Boost for community groups to top £7.5m

Walking Football at Soccerdome, Wigan
Walking Football at Soccerdome, Wigan

Dozens of Wigan community groups have been handed a financial boost by the town hall’s flagship investment fund, council bosses have said.

A total of 75 local projects have shared the latest offering of more than £350,000 as part of the Communities Investment Fund (CIF), helping them tackle some of the borough’s biggest social problems.

Shevington in Bloom

Shevington in Bloom

A further £2m will be dished out to larger organisations throughout this year, bringing the total CIF investment to £7.5m since the Wigan Deal was launched.

Coun Chris Ready, cabinet member for communities, said: “Unlike so many other places we are bucking the trend and investing money into our communities.

“The investment so far has already had a huge impact and we are seeing real results in our borough.

“We are delighted to be able to keep supporting so many of our fantastic groups and small organisations.

“We face many different social issues and we know local people are best placed with the knowledge and connections to help us to address and tackle these problems.

“There are so many ambassadors working across the borough to improve where they live and for that we are extremely lucky.”

The CIF was launched as part of the Wigan Deal as the council re-shaped the way it delivers its services to help it cope with the effects of budget cuts which will total £160m by 2020.

Community groups and organisations can apply to the town hall for a share of the CIF funding and provide reasons for why they deserve a boost.

Among those to receive funds in the latest round are Wigan Walking Football Club, Shevington in Bloom, Astley and Tyldesley cycling club and Friends of Atherton Parks.

Wigan Walkers FC are located at the Soccerdome next to the DW Stadium.

There are currently around 30 members and sessions are held Monday and Wednesday mornings.

Coun Chris Ready added: “I have been pleasantly surprised by walking football.

“During my visit, there were around 50 enthusiastic mature men participating in the sport and all have a story to tell about how its keeping them fit and giving them a purpose in life.

“Getting individuals out of the house meeting new friends and generally keeping them well in body and soul ticks all our boxes for Borough on the Move and we are hoping more members from all corners of society will join in the sport.”

Pete Burt, managing director of Inspiring healthy lifestyles, added: “People of all ages can come along to play walking football, though it is predominately aimed at men aged 50-plus who enjoy the game and want to keep active.

“We’ve got a really good group over at Leigh and hope to see the same success in Wigan over the coming months.”