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activ8teme

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Low cost fitness classes and sports for adults across the Rochdale borough

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What's On at Middleton Arena

What's On at Middleton Arena

Events for everyone at the Arena - from live music to theatre

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More than Dance

More than Dance

Get active, get fit, get dancing. See our new sessions.

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Art4Families Saturday Club

Art4Families Saturday Club

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

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@Link4Life

Charity Spinathon to raise funds for Hospice

Link4Life are inviting people to take part in a charity three-hour Spinathon to help raise money for Springhill Hospice.

It will take place on Sunday 25 January between 2pm and 5pm at Rochdale Leisure Centre on Entwisle Road. Already more than 30 people have signed up for the indoor cycling event and around £300 has already been raised.

Brainchild of Lin4Life fitness instructor Shelley Burns, this is her 10th year of fundraising at these events.

Centre manager, Kevin Costigan said, "We are aiming to raise as much money as possible for this excellent cause. We are bringing in extra bikes specially and we'd like as many people as possible to get in touch and take part on the day."

To book in to take part call in to Rochdale Leisure Centre on Entwisle Road or ring them on 01706 926000.

Link4Life Chief Executive Appointment Announced

gillian-bishop-chief-executiveA new Chief Executive has been appointed at Link4Life, the Rochdale Boroughwide Cultural Trust which leads and manages culture and leisure services on behalf of Rochdale Borough Council.

Taking up her new role from 1 April 2015 will be Gillian Bishop who has served as Interim Chief Executive at Link4Life for just over a year.

Chair of Trustees, Clint Street, making the announcement, said: "The Board are delighted to have secured a permanent Chief Executive for the Trust who so clearly and ably demonstrates the passion, experience and vision we require."

He continued, "Gillian has already successfully supported the Board, in her Interim role, in establishing a three-year vision and strategy for the Trust. We look forward to continuing to work with her to deliver this vision, to develop communities that are active, creative and healthy and to ensure that Link4Life is effective and efficient in taking the lead role in delivering leisure and cultural services in the borough of Rochdale."

Gillian Bishop brings with her a wealth of experience in leading and managing a range of organisations. She joined Link4Life in her Interim role in September 2013 and was previously Corporate Director at Wigan Council. Prior to that she was Chief Executive at the North West Improvement and Efficiency Partnership from 2008 to 2010, Chief Executive at Allerdale Borough Council from 2005-2008 and Deputy Chief Executive at Rossendale Borough Council from 2003-2005. She lives locally with her family.

Gillian Bishop said, "I am delighted to be taking up this permanent role in the Rochdale borough. I have a strong belief that the social enterprise model is the way forward in ensuring a secure future for publicly owned leisure and cultural services. Rochdale has led the way in introducing that model and I look forward to taking that work further."

She added, "My priority will be to focus on the future direction of the Trust to ensure it is best placed to meet local needs and I am looking forward to working with Board members and colleagues at Link4Life, together with Rochdale Council and wider partner organisations, to deliver on this."

Welcoming Ms Bishop to her role, Rochdale Council Chief Executive, Steve Rumbelow said, "I have worked with Gillian in the past and I look forward to renewing this experience. This is a challenging time for the future of all public services and I am confident that Gillian will be a most valuable asset."

Stepping out to new year health with launch of new dance programme

more-than-danceA new Bollywood Dance session will launch at Rochdale Leisure Centre, on Entwisle Road, this weekend with a chance to try it out for free from 2pm-2.45pm on Saturday, 10 January.

The session will then take place every Saturday at the same time and is designed for all ages, from 14 and over. Described as combining Indian rhythms and easy to follow moves the weekly session will cost £2.

The Bollywood session is part of a planned programme of dance sessions in Link4Life centres being launched as part of a new year campaign to get adults more active.

The 'More than Dance' programme is aimed at anyone over 14 years old and will provide low cost weekly sessions in a wide range of dance styles.

A second new session will start on Monday 12 January at Heywood Civic Centre with a free taster, designed for the 40 plus age range. This 'Dancing Resequenced' session puts a new spin on the more traditional ballroom and latin dances and is for anyone who wishes to dance, both couples and singles, novices or experts. The session will run weekly from 12noon-3pm and cost £2.50.

Link4Life has been awarded nearly £48,000 of Sport England Lottery money to help fund the eighteen month programme which will eventually 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" and improve their general health and fitness.

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 a number of 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."

To find out more about these and other dance sessions in the pipeline, contact Shirley Waller at Link4Life by ringing 01706 926236 or visit www.link4life.org/morethandance .

Female Players Wanted For New Netball Satellite Club

Rochdale Junior Netball Club has successfully secured funding for a Satellite Club in the Rochdale Borough and is looking for female players to join the Club.

The Satellite Club session takes place every week at Matthew Moss High School, Matthew Moss Lane, Marland, Rochdale OL11 3LU on Wednesdays 8pm-9pm and is £3 per session. The session is for females ages 16-25 and is open to all abilities, with the option to go on to train with Rochdale Junior Netball Club should you wish to do so.

Funded by Sport England Satellite Clubs are a Key part of Sport England's Youth and Community Sport Strategy.

Rochdale Junior Netball also has a number of teams who are always looking for new players, these are: Under 9s Year 4, Under 10s Year 5, Under 11s Year 6, Under 12s Year 7, Under 13s Year 8, Under 14s Year 9, Under 15s Year 10, Under 16s Year 11, Year3 and 4 development squad and Year 5,6,7 and 8 development squad.

If you would like further details you can contact Angela Jagger on 01706 649275 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Missing Gracie Fields scrapbooks reunited

seb-lassandro-and-sarah-hodgkinsonRochdale Borough’s Museum has recently acquired a collection of scrapbooks charting the life of Gracie Fields.  The books have been missing since around 1984 when the Gracie Fields archive was donated to the people of Rochdale following Gracie’s husband’s, Boris Alperovici’s, death.

Approximately 70 of the scrapbooks made it to the museum but 20 of the books went missing before they reached the museum and their whereabouts have been unknown since.

Seb Lassandro, the President of the Gracie Fields Appreciation Society is thrilled the books have been returned to their rightful home. “These missing volumes will provide a valuable insight into Gracie’s contribution to the war effort and also through the 1930’s when Gracie was at the height of her career.”

Sarah Hodgkinson, Resource Officer for the Museum, is delighted the books have been reunited with their brothers and sisters and are now safely stored at the Arts and Heritage Resource Centre.

A quick glance at the books has revealed that not only was Gracie Fields the highest paid film-star of the 1930’s, but she was also the highest paid concert artist of the late 1940s, being paid £100 per minute for a series of concerts in 1948.

Several of the books are still missing so the search continues…

The Arts and Heritage Resource Centre and Touchstones are managed by the Link4Life Cultural Trust.  Touchstones is located on The Esplanade, Rochdale, OL16 1AQ and is open Tuesday - Saturday 10am-5pm.

For further information call 01706 924492 or visit www.link4life.org/touchstones.

Winter Season Exhibitions launched at Touchstones Rochdale

junko-moriTwo new exhibitions have been launched at Touchstones Rochdale (Friday 12 December 2014) presenting work of Japanese artists Junko Mori, Kayo Saito and Ikuko Iwamoto (coming together for the first time) and Daksha Patel's beautiful and finely rendered drawings and prints.

A Common Ground showcases the work of: Junko Mori, Kayo Saito and Ikuko Iwamoto whose work exquisitely reflects and responds to the natural world.
Junko Mori's stunning sculptures each consist of multiples of individually forged steel, brought together to create free-standing and wall-mounted objects which vary in size from the small Cell series to large-scale works. Her detailed observations of tree and plant matter are the driving force behind her pieces.

One of the highlights of the show is Mori's 'Super Jumbo Nigella, Wave'. Made in 2011 from forged mild steel and then wax coated, this remains Mori's largest piece of work to date created at her studio in North Wales. Incorporating the repetition of an organic form, it also echoes the nature of a wave and was created as a response to the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Mori's native Japan.
This piece of Mori's work was awarded to Touchstones Rochdale's Art Gallery Officer Yvonne Hardman through Art Fund Collect 2012, a competition for curators at the Craft Council's International Fair for contemporary objects supported by the Art Fund.

Adding to the exhibition, ceramicist Ikuko Iwamoto makes porcelain tableware and sculptural wall pieces based on the repetitive patterns such as those seen in cells and organic forms through the lens of a microscope. Kayo Saito's contemporary jewellery is influenced by plants and organic forms, whose apparent fragility, structure and vital energy stimulate her creativity. The exhibition includes some of Kayo's earlier work in polyester fibre together with pieces made in precious metals, the current focus of her practice.

This is the first time all three artists have exhibited together in a public gallery. Individually, they regularly exhibit their work in the UK and internationally at prestigious exhibitions and art fairs. Their work is represented in public and private collections around the world.

daksha-patelElsewhere, Daksha Patel's exhibition Bodytopos includes new work made in response to digital scans of the human body and to environmental datasets that predict changes in the physical landscape. Daksha's work explores different methods for mapping the human body and its interaction with the environment, often experimenting with the use of unstable materials to express a sense of change and movement. As well as mapping the human body, Daksha explores country and city landscapes in her Slip Drawings, monitoring climate change through her maps of newly formed deserts in Portugal and flood depth levels in Newcastle.

Both exhibitions will run until Saturday 7 March 2015.

Touchstones Rochdale is located in Rochdale town centre two minutes from the bus and metro stations. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm, admission is free and facilities include a café and shop. Details of current exhibitions and events are available online at http://www.link4life.org/whats-on/touchstones-rochdale/exhibitions .

Touchstones Knitty Gritty group deck the halls with festive textiles

Members of the Knitty Gritty group have been busy creating a wealth of festive objects to embellish a winter garland at Touchstones Rochdale. The knitted and crochet festive decoration contains over 1000 metres of different coloured wools to decorate the staircase of Touchstones Rochdale's historic building.

The Knitty Gritty group, which meets on the last Tuesday of the month at Touchstones Rochdale, have been busy knitting a variety of items since August this year. The delicate hand-created items include Christmas puddings, stockings, holly leaves with berries, mistletoe, Christmas trees, winter roses and even carrots for Santa's reindeers.

The garland will be displayed throughout December before the group embark upon a fresh project in the New Year. Alison Cooper, Arts and Heritage Assistant, who organises the Knitty Gritty group said, "It's great to have unusual knitting projects to work on. So far the group have knitted lots of different items from children's cardigans for the charity Barnardos to knitted seaweed for an exhibition in the Art Gallery. We've even had a knitted version on four and twenty black birds baked in a pie!"

The group meets on the last Tuesday of the month at Touchstones Rochdale in Café Life from 2pm-3.30pm. The session is free, participants are just asked to buy a brew. Advanced and novice knitters alike are welcome to join in with their knitting, crochet and textile projects. The group pride themselves in sharing ideas, learning new practices and taking part in new challenges in a warm and friendly atmosphere.

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.

Middleton Arena date for Rich Hall

rich-hallGrouchy deadpan American comic Rich Hall returns to Middleton Arena next year with his brand new show. The quick witted star of television shows including 'QI', 'Stand up for the Week', 'Live at the Apollo' and 'Have I got news for you' will visit the arena on Friday 15 May as part of his nationwide '3:10 to Humour' tour.

Rich, a master of absurdist irony particularly likes to lay into Americans and life across the pond at every opportunity! Renowned for his expertly crafted tirades, quick fire banter and delightful musical sequences he won the Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Festival in 2000 and has been charming audiences around the world ever since.

He's recently starred in the critically acclaimed BBC TV documentaries 'Rich Hall's Continental Drifters' and 'How The West Was Lost' and he's always a popular guest on panel shows such as 'Mock the Week', '8 out of 10 cats' and 'Never Mind the Buzzcocks'.

Rich is well known in the United States for appearing and writing on The David Letterman Show - for which he won two Emmy Awards and was the inspiration behind Groening's character Moe Szyslak from The Simpsons.

An accomplished author, he's released three books and two hit live comedy DVDs. His last show at Middleton Arena (2009) was a sell-out.

Rich Hall - '3:10 to Humour' visits Middleton Arena at 8pm on Friday 15 May. Tickets are available online by calling 0844 855 4020. Or collect in person at the arena box office.

Daksha Patel: Bodytopos

fat-drawing-fat-upon-paper-2013Touchstones Rochdale presents Bodytopos, an exhibition of beautiful and finely rendered drawings and prints by artist Daksha Patel.

The exhibition includes new work made in response to digital scans of the human body and to environmental datasets that predict changes in the physical landscape. Daksha’s work explores different methods for mapping the human body and its interaction with the environment, often experimenting with the use of unstable materials to express a sense of change and movement. Clay, fat, graphite and natural pigments are drawn directly onto varied grounds such as vellum and latex to create drawings that are temporary.

Daksha Patel is a Manchester-based artist and a researcher at Northumbria University. Her work was featured in the Wellcome Trust exhibition ‘Brains: The Mind as Matter’ (2013) and she has undertaken residencies at The Christie Hospital, Manchester, and in the neuroscience laboratories at Kings College London.

With first-hand access to what our body looks like from the inside, Daksha’s work looks at the results of medical visualisation technologies and questions our fascination with seeing below the skin. “Being able to see inside the human body is still quite a powerful idea,” she says. “But does this make our bodies easier to understand or more complicated?”

As well as mapping the human body, Daksha explores country and city landscapes in her Slip Drawings, monitoring climate change through her maps of newly formed deserts in Portugal and flood depth levels in Newcastle.

Bodytopos will open on 13 December 2014 and run until 7 March 2015. Touchstones Rochdale is located in Rochdale town centre two minutes from the bus and metro stations. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm, admission is free and facilities include a café and shop. Details of current exhibitions and events are available online at www.link4life.org/whats-on/touchstones-rochdale.

A Common Ground

Touchstones Rochdale present together for the first time the work of Junko Mori, Kayo Saito and Ikuko Iwamoto, three makers from Japan whose work exquisitely reflects and responds to the natural world.

Junko Mori's stunning sculptures each consist of multiples of individually forged steel, brought together to create free-standing and wall-mounted objects which vary in size from the small Cell series to large-scale works. Her detailed observations of tree and plant matter are the driving force behind her pieces.

Ceramicist Ikuko Iwamoto makes porcelain tableware and sculptural wall pieces based on the repetitive patterns such as those seen in cells and organic forms through the lens of a microscope.

Kayo Saito's contemporary jewellery is influenced by plants and organic forms, whose apparent fragility, structure and vital energy stimulate her creativity. The exhibition includes some of Kayo's earlier work in polyester fibre together with pieces made in precious metals, the current focus of her practice.

Each of the artists studied in Japan before relocating to the UK to continue their education – Ikuko at Camberwell College of Arts and the Royal College of Art; Junko at Camberwell and Kayo at the Royal College of Art – and each has gone on to receive great acclaim for their highly skilled, intricate and unique work.

This is the first time all three artists have exhibited together in a public gallery. Individually, they regularly exhibit their work in the UK and internationally at prestigious exhibitions and art fairs. Their work is represented in public and private collections around the world.

A Common Ground will open on Saturday 13 December 2014 and run until Saturday 7 March 2015. The exhibition is part of Touchstones Rochdale's Contemporary Forward programme supported by Arts Council England.

Touchstones Rochdale is located in Rochdale town centre two minutes from the bus and metro stations. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm, admission is free and facilities include a café and shop. Details of current exhibitions and events are available online at http://www.link4life.org/whats-on/touchstones-rochdale .