A PROGRAMME of town centre attractions for 2014 is being devised as design guru Wayne Hemingway returns home to officially launch the ‘Blackburn is Open’ campaign.

A series of Thursday events around Town Hall Square before Christmas proved a success with hundreds attending.

Now, borough regeneration boss Maureen Bateson wants to hold similar occasions through the year to make the area ‘buzz’.

On January 22, Mr Hemingway will oversee the ceremonies launching the ‘Blackburn is Open’ campaign harnessing local business, artistic and creative talent.

He will formally open the new pop arts centre and ‘Blackburn is Open’ shop opposite the town hall as the central hubs for the campaign.

The former charity shop and youth club have been given a makeover with the help of Crown Paints, Graham and Brown and Parkinsons Signs.

As well as Red or Dead founder Mr Hemingway, the event will be attended by representatives of Blackburn College, the Cathedral, and local creatives and entrepreneurs.

The campaign aims to market the town centre as ‘the place to come’ using social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and capitalising on local celebrities such as Mr Hemingway and film-maker Michael Winterbottom. Plans for the following three months include Blackburn College reopening the St Johns Centre as a studio art space and gallery, staging exhibitions, workshops, music sessions and films.

The ‘Rebound Bookshop’, once on Salford, will re-open on the corner of King William Street and Northgate with a café and exhibition space.

Coun Bateson said: “Hundreds attended the events over the Christmas period. In 2014, Blackburn is Open will aim to build on this success with events throughout the year. Many exciting projects will be announced in the near future. January will mark the launch of our new scheme to further rejuvenate the town making the centre a place for new business to develop and a hub of innovation and creativity.”