The winners of the 2019 Liverpool City Region Culture and Creativity Awards have been named at a glittering ceremony.

The awards, which took place at the Lady Lever Art Gallery in this year’s Borough of Culture, Wirral, were created by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority to celebrate outstanding contributions and commitment to art, culture and creativity across Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral.

Hosted by award-winning actor, screenwriter and BAFTA Cymru winner Celyn Jones, there were 12 categories including the People’s Choice Award, which was voted for by the public, and the Inspiration Award for Lifetime Achievement.

The People’s Choice award which saw 2,500 votes cast from across the Liverpool City Region was awarded to Paul Duhaney the Artistic Director of the Africa Oyé Festival while the Lifetime Achievement awards, recognising an individual’s lifelong creative contribution to the Liverpool City Region, were bestowed on Author Frank Cottrell-Boyce and to Ruth Gould of DaDa Fest.

Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram said:

“I’ve long said that the Liverpool City Region is the UK’s cultural capital. We were the first Combined Authority in country with control over culture and we’ve put those powers to good use, setting aside 1% of our funding each year to support culture and introducing an annual ‘Borough of Culture’.

The Culture and Creativity awards are a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase the best of the exciting cultural events we’ve had over the past year. It’s been a phenomenal year and I can’t wait to see what the next 12 months has in store.”

The Culture and Creativity Awards are part of the Metro Mayor’s Culture Programme for the Liverpool City Region which includes investment in key cultural projects such as £10.55m for the construction of the Shakespeare North Playhouse in Prescot and £5m support for the Liverpool 2018 celebrations, which brought the Giants back to the city region for the final time.

This investment is in addition to the activity around the yearly Borough of Culture title and the 1% for Culture initiative, where the equivalent of 1% of the £30 million annual devolution funding is used to stimulate cultural and creative opportunities.

A panel of judges including Phil Redmond the Chair of the Culture Partnership, chose the finalists.

Phil Redmond said:

“Tonight is the beginning of another cultural initiative to both remind and encourage everyone to think about how creative and innovative Liverpool City Region is. Full of great people with great ideas, doing things differently and trying to make a real difference. Each year we will celebrate the best of the best and through that reinforce one simple message. Everything has to start with a great idea. A flash of creativity that changes things. Makes people think differently. And that applies in all walks of life because culture is the sum of what we all do together.”

As part of the ceremony, Wirral passed the Borough of Culture title to Sefton who will be focusing on stories for their 2020 Borough of Culture year exploring the theme of ‘Myths and Realities.’

Mayor of Wirral Tony Smith said:

“We have had a fantastic Borough of Culture Year in Wirral with so many amazing events and experiences. We are delighted to host the first Culture and Creativity Awards here and I’m sure Sefton will continue the great work achieved into next year.”

Mayor of Sefton, Councillor June Burns said:

“We’re really looking forward to building on the great work we have seen in Wirral this year and will be holding this awards event in Sefton next year. Our city region is filled with culture and creativity and this event is a fantastic way to recognise all that hard work.”

In addition to an award, winners will be offered the services of a film maker to develop a three minute bespoke film tailored to the audience that the winner wishes to reach, providing an advocacy tool for future progression or development.

This year’s awards were sponsored by Paddock Johnson Partnership, Liverpool John Lennon Airport, The Handmade Gin Company and USP Creative. Next year the awards will take place in the 2020 Borough of Culture – Sefton.

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