St Helens ideas take shape

Our inaugural St Helens Nice Ideas festival took place over three days in March 2022, with six events across the borough. Designed to inspire and engage people, we saw more than 50 people across the week, walking, talking, laughing and dreaming of what we could do. Dividing themes into Creative St Helens, Food and Growing, Radical Youth, Markets and Parks and Recreation, it’s part of our work to support the growth of the social economy across each of LCR’s six boroughs, and introduce people who might not see themselves as social traders to the movement. 

At the end of the festival, participants had a week to develop their ideas and come back to us to share their final projects. As a result, we’ve supported 21 new ideas and we’re already seeing some exciting new developments really capture the spirit of the festival. We’re:

  • working with Platform Arts and artists Claire, Grace and Rebecca to secure a new building for their live/ work space
  • working with Catherine from Lyme and Wood Country Park volunteers, Enovert Community Trust and the young people of Parr Sports and Community Centre and the team there on a collaboration to pilot a new youth adventure programme for local young people
  • supporting mental health-focused Evolution Gym to put on a series of LGBTQ+ friendly sessions at the gym
  • support to World of Food and Ayman, Heero and Taysir, to take their business ideas to the next level – including a plan to work with LJMU to give them bespoke support
  • working with St Helens Borough Council on an International Markets Day event, which we hope to run later this year at St Mary’s Market

Christine Spriggs, Kindred’s collaborating communities lead, ran the St Helens Nice Ideas festival. She says: “The festival has been a tremendous success! Working there over the past ten months we have met some of the most dedicated, passionate and committed members of this wonderful community – from Parr to Newton-le-Willows. They’re all running amazing and fantastic social businesses and community projects, including Evolution – a high spec gym that helps people and changes lives, to keeping a whole community going from a small building on a huge housing estate at Parr Sports and Community Centre. Platform Arts supports a network of local artists to make and sell their work, whilst members of St Helens Refugee and asylum-seeking community are developing their own exciting business ideas. The festival has uncovered so many gems from around the Borough – we’re looking forward to continuing to support them and seeing them grow and develop in the future.”

If you want to read more about the ideas the festival supported, you can download the St Helens Borough Social Trader – our newspaper created specially for the festival – here…