Kirkham has been awarded an £80,000 grant from Historic England to create and deliver community-led cultural activities on the high street over the next three years.
The historic Fylde coast market town is one of more than 60 across England to receive a share of £6m to deliver a Cultural Programme as part of the town’s High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) status which was awarded last year.
Historic England has announced grants of up to £120,000 to local arts organisations for cultural activity on each high street.
The £80,000 grant awarded to Kirkham will enable the town’s Cultural Consortium to deliver:
– A programme of creative art-based commissions – each inspired by Kirkham’s richly diverse heritage
– The creation of an interactive heritage trail focusing on listed buildings and historic local stories
– A series of town centre murals that will animate and illuminate Kirkham’s industrial past
– The development of an annual heritage event, with imaginative displays, which will provide visitors with the opportunity to travel back in time, while sampling delicious local food and drink
– The set-up of a shop which will become the base for ‘Artists in Residence’ – showcasing artwork created by both artists and individuals who take part in a series of activities
– It is hoped the programme of events and initiatives will not only inspire local creativity but improve health and wellbeing through increased community and social engagement
The four-year-long High Streets Heritage Action Zones’ (HSHAZ) Cultural Programme, led by Historic England, in partnership with Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, aims to make high streets more attractive, engaging, and vibrant places for people to live, work and spend time.
Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, said: “The high street Cultural Programme is a step change in the way we think about bringing high streets back from the brink.
“As we start to see these important historic spaces become regenerated through building work, it is the community-led cultural work that helps people to enjoy their high street again and also have a say in what the future of their high street might be.”
Kirkham’s Cultural Consortium was formed to deliver engaging community heritage art projects as part of the town’s £3.5m four-year HSHAZ programme.
Funded by Historic England, Fylde Borough Council and Kirkham Town Council, the programme is designed to revive the high street, restore local historic character, revitalise disused buildings, improve health and well-being and develop a new cultural vision for the town.
Now, thanks to the Historic England grant, the Cultural Consortium’s recently successful ‘Kirkham Treasures’ pilot project can be widened to create far more creative opportunities over the next three years.
Helen Juste, Kirkham Cultural Consortium’s Cultural Producer, said: “This grant provides an exciting opportunity for the community to create a cultural vision for their town.
“The three-year Cultural Programme will deliver a wealth of opportunities for individuals to work with professional artists to create artwork that will animate the town. It is an exciting time for Kirkham, for the community to work together, to bring alive Kirkham’s past while improving its future prospects, assisting in its regeneration.”
The Consortium, which is made up of residents and volunteers from the local business community, works closely with Kirkham’s town centre businesses.
Heidi Hopkinson, co-owner of Serendipity House gift shop on Poulton Street and Chair of Kirkham Business Group, said: “We are delighted the Cultural Consortium has been awarded this grant by Historic England and we cannot wait to see the cultural vision take shape over the coming months.
“There are a number of major projects happening over the next few years as part of the HSHAZ programme that are so important for the regeneration and future of Kirkham town centre. It is exciting times for the town”
You can keep up to date, and get involved, with Kirkham’s cultural projects as they take shape by visiting www.kirkhamtreasures.co.uk
To find out what’s happening in your area, follow @HistoricEngland @HE_NorthWest #HistoricHighStreets and visit: www.HistoricEngland.org.uk/HighStreetCulture