Putting on the glitz

THE glitz and glamour of Morecambe’s bygone era is being brought back to life by a grant from The Co-operative Group.

A group called the Happenstance Arts Collective, a not-for-profit organisation that works with the over 55s to produce arts events, activities and exhibitions, has received £1,589 from the Community Fund to document, through film and photographs, Morecambe’s hidden community of retired entertainers.

The Community Fund is created by members of The Co-operative Group who elect to donate all, or part of their twice-yearly dividend payments directly to the scheme. The funds are then shared with local community projects and groups, such as the Happenstance Arts Collective, across the country.

Sonja Campbell from the Happenstance Arts Collective said: “From dancers and sopranos to lion tamers and comics, many grand stories sit untold in the seaside town of Morecambe. Well known as a popular retirement destination, many who performed here liked it so much, they decided to stay. Their stories are a fascinating history of British seaside life in the heyday of entertainment.

“Thanks to this grant from The Co-operative we can capture the magic of these unique stories before they disappear, ensuring they can be accessed and treasured by future generations.”

Glynis Poland from The Co-operative said: “Because our members own the business, they get a share in any of the profits we make. It’s a scheme we’re very proud of, not only because it gives us the chance to thank members for shopping with us, but because so many people choose to give something back to local communities.”

Co-operative members receive a payment twice a year based on the points they earn when they trade at any of the Group’s businesses, including The Co-operative Food, Travel, Pharmacy and Funeralcare, as well as The Co-operative Bank and The Co-operative Insurance.

“There is around £200,000 available in this region, each year, from the Community Fund, and we welcome applications from local groups and projects for £100 to £2,000,” said Linda.

Community Fund application forms are available online at www.co-operative.coop/communityfund or by phoning 0161 827 5879. Awards are allocated by local Co-operative members’ committees, based on a set of values and principles such as social responsibility and caring for others.

To get involved with the Happenstance Arts Collective, please contact Sonja Campbell on 07789 593 121.

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Photo caption one: Ray Evans, a concert pianist from Morecambe, helps The Co-operative’s Glynis Poland to tinkle the ivories as Sonja Campbell from the Happenstance Arts Collective captures the moment on camera.

Photo caption two: Glynis Poland from The Co-operative, pianist, Ray Evans and Sonja Campbell from the Happenstance Arts Collective.

Notes to Editors:

The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest mutual business, owned not by private shareholders but by almost six million consumers. It is the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer, the leading convenience store operator and a major financial services provider, operating both The Co-operative Bank and The Co-operative Insurance. Among its other businesses are the number one funeral services provider and Britain’s largest farming operation. As well as having clear financial and operational objectives, the Group has also set out its social and sustainability goals in its groundbreaking Ethical Plan, which specifies almost 50 commitments in these areas.

The Group operates over 5,000 retail trading outlets, employs more than 110,000 people and has an annual turnover of £13.7bn. Further information is available at www.co-operative.coop

For further information, please contact:

Pamela Wood

Senior PR Officer

The Co-operative Group

Tel: 0161 266 3593

Mobile: 07834 090 409

pamela.wood@co-operative.coop

Corporate Affairs

Public Relations

Pamela Wood

Senior PR Officer

11th Floor

New Century House

Corporation Street

Manchester

M60 4ES

Telephone: 0161 266 3593

Mobile: 07834 090 409

Facsimile: 0161 833 1035

Email: pamela.wood@co-operative.coop

Website: www.co-operative.coop