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Fashion and the arts in Frodsham

PUBLISHED: 00:00 22 June 2016

Cherry blossom frames Main Street

Cherry blossom frames Main Street

Archant

This historic market town is forging ahead in everything from fashion and the arts to renewable energy, writes Emma Mayoh

Castle Park Arts Centre Castle Park Arts Centre

Some people spend years building a business but for Victoria Molyneux there was no poring over ideas on how best to launch her fashion business, Want that Trend. The 28-year-old, who lives in Frodsham with her partner and baby girl, simply took a selfie of herself in one of her designs, posted it on social media and the rest, as they say, is history.

‘I’d worked in call centres and I wanted a change, never imagining how big it would become. I’d always struggled to get clothes that were really nice, fashionable and flattering as well as reasonably priced. It was all very tight body con or really short dresses and skirts. I thought, how many other women are in the same situation?

‘I also found that some pictures of clothes were a bit misleading, which is why, through Facebook I decided to start posting selfies to show what the clothes really look like.’

This was a little over a year ago. Today, Want that Trend has a £7million turnover and employs several staff. The company has also signed reality television star, Holly Hagan, who has her own collection.

Main Street Main Street

Victoria has received several awards including Young Entrepreneur of the Year at The Cheshire High Sheriff’s Awards and Best Newcomer at the North West Business Masters Awards.

She said: ‘The response has been incredible. I have been overwhelmed by how fast the business has taken off. ‘Looking back to when I first started, it is just unbelievable.’

It has also been a short road to success for the organisers of Frodsham Summer Festival. Initially launched as a football tournament the event, now in its fourth year and taking place on July 8th – 10th, is attracting popular music acts and has become a fun event for all the family.

The football tournament for over 35s attracts players from around the country and internationally too, including names from clubs like Manchester City and Everton. But this year there will be performances from a variety of local acts as well as The Christians, Icicle Works and Space. There’s also a festival pub, stalls, a fun fair, food and an obstacle course.

Castle Park meeting place Castle Park meeting place

Mark Rowland, founder of the festival, spends his day job touring as stage crew for famous bands, including Take That. But the organisation of the festival, according to Mark, aged 49, takes more effort.

‘We never stop working on it to bring it altogether. We have about a fortnight off after the event and then it all starts again for the next year. But it is tremendous fun.

‘It is an event the whole community can enjoy and Frodsham has been a great support. Local businesses have really got behind us and we couldn’t do it without them. I’m really excited about this year’s festival.’

It’s a breeze

The skyline is changing in Frodsham. Wind turbines have now started to be erected as part of the new Frodsham Wind Farm scheme. The new project, by Peel Energy, will see 19 turbines put up on canal deposit grounds on sites north of Frodsham and another north of Helsby. Electricity generated will be fed back into the National Grid and will powers the equivalent of 30,000 homes. The project is expected to complete by November.

As well as benefiting the country by making us less reliant on traditional sources of energy, there has also been work done to the local habitat to protect and enhance the wildlife at the Frodsham Wind Farm site. Work has been done to protect badger setts and new wetland areas have been established to provide feeding areas for the many wading birds that use the site. There is also a large area of reed bed that will be managed to enhance the natural habitat for numerous bird species, including the Eurasian Marsh Harrier. This work, which has been done with the support of Natural England, Cheshire Wildlife Trust and the RSPB, was recognised with a Biodiversity Benchmark: Design for Construction award. It was the first construction site in the UK to be awarded it.

Jonathan England, development director of Peel Energy, said: ‘I have been working on this for the past seven years I have been at Peel. It has been a long process and it is fantastic to see all of that work coming together now. To have turbines going up on site is tremendous progress.

‘We need sites like this. There is no getting around that fact that we need to look at other sources of energy. This is a fantastic way of doing so. We have all got to do our part and we really believe this will help immensely.’

The art of it

Nestled away you will discover a gem of a place. Castle Park Arts Centre is set in beautiful gardens, parkland and woodland walks. But take a step inside and there are more treasures to discover. The Victorian building, a former stable block to the adjacent mansion house, is run as a charitable trust and manned by volunteers. It has three galleries, two craft rooms, seven craft units, a café and garden. It is used widely by the community and many classes and local groups take place here.

Kim Horton, manager, said: ‘This is such a busy centre. And for the past few years we have been working very hard to make sure more people get to know about us. Our exhibitions draw people in from far and wide but we want even more visitors to see what a special place we have here.

‘As well as being the arts centre it is also a part of Frodsham’s history. Our clock tower, for instance, in the past was set a few minutes fast on the owner of the mansion house’s request. He kept missing his train so he asked for it to be set fast so he knew that when the clock chimed he had a few minutes to dash down to his train.

‘I love hearing stories like that and how the centre has been a part of Frodsham for such a long time. We have a very special place and it is one that I thoroughly enjoy being involved with.’

One of the prestigious associations that do an annual exhibition at the centre is the Association of Animal Artists. The group, which has an international membership, takes over Castle Park Arts every spring to showcase some of the best animal art available.

One of its members, Eunice Knott, lives in nearby Crowton and joined the association in 2009 not long after it was founded. The 56-year-old, who uses all kinds of mixed media to create her art, uses her cats Coco and Chico as models for her work.

Eunice, treasurer and trustee of the association, said: ‘I joined because I really wanted to learn more about how to paint animals. I’m very proud to be a member. It is a fantastic association to be involved with. IT is very friendly and there is a great camaraderie.

‘The exhibition is Frodsham, which marked its fifth year this year, is something I’m very pleased to be involved in. It is local to me, of course, but it is also an excellent opportunity to exhibit your work as well as see work from other fantastic artists. It takes three days to hang all of the work and I enjoy every minute of it.’

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