People’s Choice vote opens as BBC Question of Sport’s Sam Quek is revealed as Liverpool City Region Culture and Creativity Awards host

  • Six finalists face the public vote for Outstanding Contribution to Culture

  • Voting is open until 9 Feb 2024

  • 47 finalists across 15 categories include artists, creatives, volunteer and community groups

  • Awards to be staged at St Helens Rugby League Stadium (Langtree Park) in March

The public vote is now open to decide who will be honoured for their Outstanding Contribution to Culture at this year’s Liverpool City Region Culture and Creativity Awards.

Six finalists are in the running for the People’s Choice Award, which last year attracted more than 3,000 votes.

It is the only one of 15 categories to be decided by the public and the vote, which can be found online here, is open for four weeks.

The poll starts as Liverpool City Region Olympic hockey star and BBC presenter Sam Quek is revealed as host for this year’s awards at St Helens Rugby League Stadium.

The nominees are:

Sarah McLaughlin – Creative Balance – Creative Balance provides therapeutic art services across the city region. They collaborate with education providers, art clubs and workshops, to create 1:1 sessions and charitable projects with the aim to inspire and support the community through creative expression, networks and friendships.

Imaginarium Theatre – Imaginarium Theatre is a community-based theatre company in Knowsley specialising in outdoor performance. An associate company of Shakespeare North Playhouse with a thriving youth theatre, they offer workshops to schools and their productions of Shakespeare tour annually to parks and gardens across the area.

Writing on The Wall (WoW) – Writing on the Wall is a dynamic, Liverpool-based social enterprise, which celebrates writing in all its forms and promotes and supports equality, diversity and inclusion through year-round writing development projects and an annual month-long literature festival.

Africa Oyé – Africa Oyé is the UK’s largest free celebration of music and culture from Africa and the Diaspora taking place annually in Liverpool. Beginning in 1992, the event has gone from strength to strength using cultural activity to bring about changes in attitude and cultural cohesion.

Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre – Liverpool’s Royal Court is the friendliest theatre in the city. The theatre produces eight long running plays every year, mostly comedies and musicals with cast and crew largely from Liverpool. Sets are built in the city; rehearsals take place here and 95% of all money spent by the theatre goes back into the local economy.

Wirral History and Heritage Association – The Wirral History and Heritage Association represents more than 90 local history groups and societies to support and foster a range of local heritage initiatives such as the largest annual history fair in the North-West and the Wirral programme for the national Heritage Open Days scheme which gives free public access to heritage sites and events.

Councillor Mike Wharton, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Business for the Liverpool City Region said:

The People’s Choice vote is one of the most exciting times in the run up to the Culture and Creativity Awards and means a great deal to our fantastic finalists as it’s an accolade which is chosen by their peers.

“I urge everyone to get online and vote. This is your chance to celebrate the exceptional talents of all those who help to enrich people’s lives and make our area one of the most vibrant and exciting places to live, work, visit, or do business in.

“The cultural economy is a key part to the Liverpool City Region’s accomplishments on a global scale, we’ve seen that with the success of Eurovision, so we must continue to do as much as we can to support the sector from the grassroots up.”

The People’s Choice finalists join more than 40 others, who were whittled down by our prestigious judging panel before Christmas, from over 600 entries submitted from across the city region.

This year’s spectacular awards ceremony, to be held in the 2023 Borough of Culture St Helens, will be hosted by BBC Question of Sport captain and Olympic Gold Medallist Sam Quek MBE.

Presenter Sam Quek sitting on a chaise longue smiling

Sam Quek

Wirral born Sam has represented both the England and Great Britain Women’s Field Hockey teams and won gold as part of the British team at the 2016 Summer Olympics. She is now a TV sports presenter and in addition to becoming the first female captain on the BBC’s Question of Sport, she has taken part in I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here and made it to the final three in Celebrity Masterchef.

She said:

“I’m delighted to be representing the creativity involved in sport by hosting the Liverpool City Region Culture and Creativity Awards this year, especially as they are being held at a sporting venue in St Helens Rugby League Stadium!

“I am looking forward to celebrating the innovation, inspiration and amazing contribution of all of the finalists honoured at this event especially when it takes place in the area I call home.”

Anyone can vote in the Liverpool City Region Culture and Creativity Awards People’s Choice, including for more than one candidate, but multiple votes for the same person or organisation cannot be sent from one email address. Votes close on Friday 9 February 2023 and the winner will be announced at the ceremony.

Established in 2019 under the Mayor’s 1% for Culture initiative, which commits to invest one per cent of the Combined Authority’s annual budget directly into cultural activities, the awards are in their fifth year of honouring the value and contribution the cultural and creative sectors bring to the region and the difference they make to people’s lives.

The 2024 event is sponsored by The ACC Liverpool Group Ltd, Davies Partnership, The Manufacturing Technology Centre Limited, Liverpool One, Novotel Liverpool Paddington Village, Sedulo and Charity Bank.

To place your vote and for more information on the People’s Choice finalists go to The closing date is Friday 9 February 2024.

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