A BOLD plan to create a £4-5 million “Heritage Hub” in the existing Warrington Central Library building was unveiled today.
Sister organisations LiveWire and Culture Warrington are working together in a bid to expand their library and heritage services in the borough by 2019.
The library looks to increase participation and its offer by expanding the lending library from the Grade II listed building it currently shares with Warrington Museum and Art Gallery on Museum Street, into the heart of the town centre next year.
Jan Souness, managing director of the two organisations, (pictured right) said: “LiveWire and Culture Warrington both share the same aim of improving the wellbeing of residents in Warrington and we believe that through expanding our library offer and providing more opportunities for people to explore their heritage and culture, we will be able to offer a greaternumber of activities that improve wellbeing.
“Expanding our library into a central town centre location will allow LiveWire to bring its library offer into the 21st century, providing a modern, exciting and interactive environment for users so they can use the library space differently and for longer.”
A new library venue will also allow the organisation to provide a larger digital offer to reflect the digital age and remain relevant in the future.
The new building will be easier for users to access as it is closer to transport links and would be able to offer have longer opening hours.
Plans for a Heritage Hub would add to the existing offer already provided by Culture Warrington, giving residents more opportunities to access their heritage and the history of the town. It will also serve as a base for outreach activities that the organisation plans to deliver in localcommunities as well as linking to LiveWire hubs across the town.
New gallery space would also be developed in the hub and learning spaces would be created which could be used by local schools to teach young people about Warrington’s rich history.
Janice Hayes, collections heritage and archives manager at Culture Warrington, said, “A major part of Culture Warrington’s 2016-2020 Business Plan is to take culture and heritage out into different communities in order to improve the wellbeing of residents in the town and create pride in the town’s rich heritage.
“A Heritage Hub would not only provide opportunities for Warrington residents to access their heritage and history in the town centre but provide space for local groups who want to help add to the town’s heritage records.”
Culture Warrington, with its proven track record of securing funding, will apply to the Heritage Lottery Fund and other grant making organisations next year to fund the £4-5 million project and if their application successful, work will begin to create the Heritage Hub in early 2018.
Cllr Kate Hannon, (pictured right) the borough council’s lead member for leisure, community and culture said: “These planned new developments will be a major boost for the town and will further help us meet our objective of ensuring Warrington residents lead healthy and happy lifestyles.
“A town centre library with an up-to-date offer will engage with families and young people who can combine their trip to the town centre with an easily accessible visit to a modern library which provides the latest digital technology. Furthermore, a Heritage Hub that acts as a base for activities delivered across different neighbourhoods will help build strong, active and resilient communities.”