Task Force launced to promote Liverpool’s “soul”

A task force has been launched to promote one of the UK’s most important historical and cultural urban sites.

Liverpool’s St George’s Quarter, which has been dubbed ‘the city’s soul’, is home to a unique collection of museums, art galleries, theatres, memorial gardens, concert rooms and civic halls forming a critical part of the city’s World Heritage Site and attracts over six million visitors a year.

It is also Liverpool’s gathering point in times of celebration and commemoration, such as the opening night of European Capital of Culture year and the Giants parade to vigils for the victims of the Hillsborough disaster and the annual Remembrance Day services.

Now representatives from the venues, including public sector partners, have joined forces to launch the St George’s Quarter Community Interest Company (C.I.C).

Acting as a task force, the C.I.C will unveil a 5 year business plan in Liverpool’s newly revamped, award-winning, Central Library tomorrow (Friday, October 24), outlining a 10 year vision ‘to promote, animate and regenerate our quarter of the city’.

St George’s Quarter has witnessed almost £250m of regeneration in the past decade to several world famous buildings such as St George’s Hall, Liverpool Playhouse, Walker Art Gallery, Empire Theatre and Lime Street station – with multi-million investment on site at the Royal Court Theatre, St Johns Shopping Centre and Holiday Inn with potential redevelopment for the Churchill Flyover.

But the newly formed C.I.C has been established in response to Liverpool city council’s masterplan – the Strategic Investment Framework (SIF) – which as the blueprint for the city centre’s future highlighted the quarter as a key economic driver with a major revamp necessary if HS2 comes to Liverpool.

Members of the C.I.C have already run two highly successful family fun days to mark St George’s Day and launched an app in the summer to promote the hundreds of events that attract millions of people each year to the Quarter, such as Light Night and the John Moore’s Painting Prize.

And a major element of the 13 page plan is to develop the Quarter as a hub for seasonal events and improve its night time offer, with an overhaul of signage and lighting a key recommendation.

Gilliam Millar, Chair of the St George’s Quarter C.I.C and Chief Executive of the Royal Court Trust, said:

“This business plan is a crucial moment in time for St George’s Quarter and for Liverpool as exciting plans are now taking shape under the SIF.

“The quarter is highly unique and greatly treasured by the people of Liverpool and visitors alike – it is in so many ways the soul of the city.

“In this era of austerity and public sector cuts it is time that we in the private sector stepped up to the plate to act as custodians of this Quarter – much in the way our Victorian counterparts did in creating it and bequeathing us all such wonderful spaces.

“We all have one thing in common, the desire to improve this area for local communities, tourists, businesses and particularly for families – especially in the evening.

“This business plan is the first step on a long journey but it is a vital one in ensuring the voice of this Quarter is heard and plays a vital role in its future development.’’

Assistant Mayor and Cabinet Member for culture and tourism, Councillor Wendy Simon, is attending the unveiling of the plan tomorrow.

Councillor Simon said:

“I’m delighted this important partnership has been developed to focus on the future of one of the city’s most important historical and cultural areas.

“This task force brings together people from the public and private sector which can only benefit the Quarter as we all strive towards doing everything we can to make it an even more desirable area for residents, tourists and business people to visit, enjoy and invest in.”

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