GLOBAL Grooves is looking forward to a bright future after securing a £1million grant from the Arts Council.
The Mossley community group’s exciting expansion plans are far removed from eight months ago when its future was threatened following the blaze at Stalybridge’s Ray Mill that destroyed nearly all its stock that was stored there.
And chief executive Leon Patel admitted Global Grooves’ future looked bleak after they lost creations worth £150,000.
Leon said: “The worst case scenario was that we would have to wind up the business by December.
“It was only through a crowd-funding campaign, private donations and supporters helping that we raised about £110,000 to keep going.”
Global Grooves was started in 2009 by Leon, Holly Prest and Eraldo Marques but has occupied the top floor at Mossley’s Vale Mill since 2012. It has a £450,000 annual turnover.
Thanks to the Arts Council grant, Leon says they will be able to expand and develop a community-focused arts and learning space that is ‘fit for purpose’.
Global Grooves has acquired much of the floor below that was once home to Etchells, Airtec Air Systems and a canteen.
The canteen area will be transformed into a visual arts studio, the former Etchells premises devoted to performance, carnival, dance, movement and music and the Air Tech portion into a design studio.
Leon described the vision, that will take 18 months to become a reality, as massive for the business, but also the borough.
He said: “It will be exciting that everything will be under one roof and sometimes in the past we have had to move things outside the borough through a lack of space here.
“This will be the only dedicated arts space for Tameside and we are determined the Arts Council investment goes into the borough rather into Manchester where arts are focused.
“We are particularly proud to have got this investment for Tameside that is under represented for arts and cultural funding.
“Figures for Greater Manchester show Tameside and Wigan get bum deals as there are not many medium/large scale arts organisations in the area. Hopefully this will be the seed for more things to happen.”
The expansion plans are phase one and Leon says the second phase will be to source funds for increased equipment and to offer more activities.
Leon added Global Grooves always had ambitions to develop their space at Vale Mill and open it to the public.
He said: “The blaze at Ray Mill pushed us harder to bring it forward time wise.
“It has been more challenging also having to deal with Ray Mill while continuing with our core work.
“We have not recovered from Ray Mill, but by February we ought to be back to where we were pre-fire.”
Leon admitted this year has been a rollercoaster, explaining: “We became an Arts Council national portfolio organisation at the start of the year that guaranteed regular funding for four years.
“That was before the fire and a couple of months later we lost all our works and then had to raise money to survive.”
Global Grooves, which has a core team of seven staff, enlisted the help of 40 community artists who worked solidly for three months to create puppets and models for them to fulfil their summer bookings.
They are now working on creations for the winter programme that included Oldham’s Reindeer Parade, Hats off to Denton and events at Harrogate and Gretna Green.