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.


The Turnpike community are a group of people who dedicate their time to inspire and support creativity in our community of Leigh.

The Turnpike offered regular volunteering opportunities across all creative programmes, which supported those looking to return to work, gain new skills or develop their confidence. We welcomed new members of all backgrounds to the team and valued the talents and input they brought to our work.

In July 2020 we launched a new Community Champion role within the team, to lead on connectivity within the community and draw out the skills and ambitions of our volunteer team members. As Community Champion, Jennifer Lowe created a team ethic amongst a group that had once predominantly worked as individuals on shifts. Her coaching and interventions developed strong bonds between the team and a supportive network of creative minds.

“The volunteer team are fully integrated into all of our programmes and we encourage them to openly share their creative ideas. While contributing their time to inspire the Leigh community they also support and inspire each other… I see dedication, determination, hard work and passion in a group who continue to achieve great things.They invigilate exhibitions, host the public, support events, promote the Turnpike, support workshops, spread community spirit. They are invaluable to our success.”
Jennifer Lowe, Community Champion

Our volunteer team went from strength to strength during lockdowns, collecting donations for a local charity, creating resources for those staying at home during lockdown and sharing ideas, activities and messages of support for the community.

Following their beginnings as volunteers, several members of the team were encouraged to progress into paid freelance roles for Turnpike projects, with continuous mentoring and support from Jen.

We would like to share our immense gratitude and appreciation to our volunteer team, for their commitment, inspiration and the joy they bring to the Turnpike.

“As a family we have all had the privilege to take part in Turnpike activities… This year we made a way out of no way and forged a new era in the time of Covid... From Skill Sharing, to our Walking Group, Fun Palace, being the first in Leigh to do so and making the paper, twice. Sophie, Callum, Em and Peter with his old school Zine, those Zoom meetings were like medicine. Thank you Hannah for supporting us and always Helen who nothing is possible without her. Wayne, thank you for all you do, invisible things that we take for granted. Thank you Nicola for getting walking again, reading again and thinking I can do art again. I believe that this 50th Anniversary we are stronger than ever before and will shine a light that art matters in Leigh and so do we.”
Amy Banks, Volunteer