FOUR high streets in Somerset will be given funding to create and deliver community-led cultural activities.

Historic England has announced £6m of funding will be given to more than 60 High Streets Heritage Action Zones (HSHAZ) over the next three years.

In the South West, ten high streets will benefit from £894,690, with four in Somerset (with a total of £364,690).

These include Chard (£80,000), Keynsham (£80,000), Midsomer Norton (£85,000) and Weston-super-Mare (£119,690).

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said: “The High Streets Cultural Programme is an essential part of the way we are contributing to bringing high streets back from the brink.

"As we start to see these important historic spaces become regenerated through conservation and building work, the community-led cultural activity programme will bring people back to enjoy their high street again and have a say in its future.”

The schemes in each town are as follows:

Somerset County Gazette: FUNDING: Chard High Street

  • Chard - Over the next three years, creative and community organisations in Chard will work together to deliver the Culturally Chard programme. There will be a diverse range of new activities and events taking place, including two large festivals, all with a connection to the historic town centre, adding to the existing cultural calendar. Residents, community groups, schools and businesses are all invited to get involved.
  • Keynsham - The award will support activities including mini festivals, markets, cultural community days and the installation of an illustrative timeline of Keynsham’s history. In the first year, the project will uncover how Keynsham was in the past. The second year will celebrate Keynsham as it is now and the final year will look to the future. Keynsham is also one of Historic England’s unofficial ‘twin towns’ which will see artists working with local people to uncover what they have in common.

Somerset County Gazette: FUNDING: Midsomer Norton

  • Midsomer Norton - The ‘Merriment in Midsomer Norton’ Cultural Programme will relaunch historic street markets, enhance existing festivals like wassailing and deliver interactive heritage and cultural events including history trails, pop-up exhibitions and skills workshops.

Somerset County Gazette: Weston-super-Mare High Street as part of the Historic England project for "High Street Tales" with writer Rebecca Tantony.

  • Weston-super-Mare - The cultural project, 21st Century Super Shrines, is an exciting programme co-created by professional artists, in partnership with local emerging artists and communities, with a series of innovative contemporary ‘shrines’ which will appear on the high street. These shrines may be permanent installations or live arts experiences. Together, the shrines will create a sense of shared values, determining a new sense of ‘worth’ on the high street. The project is being steered by a consortium of 11 organisations led by Culture Weston.

Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage MP added: "High streets are often the heart of our communities and should be places we all want to engage with and enjoy.

"These grants will help transform high streets into thriving cultural hubs, encouraging us to embrace all the joys our town centres have to offer."

These local programmes are part of the four-year-long High Streets Heritage Action Zones’ Cultural Programme, led by Historic England, in partnership with Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The Cultural Programme aims to make high streets more attractive, engaging and vibrant places for people to live, work and spend time.