A local carnival arts organisation has risen like a phoenix from the ashes after a catastrophic mill fire destroyed 15 years’ worth of work.
Global Grooves lost hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of giant puppets and hand-printed 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 in Mossley – into a £1million carnival arts hub.
The project will create Tameside’s first high quality and accessible arts centre, providing exceptional facilities for local and international artists, audiences, young people and communities from Greater Manchester and beyond. Phase one is due to open to the public in spring 2020.
Arts Council England has contributed £490,000 to the project through Small Capital Grant funding.
A centre of excellence for carnival in the north, Global Grooves’ new facility will be just the second building dedicated to the development of carnival arts in England. The UK Centre For Carnival Arts opened in Luton in 2009.
Alison Clark, director north, Arts Council England said: “This award will give a new home to carnival arts in the North West and is great news for carnival which makes such a huge contribution to festivals and public celebrations. Centres like this are also so important to artists and communities and we are pleased to be able to support it.”
Arts and learning centre The Vale, on Micklehurst Road, 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.
The Vale offers a year round programme of live music, film showings, theatre, workshops and family activities but despite it’s popularity, access to the mill is compromise. Currently, the only entrance is via a steep external staircase and some spaces are rudimentary and not completely weather proofed. The new centre will be fully accessible and finished to a high standard.
Sarah Maxfield, area director north, Arts Council England, said: “The Arts Council’s Small Capital Grants help to ensure that organisations have the right buildings and equipment so that they can continue reaching new and broader audiences, to ensure that everyone is able to access arts and culture. 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 to achieve their ambitions to improve how they deliver arts and culture to our communities.”
Global Grooves was founded in 2003 by friends Holly Prest, Eraldo Marques and Leon Patel after they met at a community music project in Mossley, aged just 13. Since then, Global Grooves has inspired people all over the globe to take part in carnival-style events, working in the Gambia, Brazil, New Zealand, Singapore, and Trinidad & Tobago. Now a National Portfolio Organisation, Global Grooves performs regularly to audiences of over 45,000 and has worked with thousands of participants around the world.
Global Grooves 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”.
“We will create accessible new 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.”