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Creative project awarded £10,000 by Arts Council England
Thursday 13th June, 2013

AN inspiring project to help people sleeping rough or facing homelessness work towards a brighter future has been awarded £10,000 from the Arts Council’s National Lottery-funded Grants for the arts scheme.

Leisure and culture provider WLCT has secured the funding for the Hidden Voices project, a year-long programme to help people learn creative skills and re-engage with society.

In addition to the grant, partner organisations including Wigan Council, The Brick, Riverside Housing and Wigan Together Area Managers Groups have invested £15,000 to enable the year-long project to go ahead.

Vicky Fletcher, Arts Development Officer at WLCT, said: “I’m delighted that the Arts Council and our partner organisations have recognised the benefits of this project, which will make a real difference to people’s lives. People facing issues associated with homelessness such as drugs or alcohol will be encouraged to find a new way forward through the use of digital arts and media. They’ll have the chance to take part in film workshops and receive accredited training in photography and creative writing, to help provide a route back into employment. We’re really looking forward to getting this project off the ground.”

Cllr Chris Ready, Cabinet member for Leisure and Culture, said: “The Hidden Voices project offers an innovative way to engage with homeless people and tackle some of the issues they may face. Projects like this open up new opportunities for those taking part and encourage them to follow a more independent life, which can lead to really positive outcomes for individuals and for the borough as a whole.”

Jane Beardsworth, North West Regional Director, Arts Council England, said: “We’re committed to supporting work for people who don’t usually have an opportunity to engage in arts activities. This project in Wigan finds a really interesting way to enable people to take part in the arts and also supports our mission of Achieving great art for everyone.”

The project will result in a public exhibition of work in Wigan North, Leigh, and Greater Manchester.

An arts educational pack will also be produced which will be distributed to local schools to highlight the risks and impact on the miss-use of alcohol and drugs, and a series of preventative workshops for young people will take place.

The full list of partner organisations supporting the project are Riverside Housing, The Brick, Coops Foyer, Wigan Council, Wigan Together Area Managers Groups, Arts Council England, Homeless Link (UK), Arts Awards (UK) accredited training, Curriculum Plus, Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester and Transport for Greater Manchester.

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