Helsinki will invest in the vitality of cultural and leisure services in the coming year. “The city is full of things for the residents of Helsinki to do, and it is the cultural and leisure services that make Helsinki a unique city and a great place to live. This year, we are focusing above all on ensuring that Helsinki residents can find their way back to the city’s high-quality services now that the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided. Our aim is for the city’s libraries, sports facilities, youth facilities, cultural centres, and museums to be visited a total of 23 million times during the year,” says Laura Aalto, Acting Executive Director of the Culture and Leisure Division at the City of Helsinki.
In 2023, the city will spend around €270 million on cultural and leisure services. Of this amount, €74 million will be distributed as grants to organisations and operators in the culture and sports sectors in Helsinki. The city aims to generate a total of €36 million in sales revenue from its cultural and leisure services.
The aim is to develop a sufficient and diverse local sports network that equally serves the residents of Helsinki
Promoting the mobility of all Helsinki residents is becoming increasingly important. In particular, the aim is to improve opportunities for older people to get out and about, to exercise and to do things together. Sports services will also focus on developing local sports facilities and improving digital services in 2023. The city’s facility and course booking systems as well as sports websites will be renewed.
“At the end of 2022, the city’s local sports facilities programme was approved. Our aim is to create a sufficient and diverse local sports network that equally serves the residents of Helsinki. We will renovate sports facilities that are in poor condition and bring new sports facilities to places where they do not yet exist. In addition, we will develop school and day-care centre playgrounds as part of a network of local sports facilities. New local sports facilities will first be built in Kruunuvuorenranta, Mustikkamaa, Ala-Malmi and Itäkeskus,” says Tarja Loikkanen, Director of Sports at the City of Helsinki.
New library in Kalasatama, focus on the attractiveness of cultural services
New library services are in store for Helsinki residents with the establishment of the city’s 38th library in Kalasatama.
“With the Kalasatama family library, we are responding to the wishes of the residents of the new residential area. The new library will have modern, comfortable facilities and a wide range of services to serve everyone. The library will also support our goal of promoting reading as well as our commitment to children and young people,” says Katri Vänttinen, Library Director at the City of Helsinki.
The digital services of the City Library will also be improved as helmet.fi, one of the most used online services in Finland, will be renewed. Library customer computers will be upgraded, and the spaces available for residents to reserve will be more easily found through the renewed Varaamo service.
The attractiveness of different residential areas and districts will be strengthened through arts and culture, especially in urban renewal areas and areas around cultural centres as well as in Helsinki city centre. This includes preparing the renovation and extension of the Stoa Cultural Centre, reviewing the management model of the Savoy Theatre and investing in high-quality remote services for culture.
At the beginning of the year, there was an organisational change in Helsinki’s cultural services when the HAM Helsinki Art Museum and its staff were transferred to the new HAM Helsinki Art Museum Foundation on 1 January 2023. Despite the change, the museum’s art collections will remain the property of the city. The mission of the HAM Art Museum Foundation is to accumulate, maintain and display the city’s art collections.
Greater need for youth work in the wake of the pandemic
The well-being of young people and the prevention of loneliness and exclusion are among the city’s top priorities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In youth services, the focus is on reinforcing high-quality youth work. In addition, new approaches to prevent youth violence and loneliness will be developed and introduced.
“Our aim is to improve early support for mental well-being in the everyday lives of children and young people. In the wake of the pandemic, the need is even greater,” says Mikko Vatka, Director of Youth Affairs.