We’ve secured National Lottery support for our exciting new charity. Read the full, official story here:

Arts at The Mill CIC, locally known as The Old Courts, has received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £88,900.00 for an exciting project, Awakening Wigan’s Sleeping Heritage. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project focuses on creating Wigan Arts Trust for Culture & Heritage, a new charity that will be set up to help look after some of our town’s most prized heritage buildings such as The Old Courts, Wigan Pier and The Royal Court Theatre.

Supported through The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the project aims to reawaken a local love for our old heritage spaces, times gone by and spark new uses. It will provide new jobs, training and opportunities for the new Wigan Arts Trust for Culture & Heritage to consult with the community.

The Old Courts is a Grade II listed former Magistrates Court, built in 1889, still retains many of its original features. It is vastly important to our local area - currently voted #1 thing to do in Wigan on TripAdvisor, and regularly receives positive comments of people sharing memories of their experiences of the building from its time as a Magistrates Court as well as recent memories from shows, experiences and arts events. With the help of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the team behind it are looking to harness the learnings and successes of The Old Courts into a charitable trust that will look after more heritage spaces in the area. These are:

  • The Royal Court Theatre: this disused Grade II theatre was built in 1886 and in its 1920’s heyday, this stage was graced by icons such as Charlie Chaplin. Since then it’s become a bingo hall and nightclub before it became derelict seven years ago. This major restoration project has gained national television, and printed, press coverage from the likes of The Stage and BBC News.

  • Wigan Pier: an unlisted but nationally significant heritage site which sits in the Heritage Action Zone. Made famous by George Orwell’s 1937 seminal book, The Road to Wigan Pier, documented the plight of the working classes in Northern England in the 1930's. In the 60's it became the home for the underground Northern Soul music movement attracting people from all over the country to take part in cultural activities. With Heritage Lottery Funding support the building was received into a Museum & Education Centre which was active from the last 80’s till the early 00’s.

Commenting on the award, Rebecca Davenport, Director at The Old Courts said: “We are thrilled to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players and are confident the project will support the new and exciting Wigan Arts Trust for Culture & Heritage to grow, thrive and to connect with our community.”

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