WORK recently got underway on a £760,000 capital project to refurbish The Vale and create a centre of excellence for carnival arts in Mossley.
The inside of the former textile mill, home to six businesses and two community organisations, is to be gutted.
The project, which is being driven by arts group Global Grooves, will see the creation of a visual arts space and community workshop, performance space and arts studio.
There will also be some external work carried out to the building.
The mill is leased with the users gaining charitable status as The Vale Community Association.
Global Grooves CEO Leon Patel describes the development as great for Mossley.
He said: “This will be the only dedicated arts resource in the borough and will bring investment and jobs to the town.
“It will be a northern centre of excellence for the arts, but in Mossley.”
Leon added issues with securing funding and Covid-19 caused a delay to the start.
“We are now back on track and hope to have work completed by next summer,” he explained.
The businesses located at the Vale have all contributed, though there is a £20,000 shortfall for fixtures and fittings.
Mossley Town Council, for example, has donated £1,000 to pay for the installation of theatre seats.
Leon said: “When Covid-19 struck, overnight Global Grooves lost £350,000 income from work we had lined up.
“We have grown from having £50,000 income to £500,000 in a short space of time and were on track for a very good year locally, regionally and internationally.
“As a result, we no longer had a surplus to invest in the latter part for fixtures and fittings.”
Leon added The Vale Community Association is continuing to fundraise for that and is speaking to other funders and backers.
He told a recent meeting of Mossley Town Council: “The major capital project to refurbish The Vale will create a centre of excellence for carnival arts and a key cultural and community asset for Mossley.
“This is an enormous investment into the town and represents a once in a generation opportunity for the local cultural infrastructure.”
Leon explained they are looking for help to bridge a £20,000 shortfall.
This will cover security, landscaping, disabled access, installing theatre seating and fitting out a sewing room.
The Town Council has agreed to give £1,000 towards the £4,000 cost of installing the theatre seating.
Anybody able to offer financial help can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The capital developments at The Vale offer a unique opportunity to create a world class community asset for Mossley residents which will:
• Increase access to world class arts and cultural opportunities. With the opening of a northern carnival centre of excellence will come a whole new programme of learning, participation and free activities for the whole community in Mossley. The network of organisations at The Vale have already raised £230,000 towards a two-year learning and participation outreach programme for the residents of Mossley and beyond, in addition to the ongoing activity here which many are involved with already.
• Strengthen the local creative economy. With a year-round programme, they envisage a greater increase in visitors from outside Mossley as the profile of the town and its cultural offer increases. The Vale will become a catalyst for activity which draws new resources into Mossley.
• Increase community connections, wellbeing and pride of place. The thriving team of more than 50 volunteers from every corner of the town will support each other to develop this unique venue. Through participatory projects in neighbourhoods they will engage those who are isolated, thus having a significant impact on mental ill health. They will also use The Vale as a hub for local groups and artists to plan their own social action and creative entrepreneurship projects, building on the success of ‘Celebrate!’ festival, or the art installations at Mossley train station, all incubated at The Vale.
Leon fears it may not be until late in 2021 or may be even 2022 before things get back to normal for the performing arts.
And in a bid to help the beleaguered arts, Leon organised a fundraising initiative which has collected £150,000.
This has been distributed to 25 organisations and freelance artists, mainly in Tameside, to help them survive.