The Turnpike CIC was a bold, independent not-for-profit arts project with community at its heart, based in Leigh, Greater Manchester.

This web archive, titled Could this be paradise? reflects on our 5 years in Leigh, highlighting the community voices and artists who have worked with us to shape our organisation.

We want to say a huge thank you to our Turnpike family; the team members, volunteers, artists, community members, peer organisations, funders and supporters who have invested their energy, creativity and ingenuity with us over the years.

Chapter Four

In 2017, The Turnpike CIC took on the gallery and studio spaces of the Turnpike Centre in Leigh’s Civic Square. Rooted and embedded in the heart of the community, but aware of the cultural ‘cold spot’ we were located in, our vision was to connect artists with the community and raise aspirations for the town.

Our work with communities was driven by an ethos of care, openness and trust, and an aspiration to develop long-term, meaningful relationships with our neighbours. Focusing on our hyper-local area, we worked in close partnership with organisations on our doorstep to develop thoughtful programmes of activity, responding to local needs.

Throughout the coronavirus crisis in 2020, our priority at The Turnpike was to stay connected and deploy our resources as best we could, to support the wellbeing and creative development of people of all ages. We reached out to audiences where they were, building connections, sharing support mechanisms and embracing a collaborative approach towards a positive recovery.

Key to this approach was the unconditional support of our volunteers team, whose resilience, kindness and ingenuity has shone throughout. Their contribution has been exceptional; supporting engagement both in-house and online, creating seasonal programmes of online activity and keeping us all connected. Over five years we have overcome our challenges together and grown closer as a Turnpike family.


Jennifer Lowe, Community Champion. Read snippet

“It is quite something to say that even during a difficult year, with periods of being ‘closed’, The Turnpike has never really closed, continually providing inspiration, creativity, support, but adapting and finding new ways to make it happen. The Turnpike sits and is in the heart of Leigh and is of huge value to us.”
Jennifer Lowe, Community Champion