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Having a diverse cultural offer is something we’re proud of and want to grow.”

A new plan outlining Wigan Borough’s exciting cultural future will be published later this year thanks to funding from Arts Council England (ACE).

Wigan Council has secured £10,000 from ACE to go towards the creation of a new cultural strategy after awarding the contract to three experts with more than 40 years’ experience between them.  Sue Potts, Debbie Chan and Maria Brewster have a long and credible history working with local authorities and organisations to help them achieve their cultural ambitions. They will work with the council, its partners and the local community to outline the borough’s future vision.

Donna Hall, chief executive of the council and lead officer for arts and culture in Greater Manchester said: “We already have a significant cultural offer in Wigan Borough thanks to a number of council-led opportunities such as our libraries and the Museum of Wigan Life, as well as partner programmes and community initiatives financed through The Deal for Communities Investment Fund. Having a diverse cultural offer is something we’re proud of and want to grow.”

The council has invested more than £9m in local projects through The Deal for Communities Investment Fund, including The Old Courts, which attracts worldwide performers and Wigan S.T.E.A.M, an arts organisation bringing together science, technology, engineering and math subjects with cultural projects.

Donna added: “We want to put Wigan Borough at the forefront as a culturally thriving district in the North West and are looking forward to Sue, Debbie and Maria engaging with local people, businesses and organisations to see how the borough’s offer should be shaped. “We want arts and culture to be accessible to everybody and have ambitions of increasing the delivery of high-quality and engaging cultural events borough-wide with our valued partners that residents can benefit from.  “This strategy will allow us to focus our efforts and will benefit the local economy and the wellbeing of residents.”

The trio are on track to complete this work by August 2018 after engaging with key stakeholders.  They said: “We are very excited about working to raise Wigan Borough’s profile for arts and culture. We hope that the strategy will help the borough’s cultural ambitions to flourish, enabling local artistic talent to be recognised and developed and making the arts available to everyone.”

Residents and community groups will be updated over the coming weeks regarding how they can be involved in the consultation.