Wigan community centre takes first steps back to normality
The venue has been shut for almost 18 months.
The One House in Aspull welcomed people back through the doors on Monday.
The Haigh Road venue is putting its food offering front and centre as it gets under way again, with its cafe opening to offer hot breakfasts three days a week, as well as Saturdays and the community food pantry offering items at reduced prices.
It is also hoping getting the cafe up and running will be the first step back towards normal, with plans to get more activities and events under way again in the coming weeks and months.
Centre manager Kathleen Marsh said: “Let’s all get chatting again. We’ve even got our pantry up and running, so people can bag a bargain as well.
“We were completely sold out on our first morning, which was what we wanted. We have been really busy.
“People have been sat out in the sun chatting and saying it’s nice to get back to some sort of normality.”
The One House is now looking ahead to events it can run later in 2021, with plans for a festive December fair.
Its popular Knit and Natter group is also running again but for now is for current members only due to numbers and distancing requirements.
The over-65s group which uses the hall one afternoon a week is in the same position.
The community venue continues to face challenges, though, with Kathleen saying its summer programme of school holiday events for children will not be back this year as some of the volunteers are still shielding.
Ward councillors are also backing the One House as the public returns to the local hub and thanked those who have given up their time to help others during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Coun Chris Ready, who in addition to being an Aspull New Springs Whelley elected representative is Wigan Council’s cabinet member for communities, said: “The commitment shown by volunteers throughout the pandemic has just been incredible.
“It’s really comforting that the One House is putting precautions in place so people can feel safe.
“As ward councillors we want to say a massive thanks to our army of community-spirited residents who think of others.
“The last 18 months have been difficult with the loss of loved ones, illness, isolation and lots of people and businesses struggling.
“But by working together we can come back stronger, bigger and better.”
The venue thanked Julie Murphy, the community champion at the Tesco Extra supermarket on Central Park Way, former mayor of Wigan Coun Steve Dawber, local organisation Fur Clemt which keeps edible food out of landfill and Sygma Solutions for their support.
For more information about the venue, visit www.facebook.com/One-House-Community-Centre-104708874443791
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