At a virtual meeting yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 27 January) St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet approved the St Helens Borough Arts Strategy – developed with partners across the arts sector – which sets out the strategic direction of the arts, including how it can support post Covid-19 recovery plans and play an important role during future development and regeneration projects.
Inclusive to help ensure every resident has the opportunity to engage with the arts, the strategy has been overseen by a local steering group and comes at a pivotal time, with St Helens once again selected to be Borough of Culture for the Liverpool City Region in 2023.
The strategy centres on seven priorities for action within the next four-years – such as linking arts and heritage projects to drive town centre use, and developing The Dream sculpture as an asset – which council services, local arts organisations and members of the education sector will work together to achieve in the spirit of #StHelensTogether – an ethos adopted to demonstrate how St Helens Borough has united in the fight against coronavirus.
Labour Councillor Anthony Burns, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Culture and Heritage, said:
“We have some fantastic artists, assets, and creative organisations here in St Helens Borough – the council’s very own award-winning St Helens Library Service, which became an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation in 2018 – being one of them.
“This strategy will build on the talent and passions for the arts that already exists, bringing together a shared ambition that has been developed with the arts sector to develop St Helens as an inspiring place to live, work and visit.
“The arts has true social value for the borough, enriching our lives through improving our physical and mental health and well-being, improving self-confidence, helping us to develop new skills, helping to raise attainment in schools, supporting community cohesion and using the creative industries to support economic growth.
“The arts sector has suffered greatly due to the effects of the pandemic. As the vaccinations roll out, hopefully it won’t be too long before we can get back to some sort of normal and enjoy the arts sector once more.
“This is a strategy for everyone and is mindful of all the different forms of art across the borough. I hope that through a shared commitment to work together we can enable the arts to thrive and provide great opportunities for all to enjoy.”
To view the strategy and take part in the consultation, which closes on 28 February, visit: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/VPD51F/