A Tameside town has received funds to make its high street a more attractive, engaging and vibrant place for people to live, work and spend time.
Stalybridge Cultural Consortia (SCC) has been awarded a £90,000 grant from Historic England to create and deliver community-led cultural activities in the town. This funding is part of the Stalybridge High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) cultural programme, led by Historic England, in partnership with Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. This will run alongside and compliment work being done by Tameside Council for the (HSHAZ).
The cultural programme kicked off in March with the launch of This Place [of mine] run by Manchester-based non-profit Future Everything alongside local communities and young people with Stalybridge as a key focus. The programme provides a platform for young people to share ideas about the future of their high streets. An expansion of that project, This Place [in colour], developed by the artist Tine Bech, launches in Stalybridge in July.
The SCC will continue the programme, made up of four key strands of activity to engage, collaborate and inspire the Stalybridge community, by engaging in art-based projects that will run to autumn 2023. The consortium features groups from the area including local theatre and production company Made by Mortals, carnival arts organisation Global Grooves, local charity Action Together and The Sarah England School of Dance.
The four-year Stalybridge Heritage Action Zone project has brought investment into the town thanks to a share of the Historic High Streets Fund delivered by Historic England, a government agency that that helps people care for and celebrate England's heritage.
In total £2.55million will be invested in Stalybridge, half of the funds have been donated by Historic England and this has been matched by Tameside Council.
The four-year project is underway and plans include improvements to Stalybridge Civic Hall and alternative uses for the 155-year-old former market hall and regenerating Market Street.
Cllr Leanne Feeley, Tameside Council executive member for Lifelong Learning, Equalities, Culture and Heritage and member of the Stalybridge Cultural Consortia, said: "We want to make Stalybridge a place that is designed together which stays true to its industrial heritage, while helping create new memories and traditions for our community. Through this project we will unlock imaginations and creativity whilst providing space for conversation, collaboration and shared production."
Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive, Historic England, said: "The high street cultural programme is a step change in the way we think about bringing high streets back from the brink. As we start to see these important historic spaces become regenerated through building work, it is the community-led cultural work that helps people to enjoy their high street again and also have a say in what the future of their high street might be."