Community at heart of £150,000 project

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A DEPRIVED Wigan community will be at the heart of a £150,000 pilot project run by Wigan Council aimed at meeting the soaring needs of adult social care.

Despite having being tasked with saving £10m from their adult social care budget over the coming 12 months, Wigan Council is one of only six to be chosen from 137 local authorities for the Creative Councils grant.

Scholes has been earmarked for the pilot which will look at ways to address the acute challenge of how the council meets rising needs in the provision of adult social care, at a time when the population is ageing and budgets are shrinking.

Coun Keith Cunliffe, Wigan Council cabinet member for healthier communities, said: “Over the past year, we have been testing a number of ideas including a ‘community credits’ scheme to encourage community contributions, volunteering and local business development.

“It’s hoped lessons learnt from this work will be used to benefit the rest of the borough, and who knows, perhaps the entire country.”

Council chiefs say People at the Heart of Scholes aims to connect folk with health and social care needs with the vast under-used resource of neighbours, local people, volunteers and groups who want to give something back.

The project aims to forge new bonds between people with social care needs, the professionals who support them and the wider community.

Council chief executive Donna Hall said: “At a time when the council has to make significant savings it is really important that we keep looking for new ideas in the way we work. This programme with Nesta (formerly the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) has given us the chance to trial some ideas for how we can work better in communities.”