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Latest News and Press Releases

Here you will find all the latest news and press releases relating to Link4Life, including articles published Rochdale Borough Council.

Doors open in September as Rochdale borough celebrates its heritage

arts and heritage resource centrest edmunds churchyelloway motor coach

The borough of Rochdale is once again getting ready to celebrate its fantastic architecture and heritage next month with the return of the popular national Heritage Open Days festival.

Now 22 years old, the event is billed as England's largest voluntary cultural event which 'opens the doors' to various venues in the borough, many of which are normally either closed to the public or charge an entrance fee.

Running for four consecutive days, from Thursday 8 to Sunday 11 September, this is a once-a-year chance to enjoy events and activities which bring to life local history and culture. All free to explore, buildings of every age, style and function across the borough will be opening, along with fascinating guided walks, tours and talks.

The open days are co-ordinated nationally by the Heritage Open Days National Partnership with Link4Life's Arts and Heritage Service organising locally, the event thrives upon the enthusiasm and expertise of local people as thousands of volunteers from all walks of life share their knowledge and memories. And with exciting new additions to the programme, festival co-ordinators are expecting this year to be even bigger and better.

Acknowledging the enthusiastic support received from the many different organisations taking part, Darren Grice, Head of Culture, Health and Participation for Link4Life said, "Rochdale punches well above its weight in terms of its fantastic heritage and it's great to have four days that shines a light on all the hard work and dedication of volunteers, groups and organisations who work year round to keep our heritage alive and accessible. I would encourage everyone to get out over the course of the event and have some fun enjoying the heritage of our Borough."

Many of Rochdale's historic and religious buildings will open including the Grade I listed Town Hall, the Pioneers Museum and Touchstones Rochdale which will welcome a visit by the mobile Yelloway Motor Coach Museum reliving over fifty years of memories of day trips and holidays. In partnership with Yelloway Motor Coach Museum, Touchstones operated by Link4Life will be providing circular tours on the Saturday on the hour from 11am to 2pm, where you can take a free, nostalgic trip aboard a vintage bus taking in the heritage attractions in Rochdale town centre.

After the success of last year, Christ Church in Healey will open this year for a second time. For the Heritage Open Days, there will be an exhibition of historical documents, with original letters from founders Jacob Tweedle and Albert Royds. The church will also hold a Heritage Fair Day on Saturday 10 September with home bakes and craft stalls and a variety of children's activities, fun and games for all ages! There will be a grand re-opening of the bell tower and visitors will be able to access the ringing chamber following its recent restoration.

It's Middleton Golden Cluster Month throughout September with three medieval buildings, St Leonard's Parish Church, The Queen Elizabeth 1st Grammar School (Tuesday only), the Olde Boar's Head and England's first Art Nouveau Church, Long Street Methodist Church will open their doors free of charge on Tuesday and Friday afternoons from 1pm.

Many of Heywood's historic churches will be open and local residents can step back in time to the 1930s to visit the courtroom and cells of the town's iconic former Police Station.

On the edge of the Pennines, Littleborough will be inviting visitors to explore Hare Hill House with animated displays of the various incarnations of the house and displays of the proposals for the future of the iconic local heritage asset.

In Milnrow, the Grade II listed Carnegie public library will be open for visitors with an opportunity to browse the library, or view their local history collection and display. Also, on view is their newly opened meeting room.

Councillor Janet Emsley, cabinet member for Culture, Health and Wellbeing at Rochdale Borough Council: "Rochdale has a rich and diverse heritage of which we can be rightly proud, there is so much to discover within the Borough. There are hidden gems in all the Townships. Take some time out to visit somewhere you haven't seen yet or revisit old favourites to invoke your childhood memories. You'll be surprised and delighted at what you find!"

Full details of this year's Heritage Open Days programme, and how to pre-book onto the free sessions, is available online at Copies of a twelve page colour brochure produced by Link4Life can also be picked up from the Visitor Information Centre at Touchstones Rochdale and at local libraries and leisure centres.

Wheelchair Rugby League 4 Nations

4 nations press release

Rochdale Hornets Wheelchair Rugby League alongside Wigan & Leigh Wheelchair Rugby League have been successful in their bid to bring the Wheelchair Rugby League 4 Nations to the North West.

Both Wigan Leisure Trust and Rochdale Hornets Sporting Foundation were successful in attracting support from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund to allow the showcase tournament to be staged in Rochdale.

The opening ceremony will take place on Friday 23 September at Rochdale Town Hall and then a two-day tournament will commence at Kingsway Park Sports Centre. It will see teams from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales face off in what is set to be a blockbuster event.

It is a huge statement of intent from both Rochdale and Wigan & Leigh as they’re in the infancy of their existence as clubs.

Hornets Wheelchair Rugby League Chairman Terry Morley explained; “Having the Wheelchair Rugby League 4 Nations come to the Town of Rochdale is a real honor and a great opportunity to show off our fantastic town and sporting facilities to the nation and also the world.”

Terry went on to explain how far wheelchair rugby league has come in Rochdale since its launch in April “Hosting these games the same year we started our own Wheelchair Rugby League Team will be a memorable occasion and be part of our heritage. It also demonstrates how the town promotes inclusion through a variety of means such as ethnicity, age, gender and ability and provides an opportunity for all.”

Terry continued, “As a newly appointed dedicated committee and team of players we are looking forward to watching these athletes play so we can learn and grow our own talent so that one day they may be playing for their own nation.”

Meanwhile Matt McQuillan, Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles, expressed his delight at securing the Wheelchair Rugby League 4 Nations “Its such an exciting opportunity to be part of a great sporting event like the 4 Nations.”

Matt hopes that securing such an important sporting event will help to inspire people in the local area to help the sport grow. “The event its self is going to be a great opportunity to raise the awareness of the sport. On the back of the event we are aiming to create our own wheelchair rugby team that will be based here in Wigan.”

Hornets WRL player/coach Andy McLean echoed both Terry Morley and Matt McQuillan as he explains how he has benefitted from such an inclusive sport; “As player and assistant coach of the Rochdale Hornets Wheelchair Rugby League team, I joined the group after years of poor health. Before my health issues I enjoyed playing and coaching kids until my condition took it all from me.” said McLean. 

“I still have health issues and I am visited by district nurses daily. I was socially isolated due to mobility problems and constant pain but the WRL team has given me immense positivity and something to look forward to each week.”

Andy believes the explosive and intense nature of Wheelchair Rugby League will grip the people of Rochdale,

“The 4 Nations is an exciting sporting event and I know that bringing it to Rochdale will be a huge success and I am proud and honored to be just a small part of it.”

Councillor Alan McCarthy, Lead member for Armed Forces, Rochdale Borough Council said; “Bringing the Wheelchair Rugby League 4 Nations to Rochdale is something we can be proud of. Our own Wheelchair Rugby League club is in its infancy. To host this event can only inspire people to engage in sporting events regardless of ability or disability.

Tickets are priced (per day) at £10 for adults, £7.50 concession* and £5 for kids under the age of 16.

There is also a special family ticket which will allow two adults and up to four children to attend for only £20.

Click here tobuy tickets 

Tickets are available from

Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details.

*Concession rate applies to unwaged, students, NHS staff and serving / veteran armed forces.

Opportunities for Local Artists at Touchstones Rochdale

peoples-art-2015It is that time of the year where local artists have a great opportunity to exhibit their work in the Art Gallery at Touchstones Rochdale.

Entry forms are now available for People’s Art 2016, the annual exhibition open to individuals living or working in the borough of Rochdale. Exhibitors can enter one piece of original artwork they have made for an entry fee of £5. 

The handing-in week where people can bring their entries to the Art Gallery at Touchstones Rochdale is from Tuesday 6 September to Saturday 10 September 2016.  The Art Gallery will attempt to exhibit all the works entered so long as they haven’t been shown in People’s Art before and are suitable for a family audience. Paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures and craftworks are all welcome.

The exhibition itself opens on Saturday 24 September and runs until Saturday 19 November 2016.

People’s Art 2016 entry forms are available from Touchstones Rochdale, other Link4Life venues and libraries around the borough. For further information contact Touchstones Rochdale, The Esplanade, Rochdale, OL16 1AQ on 01706 924492.

Visit our exhibtion page for further details and download the pdfPeople's Art Entry Form 2016.

Touchstones Rochdale is open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm. Admission is free.

Call for Cloth Jamboree

tall tales logoJoin us for a hands-on, art making, storytelling, chin wagging afternoon. Take part in the making of a new artwork for Call for Cloth. Bring your Cloth Story along to be added to the artwork.

Artist Lauren Sagar is hosting the Call for Cloth Jamboree on Saturday 20 August from 1pm-4pm at Touchstones Rochdale as part of her work with the Tall Tales touring exhibition.

Call for Cloth takes up its current home at Touchstones Rochdale alongside the Tall Tales exhibition (which runs until 3 September). The Tall Tales exhibition brings together 17 international artists who employ the playful use of storytelling techniques in the making of their work. Artist Lauren Sagar has been working in Rochdale for the duration of the exhibition. Sagar is collecting an archive of stories from the local community to transform into a new body of work, a series of blankets relating to the stories and textiles collected from each of the three touring venues (London, Rochdale and Glasgow). 

Whilst based at Touchstones Rochdale Lauren Sagar has been meeting local community groups as well as craft and knitting groups from the Greater Manchester area. By inviting local community groups to pick up on details from personal stories and images of cloth the groups have been able to create a piece of work which will weave into the fabric of the new textile artwork. Lauren is working the general public across the UK and actively looking to hear from those interested in taking part. The community contributions will be transformed into a new textile artwork that will celebrate all those involved.

This event invites people to contribute textile items ranging from clothing, blankets, handbags to hats so they can either be scanned in as a digital photograph or physically donated to the project. At the event Lauren Sagar will also work with people to capture their stories about the textiles they share. All events are FREE booking is essential ring 01706 924928 to confirm your place!

The final blanket artworks will be displayed as part of the Tall Tales exhibition at Glasgow Womens Library later this year.

See or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

jacqui s father wearing his flat capCloth Stories Jacquis story about her fathers flat cap

A community member Jackie shares a poignant story about her Father:

My father always wore a Flat Cap’…I think it was a traditional form of headgear for working class men in the early part of the 20th century. My father was an engineer, he worked in a factory that made tractors where he was a centre lathe turner and latterly a trainer of the companies apprentices. He came from a very large family, he was the youngest of 17 brothers and sisters, and all of his brothers, my uncles wore the same style of cap. I have such fond memories of Dads cap.he would come home every night and as he walked through the door would take off his cap and place it on my head……it was still warm from his body heat, and it smelt of his shampoo Vosene and engine oil from the factory. To this day I find the smell of engine oil a comfort. It was soft woollen textile, brown and green small tweed checks on a beige background with a quilted silk shiny lining.dulled over time by the various oils that it came in contact with. It was like a huge comfort blanket that made everything in my world well. When the hat was in the house it meant Dad was home and we had love and laughter a plenty and we knew we were safe. The cap became a symbol of security and love. Dad passed away in 2008, he didnt leave us money but he left us a lifetime of happy memories and he left me his cap.

The Chandelier of Lost Earings

Following Lauren Sagars work with Sharon Campbell on The Chandelier of Lost Earrings, Sagar and Joanna Peace are inviting visitors to bring items of textiles with them to share their own cloth stories.

Lauren Sagar and Sharon Campbells The Chandelier of Lost Earrings (2013), named as the winner in the Best Arts Project category of the 2014 National Lottery Award, tours to Touchstones Rochdale in partnership with Rochdale Central Library. This phenomenal sculpture, made from steel, acrylic, aluminium chain, crystals and lots of earrings, was initiated in 2011 at St Marys Hospital, Manchester. The project invited staff to gift single earrings, which had formerly been part of a pair, to the artists. Through word of mouth and a concentrated social media campaign the project expanded, collecting 3500 earrings from individuals over 12 months. Echoing the decorative adornment of the accumulated jewellery, Sagar and Campbell amassed the gifted earrings into an opulent sculptural chandelier. As the project grew earrings began to be gifted alongside written words about the personal significance of the earrings, and from all around the world. The sculpture itself has come to represent many individual stories woven together, and speaks of human emotion, memory, loss, beauty and love.

Touchstones Rochdale is an award winning Arts & Heritage Centre with an art gallery, museum and Local History Centre.  It has a regular programme of contemporary visual arts exhibitions. Visit

Address: The Esplanade, Rochdale OL16 1AQ. Admission FREE. Tuesday Saturday 10am-5pm. Telephone: 01706 924492

Families will Feelgood this Festival

There will be lots of Feelgood Family Fun at the festival this year as Link4Life present two exciting new areas full of fun for all ages.

In the Culture Zone you will be able to kick back and relax on our lawn to enjoy performances on Stage 2. Plus we will be visited by a Marvellous Imaginary Menagerie - the most mysterious, magical and magnificent experience of your life! An enormous exotic caravan will arrive in Rochdale complete with strange characters that will entertain, amuse and beguile. Packed with Vaudeville acts, live musicians and puppeteers; feast your eyes on this wondrous treat for all the family (Performances Friday 19 August, 11am & 2pm. Suitable for all ages).

On Saturday 20 August , Comedy Club4Kids will take to the stage. It’s a real proper comedy club but without the rude bits! The best international stand-up, cabaret and sketch groups will dash to Rochdale from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to perform live for family audiences!  (Performances at 12pm & 2pm. Suitable for age 6+).

Hieronymus the Hippo, part animal and part mechanical, also makes an appearance on Saturday. He's feeling under the weather but fortunately, his companion doctor/mechanic is only too eager to show you what’s under the bonnet to diagnose the problem. What follows is an array of puppet shows built into the troubled creature revealing the origin of his malaise (Performances 11am, 1pm & 3pm. Suitable for all ages).

Throughout Friday and Saturday families can also enjoy the new Link4Life Activity Zone offering a jam-packed itinerary of activities including cycling, Rio 2016 Olympics inspired sports challenges, inflatable obstacle course, Zumba, circus and dance workshops. And whatever your age or ability, don’t miss the chance to have some fun and join our dance flash mob on Saturday – details available in the activity zone.

As well as activities, there will be a whole host of health focussed information available for all ages and families and a family friendly live music programme on Stage 2 on Friday evening, so there’s no need to rush home!

Darren Grice, Head of Culture, Health and Participation at Link4Life said "We're delighted to support the Feelgood Festival this year by presenting great, family friendly programming. We really hope families will enjoy our lawn (great for a picnic), the entertainment and opportunities to enjoy activities together!

Further information of all activities available from the festival information stand at the festival and activity schedules in each area.


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Visit Rochdale Council Feelgood Festival for further information and @FeelGoodFest on Twitter or the Facebook page.