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Leisure and Culture

Please note: The information contained on these pages should be considered as accurate when produced in 2019 but more recent data and insight may now be available

This is Wirral: Leisure and Culture (December 2019)



  • Users - Wirral Leisure Services currently employ around 400 staff, with over 3 million visits a year to its facilities and 15,000 Invigor8 members accounting for over £4m of income. From 2016 to 2018, leisure centre usage increased by 14%. A commercial programme of income generating activities has been created with a designated Business and Commercial Development Officers assigned to bring these to fruition.

  • Marketing programmes - The website and Mobile App developments together with ‘Join at Home’ product (introduced April 2019) need monitoring to measure progress and inform future developments, with industry figures suggesting a potential increase in uptake of around 20%. The App has had on average 126,000 users per month since its inception in 2018 and the website has had 1.1 million hits in its first year.

  • Key investment programmes - will assist in delivering £0.5m of savings; initiatives include the £1.4m redevelopment of West Kirby Marine Lake, the new ATP pitch development at Leasowe Leisure Centre, refurbishment of the two reception areas at West Kirby Concourse and Guinea Gap and facility refurbishment at the Bidston Tennis Centre.

  • Additional funding - Birkenhead Park received £20,900 funding from Public Health to continue delivering its Forest School programme into 2019-20.


  • Economic Impact - The creative sector is recognised as the fastest growing sector in the Liverpool City Region with Wirral’s 2018 cultural events programme resulting in £5m of economic impact. The Imagine Wirral programme resulted in over 250,000 visitors at arts, culture and heritage events in 2018.

  • Social Value - generated from cultural activities will be measured through procurement with emphasis on generating ‘local’ wealth in addition to this, Make Hamilton Square CIC, is estimated to bring in a social impact of £1.6m. The impact will be generated through the creation of both direct and indirect employment opportunities for local people.

  • Partner working - Wirral is the 2019 Liverpool City Region host Borough of Culture. The delivery of this initiative is overseen by the LCR Cultural Partnership and locally through the Wirral Cultural Partnership. Additional creative partnerships have been established locally including Think Tank Groups to network and share ideas.

  • Volunteering - Over 100 volunteers to-date, equating to over 300 volunteering hours have been secured for the Borough of Culture programme. Working with Community Action Wirral, Wirral Met College, Floral Ambassador programme and City Stars to disseminate volunteering opportunities.

  • Satisfaction levels - All events as part of the Borough of Culture programme have been rated above 90%, for visitors rating their experience as either ‘good’ or ‘very good’. This is an increase of 5% based on last year’s Imagine Wirral programme (over 85%).

  • Funding - A funding strategy has been developed to support applications for regional, national and international funding as well as developing commercial/ sponsorship opportunities, in-kind support Liverpool City Region opportunities to maximise support from the Single Investment Fund (SIF). Significant funding has already been secured including the largest ever Arts Council England (ACE) grant of £130k to support the Borough of Culture year.

  • Education - Wirral Met College announced the launch of two Degree programmes in celebration of Wirral’s Borough of Culture year. Working in partnership with the University of Chester; Wirral Met will be offering a Fine Art degree and Cultural Studies degree programme starting in September 2019.

  • Post 2019

    • Maximise the potential of Wirral’s creative enterprise sector as a driver for economic regeneration and community wealth building.

    • Deliver an ambitious, high quality and inclusive culture events programme which impacts positively on civic pride and outcomes for residents as well as attracts visitors.

    • Promote Wirral regionally, nationally and internationally as a world-class visitor destination which is rich in assets and experiences.

Spider Project 

Spider Project is based in Hamilton Street in Birkenhead. Born out of a group of writers and musicians, and artists, Spider Project have been the flag bearers for the use of Creativity and Culture since day one. The project started back in Liverpool 2002 but opened its doors on the Wirral in 2007 with one member of staff. Today, the project employs 7 core staff, 18 sessional workers and 30 volunteers.

In 2018, the project received the honour of being named overall winners of the Liverpool City Region Community Arts and Music awards. 2019 sees the project being shortlisted to recognise the use of Creativity & Culture to effect and engage people in education and learning.

In 2020, Spider Project will be creating 2 brand new creative spaces. One new additional space in Wirral aimed at people in crisis and one in the City of Chester. These new spaces will continue with Spider Project’s philosophy of Creative Recovery…. Working with the person and not the label given to them by society.

With a core belief in Creativity as a key driver to improve connection, health and wellbeing, the project works with people overcoming addictions as well as those struggling with poor mental health or who are simply isolated and lonely.

As a Creative Recovery project, Spider runs over 40 creative and educational weekly sessions and workshops. These include a plethora of art sessions, photography, drama and film production to name but a few. These have culminated in several successful exhibitions, films and requests for help from other artists and organisations across the borough.

Spider houses its very own music studio where people can learn music production and recording techniques, singing and guitar lessons as well as percussion and drumming workshops.

The majority of Spider Project courses are accredited through an Open Awards programme and many people have gone on to further education at college or university after being a member of Spider.

In their own words

“It was a big step to come through the door but as soon as you do the Spider Community makes you feel welcome and encourages you.

There is no judgement of you or your situation and there are so many great opportunities offered to you to try new things and find who you are and what you want to do in life”


More examples of completed artwork from those who attend Spider Project classes