In Haunt

The much-loved Moston Miners Community Arts and Music Centre has been bringing the community together in North Manchester for the last ten years… and even though it has had to temporarily close as a venue in terms of Covid-19 measures, it is still determined to run as a shop and takeaway to help local people. But it needs support to do so, and a JustGiving Page has been set up so people can help with the running costs at these unprecedented times.

The Miners

By continuing to function as a shop for local residents on Thursdays and Fridays as well as offering takeaway deliveries, the Miners Community Arts and Music Centre shows its determination to support the community. This may be especially helpful to vulnerable individuals, families and those finding it difficult to go out to larger shopping areas at this time – underlining ‘the Miners’ as an inspiring example of resilience and togetherness at a time of hardship. Donations to the JustGiving Page – with the aim of £5000 - will go towards the running costs, as well as helping to secure the future of the centre… as it is usually busy with gatherings, events and creativity.

This is a place that has already overcome difficulty, survived against the odds… and there is a fascinating history behind it! For years The Miners Working Men’s Club lay derelict in the middle of a Moston Estate – what once was a former miners’ washhouse and then clubhouse, fallen out of use. Few would have foreseen its remarkable transformation. Yet thanks to Louis Beckett, his partner Paula and a vibrant community of North Manchester based creatives, the place has since evolved into a vibrant cultural hub – complete with a secretive cinema – becoming the Miners Community Arts and Music Centre. Louis’ parents Ann and Joe Beckett also helped to build up what has become affectionately known as ‘The Miners’, from the very beginning. A collaborative effort to be inspired by.

Yet when Louis and Paula took the keys to the building on Teddington Road back in 2011, the scale of the work required on the dark and dank building was almost overwhelming. Nevertheless, they ploughed on determinedly with their creative vision in mind: a space to celebrate the North Manchester community in all its vibrancy, championing an area often under-covered in terms of creative spaces.

Extensive refurbishment work over the last nine years has allowed for a range of inclusive facilities; including a function room complete with a stage, a café, an exhibition area and space for bands and local artists to practice. In normal circumstances, it is open six days a week and providing a place for entertainment, education and support to people of all ages – so it perhaps no surprise that ‘The Miners’ is already something of a local legend. According to the Labour Councillor for Charlestown Hannah Priest:

“The Miners is a really vibrant community resource, full of character and pride in its history. I'm always amazed at the variety of things going on there (when it is open in usual circumstances). As well as offering great opportunities for new talent - both performance and development - the centre also makes an important contribution to the local community, with hot meals, a charity shop and interesting activities. The amount of things on offer at the centre is a real testament to the hard work and commitment of Lou and the team, who have created something really quite special.”

Moston

From Halloween Parties to cabaret nights and live gigs, plenty has happened here in the past – and will continue to happen when the time is right, if the centre can maintain public support at this time of hardship. Since 2012, the centre has also been home to Moston Small Cinema, a 70 seater independent space impressively tucked away... showing a range of films and available for hire too. The story behind it is equally impressive; especially given that it was built in just 12 weeks by a 60-strong group of volunteers back in 2012! The building materials were donated by various businesses and organisations in the North West, and therefore the cinema stands today as a shining example of more collaborative effort.

Another recent example has been the development of the Miners Internet Radio Station – an online platform dedicated to championing local talent. In turn, the centre has fast-gained recognition for its support of the local community; winner of Inspirational Community Project 2016 at Forever Manchester's Birthday Bash, The Be Proud community project of the year 2017 and also received a Pride of Manchester award 2017.

During its time running, the centre has also become home to a number of community sessions; clubs for local disability groups, a drama group for young people, craft classes and so much more. Addressing social isolation and bringing varied sections of society together have been key objectives at ‘The Miners’ from the onset– striving to connect people of all ages. That is why funding the ongoing costs of the centre matters more than ever, allowing it to carry of functioning for the community and providing key resources at what is an especially difficult time, as well securing it for the future.

Donate to the JustGiving page here https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/minerscommunityartsandmusiccentre?utm_id=66&utm_term=XBdxb9qVy and to find out more about the Miners Community Arts and Music Centre, visit the website.

Image provided with permission from the Miners Community Arts and Music Centre, from their Facebook page here

By Emily Oldfield 

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