Vote for council’s cultural hub to win BBC prize

Paul Mangan performing at St Helens Central Library
Paul Mangan performing at St Helens Central Library

St Helens Council’s Arts and Libraries teams are appealing for local votes as they aim for national acclaim for their Cultural Hubs project on BBC One in this year’s National Lottery Awards.

The project beat off stiff competition from over 600 organisations to reach the public voting stage in this year’s awards – the annual search for the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects.

The project is competing against six other projects to be crowned the winner of the Arts category. Cultural Hubs is St Helens Council’s Arts In Libraries project.

Funded through National Lottery money distributed through Arts Council England’s Grants For The Arts Fund (libraries) the project has enabled both established professional and emerging arts companies, performers and artists from across the country to bring their talents to St Helens.

A varied programme, steered by local community commissioning groups, enables a diverse programme to be shown across the network of our 13 libraries.

Winners of the seven National Lottery Awards categories will each get a £3,000 cash prize to spend on their project, an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy and attend a star-studded glittering awards ceremony in London, broadcast on BBC One in September.

The Cultural Hubs programme is bringing people of all ages through the doors - with activities ranging from arts workshops to challenging drama performances.

Examples include drop-in music technology sessions, art installations and ballet. The National Lottery grant has enabled both established professional and emerging arts companies, performers and artists from across the country to bring their talents to St Helens.

Sue Williamson, head Of libraries for St Helens Council, says winning the prestigious National Lottery Award and having their work showcased on national television would be an honour.

She said: “We’re delighted that our Cultural Hubs Arts in Libraries programme has reached the finals of The National Lottery Awards.

“Lottery money has really helped us to provide a varied programme of brilliant cultural activities across our 13 libraries.

“It’s easy to vote, so please support us to get this award in recognition of St Helens as a great place to be, of the role libraries can play in supporting and developing culture and the arts and of the fantastic contribution of all involved in the project for their hard work.”

Coun Jeanie Bell, cabinet member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “The Cultural Hubs programme hosted in St Helens Libraries has been a phenomenal success.

“The notion of arts in libraries is one example of the many innovations undertaken throughout the library service in St Helens.

“Bringing performance based arts and workshops into public spaces such as libraries builds on the foundation of libraries being at the heart of communities, places for learning, discovery, sharing of knowledge and support.

“It’s a tradition we are proud of in St Helens.”

To vote for Cultural Hubs, please go to lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards or telephone 0844 836 9705 and follow the campaign on twitter: hashtag #NLAwards. Voting runs until midnight on Wednesday, July 20.