Speed dating of a political nature...

Organisers, left to right, Graham Gifford, Janet Gifford and Stephen Hall
Organisers, left to right, Graham Gifford, Janet Gifford and Stephen Hall

CAMPAIGNING groups hope to strike up long-lasting relationships with new supporters at an event bringing an unusual twist to speed dating.

Organisations representing causes ranging from opposing fracking to protecting the NHS to combatting racism will enjoy a novel way of meeting potential activists at The Old Courts on January 6.

Anyone attending the expo-style event will get 10 minutes to sit down with each of the 14 groups, listen to their pitches about what they do and ask any questions they have.

This will then be followed by an open networking session and live music and organisers Wigan People’s Assembly hope the speed dating idea will appeal to residents who feel strongly about issues but do not actively get involved campaigning on them.

Graham Gifford from Wigan People’s Assembly said: “People who join these groups tend to be passionate about the issues or already activists, you don’t get the general public getting involved. I think large sections of the community feel strongly about some of these issues but they never seem to get involved. There are people who want to do something and organisations looking for support, so we thought we would bring the two groups together under one roof for a fun night with absolutely no commitment so people can have a dabble and hopefully find at least a couple of things they are interested in.”

Local groups who will be attending the event on January 6 include the organising team behind the popular annual Wigan Diggers Festival celebrating the life of radical thinker Gerrard Winstanley, homeless charity The Brick and Fur Clemt, a cafe which seeks to eliminate food waste. The likes of union Unite, anti-racism and anti-fascism group Hope Not Hate and campaigners against the so-called bedroom tax will also be speed dating at the Crawford Street community arts hub.

Expo-goers will get to spend around three hours moving from table to table discussing the groups’ work before an informal networking session in the bar, performances from Wigan prog rock band John the Baptist and the Second Coming and a pie and peas supper conclude the night.

The free event is at The Old Courts on Wednesday January 6, starting at 6.30pm.

The party with live music begins at 9.30pm. For details visit www.facebook.com/wiganpaaa