Arts fund will prove town is a Great Place

Donna Hall, Wigan Council Chief Executive
Donna Hall, Wigan Council Chief Executive

Wigan’s culture and heritage scene has been given a boost in the shape of a £1.5m regional funding pot for a scheme to bring the arts to all.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has been given the money to realise the three-year Great Place project aimed at widening participation, getting more people involved in the arts and boosting visitor numbers.

The region has been chosen to pilot the joint initiative by the National Lottery and Arts Council England (ACE).

The news has been widely welcomed, with town hall bosses saying it will allow the borough’s already-successful culture and history sector to build further.

Wigan Council chief executive Donna Hall said: “Wigan borough’s cultural scene is thriving at the moment so this funding will help build on that momentum, creating even more opportunities for residents to learn about the arts and heritage.

“We have some very passionate and creative people in the borough and community groups like The Old Courts and the Turnpike Centre in Leigh are already delivering some fantastic activities and events with help from partners and The Deal for Communities Investment Fund.

“At the end of this month Wigan will host its second Arts Festival, demonstrating our rich cultural offering.”

Dave Jenkins, director at Wigan town centre venue 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.”

The project will draw up plans to reach communities which currently struggle to access the arts, diversify the workforce in the culture sector and promote links between the creative industries and health and wellbeing.