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Karen Bradley MP Column 09.10.23

The initial idea of my ‘A Year of Reasons to Visit the Moorlands’ started as a celebration of the fantastic Arts, Culture and Tourism that we have here in the Staffordshire Moorlands. It has evolved somewhat since then to encompass even more businesses and organisations who want to take part in my initiative to promote this wonderful place we live in but the Foxlowe Arts Centre, in the heart of Leek, is a thriving, community-run centre for arts-related projects that we are so fortunate to have right here on our doorstep and certainly a great Reason to visit the Moorlands.

The elegant Georgian House, previously known as No.1 Leek was commissioned in the 1770s by Thomas Mills, a wealthy landowner and solicitor and over the years has seen many prestigious guests, been used as a Red Cross hospital for wounded soldiers during the war as well as being the Trades and Labour Club in 1919.

In 2011 a group of volunteers prepared part of the building for a Christmas Exhibition. The Community Cafe’ opened shortly afterwards and was followed by a programme of Arts events.

I am honoured to be a Patron and have seen how The Foxlowe Arts Centre has really developed over the years. Today it includes a cinema, comedy club, music and theatre productions, many exhibitions, documentary films, a talks programme, an arts fair, a heritage room, a wedding and private function venue, fashion shows, schools workshops, a Creative Hub in the open plan Union room and a beautiful garden.

It was really good to visit again recently. There are some great events coming up and the Foxlowe Arts Centre is definitely worth a visit. I really recommend the café too which serves lovely, freshly cooked food, using Fairtrade produce and locally sourced ingredients where possible.


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