Liverpool will come back bigger after lockdown says culture boss

windows wirral fitters seaview windows wallasey

In all honesty, this is the most surreal time of my life.

I have always been proud of the fact that I have played a role – a really small role – in this city’s cultural renaissance over the last 20 years.

I was passionate about fighting for the voices of communities to be heard, and from 2000 I was part of the team committed to ensuring this was a key element of our Capital of Culture bid.

And as a result – this city transformed. It’s a city full of artists, independent restaurants, the best small businesses and organisations in the country.

wallasey printers liscard wallasey

It’s a city where giants walk the streets, where buildings light up and come to life whether in celebration or commemoration. Liverpool is so lucky to have politicians – from all parties – who understand the value of culture and appreciate that we sometimes have to take risks to bring to life poetry and storytelling which is the envy of cities across the globe

Our city events programmes is made up of festivals of all shapes and sizes which hold up a mirror to the world.

Cruise liners dock on our world heritage waterfront, filled with visitors who spill out on to our streets and spend time and money in our shops, our attractions, our bars and restaurants. Coach-loads of people gasp at our architecture, and our children grow up and want to stay, or return, because it is exciting, quirky and individual. It’s Liverpool.

And in the blink of an eye, it’s as if the last 12 years haven’t happened.

wirral airport transfers mersesysideairportservice.co.uk
The Little Girl Giant on her third and final visit to Liverpool

We, along with arts and cultural organisations across the city, are taking the heart-breaking, decision to cancel events. Cruise liners are no longer sailing in to our city, and those streets filled with laughter, wonder, conversations and a real sense of togetherness and community are empty.

It feels like a new world. And a hard one at that.

My ethos has always been that this city has so many stories to tell and as a sector, we have done just this for well over a decade. And it’s just a bonus that on this journey we have inspired, enthralled and educated millions of people.

Pre-2008 we had a point to prove, and in many ways we’ve won that battle time and time again. The naysayers who thought culture was a nice to have rather than a necessity realised the power and impact it could have, not only on a city but on the people who lived and visited there. The evidence was there for all to see.

Honour our NHS heroes – from the surgeons to the porters, the nurses to the catering staff, the physios to the midwives, and the paramedics to the GPs – by helping to create a map of gratitude from every corner of Britain.

We need our health workers now more than ever as they work superhuman hours and go above and beyond to protect us.

Click HERE to drop a heart or a message on the map, and show you appreciate the efforts undertaken daily in the NHS.

You can now also make a donation to NHS Heroes Help From Home, starting from £2.. As a thank you, everyone who donates will be entered into the weekly NHS Heroes Raffle.

Click HERE to donate or to find out more – or click the link from within the Thanks a Million map.

Thanks a million, NHS workers – we love you.

Right now there’s someone with a picture of a Little Girl Giant hanging on a wall, or a miniature superlambanana taking pride of place on a shelf, selfies on social media with incredible light installations or a music festival as a backdrop. It’s there for all to see, but it’s also in people’s hearts.

Culture is tangible. It makes a difference both economically and emotionally.

On my daily walk around Sefton Park my mind is whirring about what we can do next. Hearing flats and houses erupt with applause, cheering and music in a weekly celebration of our carers inspires me.

Read More

Coronavirus diaries

  • The priest holding a funeral mass online
  • The mum homeschooling her kids
  • The headteacher missing noise of school
  • Liverpool legend on how coronavirus …
  • The Liverpool club denied possible title
  • Liverpool gym keeps people fit from afar
  • Post-it note artist helps strangers
  • The theatre owner closing his venue

We need to build on this outpouring of humanity and create something special not just for us, but for the next generation.

Already from this experience, I’ve learnt three things:

  • We need to laugh more.
  • When it’s safe, we need to create new, unforgettable moments where we can come together in theatres, bars, clubs, concert halls, galleries, parks or on our incredible waterfront.
  • We need to build on that Thursday night outpouring of humanity.

I have no doubt the streets will once again be filled with our stories, our laughter and our love told in innovative ways.

This city will thrive once again. Liverpool is after all the ultimate comeback kid. And what a comeback it will be.

This is the latest in the ECHO’s series of Coronavirus Diaries, focusing on people’s individual experiences during this unprecedented time. If you have a story to share, email laura.davis@reachplc.com or comment below.

PUBLISH YOUR ARTICLE ON NEWSWIRRAL.CO.UK