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Consultancy Opportunity: Link4Life

Consultancy Opportunity: Link4Life

Fee: Expected to be in the region of £15,000. An additional project budget of £8,000 has also been allocated to cover activity, please see separate budget.

Deadline for Quotations: 5pm, 14th November 2016
Interviews: Wednesday 23rd November 2016
Commencement: It is expected the work will commence Monday 28th November 2016


Link4Life (the Rochdale Borough-wide Cultural Trust) in partnership with M6 Theatre are inviting quotations from freelance artists, organisations and/or cultural consultants to deliver research, consultation and engagement with communities, stakeholders and the wider cultural, education and health sector relating to the Borough of Rochdale (Rochdale, Heywood, Middleton and Pennines Townships).

Completion: A suitable completion date will be negotiated with the successful bidder however it is anticipated that the full project and associated activity will be completed no later than May 2017.

About Link4Life

Link4Life is the trading name of the Rochdale Boroughwide Cultural Trust. It was established in 2007 to provide cultural and leisure services as commissioned by Rochdale Borough Council under an initial 15 year Partnership Agreement, with the option to extend for a further 5 years. It is an independent company limited by guarantee (Company No: 06052980) and a registered charity (Charity No: 1118610).

Our corporate vision is ‘Communities that are active, creative and healthy’. We aim to deliver high quality, enjoyable, affordable, accessible cultural provision in Rochdale Borough that gives residents and visitors the opportunity to lead the active, creative and healthy lifestyle of their choice. Our service areas can loosely be defined as:

– Arts and Heritage
– Entertainment
– Fitness and Health
– Sport and Leisure

Link4Life operates 13 sites in the Borough, 4 with a culture focus. These include Middleton Arena and Heywood Civic Centre (live entertainment venues), Touchstones Rochdale (Art Galleries, Museum, local studies, visitor information, and education and performance space) and the Heritage Centre (Research and care of Museum and Art collection). In addition to running venues and services, Link4Life provides strategic leadership for the arts across the Borough. This includes managing an annual investment of £150k local arts grants and representing Rochdale within AGMA (Associated Greater Manchester Authorities). It also Chairs GMMG (Greater Manchester Museums Group) and is the lead partner for the Greater Manchester Arts network.

About M6Theatre

Based at M6 Studio Theatre in Rochdale, M6 Theatre Company is one of Britain’s leading theatre companies specialising in creating and touring dynamic, high quality and relevant productions for young audiences. Their work is renowned for its deep emotional resonance and the dynamic combination of original storytelling, highly visual imagery and evocative music.

Founded in 1977, the award winning company creates and tours original theatre productions that ignite the imagination, nurture the heart and challenge the mind. Their highly acclaimed shows tour regionally, nationally and internationally to theatre venues and festivals, and locally to schools and community settings.

M6’s rich programme of touring productions includes inspiring and highly visual work for very young audiences, imaginative new dramas for older audiences and powerful short single voice plays for specific audiences.

M6 Theatre Company also runs a multi strand participatory programme working creatively with diverse groups of young people aged 8 – 18 years throughout the borough of Rochdale, empowering them to create and share their own theatre. The programme includes a host of drama and arts based activities including weekly youth theatre workshops, community outreach projects and Speechbubbles creative intervention workshops.

Background and Context

Rochdale Borough has some of the lowest arts engagement in the country and faces a number of challenges around economic conditions, health and wellbeing, cultural diversity and education which affect cultural ambition, engagement and sustainability. However, it also has strong grass roots activities, an Arts Council England (ACE) National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) M6 Theatre and a commitment by the local authority to voluntary arts grants and an active portfolio holder for Culture, Health and Wellbeing.

Our aim is to deliver a step change in artistic engagement, ambition, and investment which will increase access to cultural opportunities for our communities and capitalise upon culture as an opportunity to improve health and wellbeing outcomes for local people. Delivery of our vision requires that we not only transform our own services, but that we provide wider cultural leadership on behalf of and for Rochdale Borough Council, in partnership with the local, regional and national cultural sector.

Link4Life and M6 Theatre have together secured investment from Arts Council England through the Grants for the Arts lottery programme in order to fund this action research project. Match investment has been allocated from Link4Life from the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) section 48 Strategic Arts Grant and from M6 Theatre reserves.

Services Required

Link4Life are inviting quotations to procure consultancy services to deliver action research and consultation in the Borough of Rochdale (Rochdale, Heywood, Middleton and Pennines Townships).

We want to identify an approach to the development of culture which will engage and empower local people, artists and arts organisations to be at the centre of development, curation and commissioning of high quality culture in Rochdale. We want culture to be relevant, authentic and meet the interests and needs of our communities. In order to understand better how we can achieve this aim, we are seeking to appoint an experienced freelance artist or consultant to:

  • Audit cultural activity to understand reach, strength and gaps (e.g. provision, expertise and support needs)
  • Consult with diverse communities and the least engaged with arts, to understand and define barriers
  • Engage potential local, regional and national stakeholders and partners to explore shared priorities, policy and potential investment opportunities (e.g. economic growth, education, health and social care)
  • Research relevant policies and best practise in empowering local people to develop cultural activity (e.g. Creative People and Places)
  • Identify how to develop a sustainable cultural offer in the borough including how our artists, audiences and emerging talent benefit from cultural organisations in and beyond Rochdale
  • Recommend creative projects and methodologies to test our approach and respond to key opportunities such as the Local Cultural Education Challenge, Creative Case for Diversity, Creative People and Places etc.We expect the successful bidder to work with a broad range of people to fully understand their views, expectation and interest in relation to culture. For example:
  • Children and Young People – engaged in culture and sport in and out of school and those not engaged in organised positive activities
  • Parents, carers, adults, older people and volunteers engaged in culture, sport, health and other third sector activities
  • Diverse and under-represented communities including people with physical and learning disabilities
  • Artists and cultural sector professionals living or working in the borough
  • Cultural organisations, locally, regionally and nationally that deliver, influence or have the potential to support cultural development in Rochdale e.g. ACE NPO’s, ACE Bridge, National Youth Music Organisations, Music Hubs, Creative People and Places Projects etc.)
  • Schools and FE including those engaged in Artsmark, Arts Award, Local Cultural Education Partnerships and working with the ACE NW Bridge ‘SLICE’ programme
  • Rochdale Borough Council (e.g. Key Elected Members and Officers responsible for regeneration, tourism, community and youth services, schools and early years)
  • AGMA and The Greater Manchester Combined Authority
  • Health Sector (e.g. Public Health, Clinical Commissioning Groups, GP’s, NHS Trusts and community services)
  • Local and regional businesses, employers, third sector and volunteers
  • Relevant local, regional and national funders including Arts Council England, HLF, Big Lottery etc.

For full details please see the Project Brief