ST HELENS libraries has been shortlisted for a National Lottery Award for its successful Cultural Hubs arts scheme.

The project beat off stiff competition from over 600 organisations to reach the public voting stage in the annual search for the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects and is up against six others to be crowned the winner of the Arts category.

Funded through National Lottery money it has enabled both established professional and emerging arts companies, performers and artists from across the country to bring their talents to St Helens with a diverse programme shown across the borough's 13 libraries.

Winners of the seven National Lottery Awards categories will get a £3,000 cash prize to spend on their project, an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy and attend a glittering ceremony in London, broadcast on BBC One presented by John Barrowman.

Sue Williamson, head of libraries for St Helens Council said winning and having their work showcased on national television would be an honour and is appealing for the town to get behind them by voting.

“We're delighted that our Cultural Hubs Arts in Libraries programme has reached the finals of The National Lottery Awards," she said.

"It’s easy to vote, so please support us to get this award in recognition of St Helens as a great place to be, of the role libraries can play in supporting and developing culture and the arts and of the fantastic contribution of all involved in the project for their hard work.”

Their bid has won celebrity support with Thatto Heath comedian Johnny Vegas giving his support.

He said: “Cultural Hubs is a fantastic initiative that animates all the libraries in St Helens with fantastic arts performances and participation programmes.

"Historically the arts are often seen as something that is inaccessible to ordinary people, but Cultural Hubs is breaking down some of these barriers making the arts accessible to all. All communities need heart. Each enquiring mind needs a home.

"Libraries are a fundamental necessity and St Helens is turning the notion of what libraries are for on its head. Go and vote for Cultural Hubs in The National Lottery Awards.”

To vote for Cultural Hubs, visit or telephone 0844 836 9705 and follow the campaign on twitter: hashtag #NLAwards. Voting runs until midnight on Wednesday, July 20.