UNESCO funding boost for Liverpool

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Liverpool waterfront at night. Pic by Vegard Grott © JMU Journalism

Liverpool is to receive a cash boost after becoming the only ‘Heritage Role Model’ city in the UK – and one of just 10 in the world.

Liverpool City Council will now get vital funding from the ROCK – the Renewable Heritage in Creative and Knowledge Economies – programme as a result; a total of just over £340,000.

The funding, entitled ‘Horizon 2020’, will be spent on helping to improve residents’ and tourists’ engagement around the city’s many unique locations within its UNESCO-recognised Mercantile World Heritage Site.

The UNESCO locations that will receive funding covers the Royal Liver Building, the Cunard Building, the Port of Liverpool Building and the Pier Head as well.

Mayor Joe Anderson said: “Receiving this European funding is a huge coup for Liverpool and demonstrates how highly the city is internationally regarded in the way it protects its heritage.

“This funding will allow us to invest in radically improving our marketing and interpretation of our key heritage assets to residents and visitors, which will help further fuel our global appeal and booming tourism economy.”

The plans come against the backdrop of disputes between UNESCO and Liverpool City Council, after a two-year ban from UNESCO was placed on development in the Heritage Site area.

YouTube: UNESCO

However, Liverpool Council will now go ahead with approving spending plans for the funding next month – with  initiatives including the establishment of a citizen/youth board, social and wellbeing programmes and volunteer outlets at the Grade I-listed St George’s Hall.

The plans come as the iconic hall is due to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its multi-million pound refurbishment in April.

Planned projects to incorporate new digital interpretation panels and ‘way finder’ signage will also make use of the funding. The signs will connect the historic waterfront area around Mann Island to famous Liverpool sites, such as the Town Hall, St George’s Hall and St George’s Quarter.

Other European cities chosen to receive UNESCO funding include Bologna, Lisbon, Lyon, Athens, Turin, Vilnius, Skopje, Cluj and Eindhoven.

The cash boost comes at a good time for the local authority in Liverpool, as it coincides with a five-year review of its World Heritage Sites. The review has found that around £427m has been invested into heritage buildings and that a further £245m worth of refurbishment projects are planned or underway.

About Matthew Noonan, JMU Journalism