Extra cash to allow cultural programmes to take place in Keynsham and Midsomer Norton will boost the local economy and raise community spirits, councillors say.
It was announced last week that Keynsham and Midsomer Norton are among 60 high streets in England to receive a share of £6 million from Historic England’s High Streets Heritage Action Zones’ Cultural Programme.
Keynsham and Midsomer Norton have been awarded £165,000 to allow them to host new community programmes centred around the high streets that are focused on the arts, history and culture.
Local Conservative ward councillors have expressed their delight at the news and have spoken about how the funding will benefit their communities.
Cllr Brian Simmons, B&NES Conservative councillor for Keynsham North, said: “I’m thrilled to see this funding coming to Keynsham and I’m hugely excited about what it can do for the local community. Keynsham has a rich and fascinating history, of which local residents and businesses alike are extremely proud.
“This funding will give us the chance to showcase everything we have to offer and will bring a much-needed boost to the local economy after an extremely challenging 12 months. It will also help to foster a sense of community spirit and bring people together again after months of isolation.”
Cllr Chris Watt, B&NES Conservative councillor for Midsomer Norton Redfield, said: “This funding is extremely welcome and will go a long way towards improving the local cultural offer for everybody who lives and works here.
“Midsomer Norton is home to numerous cultural traditions such as Wassailing and other historic market activities, and it’s hugely important that we keep these traditions alive for as long as possible.
“I’m sure I can speak for everybody in Midsomer Norton when I say a big ‘thank you’ to Historic England for including us in this pot of funding.”
Keynsham has been awarded £80,000 to fund activities including mini festivals, markets, cultural community days and the installation of an illustrative timeline of Keynsham’s history. In Midsomer Norton, the ‘Merriment in Midsomer Norton’ Cultural Programme was awarded £85,000 to relaunch historic street markets, enhance existing festivals like Wassailing and delivering interactive heritage and cultural events.
Taking place over the next three years, these Local Cultural Programmes will be led by a ‘Cultural Consortia’ formed of local stakeholder groups and representatives, with support from Bath & North East Somerset Council and Historic England.