Festivals and funding announced in Wigan Borough

Festivals and funding announced in Wigan Borough

More funding for freelance artists and creative practitioners in Wigan Borough will soon be available.

Wigan Council has announced that a second round of the Freelance Creative Practitioner Fund will launch on 21 May.

A total of £35,000 has been ringfenced for the fund and all freelancers working in the cultural and arts sector are eligible, providing they’re based in Wigan Borough.

Applicants will have up until 4 June to apply for grants between £500 and £1,500 to support their practise as the sector looks to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Councillor Chris Ready, cabinet member for communities and culture at Wigan Council said: “We set up the fund in 2020 in response to the gaps we saw in financial support for the cultural sector throughout the pandemic.

“It was extremely well received and we actually topped up the fund last year because we were so taken aback by the applications. We supported 37 artists with a total of £47,000 respectively.

“Local artists and creative practitioners have faced significant challenges over recent months after further lockdowns and the inability to host events or open exhibitions.

“We understand the significant value this work brings to our communities and we’re committed to continuing to support the cultural sector, which is why we have launched a second round.”

The announcement comes the same week the council revealed that The Fire Within exhibition space at The Galleries shopping centre will reopen to visitors on 19 May.

The existing exhibition ‘We Will Always Be Together xx’ will be retained until the end of December, after having only been open for a total of five weeks due to lockdown.

Coun Ready added: “We’re delighted to have a date secured for the reopening of The Fire Within space. The displays are magnificent and showcase some amazing local talent, so it’s great we’re now in a position to encourage people to visit again.

“By keeping the existing displays up, we can also invest our efforts into launching the third year of our cultural manifesto, which focuses on ‘health and happiness’.

“Rather than a large-scale event at The Galleries exhibitions like in previous years, we want to celebrate with a borough-wide festival of activity. To achieve this ambition, we’ve been working with cultural partners across the borough to discuss our options and we’re now proud to announce that we’ll be a partner in the delivery of Wigan Arts Festival: Health & Happiness this year.”

Usually led by The Old Courts, Wigan Arts Festival is an annual fortnight of cultural activity ranging from musical performances to poetry evenings, mainly in Wigan town centre.

This year, collaborative working and joint investment into the programme will provide residents with a choice of events borough-wide.

Taking place between 30 July and 14 August, the festival will be coordinated by The Old Courts, Wigan Council, The Turnpike, WigLe Dance, Leigh Film Society, Leigh Spinners Mill and Wigan STEAM.

Coun Ready added: “This is a real team effort that will provide residents with exciting activities spanning across Wigan and Leigh.

“And, although restrictions are beginning to ease, we still need to think carefully about how we deliver the activities to ensure everyone’s safety and wellbeing. This is at the top of our agenda when arranging the programme.”

For more information about the Freelance Creative Practitioner Fund, please visit www.thefirewithin.org.uk.

Posted on Wednesday 12th May 2021

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