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Halton Council To Invest £500k To Increase Arts Participation

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019 2:33pm

By Chris McKeon - Local Democracy Reporter

Halton Council is hoping to invest up to £500,000 in the arts during its stint as the city region’s Borough of Culture in 2021.

The Borough of Culture year will see Halton receive £200,000 from the city region to invest in a series of events designed to increase participation in the arts.

But council officer Chris Patino told a council committee meeting on Monday night that the local authority was looking to “double that to £400,000 or even £500,000 and invest that into culture”.

Plans for 2021 are still in their early stages, but Cllr Eddie Jones, Halton’s executive board member for economic development, said he hoped the money would allow the council to implement plans it had previously had to abandon due to budget constraints.

Cllr Jones said: “We are struggling currently to deliver a number of visitor economy and public events that have been popular over the years.”

He added: “We’ve got a lot of foundations that we can try and build on that we have not been able to because of the financial implications. I’ve got three pages of ideas here.

“It’s a big ask and the money that’s been mentioned sounds like a lot of money but in the terms of this conversation that we have just had isn’t a lot of money.

“There’s a lot to do, but hopefully it’s going to be a good year.”

The Borough of Culture scheme sees the title rotate through each borough in the city region, beginning with St Helens in 2018 and moving on to Wirral this year.

Next year will see Sefton’s turn before Halton in 2021 and Knowsley in 2022.

Council officer Wesley Rourke told councillors on Monday that 2021 would see Halton celebrate its past, present and future and “the innovation and dynamism in the borough”, including its industrial heritage.

Cllr Jones added: “I think it’s important that we try and lay our a strategy around legacy. I want to personally, as a citizen of the borough, be able to go around with my grandkids and say that’s what we did in the year we were Borough of Culture.”

The council had intended to begin consulting on ideas for its Borough of Culture year before the end of 2019, but the General Election means this will now be pushed back to January.

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