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Development on Wirral waterfront selected to bid for culture fund

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Eureka Merseyside

The Liverpool City Region could soon be welcoming the National Children’s Museum ‘Eureka!’ to the Wirral waterfront.

The development of the new cultural attraction has been selected by the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) as the city region’s submission to the Government’s Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund.

The region has bid for £4 million from the fund, to go towards creating the £11 million development at Seacombe Ferry Terminal.

The proposal builds on the success of Eureka! The National Children’s Museum in Halifax, by creating Eureka! Mersey – a place designed to inspire young people to explore science, technology, engineering, arts and maths, with bespoke content to reflect sectors identified by the city region as key drivers for future economic growth and prosperity. The site will be redeveloped to create 2,200 m² of interactive exhibition space with workshops, a shop, café and adjoining outdoor science park.

Eleven towns and cities from across Northern England have bid for a share of a new £15 million fund to help build a lasting regional legacy from the Great Exhibition of the North. If the bid is successful Merseytravel and Wirral Council will also contribute funding to the project, which would be due to open in 2020/21.

Liverpool City Region LEP Chair, Asif Hamid MBE, said: “The whole ethos behind the bid is create a place that is engaging, stimulating and fun for young people, helping to raise their skills, understanding and aspiration and equipping them for the jobs of the future.  If the bid is successful, Eureka! Mersey will also bring a world class visitor attraction to the city region, stimulating regeneration in a key waterfront location and greatly enhance our tourism offering.

Cllr Phil Davies, Leader of Wirral Council, said: “It is fantastic that the Eureka! proposal has been selected as the region’s bid. A world-class, family-friendly, innovative and incredibly successful attraction like Eureka! would be a welcome addition to the Mersey waterfront, in an area that has suffered systemic and long-term under-investment in national arts and cultural funding.

“Eureka! would not only inspire children locally, but also attract visitors from across the North West and beyond, driving additional passenger traffic onto the Mersey Ferry and increasing visitor spend across the city region.

“Working with organisations such as Eureka! is definitely the way forward to promote learning while inspiring the next generations of scientists and engineers, and to also support our commitment to supply the skills for future growth and bring new businesses to the city region. As a demonstration of our unequivocal support for the proposal I have awarded Eureka! a business grant of £308,000 to support them to bring this world-class cultural attraction to our waterfront.”

Leigh-Anne Stradeski, Chief Executive of Eureka! added: “Our board of trustees has always had ambitions to extend into communities beyond West Yorkshire so that more children, especially those from hard-to-reach audiences, are able to benefit from the Eureka! experience.

“The Liverpool City Region is home to big names across maritime, manufacturing, life sciences and energy, and of course culture and arts. We hope these plans for Eureka! Mersey will help create a thriving children’s community of budding scientists, artists and engineers, using skills-based learning, discovery and play as the means of engagement.”

This fund is designed to boost the Northern Powerhouse and build on the impact of the 2018 Great Exhibition of the North. Held in Newcastle and Gateshead next summer, the free family-friendly exhibition will showcase the best of northern art, design and innovation.

Successful bids for this fund will encourage sustainable, cultural and creative regeneration in the North of England, the announcement will be made in March 2018.