St Helens Council to extend events programme including Christmas lights switch-on

For 2019-20 St Helens Council will have a budget of 211,000 to fund its events - including the Christmas lights switch-on
For 2019-20 St Helens Council will have a budget of 211,000 to fund its events - including the Christmas lights switch-on
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St Helens Council has backtracked on plans to cut its events budget.


Last year the local authority revealed it was to axe its events programme for 2019-20 as part of its attempts to claw back £20.6 million by 2020.

This included pulling financial support for the Christmas lights switch-on.

Thousands of people packed into Church Square for the Christmas lights switch-on in December, which was a scaled-down affair from previous years.

Making the announcement last April, the council said it would continue to fund events throughout 2018 – including the Christmas lights switch-on – but would cease financial support from this year.

However, 12 months on a decision has been taken to extend the council’s events programme for 2019-20.

For 2019-20 the council will have a budget of £211,000 to fund its events, which is less than the £223,00 budget for the previous financial year.

The council previously said it hoped organisations and community groups would “take ownership” of events in St Helens.

Following the U-turn, a council spokesman said the local authority has now “made a commitment to work more collaboratively” with business and partners in the future.

A council spokesman said: “We recognise the importance of creating a vibrant borough full of activities that encourage people to visit our towns and villages.

“This helps boost the economy as they make the most of the wide range of shops, restaurants, cafes and bars we have to offer and provide positive experiences for communities to come together and take pride in where they live.

“These events also play an important part of our focus to reimagine what our town centre will offer to residents and visitors.

“We have made a commitment to work more collaboratively with businesses and partners in the future and this work is already under way.

“We appreciate that this is something that will take time to develop though so we are drawing from funds set aside for arts and culture to continue to provide a programme of events that will engage, entertain, boost the economy and have a positive impact on our communities.”