At Middleton Arena from Monday 1 December

Art4Families Saturday Club

Art4Families Saturday Club

Autumn Arts4Families Workshops are now FREE - booking is essential - numbers limited



activ8teme is an exciting programme of sports activities for adults – all ages

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Call goes out for sponsors to get Daniel on the road to Paralympic success

disabled-sports-achiever-of-the-year-winner-daniel-wain-and-joanna-rowsell-mbeVolunteers are needed to take part in a sponsored 'Bocciathon'. The event will help talented young athlete Daniel Wain – and winner of this year's Young Disabled Sports Achiever – to take up his place on the Boccia England Squad and attend training camps and competitions.

23 year old Daniel, from Rochdale, is a Powerchair user and has cerebral palsy affecting him physically down one side of his body. He has been playing Boccia for around eight years, is captain of the local club Rochdale Boccias and trains daily. Earlier this year he was offered a place on the England Squad having come third in the 2014 Great Britain Boccia Championships.

Anyone can support the sponsored Bocciathon which will take place at Kingsway Park Sports Centre, off Turf Hill Road in Rochdale, on a choice of two consecutive Saturdays – 29 November and 6 December – from 9am-5pm. A donation of £3 is required to take part and 30 minute or one hour playing slots will be allocated on one of the days. Daniel has to play 24 hours of Boccia in one week and volunteers are needed to play against him.

A Paralympic sport since 1984 and played worldwide, Boccia is a target game with similar characteristics to Bowls. Designed specifically for athletes with a disability affecting locomotor function, it is played indoors and athletes throw, kick or use a ramp to propel a ball onto the court with the aim of getting closest to a 'jack' ball. It can be played in teams, in pairs, and individually.

Daniel's journey to success started last December when he competed in the North West Regional Championships, organised by Boccia England. From there he qualified for the National Championships, the pinnacle of the England Boccia competition season, where he took on top players from across the country to compete for the national title.

Link4Life Disability Sports Development Officer, Graeme Hill, who has played a leading role in developing the sport of Boccia in the Rochdale borough, spoke about Daniel's success. "Dan has got a great future ahead of him in the sport and it is really exciting to see him do so incredibly well and be able to fully enjoy all the experiences that participating in sport can bring. He has worked exceptionally hard to reach the standard necessary at this level of competition. Getting to these competitions and training events presents special challenges for Daniel and adds significantly to his costs both in transport and accommodation and a mobile hoist and a set of boccia balls alone costs around £1,000."

Recently narrowly missing out on taking the honours at the Greater Manchester Sports Awards, Daniel is looking forward to planning his future in the Boccia world. He said, "Being part of something like the GB Championships has really opened my eyes to the opportunities that are there for me. I intend to carry on with my training and hopefully work towards a place on the Great Britain Boccia squad at the Paralympics in Brazil in 2016."

To register to take part contact Amy, Disability Activities Coordinator at Link4Life on 07580 758078 or Nes from Rochdale Boccias on 07917 518236. Donations can also be made online at

Santa Claus is coming to Touchstones Rochdale

64227-touchstones-santas-grottoSanta Claus is coming to town, so come and take part in the family festive fun at Touchstones Rochdale.

On Saturday 6 December, 10am-5pm, visit Santa's Grotto at Touchstones Rochdale for only £6.50 per child. Price includes: a story with Santa in his magical grotto; meeting Santa's elves who will help you create a Christmas craft; writing your wish and placing it on the Christmas tree; meeting Santa and receiving an age appropriate gift to take home.

This event is suitable for all ages but spaces are limited and booking is essential. Timeslots are every 45 minutes from 10am-12.15pm and 1pm-4.45pm. Bookings can be made in person or by telephone to Rochdale Visitor Information Centre 01706 924928 (Tuesday to Saturday 10am-5pm). (Please note we are unable to change bookings once they have been made or to offer refunds due to Santa's popularity).

Touchstones Rochdale is managed by the Link4Life Cultural Trust and is located on The Esplanade, Rochdale, OL16 1AQ. We are open Tuesday to Saturday 10am-5pm. Admission is free.

Rochdale's walking football team stroll into regional finals

rochdale-strollers-at-northern-regional-finalsThe 'Rochdale Strollers' walking football team has taken part in the first national walking football tournament competing in the Northern area regional final.

The Rochdale team is made up of regular players in the Walking Football sessions organised by Link4Life. Twenty-six teams competed up and down the country, all taking part in their regions.

Teams from Blackpool, Barnsley and Rochdale, who had all qualified for the Northern finals, met at the Blackburn soccer dome to compete for a place at the national final in London with the honours going to Barnsley after four very competitive games.

Described as "a slower version of the beautiful game" walking football is fast growing in popularity as described by Paul Gardner, Health Activities Officer at Link4Life. "Walking Football is proving very popular with older men who have dropped out of competitive football and this provides them with the chance to get back into the game. The Rochdale team is made up of many players who are recovering from strokes and other long-term conditions and are proof that nothing can stand in your way if you want to play football in the future."

Steve Colesby who played in the tournament for Rochdale said "It was a great experience for many of the guys who had not played competitive football for many years and some who thought they never would again." Top scorer and player of the tournament for Rochdale was David Mellor with two goals.

Link4Life, who run the walking football sessions in partnership with the Stroke Association and Rochdale AFC, are always looking for new players of all ages and abilities. "It isn't necessary to have any experience of the game to take up walking football and it's a great way to keep fit in a very social and fun environment," explained Paul Gardner.

Sessions are held at Rochdale Leisure Centre every Thursday from 10am–11am and also at Kingsway Park Sports Centre every Wednesday from 5pm-6pm. For information contact Paul Gardner Health Activities Officer at Link4Life on 01706 926235.

Rugby League Heritage on Tour visits Rochdale as star attraction of Heritage Festival

rugby-league-heritage-2Rochdale's pioneering role in rugby league history will be celebrated when the brand new 'Rugby League Heritage On Tour' exhibition visits the town on 2 December for two weeks.

Rochdale Hornets are one of rugby league's historic clubs. Formed in 1871 it is one of the oldest rugby clubs in Britain and a founder member of the Northern Union. In 1924 The town hosted 41,831 spectators in the Challenge Cup Final at the Athletic Grounds and in 1929, the ground held an unprecedented fourth Great Britain versus Australia test match which saw Great Britain win the Ashes.

rugby-league-heritage-3Internationalism has always been at the centre of the club's ethos as Hornets blazed a trail in the 1960s by bringing in great players from Fiji. In 2013, Rochdale staged one of most unforgettable matches of the Rugby League World Cup. There is no doubting that this is a region that is part of the very heartbeat of the greatest game of all.

At the centre of Rochdale Hornets' 2014 Heritage Celebration, the Rugby League Heritage on Tour exhibition opens on December 2nd and continues until 17 December 17 at Rochdale's Spotland Stadium. It tells the story of the game, its players and supporters and, most importantly, the communities that made the sport.

As well as historic memorabilia, including a player's shirt from the first-ever rugby league test match and the ball from the famous 1954 Challenge Cup final replay, the exhibition tells the story of the game's split from rugby union, the first World Cup, the banning of league in World War Two France and much, much more.

The exhibition's lead curator, Rugby League Cares' Heritage Manager Victoria Dawson, said: "This exhibition is different from other exhibitions that have gone before it because this tells not just the story of players and things that have happened on the pitch. As important as that is, rugby league is about more than just the product on the field. Rugby league's history is the history of the people and this exhibition draws together the stories from the social and cultural history of the sport and incorporates brand new research, so even the most ardent rugby league fan will learn something new. The fantastic thing about a touring exhibition is that it means more of the rugby league family get to share in the history of our beloved sport."

On Sunday 7 December, from 2:30pm until 3pm, anyone interested in local history can get details of an exciting new volunteer project taking place in Rochdale that literally aims to put Rochdale's community and rugby league history on the map! Then, from 3pm until 5:30pm there will be a Hornets Heritage Show and Tell event, giving fans the opportunity to bring in photographs and memorabilia and share their memories of rugby in the area, and get the chance to chat to the exhibition's head curator, Rugby League Cares' Heritage Manager, Victoria Dawson.

Themed 'Brothers in Arms' to recognise the centenary of the start of the First World War, the second annual Heroes of Hornets induction will take place on Thursday 11 December, and pay tribute those who have made a heroic contribution to the club throughout its history. The evening will include a showing of rare, recently discovered, 1914 Rorke's Drift Australia & New Zealand Tour footage - where Hornets' own Walter Roman toured with England and will be followed by presentations to this year's inductees.

Whether you're a rugby league fan or a lover of social history, this is an exhibition not to be missed.

For more information and tickets to the Heroes of Hornets induction please contact the club on 01706 648004.

Full line up revealed for the Rochdale Town Centre Christmas Lights Switch-On

the-mendThe packed line up for the annual Rochdale Town Centre Christmas Lights Switch On has been announced, with Littleborough singer and X-Factor star Danny Dearden, Britain's Got Talent boy band 'The Mend'and Coronation Street actress Katie McGlynn all set for the show.

The event, which this year takes place on Saturday 22 November, is a firm favourite with locals, with thousands turning out.

The fun kicks off at 3.30pm, with a magical lantern parade led by Katie McGlynn and the Lightning McQueen character, star of the Pixar Film, Cars. The parade, which also stars pupils from Holy Trinity, Broadfield and Hamer primary schools and children's TV favourite Peppa Pig, will start at the top of Yorkshire Street. From there, the parade will make its way down to The Butts for live performances on the stage between 4 and 5pm, followed by the switch on and a spectacular firework display.

Rochdale Town Centre Manager and event organiser Mark Foxley said: "This year we wanted to showcase our local pride and give the public a free event the whole family can come down and enjoy. We have a fantastic line up to kick start the festivities and special thanks to Rochdale Borough Council for their support and funding.

"We hope families will make a full day of the event and do some early Christmas shopping in the town centre beforehand and stay afterwards for a bite to eat. We have some great venues in the town centre including The Baum – voted best pub in the UK, La Mancha, Madison's and The Flying Horse Hotel to name a few. We also have over 80 fabulous independent shops and 60 high street names."

Boy band 'The Mend' said: "We're really looking forward to performing in Rochdale. We have been in the studio for a while working on our album so we can't wait to get back on stage, particularly at such a fantastic event as the Christmas Lights Switch let's get Rochdale rocking!"

Rapper Kris, who lives in Middleton, said: "It's an honour to perform so close to home and to be part of the best festive party in town!"

Other local artists set to perform on the main stage include The Carers Resource Choir, Turners Dance Studio and characters from the Cinderella Pantomime at the Middleton Arena. The Big Switch On itself, at 5pm, will be carried out by all the artists along with The Mayor of Rochdale, Cllr Carol Wardle, and players from the Rochdale Hornets Rugby League.

Councillor Richard Farnell, Leader of Rochdale Borough Council, said: "This is a fantastic free event for all the family which has always been given the thumbs up by our residents. Hot on its heels will be late night shopping, the Wheatsheaf Christmas markets and a fantastic family day featuring Santa and his reindeer on Saturday 6th December. I'd encourage everyone to come along and celebrate the festivities in style."

The lights switch on is the first event in the Rochdale Town Centre Christmas programme, full details of which, along with late night opening hours, can be found in the programme guide available in shops or on  

Issued by Rochdale Borough Council 13/14/2014.

Sports Leaders celebrate success

sports-leaders-graduates-pictured-with-john-spindler-and-clint-street-together-with-course-tutor-and-mentor-alan-mortonSuccessful new Sports Leaders have celebrated their success at a presentation ceremony at Hopwood Hall College in front of friends and family.

The Link4Life organised Sports Leaders programme provides both a qualification and key skills and is a valuable stepping-stone into employment. It teaches the ability to organise activities, to lead, motivate and communicate with groups and to organise a range of physical activity sessions. The course is delivered in partnership with Hopwood Hall College who provide funding for the course.

During the five-day intensive course participants took part in a wide range of skills and challenges including a teaching session at a local primary school, team building and a multitude of mixed multi-sports activities. They also completed over 200 volunteer hours supporting such high profile events in the borough as the Tour de France and the Rochdale Feel Good Festival.

The group were presented with their certificates and awards by John Spindler, Deputy Principal at Hopwood Hall College and Link4Life's Chair of Trustees, Clint Street.

Speaking about the decision to support the programme, John Spindler said, "These courses are a great platform for individuals to gain the confidence and qualifications needed to move into employment whilst also providing lots of local organisations the opportunity to tap into eager and enthusiastic qualified individuals who offer their volunteering time free of charge. They have a proven track record of success and play an important part in developing the skills needed to get a job. It is a credit to the course that numerous members of the group are now in work or in further education as a result of being involved in the course they undertook."

Speaking on behalf of Link4Life, Clint Street said, "The evening is about celebrating the success of those taking part. Using the expertise we have within Link4Life it is our aim to help build the skills and confidence people need but also encourage them to have fun as they learn. The financial backing that Hopwood Hall College provides for this course is invaluable and we look forward to continuing our partnership with them in the future to carry on delivering training programmes of this quality in the borough."

To find out more about the Sports Leaders programme and dates of future courses contact Barry Woodburn at Link4Life on 01706 926211 or 07527 385746 and via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Stephen Pinnell: Waiting for the Miracle

stephen-pinnellWaiting for the Miracle, a new exhibition of paintings and mixed-media works created by local artist Stephen Pinnell is set to go on show at Gallery One, the community gallery at Touchstones Rochdale.

Stephen was born in Bristol and studied art at Cheltenham Art College and Falmouth School of Art before completing a Masters degree at Leeds Metropolitan University. Stephen moved to Todmorden in 1981 and became a primary school teacher in Rochdale with a career spanning 28 years.

Stephen chose to be a primary teacher, rather than a teacher or lecturer in art because he wanted to keep the two strands of his life separate. However, with hindsight, Stephen says, "The children I have taught have been an enormous influence on my painting – both in terms of their artwork and in the way they see things, the way they think".

Speaking about his work Stephen added: "Some of the paintings refer to the famous series of apparitions at Lourdes or to the less well known apparitions at Garabandal in Spain in the 1960s." Hence the title of the exhibition, Waiting for the Miracle.

Whilst not religious himself, Stephen utilises some of the visual language and mythology of Christianity in his work, a language and mythology that he grew up with.

He sees this as providing something more coherent, wondering whether the development of a more secular society is linked to perceived 'difficulty' in understanding some contemporary Western art. He says, "For centuries Christianity furnished Western artists (not just artists) with a mythological "language" which was spoken and read by all. The demise of a common mythological language not only condemns art to fragmentation and obscurity (as each artist or group of artists tries to construct his or her own language) but what is worse, literally renders some thoughts unthinkable."

Visually, Stephen's biggest influences are artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Alan Davie and Joseph Beuys. He says that like them, he is trying to build a visual language out of seemingly fragmented images. So expect vivid colour and the incorporation of objects and photographic images into paintings in this vibrant exhibition.

Waiting for the Miracle opens on Saturday 15 November and is on show until 14 February 2015.

Gallery One is the community gallery at Touchstones Rochdale and is dedicated to exhibitions by people and groups who live or work in the borough of Rochdale. The exhibitions in Gallery One are very varied, reflecting the range of interests and talent that exist in the borough. Proposals are welcome from individuals, groups and organisations and are reviewed and selected by an independent community panel.

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

Full speed ahead for new 'Rochdale' book launch

les-brown-author-rochdale-sports-car-pioneers-launchA successful launch of the new book 'Rochdale – Sports Car Pioneers' brought enthusiasts from across the country to see it safely out into the literary world.

Author Les Brown was at Touchstones Rochdale to sign copies of the book which tells for the first time the complete story of Rochdale Motor Panels and the 'Rochdale' car. Pride of place on the day went to the 1963 Rochdale 'Olympic', one of a number of cars that last visited the town as part of the London 2012 Torch Relay celebrations.

A valuable record of an important part of Rochdale's industrial heritage, the 240 page, full-colour hardback has been described as "enthralling" and "a fascinating story, well told" by 'Octane' magazine and "highly enjoyable" by 'Classic and Sports Car' as it comprehensively covers this innovative glass fibre specialist.

For Les Brown, who is the Secretary of the Rochdale Owners Club, and an owner himself of a number of various Rochdale models, this has been a labour of love, many years in the writing. "There is still considerable interest in the cars and their history and Rochdale Motor Panels went from a small car repair business after the war to become a leader in the manufacture of advanced sports cars. It is as much a story about the town and its people as is it about the car."

sports-car-book-launch-ron-batleyFamily members of the founders of Rochdale Motor Panels Frank Butterworth and Harry Smith were at the launch event along with Ron Batley, the company's first apprentice who joined the company straight from school in 1948. Ron, now in his 80s, drove up to Rochdale from Torquay. He said, "It was a pleasure to meet the family of my first employers when I was only 15 and to sit in one of the famous Olympic models. My story features in the book and I'm proud to be part of the history of this remarkable car."

The Rochdale was an aluminium and later fibre glass sports car made and developed between 1948 and 1973 in a mill on Hudson Street. They are best known for producing the Olympic Coupe between 1959 and 1973. Compared favourably against Blackpool's TVR and even the Porsche, the Rochdale forged a reputation for quality products and breathtaking design. By 1985, all Formula 1 cars were built around composite monocoque shells – the Rochdale led the way having had theirs in 1959. Designer and developer of the Olympic series, Richard Parker, went on to work for Lotus and to become the inventor of the Jet-Ski.

'Rochdale – Sports Car Pioneers' is available to buy from Touchstones Rochdale, priced £30. Copies can be reserved by phone by calling 01706 924928.

For more information about the book visit 

Cross-Training competition puts Rochdale on the fitness map

gary-kershaw-winner-of-the-mens-novice-category-with-sarah-finnertyOver seventy people of all ages took part in a cross-training competition at Rochdale Leisure Centre. Split into novice, intermediate and advanced classes, participants took part in a circuit of eight different exercises against the clock that included rowing, press-ups, bench jumps and sit-ups. The event was such a success that Rochdale is now likely to feature as a host venue in the national 'X-Training' calendar for future events.

Link4Life Duty Manager, Donna Matley organised the event. "One of our fitness class instructors, Sarah Finnerty, has recently taken up cross-training and we decided to get an event up and running for our gym users. We were amazed by the popularity and it sold out in just a few days. There is a lot of interest in repeating the event next year when we hope to make it an official event as part of the national rankings."

Cross training is a technique favoured by professional athletes to improve results and reduce injury and is increasingly making its way into the average person's fitness routine. In the weeks prior to the competition, entrants took part in a series of training activities to get them ready for the day. The circuit of exercises took anything up to 25 minutes to complete with winners in the three categories taking less than half the time.

Sarah Finnerty explained some of the benefits, "Cross training uses the many different muscles in the body and more than any single activity it can help build greater fitness and strength. During the training participants saw a real improvement over the weeks and the event today shows that a wide range of ages and fitness levels can enjoy taking part."

pdfDownload details of participants and results.

The next event at Rochdale Leisure Centre will take place at the beginning of next year.

New dance programme takes steps to improve health

A new programme of dance sessions in Link4Life centres will be launched in December as part of a new year campaign to get adults more active in the Rochdale borough.

The 'More than Dance' project is aimed at anyone over 16 years old and will provide low cost weekly sessions in a wide range of dance styles.

Link4Life has been awarded nearly £48,000 of Sport England Lottery money to help fund the eighteen month programme which will take place in centres across the borough.

Building on the popularity of such programmes as Strictly Come Dancing and Britain's Got Talent, the sessions aim to be fun, friendly and sociable and are designed to encourage people who perhaps currently do not take part in any regular physical activity to "get dancing".

Announcing the new project, Health Activity Co-ordinator at Link4Life, Shirley Waller, said, "Dance is currently the fastest growing art form and for many people who are currently very inactive it is proving to be a popular alternative to other forms of exercise. It is a great way to look and feel good and a real benefit to overall health."

The Sport England funding is part of a three-year £2 million project, called 'Make Your Move', which aims to increase opportunities to participate in physical activity in innovative and creative ways. The Sport England National Lottery funding is being distributed by Sporta, the representative body for leisure and cultural trusts in the UK. Leisure trusts, like Link4Life, are able to apply for up to £50,000 and 29 different projects throughout the UK are now being supported.

Leisure trusts are not-for-profit organisations, which means that all profits are ploughed back into services at a local level. Chair of Trustees at Link4Life, Clint Street, said, "The funding that we have received from Sport England via the Sporta 'Make Your Move' campaign, plays a vital role in securing participation in physical activity for our local community. It allows us to offer enhanced services to local people and further develop participation in physical activity in this area."

The new 'More than Dance' programme will include dance sessions such as Just Jhoom, a fusion between Bollywood and Banghra, Strictly Latin, Ravercise, a high energy 'rocksteady' DJ style dance session, Street Fit and Cheerobics, cheerleading style dance sessions. To find out more about these and other dance sessions contact Shirley Waller at Link4Life by ringing 01706 926236 or visit