. That’s in tandem with the national commissions organised by Historic England. For the national commissions, artists will work with communities and co-produce artworks inspired by England’s changing high streets. Together, the local grants scheme and the national commissions make up the Cultural Programme. 

Historic England is the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment. From beaches and battlefields to parks and pie shops.

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