The Coastal Communities Fund today announced £2m funding following a bid from Blackpool Council, which is also contributing £300,000 to give a new lease of life to the flagship attraction.
The innovative LightPool project - supported by an additional £120,000 from LeftCoast - will enhance the current display while offering exciting new light shows, events and features across the town centre and is predicted to increase visits by up to two million over the next five years.
New state-of-the-art signage will also be included at key sites, welcoming people into town and leading them to the different installations.
Illuminations “Ambassadors” will also be employed, supplemented by additional volunteers, to improve the visitors’ experience when arriving and moving throughout the town.
Penny Mordaunt MP Coastal Communities Minister, visited Blackpool to announce the news, she said: "The world famous Blackpool Illuminations are an iconic and historic piece of British culture enjoyed by locals as well as millions of visitors each year.
“This Government is determined to help our coastal towns thrive and I'm delighted to announce this £2m which will help Blackpool and surrounding towns tap into new businesses, boost skills and create jobs that will benefit the wider community. Well done to everyone involved in this successful bid."
The project will involve extensive partnership working between the public, private business and community sectors, the potential of which has attracted the attention of the funding body.
Cllr Graham Cain, Cabinet Member for Tourism and Leisure, said: “Blackpool’s Illuminations are a national institution, loved by families over generations, and now they will be well and truly brought into the 21st century.
“I am absolutely delighted by today’s announcement, it is a great day for Blackpool and I am sure the hundreds of businesses which rely on the Illuminations will be over the moon. This investment will create a whole new visitor experience bringing new life into the Illuminations, boosting the local economy and creating jobs. “Millions of visits are made to the Lights every year but we are often told people want to see something new and different, this is it.
“LightPool will bring exciting new light shows, events and features into the town centre, including digital mapping projections onto the iconic Blackpool Tower.
“The Illuminations need to become more interactive, that’s what the public expect to see in modern attractions and that’s what they will soon be getting.”
New attractions will include:
• Digitally mapped projections onto the Blackpool Tower building, accompanied by bespoke audio tracks to in-ear FM receivers.
• The Tower projection and audio show will continue from the Promenade to Brilliance on Birley Street with overhead digital festooning leading people into the town centre, creating a new light and sound event space.
• The introduction of LightPool goodie bags including in-ear FM receivers, maps, light-based toys and opportunities for local retailers to offer discount vouchers.
• A new artistic light installation at the Grundy Art Gallery throughout the Illuminations will create a day-time experience and open the Lights up to a new audience.
• New gateways at arrival points with illuminated kiosks and navigational signage.
The project will create:
· A minimum of 80 individuals receiving training including WorldHost customer care training, similar to that provided to London 2012 stewards to ensure a better visitor experience.
· Opportunities for volunteering
· 11 (full time equivalent) new jobs directly related to the scheme including two new apprenticeships to be based within the Illuminations department
· A predicted 532 indirect new jobs supported via additional visitor numbers and spend.