CORONATION Street came to Denton as actress Cherylee Houston performed the official opening of The CREATE Centre, where we CONNECT.It was a momentous day for Tameside Arts Limited, a community arts organisation which is based at 8-10 Market Street and which describes itself as an “adaptable community organisation for everyone”.
Though formed in 2005, this is its first place that can be called home as it has previously rented space to operate the business.
Thanks to a £30,000 business grant from the Key Fund, what was once a semi-derelict building has been transformed into a venue for community groups to gather. It has a staff team of 12 including full and part-time employees.
Project managed by Tom Boyle, £17,000 of the grant was used to install a lift while disabled toilets, hoist and changing facilities for children and adults.
The centre also includes a bookshop having purchased the stock from Thackeray’s which had been run by Margaret and Andy Williams before closing while Margaret is also on board as an employee.
Sam Cooke, project manager at The Create Centre, was a founder of Tameside Arts Ltd. in 2005 as a not for profit, user-led social enterprise. Among those also involved was the late Johnny Barlow who was with Guide Bridge Theatre.They began with a small grant to establish the company and then were successful in securing learning disability development funding to establish the Chatterbox Theatre Company for adults with a learning disability which continues to this day.
They then secured funding to establish Stage Stars Drama, a dance group which also continues.
They were commissioned to devise and perform issue-based plays for learning disability open-events and performed regularly for the general public, schools, colleges and day services.
Six years ago they were approached by Tameside Council and offered the opportunity to deliver day service provision. They began with 32 clients weekly and this has grown to more than 90.
Including the drama, dance and disco groups, they work with more than 200 children and adults weekly.Along the way they were successful in securing other funding for projects including single parents, mental health and young people.
From art to zumba, and everything in between, Tameside Arts Ltd. caters for children, adults, older people, families and people with additional needs.
The centre has space for drama, dance and music with a PA system, lighting, sound, a cinema screen, instruments, costumes, props and a mirrored wall, a sensory suite with interactive lighting and stimulating visual and textured resources, an art zone, a learning zone with books, communication tools and interactive life skills resources, a community cafe and arts supplies shop providing refreshments while offering adaptable training, volunteer and workplace opportunities.
The centre has room hire to groups and individuals.