A SCHEME which has promoted Skipton’s heritage, created spaces for the public to enjoy the history of the town, and carried out much-needed restoration projects draws to a close this weekend with a celebration event at the town hall.

Young people and budding creatives, as well as established artists and historians have been employed over the four-year Skipton Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) project, creating economic growth and enhancing quality of life.

With initial grant funding of £1.3 million, from Historic England, Skipton Town Hall was transformed into a 'cultural and performance centre' and its frontage brought back to its former glory. The former Otley Street Community Centre, once a Victorian school,  is now Craven Arts House and together with arts charity, Craven Arts Trust, the hub has been established for emerging and experienced creatives.

Ginnels along the west of the High Street have also been restored, and Victoria Square and Victoria Street have been revamped.

A cultural programme was also developed with digital heritage trails and murals have been introduced around the town.

A photography exhibition and music events also took place when talented and up-and-coming performers were paired up to write an original song, produce a music video, and take part in training to hone their skills and give them experience of working in the music industry, as well as performing in public.

Research on buildings was also undertaken with several premises being put forward for listed status, or to have their listed status up-graded.

Councillor Simon Myers, North Yorkshire Council's executive member for culture, and member for Mid-Craven said: “This four year programme has seen some great schemes come to fruition and involved lots of members of the local community. “We are now looking forward to the grand finale this weekend which we hope will bring lots of people into the town to celebrate the programme.”

A final showpiece event will be staged on Saturday (March 30) with the town hall hosting workshops, displays, quizzes, art exhibitions, music and films. The cinema showcase will feature films made by local people and commissioned for Skipton’s High Streets Heritage Action Zone programme.

The Craven Music Match features performances by local musicians. The afternoon event, which is a free drop-in session, runs from 1pm to 4pm. The evening events are ticketed and run from 6.30pm to 10.30pm, with a half-an hour break from 8pm to 8.30pm.

The High Streets Heritage Action Zone programme is funded by Historic England and the Government. The cultural programme aspect of the scheme is also in partnership with Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. For more information, visit skiptontownhall.co.uk.