Groundwork’s 30 years of spadework...
Reporter: Gillian Potts
Date online: 06 September 2013
Charity celebrates life in iconic building
GROUNDWORK Oldham and Rochdale is marking a major milestone next week.
The environment charity, based at the former Higginshaw School, is celebrating three decades of being in the building which has served the borough for 100 years.
Groundwork will be looking back at its fascinating past with a heritage day on Friday next week, as well as marking its own 30-year anniversary.
Vicki Devonport, executive director at Groundwork Oldham & Rochdale, said: “We want to open the building up to anyone who wants to find out about its history and discover more about the charitable work of Groundwork.
“We’re celebrating our 30th anniversary in October so it’s a great opportunity to look back at our achievements before we look forward to the next 30 years.”
The Grade II listed venue, which continues to be a base for learning and training, was built in 1866 and was the Higginshaw School from 1870 to 1983.
After the school closed the building was used as a performing arts centre with several famous faces passing through the doors as students including Jane Horrocks and Sarah Lancashire.
Jill Eckersley, Prince’s Trust manager at Groundwork, who went to drama classes at Higginshaw School, said: “I attended a handful of drama classes at the Higginshaw building in the 80s, obviously with no idea at that young age that this is where I would end up earning my living.
“I can remember peering through doors and windows and there would be something happening in every room, ballet, tap, all kinds of dance, readings and drama. The building seemed massive at the time and it was noisy, vibrant and happy.
Groundwork now runs training courses and community events from the building after taking it over in 1997.
The organisers would like to hear from anyone with an interest or connection to Higginshaw School or Groundwork. Contact Groundwork on 0161-624 1444 or email email@example.com.
The heritage event takes place between 1-3pm.
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