A DANCE group described as an "integral" part of the community is still fighting to recover expensive equipment after their landlord locked them out of their studio.

As previously reported by the Journal, WigLe Dance was locked out of their Railway Road studios with "no notice and no communication" in early January, with parents and children left stranded on the street.

While this was a shocking move, it was of little surprise to WigLe leaders as they say there has been limited communication with the landlord despite multiple reports that the building was becoming "completely unsafe".

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Leigh Journal: WigLe had spent thousands of pounds on its Railway Road studioWigLe had spent thousands of pounds on its Railway Road studio (Image: Amy Burdon)
With an accumulation of problems at the Railway Road studio, including structural issues, faulty tiles and roof leaks, the group informed the landlord that they would be withholding their rent until they were fixed.

This is what spurred the landlords, believed to be based in Bradford, to close the studio without notice, which spurred further arguments as it left the dance group without a home and locked thousands of pounds worth of equipment inside the premises.

Leigh Journal: Roof leaks was making the studio unsafe on Railway RoadRoof leaks was making the studio unsafe on Railway Road (Image: Amy Burdon)
The dance group, which has provided opportunities to hundreds of young dancers over the past nine years and organises the Wigan Borough Dance Festival, has since had the majority of their equipment returned.

However, their ground-sprung dance floor which they invested more than £20,000 in remains locked in their old Railway Road studio; which they are still fighting to recover.

The group has also found temporary rehearsing space at Leigh Miners rugby club, Leigh Turnpike centre, Westleigh High School, and Wigan Youth Zone, but there has been an ongoing fundraising effort to find a long-term home that can cater for the hundreds of young dancers that are part of the group.

Despite the stress of the landlord dispute, WigLe Dance founder Amy Burdon said that there has been a "really heartwarming and positive" response from the dancers, parents, and councillors who have helped to raise almost £2,500 for new premises and equipment.

Leigh Journal: Two young dancers bagpacking at Tesco to help with the fundraising effortTwo young dancers bagpacking at Tesco to help with the fundraising effort (Image: Amy Burdon)
Amy said: "For the past ten years, WigLe Dance has been providing creative, high quality, accessible and affordable dance programmes for children and young people in Leigh.

"Seven years ago we created a vibrant dance studio in Leigh town centre that has been a place where young people come together to socialise, dance and be creative. We invested in state-of-the-art equipment and creating a comfortable, modern space that catered to all young people. 

"WigLe Studios has been a second home for hundreds of children, where they not only learn to dance but also build lifelong friendships, confidence, and discipline.

"Unfortunately behind the scenes, we’ve been dealing with ongoing issues with the external building, leaks and landlord disputes that have come to a head and meant we have had to leave our much-loved home.

"Despite the challenges faced, WigLe Dance has grown beyond any expectations, and the need for a new studio space is urgent.

"The dream is to create an even more vibrant and inclusive environment where every child in Leigh can discover the joy of dance, regardless of their background or circumstances."

To help support WigLe's campaign for an improved and long-term studio, you can donate to their fundraiser here.

Leigh Journal: WigLe dancers have been selected for various respected showsWigLe dancers have been selected for various respected shows (Image: Owen Peters)