Wigan named as one of the happiest places to live

Wigan town centre
Wigan town centre

Wigan has been revealed as one of the most upbeat places in the whole of Greater Manchester according to a survey of wellbeing conducted by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

The government’s most recent wellbeing poll showed our town scored 7.6 out of 10 on the cheeriness scale - far higher than anywhere else in the region.

Wiganers were also revealed as having the third highest emotional wellbeing in Greater Manchester, beaten only by those convivial types in Trafford and Stockport.

So, is there something in the water (or maybe the pies) in these parts?

We asked Wiganers if they agree with the town’s cheery status and whether they feel we deserves our vivacious reputation.

Stella Naylor, from Pemberton, lived in various parts of the country before settling in Wigan 30 years ago.

And the 80-year-old believes the borough has a “community feeling” at odds with its size.

“I’ve lived all over the country because of my husband’s work and this is a lovely place to be,” she said. “It is a friendly place and I love living here.”

Teenager Dani Cleary, however, felt the town had some way to go before deserving its billing at Greater Manchester’s happiness capital.

“It can be narrow-minded,” said the 19-year-old salesman, who lives in Standish.

“You’ve got remember that there are a lot of people living here who don’t have jobs. That’s doesn’t help people feel cheerful.

“I live in Standish and that is supposed to be one of the nicest places in the town but you do get a lot of trouble.”

Pals Lukasz Golyshowski and Kristian Buckley both originally hail from foreign climes (Poland and Warrington, respectively!) but both agree Wigan has special qualities.

They both cite the friendliness and sense of community as reasons for its high-ranking cheeriness. Kristian, 30, from Hawkley, said: “It’s a pretty big place but it is like everyone knows each other.

“I was born in Warrington but moved here as a kid.

“I suppose at first when you hear that Wigan is the cheeriest place you chuckle because the stereotype of Wigan is that it is a miserable place but when you think about it people are always laughing so that says something.

“The house prices around here are also fairly reasonable so that must help keep people smiling as well!”

Chris Eggington took a rounded, philosophical view on the findings by ONS boffins and like Kristian pointed to Wigan’s close-knit communities.

“It is different to lots of other places in the country,” said the 30-year-old New Springs resident. “I come from Southport originally and Wigan is definitely a friendlier place.

“It has grown from a very small town into an industrial heartland but it has maintained that small town community feel.”

Eighteen-year-old Liam Bond, from Springfield, echoed those sentiments. “I’m a happy person, that’s for sure, and most of my mates are, too,” he said.

“I think it is a very closely-knit town and that helps.

“Where we live everyone knows each other and looks out for each other.”

And Lauren Richardson, from Orrell, and her nine-year-old daughter, Macy, were equally happy with their chirpy hometown’s status.

“People are happy around here most of the time,” she said, while Macy agreed: “It’s because of the people; they are really friendly.”