McManus: Funding reinforces St Helens’ growing reputation in the arts

St Helens Library Service has been awarded National Portfolio Organisation status from Arts Council England in recognition to work done in libraries; notably the award-winning Cultural Hubs: Arts in Libraries programme
St Helens Library Service has been awarded National Portfolio Organisation status from Arts Council England in recognition to work done in libraries; notably the award-winning Cultural Hubs: Arts in Libraries programme

Saints chairman and borough ambassador Eamonn McManus says the £440k Arts Council funding for the town’s library service reinforces St Helens’ “growing reputation for arts and cultutre”.

Mr McManus was among the first to celebrate the news St Helens Council’s library service had secured the bumper grant to fund the service between April next year and March 2022.

Rule changes mean this year was first time library services have been able to apply for Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisation status.

The award is given to some of the best arts practice in the world, with the town’s library service’s Cultural Hubs: Arts in the Libraries programme the prime reason for the funding.

Mr McManus, who also acts as chairman of the St Helens Economy Board, said: “This Arts Council announcement is an endorser of that ambition and further reinforces St Helens growing reputation for arts and culture activity.

“As an Economy Board and Ambassadors for St Helens we know how important arts and culture will be and it is great to such an investment being made in the borough.”

The library service will now need to submit a business plan to Arts Council End before the end of the year before appointing a group to oversee how the money is spent.

Coun Sue Murphy, portfolio holder for library services, said: “It’s an honour for our library service to be among the first seven library services in the country to achieve this recognition and it is a great testimony to our Cultural Hubs project - which we’re extremely proud of - and of course to our team of dedicated library staff who without, such projects would not be possible.

“This funding will allow our library service to reach out to even more people though arts-based performances, plays, music gigs, exhibitions and workshops, to let the public know that there’s a lot more to our library service than just books.”