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Monday, February 22, 1999 Published at 00:00 GMT


2000 'a celebration for everywhere'

The Millennium: More than just a dome

More than £50m in grant awards to regional millennium celebrations are to be announced by Culture Secretary Chris Smith.

The grants, from National Lottery income, are to fund the largest programme of year-long celebrations yet mounted in the UK.

The government is keen to draw attention to events around the UK following the mass of publicity over the Millennium Dome project in east London.

More than 1,000 grants will be announced, ranging from £10,000 to £3m.

Arts festivals, sports tournaments, freedom festivals, a children's international conference on the environment and a millennium radio station for young people are all expected to receive money.

'Celebration for everyone'

Announcing the awards in Birmingham, Mr Smith is expected to say: "There is a celebration for everywhere and a celebration for everyone.

"This is the kind of nationwide celebration that only happens once in a generation and that people will remember for the rest of their lives."

In a video address, transmitted to events in Glasgow, Cardiff and Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland, Tony Blair will hail a "unique event".

The prime minister will say: "People everywhere have now got the chance in every single town in the UK to show how we want to make the millennium an event that is not just remembered for the date but is remembered for the sense of community spirit and bringing people together right across the nation."

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