Monthly Archives: April 2023

The Eurovision bonus for Liverpool

By Peter Devine

LIVERPOOL is building massively on its cultural ambitions with the launch of a community initiative during the Eurovision Song Contest next month

In an effort to spread the magic across the city region, a total of 63 projects have been announced and supported by grants of up to £2,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund in collaboration with Culture Liverpool and Liverpool City Council. The areas include Wirral, Sefton, St Helen’s and Knowsley.

There will be a whole host of projects from a Ukrainian themed sing-along sew-along music workshop for young people, inspired by artists of African-Ukrainian heritage, and a series of short films about the Ukrainian community in Liverpool, as well as a cooking day and recipe book delivered by Knowsley Food Bank in partnership with Ukrainian chefs.

With Liverpool being one of the UK’s most multicultural cities and home to Britain’s oldest African community and Europe’s largest Chinese community, many other cultures will also be spotlighted.

Polish Migrants Organise for Change will be putting on cabaret style performance workshops and a public event for Liverpool’s migrant communities; Pagoda Youth Orchestra will mark their 40th anniversary with a celebration inspired by the Chinese diaspora in Europe; and a Song for Europe extravaganza delivered by the Greek School of St Nicholas, will see children singing national pop songs in their heritage language including Polish, Romanian, Spanish, French, Greek and Irish.

Other highlights include: 

  • A Eurovision Hip Hop Block Party include a breakdancing competition, DJs, beatboxers, and graffiti art.
  • Hairdressing and nail art classes for young people inspired by Eurovision styles through the decades delivered by Brook Community Training Ltd.
  • Eurovision inspired music and movement workshops for care home residents delivered by Holistic Harmonies.
  • Music workshops and live performances at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. 

Eilish McGuinness, chief executive at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“We’re incredibly excited to see all of these amazing ideas come to life and make Eurovision 2023 a party that won’t be forgotten!

“Eurovision has a long history of bringing communities from across the continent together and we’re delighted to be supporting this dazzling programme as part of 2023’s event in Liverpool, thanks to money raised by National Lottery players.

“It’s been fantastic to see the energy and enthusiasm of people and communities across the whole of the Liverpool City Region in coming up with the fantastic activities that EuroGrants will make possible. Liverpool is home to a wealth of heritage from many different cultures and beliefs and this collection of projects highlights and celebrates the city region’s diversity.”

Claire McColgan, director of Culture Liverpool said: “We were inundated with so many amazing ideas, making it really difficult for us to decide which projects to take forward. We never fail to be impressed by the enthusiasm and creativity of community groups and grassroots organisations in Liverpool City Region and once again they have outdone themselves.

“I think the successful projects reflect a good cross-section of the region. Ukraine is at the heart of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest so it was important to ensure their culture is represented but Liverpool is known the world over for being a cultural melting pot with centuries of immigration having shaped the culture and communities of the city and surrounding boroughs. The chosen projects highlight different cultures, religious beliefs, food and languages. There truly is something for everyone.

“Along with EuroLearn and EuroStreet, EuroGrant has been designed to ensure everybody in the region has a piece of the Eurovision pie. But that’s not all. We are still in the process of shortlisting successful school projects supported by Spirit of 2012 so watch this space.”

For more information head to the Visit Liverpool website.


One hundred reasons to love the Lakes

What’s the unique magic of the Lake District? That is the question that was posed to a group of eminent Lakes characters on the summit of one of its most iconic fells, Helm Crag.
Their answers, and the views of two-dozen guests from around the county, will be aired on Friday (April 14) in a special podcast. The 100th episode of Countrystride will be released, celebrating all that’s special about this beautiful corner of Britain.
The hosts, David Felton and Mark Richards, climbed Helm Crag to record the episode in the company of local climbing legend Bill Birkett; poet Harriet Fraser and photographer Rob Fraser; and former mountain rescuer Gordon Bambrough – who climbed Scafell Pike on his 90th birthday.
They also invited two-dozen people from around the county to contribute and asked them: ”What is the unique magic of Lakeland for you?” Each of them has picked an excerpt from a piece of writing, poetry or song that encapsulates that personal magic for them. Authors chosen include Alfred Wainwright, Beatrix Potter, Arthur Ransome, Nan Shepherd, Norman Nicholson and many more.
Countrystride – dedicated to the landscapes, people and heritage of Cumbria and the Lakes – has been winning audiences since 2020. It began three years ago when Felton and Richards set off from Wasdale Head to climb Scafell Pike. They planned to record a handful of podcasts to celebrate their love of Lakeland, but enthusiasm from listeners carried them on through Covid lockdowns until today. Now Countrystride broadcasts to more than 15,000 listeners a month all around the world.

Felton – also a writer and photographer – runs the Cumbrian business Inspired by Lakeland, publishers of, among others, Forty Farms, The Lake District in 101 Maps & Infographics and the Lake District Sticker Book. He has wandered the Lakeland fells since he could stand on two feet and in 2017 walked from Land’s End to John o’Groats.
Meanwhile, Richards,  strongly influenced by his mother’s roots in the Yorkshire Dales, has adored the hills and dales of northern England sicne his youth. He was encouraged to direct his passions for pen and ink drawing and walking into writing and illustrating walking guides from Alfred Wainwright, with whom he spent many weekends in the 1970s. The author of many guidebooks, including his seminal eight-volume Lakeland Fellranger series, he lives at the northern tip of the Pennines.
Together their podcasts have covered a diverse and eclectic range of subjects, from Dentdale and the Dales High Way to the Vikings, Cumbrian dialect, dry-stone walling, fell ponies, Cumbrian ghosts and Beatrix Potter. There have been walks and talks in the footsteps of Wainwright, as well as interviews with people who are helping to shape the future of the landscape.
They have talked to Cumbrian celebrities including fell-running legend Joss Naylor, writer and farmer James Rebanks, broadcaster Eric Robson and John Dunning, founder of Westmorland Motorway Services.
But they also chat with walkers they meet on their rambles, and following the 100th episode of Countrystride they are making plans to hold their first ever Countrystride Live event in October, featuring a range of walks, talks and music, at a venue in the South Lakes.
You can find out more about Countyrstride at

Header image: Helm Crag by Mark Richards