Home Community and neighbourhoods Knowsley prepares for its year as Borough of Culture by capturing the stories of its communities

Knowsley prepares for its year as Borough of Culture by capturing the stories of its communities

by Emily Maguire

Next year (2022), Knowsley will be the Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture and in preparation for this exciting year, residents across the borough are being invited to take part in a range of pop-up community events where they can meet the ‘Story Catchers’.

Knowsley’s theme for its year as Borough of Culture is Storytelling and an important priority is to capture and bring to life the stories of the borough’s people and places. Everything from local folk tales, traditions and heritage that are unique to Knowsley and to exploring people’s hopes and dreams of what the borough may become in the future.

Throughout this summer, the ‘Story Catchers’ will visit towns and villages across Knowsley to meet local people. It is also hoped that these pop-up events will help to inspire and excite communities and individuals to get involved and be part of the celebrations that will happen next year.

The ‘Story Catchers’ will be in your town or village on the following dates from 11am-4pm.

Thursday 15th July – Knowsley Village Recreation Ground, off Shop Road (next to the Bob Whiley Centre)

Friday 16th July – Kirkby Civic Square, The Thrones, Norwich Way, Kirkby

Thursday 29th July – Huyton Town Centre

Friday 30th July – Stockbridge Village Neighbourhood Centre (near the library and leisure centre)

Saturday 31st July – Halewood Shopping Centre, Leathers Lane

Saturday 7th August – Stadt Moers Park,(near the Ranger Base) Pottery Lane, Whiston

Saturday 11th September – The Pasture, Cronton Village (as part of the Cronton Gala) Hall Lane, Cronton

In order to comply with current COVID-19 regulations, the events must be booked in advance and are subject to change based on government guidance. Please book your place by contacting Carla Simkin on 0151 443 5353 or at carla.simkin@knowsley.gov.uk

Cllr Shelley Powell, Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities & Neighbourhoods commented:

“Knowsley is a borough of storytellers. No matter where you go there is always someone sharing their experiences with real drama or humour. It’s what makes us tick and what makes our communities such rich and interesting places.

“Through storytelling, people can tap into their creativity and instantly bring their ideas, experiences and dreams to life and we want to harness that creativity and energy to make our year as the Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture a unique and fantastic one.”

The ‘Story Catchers’ themselves are a team of local and regional creatives from a diverse range of artistic backgrounds. They will be on hand to engage with local people and explore their stories and ideas through sketching, creative writing, music, poetry, street painting, dance, theatre and more.

A number of local schools and community groups are already involved in the project and sessions are open to all. Visitors to the event will also enjoy a sneak peek of one of the main events of next year’s programme, a sculpture trail featuring the beloved characters from Edward Lear’s poem, The Owl and the Pussy-cat (1871) which was written during Lear’s stay at Knowsley Hall in Prescot.

These events are an opportunity for people to find out more about Liverpool City Region’s Borough of Culture programme and how to get involved in Knowsley’s year, as creatives, participants, audience members and volunteers.

Community groups will also be able to find out more information about the Knowsley Heritage Grant programme, facilitated by One Knowsley and supported by National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Plans for Knowsley’s year as the Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture will be shared in the coming months but organisers are keen to stress that culture isn’t just about art or theatre but is about how people live their lives, what enriches and excites them and their aspirations for themselves and their communities in years to come.

Cllr Powell added: “When we talked to people last year, they told us that culture is about so many things. It’s about comedy, sport, music, food, art, film, etc. It’s all the things we love, are passionate about, enjoy and want to be part of – that’s what will make 2022 so exciting for us all.”

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said:

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

“Each year has been a big success so far – even in extremely difficult circumstances over the last year. It’s fantastic to see Knowsley getting a jump start on what should be a brilliant year for them as Borough of Culture!”

Everyone looking to attend the events is encouraged to take a COVID – 19 test in advance. People without symptoms can get a rapid lateral flow test by ordering one online, picking one up from your local chemist or visiting a local testing site. There are a number of test sites in Knowsley you can attend. For more information about rapid lateral flow tests visit the NHS website.

If you have developed symptoms of COVID-19 you are advised not to attend the events. People with symptoms should self-isolate and arrange for a test.