THE Octagon Theatre is among 28 cultural organisations set to receive a share of a £7 million investment.

The new Greater Manchester Culture and Social Impact Fund has been launched by Bolton Council leader Linda Thomas this week.

Of the 28 organisations supported, 39 per cent are not current recipients of the existing Section 48 funding while the new fund has allowed for increased investment in Rochdale and Salford with a Wigan based group receiving funding for the first time.

Chief executive of the Octagon, Roddy Gauld, said: “We’re delighted that GMCA have chosen to support the Octagon’s work alongside other arts organisations in the area.

“Every year we reach thousands of people in Bolton and across Greater Manchester with our productions, schools work, and groups for young people and communities. GMCA has recognised the contribution the Octagon and the arts makes to building Greater Manchester as a happy, healthy and prosperous place for everyone, and with this funding we look forward to reaching more people in the years ahead.”

Cllr Thomas, who is Greater Manchester’s lead for culture, arts and leisure, said: “This is fantastic for the whole of Greater Manchester and specifically for areas like Wigan, Rochdale and Salford who have been underrepresented with funding in the past. It is fair and proper that projects across Greater Manchester are recognised. There really are some wonderful organisations out there and we are very pleased to be able to support them.”

The grant scheme will operate over the next two years, from April this year to March, 2020.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham added: “Our creative industry in Greater Manchester is thriving, contributing £1.46 billion to our economy and continuing to grow. We must support this growth and make pathways to creative careers accessible to everyone by supporting the dedicated people and businesses that are using their talent and entrepreneurship to build our local economy.”