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St Helens' year as Borough of Culture hailed a success

The curtain may have come down on St Helens' time as Liverpool City Region 'Borough of Culture' but the impact will last for years to come.

BoC Handover

Article date: 29 December 2023

Throughout 2023, a packed programme of free family-friendly events led by St Helens Borough Council were held in various locations in line with the theme of celebrating the borough's past and building for the future, with more than £80,000 in grant funded allocated to a number of community groups to organise their own events for residents to enjoy. 

Kicking-off with a launch event in the World of Glass Museum attended by 3,000 people, Borough of Culture momentum grew and grew, with 'One Amazing Day' bringing a carnival-like atmosphere to St Helens Town Centre in April - drawing in crowds of more than 5,000 - while the jaw-droppingly good aerial show 'As The World Tipped' attracted more than 2,000 people to Birchley Street Car Park.  

As well as some ambitious new events that have never been staged in the borough before, including the aforementioned 'One Amazing Day' and 'As The World Tipped' - on top of several other crowd-favourites like 'Brasstastic' which saw five of the borough's brass bands come together for an afternoon of live music in Victoria Park - many annual popular events, like St Helens Pride, Armed Forces Day and the Christmas lights switch on shows, headlined by Earlestown based-band, The K's, formed part of Borough of Culture - taking the overall attendance figures around the 200,000 mark. 

Hailing St Helens' year a success at an event in St Helens Town Hall where Borough of Culture was officially handed over to Wirral, Councillor Anthony Burns, St Helens Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Culture and Heritage, said:  

"It has been an absolute pleasure to be the Liverpool City Region's Borough of Culture for 2023 - an important year for our borough which has seen a number of significant milestones such as Saints' 150th anniversary and 75 years since we formed a twinning partnership with the German city of Stuttgart - not to mention the sporting success which has put our borough on the map, with Saints winning the World Club Challenge down under in Australia and darts sensation, Michael Smith, being crowned PDC World Darts champion, which we as a council recognised by awarding him the Freedom of the Borough. 

"From start to finish, our year as Borough of Culture has been incredible, with a wide variety of family friendly events bringing people together to celebrate the very best of the borough. A huge thanks to our events and arts and libraries teams for their work in putting this together and to all the community groups across the borough who worked hard to make it an extra special year- and the very best of luck to Wirral for their upcoming year as Borough of Culture in 2024." 

Launched by Mayor of Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, in 2018 as part of his 1% for culture initiative to commit investing 1% of the Combined Authority's budget directly into culture and creativity, the Borough of Culture title rotates around the areas that make up Liverpool City Region, with 2023 being St Helens' second time since its inaugural year.