Blackpool lights even better

Member Article

‘Lightpool’ project illuminates impact of Coastal Communities Fund

A £2.4million funding boost could signal a new era for Blackpool’s world-famous Illuminations.

The government’s Coastal Communities Fund has announced £2million funding following a bid from Blackpool Council, which is also contributing £300,000 to give a new lease of life to the flagship attraction.

The innovative LightPool project - supported by an additional £120,000 from LeftCoast - will enhance the current display while offering exciting new light shows, events and features across the town centre and is predicted to increase visits by up to two million over the next five years.

New state-of-the-art signage will also be included at key sites, welcoming people into town and leading them to the different installations.

Illuminations “Ambassadors” will also be employed, supplemented by additional volunteers, to improve the visitors’ experience when arriving and moving throughout the town.

The project will involve extensive partnership working between the public, private business and community sectors, the potential of which has attracted the attention of the funding body.

Over the past three years, the government has invested some £120 million in projects across the UK to help seaside communities unlock their economic potential, create business opportunities and ensure their long-term future. The projects are also expected to attract more than £213 million in private sector investment.

Coastal Communities Minister Mark Francois said: “Few things beat a day at the seaside which is why our Coastal Communities Fund is investing millions in regenerating cherished seaside towns so they can be year-round success stories.

“We are now seeing coastal towns pick up pace; create thousands of jobs, apprentices and training places which is great news for the community and economy.”

Statistics from VisitEngland show a rise in the numbers of holiday trips being taken in the UK for the first quarter of the year – the highest number in almost a decade. Visits were up 18% on 2014 in England.

The Coastal Communities Fund gives residents, councils and local businesses the chance to bid for funding to take forward their vision for improving their seaside town.

It was announced in the Budget that the fund is to be extended for another five years with a pot of £90 million, which will give communities another chance to bid for funding.

Applications are also open for communities to bid for a new £3 million Coastal Revival Fund to support or restore local heritage and facilities which benefits the wider community and surrounding economy.

The Coastal Communities Fund is financed by the government through the funding equivalent of 50% of the revenues earned from the Crown Estate’s marine activities in England and the devolved administrations.

Details of future bidding for the Coastal Communities Fund will be announced later this year.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Simon Malia .

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