Visitors of all ages enjoyed a wonderful, fun-filled day at Northlight on Saturday, when hundreds came through the building’s historic doors to attend Lancashire Adult Learning’s Fun Palace.
They were met with a fantastic array of have-a-go activities from astronomy to healthy cooking, face painting to First Aid, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) challenges to sports activities and the green screen through to ozobots and robotics.
There was also a Northlight Now and Then Art Challenge, where younger visitors put their artistic skills to the test by creating their own vision of Northlight – either how it looks now or as a working mill.
As well as its own event, Lancashire Adult Learning was also supporting the national Fun Palaces initiative in 47 libraries across the Red Rose County.
Entrants into the art challenge included the Fiss family from Germany whose daughters Lia, 13, and Vanessa, 11, drew their idea of Northlight. Mum Maxine grew up in Brierfield, but moved to Germany over 25 years ago where she met her husband Wolfgang, and the family was over visiting her parents Christine and Graham Mabbs, who still live in Brierfield.
Maxine said: “I think it is great that the building has been put into such good use – I think it would have been a real shame if a building with such history had been left to go to ruin.
“We’ve really enjoyed the day, as there is a good variety of fun and creative activities and useful, practical life skills.”
Iona Connor, from Brierfield, attended with her children Sophia, 8, and Zakariyya, 3. She said: “We went to a Fun Palace a couple of years back and it was really good so when I saw this one advertised at Lancashire Adult Learning we were keen to come down.
“The children really enjoy the STEM activities and I think it is fantastic we have this on the doorstep. It’s something different and the children are learning.”
Chris Quinn, from Burnley, attended the Fun Palace to find out more about First Aid courses. He said: “I’ve done a number of volunteer training courses and completed Functional Skills in ICT, English and Maths with Lancashire Adult Learning at Linkbridge in Burnley.
“I think LAL is one of the best places to do courses and I’ve always found the staff to be knowledgeable and very professional. The courses have helped me in my personal life and I hope they will help me professionally as well as I look for a job – you are never too old to learn.”
The origins of Fun Palaces go back to the early 1960s and it is an ongoing campaign for cultural democracy, with an annual weekend of action every October. The campaign promotes culture at the heart of community and community at the heart of culture.
Head of Adult Community Learning at LAL (Recruitment and Partnerships), Nicola Hall, said: “It was fantastic to be involved with the Fun Palaces initiative again. Lancashire Adult Learning’s Fun Palace in Brierfield was all about getting involved in and with your local community – and that is exactly what occurred on Saturday.
“Our Northlight home was particularly busy throughout the day with around 250 visitors passing through our doors to learn new skills and take part in a wide range of activities.
“As a Lancashire-wide organisation, I’m thrilled we were also able to support our partner organisation Lancashire Libraries in 47 of their venues as LAL staff and members of the Nelson and Colne College Hair and Beauty team delivered fun learning sessions for the people of Lancashire.
“Finally, I’d like to say a big thank you to those who came to all of the venues across the county and who helped make it a special weekend of community learning and engagement.”
In February, Lancashire Adult Learning was named as the national Adult and Community Learning Provider of the Year winner at the Tes FE Awards.
As well as its targeted delivery and partnership work, Lancashire Adult Learning offers a huge range of planned provision across the Red Rose County, from Arts and Crafts to Humanities classes, Languages to Health and Wellbeing sessions and Functional Skills English and Maths and Employability courses.
For more information about LAL, contact 0333 003 1717 or visit www.lal.ac.uk