Full steam ahead for arts hub with regional funding

A Wigan cultural organisation is celebrating making history after receiving a share of regional arts funding.

Thursday, 1st March 2018, 12:49 pm
Updated Thursday, 1st March 2018, 1:55 pm
Lizzie Griffiths from Wigan Steam with Linda Thomas from GMCA and Wigan Council chief executive Donna Hall

Wigan Steam CIC, based in the town centre, is the first group in the borough to receive Greater Manchester support.

Other news: Mayor Andy put on spot at Q&A nightThe organisation, which connects the arts with the so-called Stem subjects of science, technology, engineering and maths, has been given £99,000 from the GMCA Cultural and Social Impact Fund.

The money will be ploughed in to new opportunities for the borough’s young people, giving them access to a range of cutting-edge technologies.

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Lizzie Griffiths outside Wigan Steam with daughter Bethan

Lizzie Griffiths from Wigan Steam said: “We are absolutely thrilled with this funding.

“It will make a massive difference to the work that we do engaging young people with science, technology and maths through arts.

“This funding will enable us to employ three new members of staff to deliver brilliant opportunities for young Wigan people and their families to get creative.”

Wigan Steam will use the funding, part of a £7m package supporting arts and culture organisations across the region, to create three new programmes.

Lizzie Griffiths outside Wigan Steam with daughter Bethan

Flow will support health and wellbeing and is being delivered in partnership with The Brick and Fur Clemt as well as Wigan Libraries.

The Library Street group is also planning a two-year programme called Art Lab with workshops, digital activities and educational events aimed at schools, families and community organisations.

Finally, Wigan Steam is setting up Natus, a commissioning programme which will give digital artists bursaries to produce work for the headquarters’ gallery and access professional development.

The funding announcement was made at Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham’s Q&A event in Wigan this week and Wigan Steam’s success has been widely welcomed.

Wigan Council chief executive Donna Hall said: “This is brilliant news for Wigan.

“Wigan Steam do a fantastic job engaging young people in Stem subjects through creativity and the arts and this funding will really help them grow that offer.”

Linda Thomas, GMCA lead for culture, arts and leisure, said: “This funding is fantastic for the whole of Greater Manchester and specifically for areas like Wigan which have been under-represented with funding in the past.

“It is fair and proper that projects across Greater Manchester are recognised. There really are some wonderful organisations out there.”

Recent Wigan Steam projects include coding, electronics, game design, computing, 3D printing and producing giant artworks for the town centre, the last initiative a collaboration with Turner Prize nominee Mark Titchner.

For more information visit www.wigansteam.co.uk