Five Rochdale organisations to receive grants from govt Culture Recovery Fund

Date published: 06 April 2021

Five Rochdale organisations are to be given a boost with government grants from the Culture Recovery Fund, to help the culture and heritage sector reopen and recover. 

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has announced that more than 2,700 cultural and creative organisations are to receive a share of £400 million as part of a vital financial boost from the government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund – which has been awarded through Arts Council England, Historic England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute.

Locally, through the Arts Council England, English Folk Expo, Rochdale-based Culture and Leisure Trust Link4Life and Wildthings Performing Arts CIC will receive grants totalling over £411,000.

Under National Lottery heritage funding, Christ Church Healey (historic areas, buildings and monuments) and Riley & Son (industrial and transport) will receive respective grants of £16,200 and £281,900.

Link4Life says the award will enable the charity to gradually re-open and safely re-start exhibitions, performances and community delivery programmes at cultural venues including Touchstones Museum and Art Gallery, Middleton Arena and Heywood Civic Centre. It will enable new educational resources and programmes using the collections to be created for schools and will ensure local residents can look forward to an exciting programme of creative events and opportunities.

Darren Grice, Deputy CEO, Link4Life said: “This investment is vital to enable us to safely reopen venues and welcome back audiences.

“It also means we can begin the careful reintroduction of face to face community engagement programmes in the coming months and ensure local people remain at the heart of what we do and how we do it. Of course, all of this will only be possible because we will have the opportunity to invest in great talent and creativity. 

“Artists will be at the centre of our plans and we hope that, in our small way, we can help to rebuild a creative sector that can continue to provide so much benefit for so many.”


English Folk Expo is one of the organisations to benefit from GMCA funding


English Folk Expo supports the English folk, roots and acoustic music sector through showcases, artist and industry development, live events, commissions and other initiatives. It promotes UK and international folk music in Greater Manchester via the Manchester Folk Festival, Rochdale Folk Festival and a year-round promotions programme taking place in venues across the city region. 

CEO Tom Besford said: "This funding will enable us to press ahead and deliver a broad and dynamic programme of events and activities, including the Rochdale Folk Festival this June, artist training and development work, and loads of great live and online folk music content."

Riley & Son is a specialist engineering firm which owns, operates and repairs steam locomotives for the heritage leisure sector. Located next to Heywood station, Riley & Son (E) Ltd is the company behind the restoration of the iconic Flying Scotsman.

Riley spent ten years restoring the renowned locomotive, which was the first steam train to hit speeds of 100mph back in 1929, before it returned to the rails in 2016. The company continues to regularly operate and inspect the famous engine.

Ian Riley, Managing Director, said: "The pandemic has hit excursion revenues very hard and left us reliant on the engineering and restoration work to keep us alive. We have been supported by some fantastic customers who have played a significant role in keeping us going.

"This support from the Culture Recovery Fund will enable us to get that investment back on track with many things like, training refreshers, new skills development, better welfare facilities to help keep staff Covid safe as we come out of lock down.

"All the money will be used to help us catch up and to get us back to normal as quickly as possible and we are all delighted and very grateful to the Heritage Culture fund for their support."

Wildthings and Christ Church Healey have been contacted for comment.

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