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Rotherham: The Little Town That Can

by T. Rafiq

Rotherham is a town that has been through some difficult times lately. However, we are also a little town that never gives up. We might not have the grandeur of big cities like York, but our ambitions are grand.

We’re scrappy and we’re tough and we punch well above our weight. We have a heart as big as the Pennines and we will always surprise you.

Rotherham has been short listed for a People’s Millions Big Lottery Fund grant of £50,000. We are competing against a York based project in a contest of David vs. Goliath magnitude, which we definitely have the stones to win.

If we win – when we win – this money will go towards establishing a permanent arts centre and community resource in the centre of town on the spacious top floor complex of the Westgate Chambers building. It is the magnificent brainchild of Karen Sherwood and Rotherham Open Arts Renaissance, also known as R.O.A.R.

Westgate Chambers will be a place where Rotherham artists from every discipline will be able to gather to create and trade and exhibit: painting, sculpting, writing, performing, music, cinema, new media and any other craft you care to name will find a home here.

It will also be a place where every member of the community will be welcomed to appreciate and participate in the wonderful and liberating world of art. You never know who you might discover here: the new Hockney, the new Spielberg, maybe even the new you. For you might very well unearth your own hidden talent, something that no one has ever seen before – something that will blow people’s minds all the way to the Wonderland of Wow!

R.O.A.R. has already managed to uncover some dazzling treasures of artistic wonder concealed here in Rotherham:

Jill: the finger painting dynamo whose canvass is the very bones of the North, slate and granite she has salvaged from skips and derelict factories, things that others thought were of no more use or worth, but she takes these things and turns them into visions of unique beauty.

Leslie: a gentleman who as overcome profound deafness and the loss of his beloved wife to cancer, a man who creates magnificent miniatures in oils and fibreboard as breathtaking as any majestic Rembrandt.

Gemma: the walking, talking living doll who lives in a button tin and makes magic with a needle and thread, and buttons and rags all the colours of the rainbow.

And then there’s me. Who am I? I am Rotherham, and my best is yet to come!

But for us to triumph, we need your help. We need your votes. The official voting for the People’s Millions is on Monday 22nd November 2010. Phone lines will be open between 9am and midnight – the phone number to cast your vote will be publicised on the day of voting in the Daily Mirror newspaper, on the People’s Millions web site and on the R.O.A.R web site.

Before then, you can find out more about our project and register your support for R.O.A.R. and Rotherham at our official People’s Millions page by clicking the following link:

http://www.peoplesmillions.org.uk/2010-finalists/yorkshire/rotherham-roar

I must stress that registering your support before the official voting date does not constitute a firm commitment on your part; it simply gives us a rough idea of how much support we might be able to expect.

Needless to say, you would earn eternal gratitude if you then followed through with this support with a solid vote for R.O.A.R. on 22nd of November.

Pass this on to your friends and family and anyone you happen to bump into. A brighter future for Rotherham is in all our hands.

Thank you for your time.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/

http://www.rotherhamroar.org/index.php?page=24