Wigan community centre can teach the country a lesson, says visiting MP

An MP has praised Wigan’s community spirit, and said the rest of the country can take inspiration from it, after visiting one of the town’s most renowned community centres.

David Lammy, who represents Tottenham in Parliament, paid a visit to Sunshine House in Scholes, along with Lisa Nandy, to hear about the work the hub was doing in the community.

Lisa Nandy, Barbara Nettleton, David Lammy and general manager Liz Heaton at Sunshine House Community Hub in Scholes, Wigan

Lisa Nandy, Barbara Nettleton, David Lammy and general manager Liz Heaton at Sunshine House Community Hub in Scholes, Wigan

Taking to social media following the visit, Ms Nandy said: “Thanks to my friend David Lammy for spending time in Wigan today hearing about the community spirit that drives places like Sunshine House. We loved having you. Come back anytime.”

Mr Lammy responded: “If the whole country can muster one tenth of the community spirit on display in Wigan, we can surely come back together again.”

Barbara Nettleton of Sunshine House, felt the centre had shone a light on the strength of Wigan’s community.

She said: “I thought it was a terrific visit. It was really good of him to come, especially in the climate we’re all working under, it’s really difficult.

“He was really interested. Some politicians take on what you say, but don’t really listen.

“But I thought David heard what we had to say about Wigan, and he saw that here, we do all come together in times of need, when we need to come together as a community.

“I think he was quite impressed with how we deal with things here in Scholes. I think we show that our communities can come together regardless of how bad the times are.”

Barbara added: “We will welcome him to come back and have a look again further down the line. I’m sure Brexit won’t interfere with how we deal with things in our communities, because we’ll fight any corner!”

Sunshine House acts as a community hub for residents, offering a range of services under one roof, including financial advice sessions provided for social housing tenants.

It has been at the heart of plans to regenerate Scholes, particularly its precinct which has seen a huge drop in footfall and the disappearance of almost every shop in recent years.

Volunteers have been doing their utmost to curtail and even reverse that decline, operating three shops on the precinct which could be the key to ensuring a bright future for the area.

It recently launched a mum, babies and tots shop on the precinct, adding to the existing charity shop and pantry which opened late in 2018, and the team hopes the success of the shops will entice more businesses to help resurrect the Scholes area.