Spearheaded by Mossley charity Global Grooves, the venue is only the second of its kind in the UK

When a catastrophic fire burned Global Grooves’ storage warehouse to the ground in March, the carnival arts organisation lost fifteen years of work. Giant puppets and hand-printed costumes numbering hundreds of thousands of pounds were ravaged in the fire at Stalybridge’s Ray Mill, forcing a 60-strong team to work round the clock to meet demand.    

Fortunately, £8000 in donations and the support of Arts Council England mean Global Grooves is back stronger than ever: not only does the registered charity have a new entourage of giant critters - including a symbolic phoenix - but it’s announced plans to convert current home The Vale into a £1million carnival arts hub (CGIs below). 

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The new facility will support artists and audiences both from Greater Manchester and around the globe, and will be only the second building dedicated to the development of carnival arts in England when it launches in spring 2020. Offering a year-round programme of live music, film showings, theatre, workshops and family activities, it’s part supported by £490,000 from Arts Council’s Small Capital Grant funding scheme.

Launched on a shoestring as a social enterprise in September 2015, The Vale was opened to the public thanks to five partner organisations (including Global Grooves), who each put in £35,000 of their own money, and some parts are still in a rudimentary condition. The new development will be fully accessible, well-resourced and usable for generations to come. 

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CEO Leon Patel (centre) with the Global Grooves team

CEO Leon Patel said: “Global Grooves has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a world class arts facility in Tameside - the first in the borough - consolidating all our activities in one place, catalysing a borough-wide engagement with arts and carnival, and building a locally-rooted, internationally connected, resilient and sustainable arts organisation.

“We will create accessible new spaces in which audiences and participants will mix with most dynamic artists and ideas from around the globe, to learn, imagine, create, grow, and share breath-taking carnival arts here on the edge of the Pennine hills." 

Sarah Maxfield, area director north, Arts Council England, said: “The Arts Council’s Small Capital Grants help to ensure that organisations have the right buildings and equipment so that they can continue reaching new and broader audiences, to ensure that everyone is able to access arts and culture. I am proud to see that in this round of funding we have been able to give £3.6 million to support eleven organisations from across the north to achieve their ambitions to improve how they deliver arts and culture to our communities.”

Global Grooves

Since 2003, Global Grooves has inspired people all over the globe to take part in carnival-style events, working in the Gambia, Brazil, New Zealand, Singapore, and Trinidad & Tobago. It was founded by friends Holly Prest, Eraldo Marques and Leon Patel, with Leon and Holly meeting at a community music project in Mossley when they were just thirteen. Now a National Portfolio Organisation, Global Grooves performs regularly to audiences of over 45,000 and has worked with thousands of participants around the world.

Global Grooves, The Vale Unit 2, Vale Mill, Micklehurst Road, Mossley, Ashton-under-Lyne, OL5 9JL