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People’s Choice vote opens as Loose Women’s Sunetra Sarker is revealed as Liverpool City Region Culture and Creativity Awards host

  • Six finalists face the public vote for Outstanding Contribution to Culture
  • Voting is open until 3 Feb 2023
  • 39 finalists across 13 categories include artists, creatives, volunteer and community groups
  • Awards to be staged at Shakespeare North Playhouse in March

Six finalists are battling it out in a public vote to be crowned People’s Choice – Outstanding Contribution to Culture at this year’s Liverpool City Region Culture and Creativity Awards.

The poll, which last year attracted more than 2,000 votes, is held online, here and is open for four weeks. It is the only category in the awards in which the winner is chosen by the public.

The 2023 finalists are:

  • Africa Oyé – the UK’s largest free celebration of African music and culture.
  • Creative Balance – providing therapeutic art services across Merseyside.
  • Homotopia – the UK’s longest running LGBTQIA arts and culture festival.
  • Culture Knowsley – Borough of Culture 2022 – from community activity to large scale events during Knowsley’s year as Borough of Culture.
  • Shakespeare North Playhouse – Artists, audiences, and communities come together to share in world-class theatre.
  • The World in One City – showcasing the diversity of our region through football celebrating ethnicity and identity.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:

“I launched these awards four years ago because I wanted to shine a spotlight on the incredible individuals and businesses who go above and beyond every year to help make our area the UK’s cultural capital.

“The People’s Choice award celebrates the exceptional talents of all those who help to enrich all our lives and make our region one of the most vibrant and exciting places to live, work, visit, or do business in. Each the finalists deserve every bit of praise for their accomplishments and I’m really looking forward to celebrating their achievements in a night filled with celebration.”

It has also been revealed that Ackley Bridge and Casualty star Sunetra Sarker will host the glittering awards ceremony in March.

Liverpool born Sunetra is largely known for her acting career which spans over 30 years beginning in Brookside and continuing with her recent debut at the Royal Shakespeare Company. She is a regular face on Celebrity Gogglebox and is a panellist on Loose Women. Sunetra will present the awards from the magnificent Shakespeare North Playhouse in Prescot.

She said:

“I’m so excited to be presenting this year’s Culture and Creativity Awards especially as the Liverpool City Region is where I grew up and began my own career in the creative industry.

“I think it’s fantastic that these awards celebrate talent, innovation and imagination in the city region, of which there is plenty, and I’m looking forward to being part of this special event.”

The People’s Choice award finalists are among 39 other finalists from across the city region, who were shortlisted by our independent judging panel before Christmas.

Anyone can vote in the Liverpool City Region Culture and Creativity Awards, including for more than one candidate, but multiple votes for the same person or organisation cannot be sent from one email address. Votes close on the 3 February 2023 and the winner will be announced at the ceremony.

Portfolio Holder for Culture for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Councillor Mike Wharton said:

“I’d like to encourage everyone to get involved and vote for the People’s Choice Award 2023. It’s a chance for you to have your say on which of our worthy nominees should take home the trophy – and there are some amazing people to vote for!

“The influence culture and creativity have on all of our lives in the city region cannot be understated and this event goes some way to recognise the people and organisations working so hard for our benefit.”

The Culture and Creativity Awards were established as part of the Mayor’s commitment to culture through his 1% for Culture initiative. Previous award winners include author and performer Ashleigh Nugent, Liverpool Theatre Festival founder Bill Elms, muralist Paul Curtis, choir leader Jennifer John, The Atkinson, Heart of Glass and Spider Project.

This year’s event is sponsored by Liverpool One, ACC Liverpool – supporting the Community Cohesion Award, Davies Partnership – supporting the Environment category and Adaptable Recruitment who have sponsored the Preparing for Work award.

To place your vote and for more information on the People’s Choice finalists go to The closing date is 3 February 2023.