Arts boost as region scoops £1.5m funding

The Old Courts director Dave Jenkins speaks at the opening of Wigan Arts Festival at The Old Courts, Wigan

The Old Courts director Dave Jenkins speaks at the opening of Wigan Arts Festival at The Old Courts, Wigan

Wigan has received a cultural boost after Greater Manchester was chosen for a national scheme spending £1.5m on arts and heritage projects.

Great Place, put together by Arts Council England (ACE), the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Historic England, will be piloted across the region and all 10 town halls will be getting involved.

Wigan will join Greater Manchester’s other nine authorities in Stronger Together, an ambitious three-year project to ensure residents have more equal access to culture, boost engagement and access, encourage people to travel to access quality arts provision and improving health and wellbeing.

The news of the £1,489,255 pot awarded to the Greater Manchetser Combined Authority (GMCA) has been warmly welcomed locally.

David Jenkins, director of The Old Courts, said: “What brilliant news for all of the residents of Greater Manchester. This will enable us all to open up culture and the arts to all 2.7 million people wherever they live and from all backgrounds.”

It is hoped that areas currently suffering from poor arts provision will be particularly targeted and the contribution culture can make to life in Wigan and beyond will be better recognised through the new funding.

The authorities also want to diversify the workforce employed by arts, heritage and culture organisations, make the sector more sustainable and get more people through the doors of local institutions across the entire city region.

The scheme also hopes to increase local pride in its arts and culture in order to better promote it and attract more visitors.

The region-wide culture portfolio, formalised last year, sits alongside £3m investment in the arts each year.