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Carnival art group receives funding after tragic fire

PICTURED: Global Grooves

A £490,000 grant from Arts Council England has enabled a Greater Manchester carnival arts organisation to rise like a phoenix from the ashes after a catastrophic mill fire destroyed 15 years’ worth of work.

Global Grooves in Tameside has inspired people all over the globe to take part in carnival-style events, right, working in the Gambia, Trinidad & Tobago, Brazil, New Zea- land and Singapore.

The organisation lost hundreds of thousands of pounds’ worth of giant puppets and handprinted costumes when their storage warehouse at Ray Mill in Stalybridge burned to the ground in March.

But now the charity is back and stronger than ever as it announces plans to turn its current home, The Vale, into a £1 million carnival arts hub.

CEO Leon Patel said: “Global Grooves has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a world-class arts facility in Tameside – the first in the borough – consolidating all our activities in one place, catalysing a borough- wide engagement with arts and carnival, and building a locally rooted, internationally connected, resilient and sustainable arts organisation.”

The project will create Tameside’s first high quality and accessible arts centre, providing exceptional facilities for artists, audiences, young people and communities from Greater Manchester and beyond.

Arts Council England has contributed £490,000 to project through Small Capital Grant funding. Phase one is due to open to the public in spring 2020. The new facility will be only the second building dedicated to the development of carnival arts in England, after the UK Centre for Carnival Arts opened in Luton in 2009.

“We will create accessible spaces in which audiences and participants will mix with most dynamic artists and ideas from around the globe, to learn, imagine, create, grow, and share breath-taking carnival arts here on the edge of the Pennine hills,” added Leon.

Arts and learning centre The Vale was launched on a shoestring as a social enterprise in September 2015. Five partner organisations, including Global Grooves, put in £35,000 of their own money in order to open Vale Mill up to the public.

Popular as the centre has been, offering a year-round programme of live music, lm showings, theatre, workshops and family activities, access is compromised as entry is via a steep external staircase. The new centre will be fully accessible.

Sarah Maxfield, area director north for Arts Council England, said: “I am proud to see that in this round of funding we have been able to give £3.6 million to support 11 organisations from across the North.”

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