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24th August 2016

Royle Family star Ralf Little celebrates St Helens Libraries' Cultural Hubs being voted the UK's Best Arts Project

Today (Wednesday 24 August) actor Ralf Little presented arts groups and library staff with a prestigious National Lottery Awards trophy after the British public recognised their impressive achievements.

Ralf, famous for his roles in The Royle Family and Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, met the people behind the success of St Helens Libraries’ Cultural Hubs. The project has used £249,600 of National Lottery funding to run a series of popular arts, music and drama workshops in libraries for more than 4,000 people across St Helens.

Cultural Hubs attracted over 2,000 votes to be named Best Arts project in The National Lottery Awards – the annual search for the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects. As well as receiving their trophy from Ralf, Cultural Hubs win a £3,000 cash prize and their work will be celebrated at a star-studded awards ceremony on BBC One on 12 September.

Ralf is impressed by the way that the project has transformed libraries:

“It is great to see libraries turned into vibrant places where people can try something new and develop their artistic talents. People of all ages love watching and taking part in arts activities across libraries in St Helens. National Lottery players should be proud that their money is making such a difference to people’s lives.”

The National Lottery grant has enabled both established professional and emerging arts companies, performers and artists from across the country to bring their talents to St Helens. A key focus is on promoting health and wellbeing, particularly mental health, and several of the cultural events have focussed on that.

Sue Williamson, Head of Libraries at St Helens, is grateful to everyone who voted for them:

“We are delighted to have been voted the UK’s Best Arts project in The National Lottery Awards. The fact that the results are decided by the British public makes our success even more special. It shows the impact that the arts can have on people’s sense of wellbeing and how much participants in our project value their involvement.”


For more information and images, please contact:

Michael Thompson on 07734 295745 or

Notes to editors

  • Cultural Hubs has received £249,600 of National Lottery funding through Arts Council England
  • There are seven categories in the National Lottery Awards, reflecting the main areas of Lottery funding: arts, education, environment, health, heritage, sport, and voluntary/charity
  • On average the National Lottery players raise over £36m each week – making a life changing difference to the nation
  • Further information at