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Arts and cultural boost for Wigan Borough

Wigan Borough’s growing reputation as a hotbed for arts and culture has been underlined with a major funding boost.

Wigan S.T.E.A.M. has received £99,000 from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority Cultural and Social Impact Fund.

The announcement was made at Wigan’s #AskAndy event with Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham held at the Old Courts arts centre.

It is the first time a Wigan arts organisation has received funding from the Greater Manchester fund which aims to ensure the region’s cultural, arts and leisure offer is vibrant and attracts visitors.

Wigan S.T.E.A.M. is based in Library Street, Wigan, and aims to build connections between science, technology, engineering, art and maths with culture and heritage. It works with young people to provide exciting learning opportunities, workshops and exhibitions as well as creative heritage-based projects. Areas they cover include digital and interactive arts, coding, computing and electronics, game design, animation and 3D printing.

Lizzie Griffiths, from Wigan S.T.E.A.M., said: “We are absolutely thrilled with this funding from the Greater Manchester cultural and social impact fund.

“It will make a massive difference to the work that we do engage young people with science, technology and maths through arts.”

Donna Hall, chief executive of Wigan Council and lead officer for arts and culture in Greater Manchester, said: “This is brilliant news for Wigan.

“Wigan S.T.E.A.M. do a fantastic job engaging young people in STEM subjects through creativity and the arts and this funding will really help them grow that offer.”

The funding comes as Wigan Council is forming its own arts and cultural strategy to attract more people to be aware of and visit its museums, arts and music venues.

Donna added: “Wigan is really growing its artistic and cultural offer particularly through the Old Courts in Wigan and The Turnpike gallery in Leigh and our new strategy will enhance that offer and bring more visitors to Wigan in the coming years.”

Councillor Linda Thomas, the lead member for arts and culture in Greater Manchester and leader of Bolton Council, praised Wigan S.T.E.A.M. and said the cultural fund was reaching out to more organisations in GM than ever before.

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