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Dates announced for Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival 2015

jackie-kay-festivalThe dates for Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival have been announced. The festival will run from Friday 23 to Sunday 25 October this year, with organisers promising another feast of events for all ages covering drama, comedy, dance, music, theatre, films, visual arts and children's shows. Preview events will also be held across the borough earlier in October.

The festival will include guest speakers, authors and writers and is aimed at celebrating and promoting the Maskew Collection of classic literature and philosophy at Rochdale Central Library, encouraging people to engage in thought and philosophy. It will include events at venues in Rochdale town centre and boroughwide.

Authors, acts, performers and workshops will start to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Julian Massel, Head of Customers and Corporate Services at Rochdale Borough Council said: "The last two years have seen an excellent mix of local and national talent and I can promise another fabulous programme, with lots of talented people. It's a great opportunity for residents, groups or local businesses too, so I urge people to get in touch with us now. The festival makes an important contribution to the arts in the borough and we are all looking forward to its return."

Last year well over 3,000 attended the festival, which featured over 40 events on a line-up that included lyricist and composer Willy Russell, writer Jackie Kay MBE, singer/songwriter Lucy Spraggan, comedian Dave Spikey, broadcaster Liz Kershaw, poet Ian McMillan , MOBO nominated rapper GHETTS, Coronation Street actress Jane Danson and BBC television presenter Bill Turnbull.

For information about appearing at the festival or getting involved in other ways, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

For a look back at last year's event visit

For festival updates on Twitter connect with @RochdaleLitFest

The festival is organised by Rochdale Borough Council, funded by ticket sales and sponsorship.

Issued by Rochdale Borough Council 23/04/15.

Rochdale celebrates St George's Day

rochdale-celebrates-st-georges-day-musicRochdale was celebrating all things English in the sunshine today to mark St George's Day.

The flag was raised at Rochdale Town Hall during a during an event hosted by the Mayor Councillor Carol Wardle. There was a musical performance from the award winning Wardle Academy Youth Band and a poetry reading by Robin Parker from the Multi Faith Partnership.

A crowd of over 100 attended the ceremony which concluded with the flag raising and the national anthem from the band, recently crowned National Youth Champions of Great Britain. The event was followed by drinks and scones in the town hall.

Throughout the day there was face painting and other St Georges themed family activities around the town centre.

The Mayor Councillor Carol Wardle said: "We had a fantastic turnout and the weather was absolutely perfect. St George's Day is always great fun and I know there have been celebrations across the borough. I'd like to thank everyone who joined us on this special day."

Issued by Rochdale Borough Council 23/04/15.

Rochdale Half Marathon and 10K announces over £2,800 prize fund

rochdale-half-marathon-prize-fundPrizes for the first Rochdale Half Marathon and 10K which takes place this August have been confirmed, following the opening of online registrations last month.

The total prize fund is over £2,800, with cash prizes for the first three men and women in the Half Marathon and 10K, plus bonus time-related prizes.

Top prize for the Half Marathon is £150, with £100 going to second place, £70 for third and vouchers worth £65 and £50 to fourth and fifth placed runners. These are in addition to £100 bonuses for the first male runner under 71 minutes and first female under 80 minutes.

The winner of the 10K will get £120, with £80 for second, £50 for third and vouchers for fourth and fifth placed runners, together with £100 bonuses for the first male under 31 minutes and first female under 35 minutes.

There are also veterans and team prizes up for grabs.

On Sunday 23 August the 10K route leaves the Esplanade along Entwisle road, before heading towards Milnrow via Albert Royds Street. It then heads up Buckley Hill Lane, turning near its end before returning to the town hall. The half marathon does the same route except the turning point is by Kingsway Business Park, and it's a two lap course.

If you fancy something a little easier there's also a fun run - a flat mile, heading out along Entwisle Road and turning back just after Rochdale Leisure Centre.

A complete breakdown of the prizes, online entry and more information is available at

Council Event Manager Sue Milne said: "Entries are coming in fast and it's promising to be an incredible event. I know we have lots of local organisations planning to enter teams and there's a real buzz building. With a one mile and 10K as well as the half marathon there's something for every ability. I also hope a lot of people come down and support our runners especially as a lot of them will be doing it for charity."

1000 places are available for the Half Marathon, 1000 for the 10K and 500 for the fun run.

For the latest on the event follow @RochdaleHalf on Twitter.

Issued by Rochdale Borough Council 17/04/15.

National Grid provides link to the past in Rochdale

national-grid-is-handing-over-a-cast-iron-manufacturers-plateRochdale's Touchstones Museum is celebrating the latest addition to its historic collection thanks to a generous donation. National Grid has handed over the manufacturer's plaque conserved from one of the gasholders currently being dismantled at their site off Dane Street alongside a number of framed photographs from the historic gasworks.

The site and surrounding area once played an important role in securing Rochdale's gas supply. The gasholders formed part of the expansive Rochdale Gasworks, opened in 1824, which was the catalyst for lighting up the town's streets with gas lamps.

As demand for gas increased, so too did the site. The two gasholders that National Grid is dismantling were built in 1949 and 1954 and replaced previous, smaller holders on the site in a bid to cope with anticipated post-war demand.

Today, gasholders are no longer needed due to investments made to improve the national network, meaning gas can be stored in the pipe system or underground. The gasholders in Rochdale have not been used since 2013. The removal allows regeneration of the site so it can be put to better use.

The manufacturer's plate, which is made of steel and weighs around 25 kilograms, served as a maker's mark on one of the gasholders, which has now been completely removed from the site. It will now sit alongside other points of interest at the museum's Arts and Heritage Resource Centre.

Kat Scargill, Land Regeneration Manager at National Grid said: "We are delighted to provide Touchstones with this poignant link to Rochdale's industrial past. Whilst the gasholders are now redundant, the site once formed part of the Rochdale Gasworks which opened in 1824. We hope that by passing on this item to the museum people will be able to learn and take an interest in the town's industrial history for years to come."

Sarah Hodgkinson, Museum Resource Officer, at Touchstones Rochdale, said: "It's wonderful to acquire the cast iron manufacturer's plate from the recently dismantled gas holder as it tells an important historical story. It will now be accessioned into the museum collection at the Arts and Heritage Resource Centre where it will be preserved for the town."

National Grid's Community Relations Team are available to answer any questions about the project and can be reached on Freephone 0808 168 7590 or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

St George’s Day celebrations set for Rochdale Town Hall

st georges day celebrations mayor carole wardleRochdale Town Hall will be toasting all things English next week to celebrate St George’s Day.

The flag will be raised at the iconic landmark during an event at 10am on Thursday 23 April, hosted by the Mayor Carol Wardle.  There will be a poetry reading followed by tea/coffee and scones. Throughout the morning there will also be children’s face painting and other St Georges themed family activities around the town centre.

The Mayor is encouraging everyone to attend the event to celebrate the patron saint of England. Councillor Carol Wardle said:

“This is an open invitation to the people of the borough to attend the ceremony at the town hall. I hope lots will join us to celebrate this special day.”

Everyone planning to attend is asked to arrive at the town hall by 9.45am.

Issued by Rochdale Borough Council 15/04/15.

Election polling cards issued

Polling cards have been delivered across the borough ahead of the general election and local elections on 7 May.

As always the cards let every registered voter know where, when and how to vote.

So far 78,611 voters are registered in the Rochdale constituency and 81,187 in the Heywood/Middleton constituency.

The deadline to register is Monday 20 April and the deadline to apply to vote by post or for a postal proxy vote is Tuesday 21 April. Registering is easy and you can do it online in less than five minutes by visiting - you just need to have your National Insurance number handy.

Steve Rumbelow, Returning Officer for Rochdale Borough Council, said: "It's really important that everyone aged 18 and over registers in order to vote on 7 May. Only those registered to vote will be entitled to vote, so if you haven't received your poll card you are not registered and won't be able to vote, so register now."

Polling places will be open from 7am-10pm on election day.

For more information about the elections, candidates and how to register if you haven't already, visit .

Issued by Rochdale Borough Council 14/04/15.

Rochdale to celebrate World Book Night

rochdale-to-celebrate-world-book-nightRochdale will celebrate World Book Night 2015 with a special event at Touchstones Arts and Heritage Centre later this month.

On Thursday 23 April the multi award winning playwright Michael Stewart will take part in 'An Evening With' event, talking about his latest novel Cafe Assassin, discussing its themes of friendship, betrayal and crime! His debut novel, King Crow, won The Guardian's 'Not the Booker Prize' and in 2012 was selected as a World Book Night recommended read. He has written several full length stage plays, one of which, Karry Owky, was joint winner of the King's Cross Award for New Writing, as well as varied work in radio and television.

During the event he'll also be signing copies of his books and complimentary refreshments will be served.

Punam Ramchurn, Director of Rochdale Literature Festival said: "We are very lucky to have published author and playwright Michael Stewart joining us for World Book Night. It will be an inspiring and entertaining evening."
World Book Night is an annual celebration of reading and books that sees volunteers give out hundreds of thousands of books in their communities to share their love of reading with people who don't read regularly or own books. The evening is arranged by Rochdale Central Library in conjunction with The Reading Agency, a national charity that inspires people to become confident and enthusiastic readers.

'World Book Night – an evening with Michael Stewart' is at Touchstones on Thursday 23 April at 6.30pm. Tickets (£2) and more information is available from .

Issued by Rochdale Borough Council 13/04/15.

Residents invited to make a difference in Kirkholt

plate spinningMake a badge...make a smoothie...make some noise...and help make a difference in Kirkholt.

A family fun fayre is being held in Kirkholt Community Church this Tuesday (14 April) from 11am-2pm and everyone on the estate is invited to come along.

There will be a host of free activities for kids of all ages including performances from the Skylight Circus and a giant Easter egg hunt with morris dancing and clog dancing, as well as music from a local folk band.

Community artist Cat Jessop will be turning people's thoughts and ideas into a giant 'Love Kirkholt' artwork and community poet Norman Warwick will be wandering round the fayre all day collecting thoughts and inspiration for a special Kirkholt Poem that will be read to close the event.

There will also be delicious food available and lots of inspiration for healthy eating recipes and tips and advice on how to stay well from Pennine Care.

The event has been organised by Rochdale Borough Council's Public Service Reform Team and as well as residents enjoying a fun time the council and its partners are keen to find out how they can improve services, particularly those which help people be more independent.

Lea Fothergill, the team's strategic co-ordination lead said: "This is a fun community event and a real opportunity for people to make the most of the Easter holidays, get the kids out and about and entertained for a couple of hours and to meet new people. It's also an opportunity for the council to find out what people love about Kirkholt, what services they need and use and how we can all work together to make a difference. It's an open invitation to anyone who lives in Kirkholt and we would love as many people as possible of all ages to come along and join in the fun."

Also on hand during the Fayre will be members of the Kirkholt Millions and Rochdale Boroughwide Housing team, who will be able to give updates on the area's regeneration plans. The youth bus will also be there along with the fire service and police and visitors can pick up advice on work and skills training.

Issued by Rochdale Borough Council 09/04/15.

Council seeks election staff

council seek election staffAs politicians canvas for votes in the upcoming May 7 elections, Rochdale Borough Council is asking residents to get in touch if they would like to help run the polls.

There are a number of paid vacancies available for people to help on the 7 and 8 May at the counts in Heywood and Rochdale.

Roles to be filled include presiding officers, poll clerks - who are responsible for ensuring voting is carried out properly in polling stations, count assistants who tally the votes once the ballot boxes reach the count venues, runners and verifiers.

Elections Manager Clare Poole said it's a good opportunity to earn extra money and take part in the election process: "We are looking for people who can help us in several roles and training will be provided, we just need those interested to get in touch now."

The fees paid haven't yet been finalised by the government but are expected to be around £195 for a presiding officer, £115 for a poll clerk, £60 for verifiers, £40 for counters and £80 for runners.

To find out more and download an application form visit .

Applicants must be 18 or over.

Issued by Rochdale Borough Council 09/04/15.

Spring Exhibitions launched at Touchstones Rochdale

claire-barclay-at-the-launchTwo new shows have been launched at Touchstones Rochdale (Friday 27 March 2015) showcasing work of Rana Begum and Claire Barclay.

Claire Barclay's work is typically large in scale and interventionist in ambition, taking the form of installations made in situ and in response to the space in which they are shown.  For this exhibition at Touchstones Rochdale in association with Stephen Friedman Gallery, she has made an extensive new body of work that includes printmaking and sculptures, taking inspiration from but not directly reflecting the museum's collection. Before the exhibition opens, Barclay will transform the gallery space into her own studio as she assembles the smaller crafted objects she has created into larger sculptural pieces.

In 2012 Touchstones Rochdale acquired Barclay's sculpture Perching, presented by the Contemporary Art Society with support from The Art Fund and this provided a starting point for this exhibition and will be shown alongside the new work she has produced. Her ensembles of crafted objects made from metal, fabric and ceramics, explore the making of things, questioning and experiencing how these items are made.  Though craft-based and hands-on, Barclay's work is primarily conceptual – the objects are carriers of ideas rather than idealisations of form, and the fact of their making, like the turning of wheel and lathe, is only one of the ideas they carry.

Born in 1968, Barclay is a major figure within the generation of Scottish artists who came out of the Glasgow School of Art in the 1990s and helped establish the city as a serious centre of contemporary art. Barclay was also one of three artists to represent Scotland for its first showing at the Venice Biennale in 2003.

Speaking at the launch, Claire said:  "To some extent the work for this show has been triggered by thinking about the industrial heritage of the Rochdale Borough.  I am delighted to be able to showcase my work here at the Rochdale Art Gallery and thank you to the Gallery team for making me feel so welcome."

rana-begumElsewhere, this is the internationally renowned artist, Rana Begum's first solo show in a public gallery in the UK. Drawing inspiration from Islamic art and architecture, these works emerged from studies in paper and delicately emulate the weightlessness of the original material. Constructed through a series of folds, the resulting work in painted mild steel and mirror-finish stainless steel is a playful balance between form, colour and light. This infinite composition shifts with the viewer's every move while reflected colour softens or intensifies depending on perspective.

Speaking about her work, Rana adds: "My work romanticises moments of alignment, fragmentation of forms and re-contextualises urban structure. I have always been fascinated by architecture, how it opens up spaces that can be transformed by light. That's where the 3D element of a lot of my work comes from. Abstract art allows me to look at universal themes such as light and space in a way that isn't restricting."

Both exhibitions open on Saturday 28 March and run until Saturday 13 June 2015.

Touchstones Rochdale is managed by the Link4Life Cultural Trust and is located on The Esplanade, Rochdale, OL16 1AQ. We are open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm. Admission is FREE. For further information call 01706 924492 or visit