UKSPF PRESS RELEASE

Jun 28, 2024

Halton Borough Council celebrates the delivery of key projects under the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) programme, with more to come.

As UKSPF enters the final year of a three-year programme (2022-2025), Halton Borough Council’s Programmes Office, who are overseeing the management, have enabled the delivery of over eight festivals and cultural events, created a new role for a cultural lead, enabled improvements to the customer experience at Widnes Market and the award-winning Brindley Theatre, as well as awarded 17 grants to local community groups.

The funding is split across three key strands:

  • Green, Resilient, Safe Communities
  • Local Culture, Arts, Heritage
  • Town Centres

 Successes in the Green, Resilient, Safe strand include:

The Borough’s inaugural EcoFest held in August 2023 led by Victoria Park Environment Team (VPET), a local community group based at the Park, provided an opportunity to bring a Liverpool City Region-scale project to Halton. The event featured a bamboo parade through the Park led by Imagineer which highlighted bamboo as a sustainable building material of the future. Running alongside the festival were workshops from local cultural organisations and an EcoMarket, held in the Glasshouse, with stalls from creatives, food providers and crafts and the beautiful Butterfly House was open to all visitors. EcoFest was an opportunity to engage visitors with the green agenda via engaging, fun, and free activities. Enjoyed by over 1000 residents, the event helped to establish early discussions about a series of ‘Fests’ in Halton throughout the year.

Furthermore, in December 2023, a smaller WinterFest, included wreath making, an eco-market and a Christmas singalong with Splinters Choir at Esposito’s was also enjoyed by 250+ visitors.

Under the Green, Resilient, Safe strand Ten Green Grants were awarded to Halton groups to carry out gardening and environmental work:

  • Four Estates
  • Wonky Garden
  • Clifton Road Allotment Association
  • Halton Village Millenium Green
  • Green Fingers Gardening Group
  • St John and St Paul’s Transform Widnes
  • Friends of Hale Village
  • Preston Brook Pre-School
  • Grangeway Community Forum, and
  • Forget Me Not Garden.

 

Angela Hayler from Wonky Garden tells us

 “This new addition to the garden has been invaluable and we are so grateful to the different funders who have made this possible. It is so good to have a space where we can come together, whether that’s for leading workshops, carrying out work, demonstrations, sowing or just catching up over a brew. It means that we can operate to a greater degree throughout the colder months and have a strong start to the season with the greenhouse providing protection early in the season. All this means we can grow more produce and have more groups and volunteers take part in activity on site.

 Thank you very much! “

In addition, 500 trees were planted at Ormiston Chadwick School by Year 9 and 10 pupils as part of the Big Halton Forest scheme.

Local Culture, Arts and Heritage strand projects include:

Improvement of the visitor experience through rejuvenated seating at the Brindley Theatre in Runcorn; recruitment of new Cultural Officer alongside a Cultural Strategy for Halton and a fantastic line up of community events including Eurovision celebrations at both Norton Priory and The Studio and Makefest 2023 delivered by Mako, a showcase of makers and creators from across the Borough held at Widnes Library.

In this strand, Seven Cultural Grants were also awarded in March 2024, to support new artwork, publications, events, exhibitions, demonstrations, and live performances to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Halton; the recipient organisations and projects are:

  • Catalyst Museum – New Mural for their café space inspired by 50 years of Catalyst and heritage around Spike Island.
  • Pride in Halton – Funding awarded towards a Pride event at Norton Priory in July.
  • Halton Heritage Partnership – Funding to create live performances of heritage stories of Halton from the last 50 years.
  • Digital Art Box – Working with two schools to create a digital exhibition to be shown at Halton Libraries.
  • Runcorn Community Choir – To help boost their ten-year anniversary performance at the Brindley.
  • FFS (Female Fortuna Society) – To create an illustrated poetry book to be shown at Halton Libraries.
  • Norton Priory – Hazlehurst Artists will be running art demonstrations/activities at Norton every Sunday in June.

Town Centres strand projects include:

Improvements to market stalls at Widnes Market which have now been taken up by tenants and created new job opportunities.

And four fabulous free Town Centre events delivered across the three town centres Widnes, Runcorn Old Town and Halton Lea – a Comicon and a Marketfest music event at Widnes Market, a contribution to the fireworks display in November, and Makefest 2024 this time held at Halton Lea Library and the Shopping Centre in March 2024.

Exciting plans for Year 3 and the final year of the programme include:

Improvements to a subway a Riddings Lane, to make it safer and more accessible and will include a mural by a local artist; the cleaning up of Church Street in Runcorn to include new seating and planting; the development of an allotment site at Montgomery Road, Widnes; a business support programme; and a cultural activity programme to coincide with Halton’s 50th Anniversary. 

Steph Davies from Halton Borough Council’s Programmes Office says ‘this funding has provided a real boost for both the Council and community groups, enabling new projects to be delivered, and we are delighted with the progress made to date and excited to see the remaining projects flourish over the final year’

For further information, images and interviews please contact

suzie@viv-id.co.uk

 

Notes to editor:

 

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) is a central pillar of the UK government’s ambitious Levelling Up agenda and a significant component of its support for places across the UK. The fund is part of a suite of funding which begins to replace the previous European Structural Funds and aims to empower local lead authorities to identity opportunities to build pride in place, improve the places in which people live and supporting individuals and businesses to thrive, by:

 

  • Boosting productivity, pay, jobs and living standards by growing the private sector, especially in those places where they are lagging
  • Spreading opportunities and improve public services, especially in those places where they are weakest
  • Restoring a sense of community, local pride and belonging, especially in those places where they have been lost
  • Empowering local leaders and communities, especially in those places lacking local agency.

 

Each area of the UK has received an allocation from the fund via a funding formula rather than a competition. Liverpool City Region acts as a Lead Authority and the projects for Halton are delivered by Halton Borough Council Programmes Office.

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