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BOROUGH

ISSUE 35 AUTUMN 2011

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THE MAGAZINE FOR ALL RESIDENTS OF WIGAN BOROUGH

Borough Life 1

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This is your LIFE

by belle

 First part of Wigan Borough's new leisure and public service centre is ready for business - see centre pages

New recycling initiative cuts waste and costs and helps protect the environment - see pages eight and nine


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KEITH CUNLIFFE

GED BRETHERTON

PETER SMITH

DAVID MOLYNEUX

Children and Young People’s Services

Adults and Health

Efficiency

Council Leader

Regeneration and Deputy Leader

WIGAN Council’s Cabinet is the main policy and decision-making body for the authority. The Cabinet – also known as the ‘Executive’ – is responsible for major decisions concerning such things as spending, allocation of resources and the future direction of services provided by the authority. The Cabinet makes recommendations to the council on the budget, the level of Council Tax and major service policies, and has the power to decide any issue which falls within the overall policy framework once it is agreed by the council. The work of the Cabinet is also monitored by the council’s scrutiny committees. Leader of Wigan Council Lord Peter Smith, who also chairs the Cabinet, said: “The Cabinet is a powerful decisionmaking body that acts on behalf of the residents of the borough. “It has a great many responsibilities and many of the decisions it takes can have a direct impact on the lives of residents. “Decisions taken by the Cabinet are in line with the council’s ambitions to improve people’s lives and the opportunities open to them, as well as bringing jobs, investment and prosperity to our borough. “Members of the Cabinet are also ward councillors with a direct link to local communities across the borough. They listen to the views of residents and act accordingly. The council’s Cabinet is your Cabinet.” Wigan Council’s Cabinet is made up of seven senior councillors who are also known as ‘portfolio holders’, each with a specific area of responsibility. Cabinet members are: ● Peter Smith – Leader of Wigan Council and Chair of the Cabinet. Responsible for: Council strategy (including the budget); partnership working; and external relations at sub-regional, regional and national level. ● David Molyneux – Portfolio Holder – Regeneration (and Deputy Leader of the Council) Responsible for: Planning, transportation, the borough’s future housing needs, infrastructure, economic development and the borough’s ‘green’ agenda.

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Environment and Communities

CHRIS READY

SUSAN LOUDON

KEVIN ANDERSON

Meet the cabinet

Communication and Customers

Decision-makers shape

borough’s future Making sure there is a diverse range of housing to meet the borough’s needs and taking advantage of Wigan’s location between the M6 and the M61 and the West Coast Mainline. Increasing the borough’s educational attainment and skills, along with revitalising the borough’s town and district centres. Working with public and private sector partners to secure investment and market Wigan in Greater Manchester and the region. ● Kevin Anderson – Portfolio Holder – Environment and Communities. Responsible for: building up safer communities with police and other partners and stronger communities in sustainable and affordable neighbourhoods. The delivery of services for waste and recycling, highways, environmental protection, environmental health and licensing. The efficient functioning of the borough’s roads and tackling issues such as congestion, community safety, cleansing and environmental health.

Any questions? You can now ask the Cabinet questions and receive an answer from the relevant member. Questions can be sent via Wigan Council’s website. The answer will be posted within 10 days. It must be a question, rather than a comment or complaint (there are other mechanisms for these). If the Cabinet cannot answer within 10 days they will let you know why. You can access this services at: www.wigan.gov.uk and search for ‘The Cabinet’.

● Ged Bretherton – Portfolio Holder for Efficiency. Responsible for: efficiency across the authority and in collaboration with other authorities. How the council serves its customers and for providing ‘joined-up’ services. Council staff and links to communications and customers. ● Keith Cunliffe – Portfolio Holder – Adults and Health. Responsible for: issues relating to improving health and well-being in our borough. Commissioning services to promote independence and keep people safe when it is necessary and to help people to make informed choices about their lives and the care they receive. Supporting older people and adults with disabilities and their carers. ● Susan Loudon – Portfolio Holder – Children and Young People’s Services. Responsible for: issues and services relating to young people aged 0 to 19. Working with more than 140 schools across the borough and supporting all young people. Supporting all children and young people to achieve key outcomes of being healthy, staying safe, enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution and achieving economic well-being. ● Chris Ready – Portfolio Holder – Communication and Customers Responsible for: Customer service and communications. Wigan Council’s image and reputation. Improving participation in leisure and cultural activity and representing the council on the board of Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust.


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www.wigan.gov.uk

The

Leader Column

Building the future together

Autumn 2011 This edition packed with news, plus...

By Peter Smith Leader, Wigan Council IT’S BEEN 10 years in the making. A journey that began with a desire on behalf of the council and its partners to transform the face of public services in our borough and provide modern new facilities for residents to enjoy. This month, as Borough Life went to press the South Site of the new Wigan Life Centre was about to throw its doors open to the public. It replaces the old Wigan International Pool and will be a focal point for the community, designed with your health and wellbeing in mind. In fact we’ve called it the Healthy Living Zone. Two swimming pools, a gym, fitness studios…the list of facilities goes on. It is also the new home to a range of healthrelated services and advice. At the project’s heart lies a partnership between the council and private enterprise. The achievement is made even more remarkable as we have seen this project through during some of the most difficult economic times we have faced. It has created jobs and opportunities for local people and has raised the profile of our borough on an international scale. By prudent use of council assets and selling buildings that are no longer required, we have built this new facility with no extra burden on council tax-payers. But now it’s over to you… the Wigan Life Centre is for borough’s people and we hope you enjoy it. We are now looking forward to the opening of the North Site featuring a new library, One Stop Shop and community space early next year. Have a look around the Wigan Life Centre on pages 16 and 17. CUTTING costs and reducing waste. Two areas that everyone in our borough will undoubtedly have as priorities. That is why the council is doing all we can to reduce the amount of waste we produce and the amount of money that’s spent on putting this waste into a big hole in the ground. But we can’t do it alone. Cutting down on the amount of waste we as a borough produce is something everyone can help with. To help we have introduced a new waste collection service with a heavy emphasis on recycling. The changes are explained in detail on pages 8 and 9 of this edition. Put simply, if we can make it work we can avoid the burden of £14million worth of extra waste management costs to the year 2020 and provide a cleaner, greener future for generations to come. Now that has got to be worth the effort. FINALLY, congratulations go to both the Leigh Centurions and the Wigan Warriors for their phenomenal recent successes. The Wigan Warriors lifted the Rugby League Challenge Cup and Leigh Centurions won the Northern Rail Cup. It’s great news as we strive to bring the Rugby League World Cup to the borough in 2013. We now wish both teams all the best in the play-offs.

Green light for £6million youth centre

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Centres ensure a great start in life

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Vital support helps find new jobs

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Borough in photos: then and now

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CONTENTS

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COVER PICTURE Lifeguards Sam Ratchford, Daniel Laithwaite, Kay Whitehouse and Alex Meadows pictured at Wigan’s new swimming pool.

Borough Life is published by Wigan Council and distributed to all households in the borough. This edition was published on 2 September 2011. Distribution should be complete by 16 September 2011.

The Editor Borough Life, FREEPOST NWW3502A, Wigan WN1 1XZ. Tel: 01942 827823 Email: boroughlife@wigan.gov.uk

The magazine is printed on paper from renewable resources. It is written and edited by Wigan Council’s Media and Communications team, designed by Smith Davis Press and printed by PCP.

If you are a resident of Wigan Borough but haven’t had a copy of Borough Life delivered through your letterbox, please let us know. Copies of individual articles may be available in other languages on request. Large print and audio versions can also be provided. Please phone 01942 827823.

If you have any comments or feedback – or if would like to write a letter for publication – please contact:

BOROUGH LIFE Autumn 2011

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OUR VIEW: Members of the Wigan town centre Youth Group are shouting about the Wigan Youth Zone.

Youth ideas will make it the very best

£6m youth centre given green light HE council has given the green light to a £6 million youth zone for children and young people, which will be the best of its kind in Europe… if not the world. A high-profile team is behind the exciting new facility that will soon be taking shape on spare land at Mesnes Field in Wigan Town Centre. Since 2008 Wigan Council has been investigating the possibility of bringing a youth club similar to the incredibly successful Bolton Lads and Girls Club, to Wigan. The move is being spearheaded by local

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businessmen Dave Whelan, Martin and Bill Ainscough and regional charity OnSide. The council’s Cabinet has now given the green-light to the project and has provided the land and will contribute to the annual running costs of the facility. The centre – which had the working title Wigan Lads and Girls Club – would provide high quality sports, arts and recreational facilities that would be available and affordable to all youngsters aged 8 to 19. Under the plans the centre would be open until 10pm every day of the week and also provide outreach services to other areas of the borough. Facilities are expected to include sport, music and art studio, a climbing wall and all-weather sports pitches. The partners have now officially launched the project at a special ceremony at the site, which means the construction work can begin. It is hoped that the centre will be open for business next year.

Leader of Wigan Council Lord Peter Smith, says: “It is an exciting plan that would give Wigan a world-class youth facility. It is estimated that up to 3,000 young people would use the centre each week so it would certainly give a lot of children something positive to do. “It would not only help to provide meaningful activities and development opportunities for children and young people but also help reduce children’s involvement in anti social behaviour as a result. “The young people of Wigan have asked for and deserve a facility such as this and we are delighted that we can now see the plans progress.” Whilst business leader Martin Ainscough added: “Our ambition is to open this club in one year’s time and we have a lot of work to do in that period but I am confident that with everyone’s support we will end up with a world-class youth facility which will change thousands of lives over the next one hundred years.”

Pictured at the site are: Wigan Council Chief Executive Joyce Redfearn, Martin Ainscough, Leader of Wigan Council Lord Peter Smith, Richard Ainscough, Chair of the Young People’s Talk, Listen and Change Group Adrian Speakman and Dave Whelan.

MEET the young people backing Wigan’s new youth zone… This group represent young people’s views in Wigan Borough on the proposed new state of the art facility on Mesnes Field. The Talk Listen Change Group has been working with charity OnSide to give their input into plans for the facility that could entertain up to 3,000 young people each week. Eighteen year old member of the group Lydia Naylor said: “We have been working with OnSide for 18 months now and we met Martin Ainscough and the board of the new facility some months ago. We showed them the consultation and research we had been doing with young people around what they wanted to see in the new club. They were really impressed and asked us to stay involved. “Young people will benefit so much from the new centre and we are so excited about seeing it getting underway.” Fellow group member, Daniel Gilmore, 17, said: “We are still consulting to try and make it the best centre it can be and have been out in Wigan town centre asking the public their views. “The centre is going to have something for everyone from sport and dance to arts and music studios. It’s an exciting time for the borough and a lot of young people are really behind it.” If you are a young person and would like to give your views to the Talk Listen Change Group contact Wigan Council’s Youth Service on 01942 705947.

FUTURE FOR YOUTH: An impression of how the new Youth Zone will look.


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Citizen support -

at your service PUTTING people first is the ethos behind a new council team that is aiming to improve how the authority does business by putting your needs at the heart of everything we do. Citizen Support brings together council staff from the former Revenues, Benefits and Customer Service divisions to create one seamless service for everyone. “Local residents have told us they want us to make it easier and more convenient for them to contact their council,” explains Cabinet Member for Customer Service, Councillor Chris Ready. “We have listened and acted. By having one dedicated service we believe we will be able to deal with more of our customers’ needs in one place at a time to suit them. It is the kind of modern forward-thinking service that people rightly expect and we aim to deliver.” The new team is currently working on a major IT project to overhaul out-dated technology and transfer three systems worth of customer data onto a single, unified system. This will deliver faster benefit claims processing for residents and

YOUR WINNING TEAM: Cllr Chris Ready with the new Citizen Support Service team. enable council partners such as Registered Social Landlords to send important data direct to the council to further decrease processing times. Modernising the council’s benefits systems is just one of a series of customer service improvements happening at Wigan Council. The opening of the Wigan Life Centre (south site) in September follows the sucess of the borough’s five ‘Local Life Centres’, which are already earning an amazing 99 per cent customer satisfaction face-to-face and 91 per cent over the phone.

For enquiries about Wigan Council services visit www.wigan.gov.uk or call the Customer Service helpline on 01942 828644.

When Wigan Life Centre North opens in January, following the closure of the council’s remaining cash offices, the modernisation programme will be complete. “Alongside our public service contact centre,” adds Cllr Ready, “The life centres are resolving a high level of your enquiries at the first point of contact. “Our aim is to deliver more effective and efficient services to the people who depend on us but also continue to drive down costs and reduce the amount of bureaucracy and red tape people are faced with.”

Unlocking support for families GET ready to enter The Gateway… it’s a new Wigan Council initiative that will provide help and support to children, young people and parents right in the communities in which they live. The aim is to link up a range of existing services from child and family welfare right through to careers to provide one easy-to-use model to support families. Each of five areas across the borough will have a Gateway team working across children and young people aged from 0 to 19. The teams will be made up of workers from a range of professional backgrounds, including social care and health. The Gateway team can be contacted through Children’s Centres, schools, and other well-used local facilities. Wigan Council Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Cllr Susan Loudon, said: “Our aim is to work with children, young people and parents to resolve problems and difficulties they may be facing. We want to work with local communities to ensure the service meets their needs “The Gateway will provide support to help children and young people achieve more, by reducing the barriers to learning that some children face. We want children and young people to reach their full potential. “The Gateway will work on issues such as attendance at school, unemployment, drug and alcohol abuse and teenage pregnancy. It will also help children and young people to take part in positive activities and help them have a voice in their local communities. We will provide further information as the teams are set up in local areas, and hope you will be able to see a difference.” ● For updates keep visiting Wigan Council’s website – www.wigan.gov.uk

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Public help write

NEW CHAPTER for library service Competition winner Adam Southern enjoys The Courteeners at the Haigh Music Festival. THE winners of last edition’s Haigh Music Festival competition were Adam Southern of Platt Bridge, who went to see top indie band The Courteeners and Adelle Winterbottom of Swinley, who took son Adam, aged seven, to see Peter Andre. Both winners were the first out of the hat with the correct answer to the question: who first played a sell-out concert at Haigh Hall in 1998? The answer was – The Verve. ENGINEERS are replacing the bridge on the A579 north of Atherton. A routine inspection showed that the Bolton Road bridge was suffering wear and stress to its girders and had a limited capacity of three tonnes. Two of its three spans must be completely replaced and concrete beams added. The work means the road will be closed to traffic from 13th September to 3rd December. WIGAN Borough is celebrating ‘Older People’s Day’ on 1 October. In the week running up to the Older People's day, a series of five free information events for older people will be held across the borough. Anyone living in the local community is also welcome to come along. The events programme for the week is: Monday 26 September – Clarington Place, Ince; Tuesday 27 September – Cherry Tree Court, Standish; Wednesday 28 September – The Rowans, Mosley Common; Thursday 29 September – Leigh Court, Golborne; Friday 30 September – Elliot Gardens, Worsley Mesnes. Events will run from 10am-2pm each day. To find out more about Older People’s Day visit www.fulloflife.direct.gov.uk

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A TRIP to the library could soon be as easy and convenient as a visit to the local supermarket. New technology could allow readers to be ‘fully-booked’ online thanks to A mix of pioneering plans to preserve the hi-tech and borough’s library service. tradition will The council and Wigan Leisure and make libraries Culture Trust have been looking at how even more to save local library services in the face accessible. of ever-increasing pressure to cut costs and put vital frontline services first. The Trust needs to reduce the budget for libraries by £1.1m following government cuts. After talking and listening to library users, they have come up with a plan that will not only preserve the service but bring it bang up to date. Under new proposals the majority of libraries across Wigan Borough will remain open. The Trust is planning some radical and exciting new innovations to make sure this happens. It is looking at the libraries sharing the same space as other public services to cut down on costs, and introducing self-service into all libraries so visitors can use the ‘fast lane’ to check out books. New technology will be used to provide books in the formats that people most want them... including an online service with access to books 24 hours a day and introducing such as local demand, lifestyle needs and cost increasingly popular ebooks. effectiveness. Wigan Council’s Cabinet Member for “We know people feel passionately about Leisure and Culture, Cllr Chris Ready, their libraries and the council and the Trust explains: “The concept for the new model has have listened to library users and provided a been developed in response to key information solution that we think they will like.”

The shape of things to come... Libraries Central: town centre libraries in Wigan and Leigh will have the longest opening hours and the broadest range of services – open between 50 and 55 hours per week. Libraries Local: located in smaller town centres offering a range of book stock, information and activities. They will offer self service and access to computers. Many will be co-located with other services or host services – open 35 to 40 hours per week. Libraries Express: located in urban areas and communities, offering core library services such as books and computers and will be self-service and run in partnership with the local community. They will open for a minimum of 18 hours per week. Libraries Direct: providing access to a

range of services available from home, including online reference, reservations, access to community information and ebooks. Under the proposals library services in Beech Hill will be reduced with a “drop off and pick up service” introduced. The part-time volunteer-run Abram Library would be replaced with a “drop-off and pick-up” service. The Home Delivery Service will continue to provide a ‘direct to door’ service for people with mobility issues that prevent them from being able to visit their local library. ● For more information on Wigan Borough’s Library Service visit Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust’s website – www.wlct.org


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FLAG DAY: Communities celebrate 'green' success at Ashton's Jubilee Park and Colliers Corner, Howe Bridge. Collier's

Quality parks fly the flag ORE of the borough’s parks have been awarded prestigious Green Flag status... a mark of top quality for visitors. Alexandra Park, Newtown, Pennington Hall Park, Leigh and Jubilee Park, Ashton, have all been awarded the accolade, showing they are well-maintained and managed, with excellent facilities. Sharon Saunders, Parks and Countryside Activities Manager for Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust, said: “We’re delighted these parks have once again been recognised in the Green Flag awards. “A tremendous amount of effort goes into maintaining our parks and we could not do this without the support of

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local communities and elected members. “All of our parks are enormously valuable to the communities they serve and we would always encourage people to not only enjoy them but to take pride in them.” Residents involved in transforming Colliers Corner

in Atherton from a polluted overgrown stream into a green oasis were also recognised for their hard work and received a Community Award. Phil Barton, Green Flag Plus Partnership chairman, said: “The Green Flag Award Scheme, and its growth, is

essential in driving up the standards of our parks and green spaces. Access to quality green space is something we all desire and the scheme plays a key role in providing it. “In these challenging financial times it is heartening that the For more number information on parks of and green spaces in Green Wigan Borough visit Flag Wigan Leisure and Awards Culture Trust’s website: continue www.wlct.org to grow. As the value of green space and the role it plays in our communities strengthens, we must ensure these high standards remain.”

Loan scheme backs buyers YOUR first step on the housing ladder could be FirstBuy. That’s the message from housing chiefs at Wigan Council who are urging first-time buyers to make the most a new governmentbacked equity loan scheme, called FirstBuy. FirstBuy offers eligible buyers a 20 per cent equity loan, jointly funded by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and the housebuilders. The buyer needs to find just the five per cent deposit upfront. Successful developments in Wigan Borough, which could be eligible for FirstBuy support are: Barratt’s Charles Street (Tyldesley) and Pennington Park (Leigh), Dorbcrest Homes Haigh Road (Aspull), Morris Homes

Worthington Park (Standish), Redrow’s St Oakwood Grange (Wigan) and Persimmon Homes Bluebell Wood (Winstanley). Wigan Council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment, Cllr Kevin Anderson, said: “This is good news for first time buyers and good news for our borough. It is anticipated that this will be extremely popular so I would urge anyone who may be interested to find out more and sign up to the scheme.” ● The FirstBuy scheme is being organised by affordable homes specialist Plumlife. You can find out more about it and other affordable homes schemes by visiting the website: www.plumlife.co.uk or calling 0161 447 5050.

MOVING IN: Just one family benefiting from the FirstBuy scheme. BOROUGH LIFE Autumn 2011

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NEWSROUND THERE’S detailed information about the food hygiene at restaurants, cafes and supermarkets available. Look out for bright green and black food hygiene stickers showing a rating from zero to five. Access the national database at http://ratings.food.gov.uk and see the whole of Greater Manchester, as well as an increasing number of other authorities across England and Wales. A NEW debt advice leaflet is available from libraries and council buildings. Debts against the council can have serious consequences such as imprisonment for Council Tax evasion or eviction for rent arrears. But people can access the Valuation Tribunal if they believe the council has acted incorrectly on a Council Tax billing matter and the Appeal Tribunal can be consulted for decisions on Housing Benefit claims. Officers are anxious that people in debt with Council Tax and rent speak directly to them rather than approaching loan sharks or other agencies. FORMER borough mayors Cllr Eunice Smethurst, a ward member for Abram, and Cllr Mark Aldred, member in Atherleigh, have been appointed to senior positions on the Transport for Greater Manchester committee, which owns the region's bus stops and stations and pays for essential bus services in the region. WORLD number two Great Britain won gold at the international Boccia Championships at Robin Park this summer. The version of Boules for people with disabilities is a major sport and Wigan has become a centre for the annual championships. Brian Allen of Boccia England said: “This was the biggest Boccia Championships we have held so far with 14 countries and 95 wheelchair athletes competing, it was a tremendous success.” FRED Chisnall, on duty on Liverpool Road in Hindley, became the borough's Lollipop Idol 2011 after the popular St Peter’s CE Primary patrol was voted tops by pupils. Fred was nominated by 8 year old Chloe Langton.

Major changes to refuse collection and recycling services are on the way... Services are being re-shaped to ensure that weekly kerbside collections can be maintained and recycling rates improved at a time when the council is being forced to make cuts of £66 million over the next four years. From autumn 2012, Wigan Council will follow the lead already taken by many local authorities and introduce ‘managed’ weekly collections. Borough Life explores what this means for the borough’s 140,000 householders…

Save money by saving the planet IGAN Council has will continue as present. increased kerbside “We’re striving to find the collections massively balance between meeting in recent years, offering householders’ needs, fortnightly collections for improving recycling garden waste and for cans, performance and providing glass and plastic recyclables. value for money,” explained The enthusiasm and support Councillor Kevin Anderson, of many local residents means Cabinet member for we are now recycling more Environment and than ever before. Communities. But with landfill costs “It’s much cheaper to escalating, space running out recycle and treat waste than and other areas now recycling to send it to landfill, and as much as 70% of their adopting modern practices waste, Wigan Borough must will avoid further costs of up move fast to improve on its to £14 million by 2020. current rate of 36% and hit “Sending less waste to its target of 50% by 2020. landfill means fewer problems Under the new down the line for our arrangements: children, natural habitats ● householders will be asked protected not polluted, fewer to separate out their greenhouse gases and even recyclable and food waste more waste recycled into new from their rubbish. Black bins products. Finally, there will be will be emptied one week, more choice for residents and and food and garden waste greater recycling the next, from all properties, all year round. ● green bins will be collected fortnightly all year round rather than a break for winter, and take green waste and food waste. Households with green bins will be given plastic caddies and compostable caddy liners to put their food waste in before putting it in the green bin. ● households without green bins will be given the same kitchen caddy and liners as green bin households, plus a larger outdoor caddy to put their food waste out for Collection collection. These arrangements from properties would have September 2012: their collections using Black bins – emptied the same crew and fortnightly. vehicles as those with Green bins (including food green bins, with waste) – emptied fortnightly. collections every other Brown bins – emptied week. fortnightly. ● the brown bin service Blue bin (or paper sack)

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– every four weeks.

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opportunities for everybody, yet still only four bins. Space will be an issue for some households, so we’ll be offering a choice of smaller bins and paper sacks as well.” The council understands some residents may be nervous about the prospect of a fortnightly food waste collection. Householders will therefore have the option of putting their food waste into their black bin on the week that their green bin isn’t being emptied. This would mean their food waste could still be collected every week. However, disposing of food waste through the black bin means costly landfill and the council will be urging residents to put all their food waste in their green bin/food caddy to save money and reduce greenhouse gases.


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LADIES ON WATCH THE

Food waste... no risks

FOOD waste is currently about 20 per cent of what is left in the black bin. If food is disposed of in landfill sites it releases harmful greenhouses gases including methane and contributes to climate change. By collecting food waste separately for recycling we can reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill and the amount of greenhouse gas released, as well as reducing waste disposal costs and landfill tax. Under the new arrangements, approximately 4,050 tonnes of THE food waste will be diverted BELLS OF HINDLEY: away from landfill and at the Edna, Margaret same time save the council and Maureen around £144,000 per year in sing the disposal costs. blues. The combined food and garden waste will be sent to regional waste disposal facilities, where it will be composted indoors to create quality compost. The compost will be suitable for use on agricultural land. Properly managed fortnightly collections pose no health risk. Experience from other local authorities indicates that vermin or risks to health do not increase as a result of properly managed changes.

y e l d n i H e Meet th

! s l l e b e Blu M

EET the Hindley Bluebells – lively ladies who have come together to sing the praises of the humble recycling bin. Edna, Margaret and Maureen are making a real song and dance about their cause. The energetic trio have recorded songs and music videos about all things recycling. The Bluebells were brought together by their manager Helen Pye who wrote the songs and worked with the ladies to record them at her studio, Pye Studios in Market Place, Hindley. It all started with a grant from Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust to fund an art project, and Helen chose the recycling theme. Helen said: “It’s great to be working with the Hindley Bluebells! They’re doing an amazing job spreading their green message and clearly enjoy getting on stage and singing their hearts out!”

The group has been working with the council’s waste management team for a couple of years – and they were especially taken by proposals by officers to offer an improved paper collection service. The blue bins, now being rolled out across the borough, enable soup and drinks cartons as well as cardboard to be easily recycled. They are being offered as an alternative to the (paper only) white sack if people prefer. Deputy Council Leader Cllr David Molyneux knows members of the group. He says: “Community groups like the Hindley Bluebells do excellent and valuable work. The ladies are of a generation where make-do-and-mend and recycling were the norm, and even though today we have much better facilities to help the public reuse and recycle the things they buy, we’ve got a lot to learn from their example.”

Did you know? EVERY tonne of waste that goes to landfill costs the council at least £56 in tax. This tax is scheduled to rise by £8 a tonne up to 2014/15 when it will be £80 per tonne. This escalating cost is on top of the cost of collecting and disposing of the waste. The amount of rubbish collected from residents’ black bins has fallen by a third since 2002, while the amount recycled has increased from just 2% to 36%. The blue bin service now being rolled out will allow the council to recycle approximately 5,000 tonnes more and at the same time save £373,000 per year by 2012/13. Fortnightly black bin collection will save the council approximately £397,000 per year.

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RUNNERS AND RIDERS: Deputy Leader Cllr David Molyneux and Transport Strategy Manager Emma Barton welcome the commuter challenge champs back to Wigan Town Hall.

On the move T HE bicycle… the train… the car, bus and on foot… It was a race to the finish, but who won? As part of Wigan Council’s ongoing consultation exercise on the future of transport in our borough, travel chiefs threw down the gauntlet to different types of commuters to get to Wigan Town Hall first. Starting out from the same point at Highfield, the five intrepid travellers set forth in a bid to find the most convenient, cheapest, and healthiest way to get from A to B. In this instance, pedal power prevailed! Wigan Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Champion for the Economy, Cllr David Molyneux, says: “It looks like for a short commute of a couple of miles there are clear benefits to choosing

cycling – especially when you take into face in the future and how we should account financial, environmental and approach them. What do you like about health factors. the borough’s transport? What do you “We all know and agree that feel could be improved? Wigan Borough needs a The consultation closes on Monday 10 transport network that October. The feedback we receive can meet the will directly feed into the borough's Drop-in sessions: challenges of a emerging Transport Strategy, and Sainsburys in Leigh growing economy will help paint an overall picture Friday 30 September and the increasing of what local communities need 3.30 - 6.30pm and demand for travel – and want – enabling us to Sainsbury's in Wigan on but it must be one prioritise actions and influence that does not decisions to develop a better Friday 7 October compromise our transport system. between 3.30pm health and Have your say now at and 6.30pm environment.” www.wigan.gov.uk/onthemove View As part of the the consultation documents and consultation, the council are complete our online questionnaire. You asking borough residents to have their can also have your say by email. Drop us say on the transport challenges we’ll a line at transportstrategy@wigan.gov.uk

Blooming marvellous... NORTH West in Bloom judges visited the borough to see the best Wigan and its residents have to offer. Last year Wigan picked up a lucky 13 awards from the regional competition and we’re hoping for similar success this year. And whilst the results are not officially released until late October, initial comments from the judges were very positive. To celebrate this year’s achievements, residents from all across our borough who have been directly involved with Wigan Borough in Bloom will be invited along to the annual ‘Big

WHAT THE JUDGES SAW: From Howe Bridge to Wigan and from Pennington to Hindley the borough was blooming this summer.

Thank You’ evening at Wigan Town Hall. And for the very first time, we are introducing a series of special awards aimed at outstanding environmental achievements made by our residents, and we want the nominations for these to come from you. The categories this year are Best School Grounds For more details Primary and High on how you can School; Best Local nominate schemes for Community Project, the awards, please visit Garden or www.wiganborough Allotment and Best inbloom. co.uk, call Blooming Business 01942 489325 or email or Public House. inbloom@wigan. gov.uk BOROUGH LIFE Autumn 2011

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Golden Years Sure Start past, present and future

AZMIN Smith is a big fan of Sure Start! She’s a happy and confident three year old who is bursting with life when she’s taking part in the activities at nearby Westfield Children’s Centre. One minute she can be drawing a picture or trying out her reading skills, the next she’s keeping fit and active, headlong, full pelt into the ball pool. In the two years since she and mum Sara have been going to Westfield they’ve pretty much been involved in every activity there is. From creative play to cooking fun, days out to just meeting new people and making friends…you name it. Mum Sara, 22, has even had the chance to keep her CV updated by learning new skills in first-aid, food hygiene and how to do well in interviews. She’s about to become a volunteer helper at the centre on Montrose Avenue, Norley Hall, and one day soon hopes to go on to college to train to become a teaching assistant. It’s a picture of an outgoing mum and daughter that is a stark contrast to a few short years ago when Sara admits that she lacked direction, purpose and by her own admission, had few prospects in life. “I’ve always had my family around me,” says single mum Sara. “But I didn’t really leave the house other than to go to the shops and I was feeling isolated. I didn’t really have much confidence and would never of dreamed of doing half the things I do now.” After first hearing about the services on offer at Sure Start, Sara made a tentative first visit to the toddlers’ group with Jazmin and from then, there’s been no looking back!

J

LIFE'S A BALL: Three year old Jazmin Smith is making the most of Westfield Sure Start Children's Centre with mum Sara (right) and Children's Co-ordinator Lisa Middlehurst.

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Sara in particular has found a passion for cookery, or to be more specific baking, through her time with Sure Start and she’s always willing to keep any celebration at the centre well-stocked with homemade cakes! Lisa Middlehurst, from Westfield Children’s Centre, started off as a volunteer and is now employed as the Children’s Centre Co-ordinator. She says Sara’s transformation is typical. “We opened in 2006 and we have been providing a service that the local community really needs,” says Lisa. “It is all about helping parents to give children the best start in life but it’s also about including the whole family. “We are helping people to become better parents so in turn their children will reap the benefits and become better people. There’s always more to do and we are trying to reach out to even more parents in the area but I think it’s fair to say that Sure Start really is at the heart of the community.”

A family service WIGAN Borough currently has 20 Sure Start Children’s Centres. Now Wigan Council wants to make the services offered by the centres even better by making sure they are really meeting the community’s needs. Wigan Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Cllr Susan Loudon, said: “The borough is facing difficult times and has lots of pressures on its budgets but we have given a commitment to protect children’s centres against the cuts. In order to do this we need to know what the people who use them actually think of them. “We want to know which centre you use or have used; what services you have used; what you thought of them and how the Sure Start Children’s Centre has helped to change your life.” The Wigan Sure Start Children’s Centre Questionnaire can be filled in online at: www.wigan.gov.uk/Consultations/CYPSChildrensCentres Sure Start members can use the computer facilities at their local children’s centre to fill the form in. For more information on Sure Start in Wigan, call 01942 206205 or to find your nearest centre go to www.wigan.gov.uk and search for ‘Sure Start’

For more information on Sure Start in Wigan or to find your nearest centre go to www.wigan.gov.uk and search for ‘Sure Start’


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Women back the bid MEET the first ladies of Rugby League. These Leigh locals like nothing more than scrumming down and getting to grips with a game that is traditionally seen as an all-male affair. And they want nothing more than to see the Rugby League World Cup come to Wigan Borough in 2013. Since 2007 Leigh Miners Rangers ARLFC has been amongst the first in the borough to have a girls’ section – with individual teams for the under 12s under 14s and under 16s. Last year the Twist Lane-based club swelled its ranks even further by adding a Women’s Senior Team. And with an 18strong pack of dedicated players from all walks of life, they’re hoping for big things in the future. Coach Stephanie Atherton, 26, is a passionate fan of the game – so much so that she admits to being an ardent fan of the Leigh Centurions AND the Wigan Warriors. “I first became interested in the game through going to watch the Centurions with my dad,” said Stephanie. “But it was only when I was about 19 at university that I really started playing. “When I returned home I approached the club to see if we could start a girls’ section and they said yes straight away. A few years later I thought it would be interesting to see if there were any women who wanted to form a team so I put out the call and I was amazed at how many people responded. “Now we have completed our first

season, which is an amazing achievement in itself.” The team play real rugby…full on, full contact…and they’ve got the bumps, bruises and scrapes to prove it. But as Stephanie said it is as much about making new friends and learning the team ethos as it is about the physical aspects of the game. “There’s a great social side to it and it’s a brilliant way to keep fit,” she said. “The gym isn’t for everyone and this gets you out in the open air.” Stephanie and the team have big plans for the coming season, whether it be against hometown rivals Leigh East

or nearby St Pat’s or teams further afield in Chorley, Warrington and Yorkshire, they are in it to win it. And the girls believe nothing will give their game Find out more more of a boost about Leigh Miners than the Rugby Rangers Women and League World Girl’s Sections by contacting Cup coming to Stephanie Atherton on the borough in 07878 285072 or 2013. Mark Jones on The council 07724 227020 and its partners have submitted a bid to the Rugby Football League for the tournament to come to Wigan, Leigh and other towns across Greater Manchester. “We’re backing the bid!” said Stephanie. “It will raise the profile of the game and of our borough as part of Rugby League’s heartland.” Leader of Wigan Council Lord Peter Smith said: “It’s really important to us that the grass roots clubs and players are behind our bid to host the world cup. Part of the bid process will be to create a legacy for the game in our borough that will continue to encourage local teams. “Teams like Leigh Miners Rangers are the life-blood of the game in our borough and we must do everything we can to support them. “It shows the love of this great game is something we all share which is why the Rugby League World Cup 2013 belongs in Wigan Borough.”

For more information on how to support Wigan Borough’s Back The Bid campaign visit Wigan Council’s website – www.wigan.gov.uk and click on ‘Rugby World Cup Bid’ or ‘like’ our Facebook page – www.facebook.com/backthebid2013

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Biting back at

THE SHARKS

“IT SOUNDS crazy now but when the washing machine packed in, it felt like the final straw,” said Shirley*. The single mum of three had been made redundant from her job in retail 12 months earlier. She was alone, on benefits, suffering with depression, and struggling to bring up a young family. Christmas was around the corner and she couldn’t bear the idea of her kids

Myth Busters! Unlicensed money-lending is not illegal: It is illegal for anyone to operate a money-lending business if they don’t have a licence from the Office of Fair Trading. I can’t report them because it’s against the law. I could get into trouble: It's the loan shark who is breaking the law – not the person who has borrowed the money. You have done nothing wrong. I’ve been threatened so I’m too frightened to report him: You can ask for help in total confidence. The Illegal Money Lending Team in England has supported more than 16,000 victims so far. You have to pay back what the loan shark says you owe: Any loan made by someone without a licence is ‘unenforceable’ – this means in most cases you cannot legally be made to pay it back. These loan sharks can’t be stopped: Yes they can. The Illegal Money Lending Team has stopped many loan sharks across the country – and put them behind bars. Almost 113 years worth of prison sentences have been secured so far by the team. Illegal money-lending is a victimless crime: As well as intimidating victims, whole communities can be affected if borrowers are forced to turn to crime to pay back out of control loans. Loan sharks are also often involved in other crime. Loan sharks are providing a reasonably priced service to people: A loan from a loan shark is, on average, three times the cost of the same loan from someone operating legally. A violent loan shark in Scotland was jailed for 18 months earlier this year after charging interest rates of 719,000%.

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waking up to no presents. “I was desperate. I couldn’t get credit so when I heard about this bloke on the other side of the estate who offered loans, I felt I didn’t have much choice. “The bloke who came round seemed really friendly. In fact, he made me feel like he was doing me a favour. Within the hour I had £500 cash in my hand and thought my troubles were over.” Sadly, this was far from the truth. To begin with, Shirley managed to keep up with the payments but as soon as she fell behind, the loan shark was back. “At first he said he wanted to help, and left me some more money. He also mentioned ‘extras’ like late payment fees but told me not to worry, he’d just add them on at the end. “I knew he was drawing me in tighter but I had no way out and meantime the debt was spiralling out of control.” Shirley had no paperwork, and whenever she asked how much she owed, what the interest rate was or how long she’d be paying it back, the man was vague and evasive. But there was no ambiguity when a few months later he told Shirley she owed more than £3,000 and would have to find a way of repaying it ‘in kind’ if she couldn’t keep up with the payments. It was being threatened with the prospect of prostituting herself that made Julia seek urgent help. Thanks to the support she received, Shirley’s debt has been written off and she no longer lives in fear. And the loan shark is serving a sentence behind bars.

Overpayments Whilst there is no such thing as a typical loan shark or typical victim, Shirley’s case is characteristic of many horror stories that have made the headlines over the past few years. “It’s not unusual to learn of loan sharks charging the equivalent of a crippling 700,000% interest rate,” says Wigan Chief Trading Standards Officer Julie Middlehurst. The local team works with the Trading Standards England Illegal Money Lending Team national task force to investigate claims of illegal money lending and prosecute loan sharks. “We have heard horror stories of a victim who borrowed £500 from a ‘friendly’ neighbour to buy Christmas presents, only to hand over a staggering £88,000 during a seven year ordeal which left the family penniless,” Julie said.

“There’s big money in illegal money lending, but these criminals need to know that we are committed to identifying them and removing them from communities.” Cllr Kevin Anderson, cabinet champion for communities and the environment said: “In tough economic times, legal lending to high risk clients dries up, unwary borrowers could unwittingly become the victim of a loan shark. “We urge people not to become a

Where you could find help If you can’t get credit from the high street there are other options, including: Credit Unions: Credit Unions are mutual financial organisations which are owned and run by their members for their members. Once you've established a record as a reliable saver they will also lend you money but only what they know you can afford to repay. Welcome Credit Union: Wigan Market Hall, New Market Street, Wigan, WN1 1PX, tel: 01942 828702 info@welcomecreditunion.co.uk www.welcomecreditunion.co.uk


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If you think a loan shark may be operating in your area call the confidential hotline on 0300 555 2222. You can also text ‘loan shark’ + your message’ to 60003 or e-mail reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk For more information go to www.direct.gov.uk/stoploansharks

Whilst there is no such thing as a ‘typical lender’, there are some tell-tale warning signs which should tip you off: Illegal lenders give you little victim of or no paperwork and often refuse to tell these you how much you still owe or what ruthless interest rates you are being charged. individuals. They charge extortionate interest rates and If you are add random charges to the loan or continue concerned to increase the amount without notice. look out for They may also take items such as the tell-tale passports or benefit cards as ‘security’. signs that the Many loan sharks will use lender is violence of threat when operating illegally repayments are missed. and seek advice about *Not her real name alternative borrowing.”

Unify Credit Union: there's no money in your 3 Smithy Green, Higher Ince, account and can be useful to Wigan, WN2 2AT, cover short term cashflow tel: 01942 701706 or 12 Market problems. Whilst more flexible Street, Leigh, WN7 1DS, than taking out a loan, the tel: 01942 607002 interest rate is generally info@unifycu.org, higher. www.unifycu.org Talk to your Citizens Advice Overdrafts: Bureau: They provide free, Overdrafts impartial help with debts For more are like a and will even contact advice, go to 'safety net' the Illegal Money www.wigancab.org on your Lending Team on your or contact National current behalf. CAB will also Debtline on account. check if you are 0800 808 4000 or at They allow getting all the www.national you to benefits and credits debtline.co.uk borrow up you are entitled to and to a certain help you apply if you limit when aren’t.

Posters send out ASBO warnings WHILST pricey designer labels are a must-have for most teenagers, there’s one label that’s best to avoid at all costs. The ASBO – or to give it its full name, Anti-Social Behaviour Order – may be considered a badge of dishonour by a small minority, but if you get one, the consequences could be far-reaching. So community safety partners in Wigan Borough have come up with an artful way of encouraging young people to weigh up the options and draw their own conclusions. Officers from both Wigan Council’s Youth Offending and Neighbourhood Teams have launched a hardhitting poster campaign which aims to encourage young people to consider how getting an ASBO could impact on their future. And they’ve enlisted the help of some young people who have previously been involved with ASB, putting their creative talents to good use. Under the tutelage of Hindley-based Pye Studios, budding designers, Joshua Darbyshire and Laura Bromilow, recently helped design a series of thoughtprovoking posters and fliers will the tag-line: If labels matter, choose yours carefully. And the creative pair recently joined Cllr Kevin Anderson, cabinet champion for communities and the environment, to see the posters roll hot off the press. “The campaign is aimed at young people and it doesn’t pull any punches,” says

Cllr Anderson. “It spells out the potential consequences of getting an ASBO, which includes a criminal record if one is breached. Given that more than half are breached at least once, and 40% are breached more than once, this is a particularly sobering thought.” Laura says: “Only a minority of young people get caught up in antisocial behaviour but those that do are responsible for making people feel harassed, alarmed and distressed which isn’t fair. If it was our nan getting intimidated or our younger brother getting bullied, we wouldn’t like it. “So, I hope this campaign gets young people to think about the impact of their behaviour and also remind the community that it’s only a minority of young people who cause problems.” Josh adds: “The posters get young people to think about the effects of taking drugs, like messing up your head, making you skint or ruining your relationships. I hope it makes young people think twice.”

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Wigan Council Cabinet members Chris Ready, Susan Loudon and Ged Bretherton at the new pool with lifeguards Rebecca Kettings, Natalie Ashurst, Tara Warn and Alan Whittle.

Like a phoenix from the flames, top of the league public centre rises from former pool site

The story of our Life WIGAN Borough’s new Healthy Living Zone is ready for business. The complex, which forms one part of the new Wigan Life Centre, represents the first milestone in the council’s decade-long plan to transform the face of public services in our borough. The impressive new building has been created using a mammoth 4,000 tonnes of concrete and 1,800 tonnes of structural steelwork and a lot of hard work and dedication. It’s a multi-million pound project made possible thanks to a partnership between the council and other public sector services, private sector finance and construction company Morgan Sindall. Wigan Council Cabinet Members Cllr Chris Ready (Leisure and Culture), Cllr Susan Loudon (Children and Young People) and Cllr Ged Bretherton (Efficiency) were among the first people to view the new facilities. Cllr Ready said: “We now have a public service and leisure complex with modern new facilities that the residents of our borough deserve. It will help to bring public services and people closer and we believe it will help to change lives. “In fact it’s already started because more than 100 people have already found work on the project and many of the companies providing raw materials and services to the centre are from our borough.”

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BOROUGH LIFE Autumn 2011

ISING from the ground on the site of the former Wigan International Pool our borough now has a brand new swimming complex that’s just waiting for everyone to dive in. The Life Centre boasts two brand new swimming pools and some state-of-theart new facilities that make them accessible to all. The main pool measures 25m by 21m and will cater for competent swimmers. This pool also has a moving floor which means the depth can be altered to offer a greater range of activities. There is also a smaller (13m by 7.5m) pool designed with children and learner swimmers in mind. Denise Grundy, who manages the

R

complex, says there’s all sort of plenty of space for people to swim for activities already planned for new pools, their own enjoyment.” from straightforward swimming to scuba The complex has some of the best diving! changing facilities around Denise said: “Many of the including two national clubs that were displaced standard ‘Changing Places’ when the old pool with height-adjustable To find out more closed, such as the changing benches, about all the services Wigan Wasps are showers, toilets, at the Healthy Living Zone coming back and new washbasins and hoists. and how to sign-up to become clubs such as the With the centre a Profiles Member, visit Wigan Wigan Triathlon Club opening just before Leisure and Culture Trust’s are moving and we’re 7am each morning for website: www.wlct.org or call busy allocating pool early risers and going the Profiles team at the time to them all. right through until 9pm Wigan Life Centre on: Whatever activities will at night, there’s plenty of 01942 489611 be going on we’ll always time for everyone to get in make sure there is always and get active!

SWEATING hard, the man jogging on what used to be called a “treadmill” reaches out to tap the crystal clear monitor in front of him. He’s just finished “tweeting” his friends during an intense workout but casually flicks to watch the BBC news bulletin. Cheeks blowing hard he exhales and with another “tap tap” is browsing on eBay. For those of us who haven’t been in a gym since Jane Fonda was last on TV it looks more like a scene from the deck of the Starship Enterprise. But this is the new Profiles Health and Fitness centre at the Wigan Life Centre and it is a couple of light years away from what most people would expect a public gym to be. “This Technogym equipment is state-of-the-art. It’s the very best and that’s just what the

Borough Life took a first look at what’s on offer at the Life Centre’s state-of-art Profiles gym and found the facilities are straight from the pages of a science fiction novel. people of Wigan deserve,” said Mike Lyons, WLCT’s head of service for Sport and Leisure. “We have created a first class Health and Fitness centre that stands up to anything in the private sector but at a cheaper cost,” he added. Visitors can plug their iPod into each cardio vascular station, so they can watch a film, listen to music or interact on social media. A computer tracks the workout and even sets goals, acting as a hi-tech personal trainer. Logging on to a computer at home enables them to see how

Construction sequence that brought new centre to Life

Life Centre – what next?

Demolition of the old baths and site clearance led to huge cranes and stunning images of Wigan’s changing skyline.

WITH the South Site ready for action, work is continuing to progress on the North Site of this landmark project. This site will include a One Stop Shop for all public services in the borough, a Neighbourhood Zone, a modern new library and information services. The centre will bring together a whole of services offered by the council and its partners including benefits advice and claims, housing and homelessness services, voluntary and community sector space, adult, and children’s services. It is anticipated that the North Site will open in early 2012.

good – or poor – a workout has been. Since this type of equipment was installed at Robin Park Indoor Sports Centre earlier this year memberships have rocketed by 62 per cent. The Profiles health and fitness centre based in the new Wigan Life Centre on Library Street also includes a steam and sauna room, fitness studios, gold standard disabled facilities, learners pool and of course the new 25 x 21 metre pool – complete with a moving floor which allows the depth to be adjusted – right at its heart. Science fiction legend Arthur C.Clarke once wrote that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” – which rather aptly sums up Wigan’s new public facilities…..just magic!

BOROUGH LIFE Autumn 2011

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Wigan Council Cabinet members Chris Ready, Susan Loudon and Ged Bretherton at the new pool with lifeguards Rebecca Kettings, Natalie Ashurst, Tara Warn and Alan Whittle.

Like a phoenix from the flames, top of the league public centre rises from former pool site

The story of our Life WIGAN Borough’s new Healthy Living Zone is ready for business. The complex, which forms one part of the new Wigan Life Centre, represents the first milestone in the council’s decade-long plan to transform the face of public services in our borough. The impressive new building has been created using a mammoth 4,000 tonnes of concrete and 1,800 tonnes of structural steelwork and a lot of hard work and dedication. It’s a multi-million pound project made possible thanks to a partnership between the council and other public sector services, private sector finance and construction company Morgan Sindall. Wigan Council Cabinet Members Cllr Chris Ready (Leisure and Culture), Cllr Susan Loudon (Children and Young People) and Cllr Ged Bretherton (Efficiency) were among the first people to view the new facilities. Cllr Ready said: “We now have a public service and leisure complex with modern new facilities that the residents of our borough deserve. It will help to bring public services and people closer and we believe it will help to change lives. “In fact it’s already started because more than 100 people have already found work on the project and many of the companies providing raw materials and services to the centre are from our borough.”

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BOROUGH LIFE Autumn 2011

ISING from the ground on the site of the former Wigan International Pool our borough now has a brand new swimming complex that’s just waiting for everyone to dive in. The Life Centre boasts two brand new swimming pools and some state-of-theart new facilities that make them accessible to all. The main pool measures 25m by 21m and will cater for competent swimmers. This pool also has a moving floor which means the depth can be altered to offer a greater range of activities. There is also a smaller (13m by 7.5m) pool designed with children and learner swimmers in mind. Denise Grundy, who manages the

R

complex, says there’s all sort of plenty of space for people to swim for activities already planned for new pools, their own enjoyment.” from straightforward swimming to scuba The complex has some of the best diving! changing facilities around Denise said: “Many of the including two national clubs that were displaced standard ‘Changing Places’ when the old pool with height-adjustable To find out more closed, such as the changing benches, about all the services Wigan Wasps are showers, toilets, at the Healthy Living Zone coming back and new washbasins and hoists. and how to sign-up to become clubs such as the With the centre a Profiles Member, visit Wigan Wigan Triathlon Club opening just before Leisure and Culture Trust’s are moving and we’re 7am each morning for website: www.wlct.org or call busy allocating pool early risers and going the Profiles team at the time to them all. right through until 9pm Wigan Life Centre on: Whatever activities will at night, there’s plenty of 01942 489611 be going on we’ll always time for everyone to get in make sure there is always and get active!

SWEATING hard, the man jogging on what used to be called a “treadmill” reaches out to tap the crystal clear monitor in front of him. He’s just finished “tweeting” his friends during an intense workout but casually flicks to watch the BBC news bulletin. Cheeks blowing hard he exhales and with another “tap tap” is browsing on eBay. For those of us who haven’t been in a gym since Jane Fonda was last on TV it looks more like a scene from the deck of the Starship Enterprise. But this is the new Profiles Health and Fitness centre at the Wigan Life Centre and it is a couple of light years away from what most people would expect a public gym to be. “This Technogym equipment is state-of-the-art. It’s the very best and that’s just what the

Borough Life took a first look at what’s on offer at the Life Centre’s state-of-art Profiles gym and found the facilities are straight from the pages of a science fiction novel. people of Wigan deserve,” said Mike Lyons, WLCT’s head of service for Sport and Leisure. “We have created a first class Health and Fitness centre that stands up to anything in the private sector but at a cheaper cost,” he added. Visitors can plug their iPod into each cardio vascular station, so they can watch a film, listen to music or interact on social media. A computer tracks the workout and even sets goals, acting as a hi-tech personal trainer. Logging on to a computer at home enables them to see how

Construction sequence that brought new centre to Life

Life Centre – what next?

Demolition of the old baths and site clearance led to huge cranes and stunning images of Wigan’s changing skyline.

WITH the South Site ready for action, work is continuing to progress on the North Site of this landmark project. This site will include a One Stop Shop for all public services in the borough, a Neighbourhood Zone, a modern new library and information services. The centre will bring together a whole of services offered by the council and its partners including benefits advice and claims, housing and homelessness services, voluntary and community sector space, adult, and children’s services. It is anticipated that the North Site will open in early 2012.

good – or poor – a workout has been. Since this type of equipment was installed at Robin Park Indoor Sports Centre earlier this year memberships have rocketed by 62 per cent. The Profiles health and fitness centre based in the new Wigan Life Centre on Library Street also includes a steam and sauna room, fitness studios, gold standard disabled facilities, learners pool and of course the new 25 x 21 metre pool – complete with a moving floor which allows the depth to be adjusted – right at its heart. Science fiction legend Arthur C.Clarke once wrote that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” – which rather aptly sums up Wigan’s new public facilities…..just magic!

BOROUGH LIFE Autumn 2011

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Kevin Dempsey with Joanne Eatock at Hindley’s Pennygate Medical Centre.

Support gives a new lease of life “I’M doing things I would have never dreamed of thanks to my health trainer!” declared Kevin Dempsey. The 59 year old from Hindley had to retire early because of heart attacks, strokes and weight issues. During a visit to his GP he was told than unless action was taken, he would be injecting insulin for the rest of his life to control oncoming diabetes. It was that shock news that his GP referred him to Joanne Eatock, one of a team of NHS health trainers. She’s been helping Kevin to improve his diet, lifestyle and exercise regime. Not too many months later, Kevin is taking part in Active Living’s cycle rides, aerobics, and he sports a pedometer which sometimes clocks up over 17,000 steps a day. “It’s about support, helping people overcome barriers they perceive to improving their health and avoiding serious illnesses,” said Joanne. “We have access to information and services that can be tailored to an individual, but more than that, we work with them one to one as they choose a healthier lifestyle.” Last year more than 2,000 of the borough’s residents enlisted the support of a health trainer. It’s a free service and GPs can advise or people can refer themselves. Kevin was able to reduce both his cholesterol levels and his waistline by a good number of belt-notches. “He’s a changed man,” Joanne said. “And it’s the same for many others. They come for a consultation and we can divert people away from unhealthy lifestyles which may otherwise cost the NHS far more.” And it’s absolutely confidential too. “I don’t care about that!” said Kevin. “I want everyone to know how skinny I am now!”

Feedback shapes

FUTURE P ATIENT feedback has helped to change hospital services in Wigan Borough for the better. Over the past year, Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) has been giving itself a thorough examination. The organisation provides hospital services in Wigan Borough and beyond through Wigan’s Royal Albert Edward Infirmary, Leigh Infirmary and Wrightington Hospital. Through the review WWL has been looking at the services it provides and the condition of its hospital buildings. Originally it was thought that WWL may have to close one or more of its hospital sites. The findings of the review have concluded that all three should remain and be improved. Silas Nicholls, Director of Strategy and Planning from WWL said: “By talking with and listening to patients and others we wanted to make sure that we are able to continue to provide the best quality and patient experience in the best possible place. “After talking with patients, staff, doctors and others the decision has been taken to keep and improve all three hospital sites. “We have listened to what people had to say and we feel that

CONTACT: ■ Health Trainers Call: 01942 481712 ■ Quit Smoking Call: 0500 7867 669 ■ Food and Health Team Call: 01942 482575

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Patients in the borough have had their say on how its three hospital sites will be developed.

this is the best solution for our patients. It also allows us to provide clinical services in the most appropriate location.” The hospitals will provide services as follows: ● Unplanned emergencies and complex planned in-patient care services will be provided at Wigan Infirmary ● Planned, non-complex, in-patient care services will be provided at Wrightington Hospital ● Leigh Infirmary will evolve to be a diagnostic and treatment centre providing day case procedures Silas adds: “The clinical services delivered from each site will not change very much. “One change that is included in this review is the transfer of surgical cases requiring overnight stay from Leigh to Wigan. “This is great news for WWL and the patients we serve, as this allows us to move forward and finalise our plans for what will be a major ten-year investment programme that intends to deliver new and improved facilities across all our sites.” ■ For more information visit www.wwl.nhs.uk/ssr or give feedback via email to: ssr@wwl.nhs.uk Or in writing to: SSR, Engagement Office, Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Albert Royal Infirmary, Wigan Lane, Wigan, WN1 2NN


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Claire Tickle, who started work at Northern Feather in 2008 under the council’s Supported Employment Service.

Pillow talk IT is one of the region’s biggest suppliers of pillows, duvets and cushions – and one of the borough’s top champions of supported employment. Northern Feather, with its factory near Three Sisters in Ashton, has a history of working with people furthest removed from the labour market. But, as factory manager Pam Lythgoe says, it’s all to the benefit of the company. “It’s absolutely fantastic,” said Pam. “We’re a normal firm, subject to the same issues and market pressures as most others, but thanks to the council’s Supported Employment Team, I am able to take on several people who would

otherwise not get a chance in the workplace – and they all come up with the goods for me.” Deputy Leader Cllr David Molyneux who has visited workers employed under the initiative, said: “Firms like Northern Feather already make an important contribution to jobs and the economy in our borough. But they are not just an ordinary business, because they make time to do extraordinary things by supporting a diverse workforce.” Wigan’s Supported Employment Service is a professional employment and training provider, securing paid work opportunities for borough residents

who have a disability. Their aim is to create a workforce which reflects the local community and offers opportunity to all. Their service users include To find out more people who have about Wigan Council’s barriers into Supported Employment employment Service contact like a learning Kerry Claxton on disability, 01942 828439 or mental health email k.claxton@ issue, an acquired wigan.gov.uk brain injury or a physical or sensory impairment.

Chance for business to showcase talent LOCAL companies are being urged to be a part of the biggest business event to be held in the Borough. The Wigan Business Expo Twenty11 will take over the whole of Leigh Sports Village with stands, exhibits and keynote speakers from many of the area's top firms on 14 October. Ninety organisations from Manchester Airport, the NGS, Yorkshire Purchasing, security experts G4S and Procure Plus will be attending, plus delegates from construction firms, banks, legal and recruitment firms. Wigan Chamber of Commerce President Miranda Barker said: "This event presents an unmissable opportunity for our local businesses to promote their products directly to some of the biggest buyers in the North West and showcase their firms to literally hundreds of customers.” Visitors will get access to the very best advice and local business knowledge.

Over 90 per cent of borough based businesses are run by Wigan Borough residents, so the event is vital for the local economy. Deputy leader and economy champion Cllr David Molyneux said: "We're riding high in a time of economic crisis, with low unemployment and many business start-up successes. The council and its partners see local enterprise as vital to building on that great news.“ Andy Burnham MP will open proceedings over complimentary breakfast sandwiches from 8am. ● Expo2011 sponsors Park Inn are offering a special B&B deal for 13/14 October at £57. Ring 01942 366334 and ask for your room. There's free parking on site for all attendees. For more information about the event contact Wigan Council’s Economic Regeneration Office 01942 489175 call or email: ero@wigan.gov.uk

Help for Torch tour is sought Volunteers are being sought to help when the Olympic Torch tours the north west next Spring. Beijing Olympian and British 800m champion, Wigan’s Jenny Meadows said: “This is a brilliant opportunity – and we should absolutely ensure that Wigan is represented when the flame is carried through our region. Organisers are asking for young people and community leaders working with young people to get involved and I think we should make sure Wigan is very much a part of it.” To register an interest email Olympics@wigan.gov.uk

BOROUGH LIFE Autumn 2011

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Borough Life 20-21

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COMMUNITY SAFETY UPDATE

Campaign targets seasonal issues NEXT month marks the return of a seasonal campaign which aims to tackle unacceptable behaviour in all its forms from criminal damage and flytipping to dangerous bonfires and hoax calls to emergency services. Agencies including the fire service, police, council, leisure trust, housing and Victim Support will once again team up to take a co-ordinated approach during a 2-week period historically associated with a marked increase in anti-social behaviour. Fire officers plan to visit 45 schools in targeted areas to inform pupils about the penalties for misusing fireworks and building dangerous bonfires. Joined by officers from Wigan Council and Victim Support, the assemblies also intend to encourage pupils to consider the consequences of knocking on the doors of vulnerable and elderly people when they

are out trick or treating. "The campaign is as much about safeguarding as it is about enforcement," says Steve Sheridan, Wigan’s chief fire officer. "That’s why our website and school talks don’t pull any punches and graphically illustrate the potentially tragic consequences of playing with fireworks and behaving recklessly around fire. "Sadly, in spite of all the measures put in place last year, the borough still experienced two very serious injuries relating to the You can misuse and find out more careless use of at safe4 fireworks last autumn.com year, so we urge parents to do their for communities and bit this year in the environment, adds: helping us ensure "This period is a flashpoint young people have fun but for all kinds of anti-social stay safe, too." behaviour, and whilst some Cllr Kevin Anderson, Wigan behaviour may appear to be a Council’s cabinet champion bit of harmless fun, its

Crime falls by 8.8 per cent CRIME across Wigan Borough has again fallen over the spring and summer period. Comparing latest figures from 1st April - 31st July 2011 to the same period in 2010, there have been almost 600 fewer incidents of crime, an overall reduction of 8.8%. Whilst there have been some issues of concern, particularly in relation to theft from motor vehicles which saw a rise of 14%, there have also been significant reductions across others types of crime. Most notably assaults with injury fell by 29%, violence against the person dropped by 28% and serious violent crime was reduced by 16%.

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Altogether this equates to about 356 fewer victims over the four month period. Anti-social behaviour shows a 15% drop in numbers since April, a significant reduction given the extra bank holiday since there tends to be a spike in anti-social behaviour over those weekends. “Wigan Borough continues to be the safest across the whole of Greater Manchester and these figures are testament to the successful approach we take with partners and communities in tackling the issues that concern you most,” said Chief Superintendent Shaun Donnellan of Greater Manchester Police’s Wigan Division.

negative affects blight our neighbourhoods and can put lives at risk. We advise people to act responsibly and where possible attend an organised event where families can take part in fun, safe activities."

Year to Year to % Change Date Date YTD v10/11 10/11 11/12 YTD 11/12

Crime Types Serious Acquisitive Crime

 1114 1128

1.3

Burglary Dwelling

 390

362

-7.2

Theft from Motor Vehicle

 475

539

13.5

Theft of Motor Vehicle

 182

183

0.5

Serious Violent Crime



63

53

-15.9

Assaults with Injury

 577

409

-29.1

Violence Against the Person

 640

462

-27.8

Criminal Damage

 1493 1304 -12.7

Theft/Handling Stolen Goods

 1552 1488

Anti-Social Behaviour Incidents  7396 All Crime

-4.1

6287

-15.0

 6750 6153

-8.8


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Dog owners urged to take responsibility ACH year Wigan Council picks up hundreds of dogs who have been found roaming the borough’s streets for a variety reasons. They could be lost, abandoned or stolen but whatever the circumstances the often poor bewildered animal needs to be collected, cared for and if possible returned to its rightful owner. Cuthbert Jackson, who heads up the council’s dog control service, says: “We know that the vast majority of dog owners in our borough are responsible and really do care for their pets. “It’s distressing when one goes astray, particularly when you consider the range of problems it could potentially get involved in. A frightened stray could cause road accidents, damage to property and be aggressive to adults, children and other people’s pets. There is also the nuisance factor through stray dogs fouling the pavements.” The council has introduced

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new rules to make the service more efficient and to ensure that people get the message that owning a dog is a serious business. Cuthbert said: “The first thing people must be aware of is that the law requires all dogs to wear a collar with its name and address on. You could also get your dog micro-chipped or have its details on tattoo. Special scanners can read the electronic number on the chip and this unique number is used to identify the animal's owner on the database. All these methods will help us identify your dog and let you know if we find it.”

Canine safety: top tips IT is estimated that more than 2,000 dogs go missing across the country every week. By following these tips you can ensure the best for your animal and if it does go missing, you will increase the chances of it being found quickly and safely. ● Make sure you dog wears a collar and identification tag at all times (even at home) – apart from being a good habit to get into, it’s the law. ● Have your pet microchipped as well and make sure you keep your contact details up to date. ● Don’t let your dog out alone. It is illegal for a dog to be on the streets on its own.

● Where possible keep your doors and windows shut to stop your dog getting out of its own accord. ● Make sure your home is secure so the dog can’t rush out. ● Make your garden secure – keep the gates shut and make sure your fences are high enough to stop Rover bounding over. ● Think about getting your dog neutered. Males that aren’t could go looking for a female in season. ● Take care with a new dog. Don’t let it off the lead unless you’re certain it will come back when called. ● If your dog doesn’t come back when called, train it to do so, or keep it on a lead.

Stray dogs found in Wigan Borough are taken to Leigh Cats and Dogs Home. If you realise your dog is missing and get in touch with the council, the dog warden service will check with the home to see if it has been found. If your dog is found and you collect it within 24 hours, there will be a fee of £55. This rises to £85 following this and if the dog isn’t claimed within seven days it could be rehomed or, in a very small minority of cases where health or temperament may be an issue, put to sleep. Wigan Council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment, Cllr Kevin Anderson, says: “The Dog Control Service is available to reduce all the problems created by irresponsible ownership, including stray dogs, uncontrolled dogs, dangerous dogs, dog fouling and other unresonable behaviour. But it’s not the service for the removal of unwanted pets.” Anyone who does have a pet

TAKING THE LEAD: Wigan Council Dog Control Officer Debbie Eastwood shows how it's done with her dog Jodie. they no longer want or are unable to care for should speak to an animal welfare agency such as the RSPCA, Dogs Trust and other smaller organisations. “If anyone is unsure if they can commit to keep an animal, which includes the cost, we would urge them to think twice before taking one on. “The message is – your pet is your responsibility, keep them safe.” ● All stray dogs should be reported to Wigan Council on 01942 404364 - if it is out-ofoffice hours there will be a message with a separate number to call. ● Stray dogs and cats which have been found by Leigh Cats and Dogs Home can be collected between 9am and 6pm on Monday to Friday and between 9am and 5pm at the weekend and on Bank Holidays (except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day). BOROUGH LIFE Autumn 2011

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Borough Life 22–23

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. . . k c a b g n i Look

n Looking dow Aerial photographs of Newtown (right) and Springfield (below), and a striking image above of how the Parson’s Meadow area looks today.

FASCINATING set of old aerial photos has just come to light from the council’s planning archive. The striking images show the town centre and outskirts of Wigan on 18th May 1948. The scars of industry are very visible: it was some years before nature could claim the Wigan Flashes and the modern sporting facilities of Robin Park and the DW Stadium were still decades away. Can you spot any surviving landmarks? You can see more of them on wiganimages.wlct.org. Newtown (above): The outline of the lake at Parson’s Meadow hasn’t changed much in nearly 70 years and the railway line remains a constant. The giant roundabout that is the modern Saddle Junction is decades away, as are Asda and the Robin Park shop units. There’s a final sighting for the bus

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depot, centre right, which was demolished this July in preparation for the new road to Saddle Junction. Springfield (below): The pools between the River Douglas and the railway remain, but the sports grounds between Woodhouse Lane and Springfield Road have of course changed massively. The pitches behind St John Fisher High School aren’t marked out, but the line markings for the famous Springfield football pitch have been neatly rolled out. A few years later, the fire of 1953 would see the new Phoenix Stand replace the wooden structures on show here. Beech Hill Avenue wasn’t extended to reach Scot Lane until much later.

Newtown

Springfield

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BOROUGH LIFE Autumn 2011


Borough Life 22–23

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COMMUNITY CHAMPS: Wigan Youth Cabinet member Aleisha Foster launches My Mark.

YOUNG PEOPLE back the borough A NEW campaign has been launched giving young people the chance to show how they contribute to their local community and make their mark in Wigan Borough. The My Mark project has been created by Wigan Council’s Youth Cabinet and local filmmaker Matthew Andrews and his video production company Aposs. The idea is simple – make your own banner or sign saying how you make your mark, take a picture of yourself with it and then upload it to the dedicated group on Facebook. Sixteen year old Jilly McKiernan, youth cabinet member and the borough's UK Youth Parliament representative, said: “Young people are some of the unsung heroes of our communities and we want to celebrate how they make their mark in Wigan Borough.

“It could be anything from helping your gran do her shopping to volunteering at your local youth club. “All these selfless acts should be celebrated so send your entries in and help us to recognise the positive contributions young people make in the borough.” The My Mark project was created following a national campaign to change perceptions of young people. Entries will be judged by the Youth Cabinet and Members of UK Youth Parliament in Wigan and the winner

To find out more go to www.wlct.org/ linconline call Wigan Council’s Youth Service on 01942 705944 or email Aposs TV on matty@aposs.tv

will receive £50 worth of shopping vouchers. Wigan Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Cllr Susan Loudon, said: “It is great to see that young people are taking an active role and putting themselves right at the heart of our communities. I can’t wait to see some of the entries!”

Escape to the

COUNTRYSIDE WE all have those countryside spots September, Winter baskets at Haigh where we love to spend time relaxing. Country Park Sunday 2 Oct, and a Whether that’s a stroll around spooky Halloween walk at Mesnes Park Worthington Lakes or a picturesque on Saturday 29 October. walk along the canal at Haigh there’s For more information about these plenty to do and explore around Wigan type of events and to book your place and Leigh. visit www.wlct.org/parks Now a new campaign has been Paul Simpson, managing director of launched to encourage residents across Visit Manchester, explained: “The Greater Manchester to enjoy the great campaign challenges perceptions and outdoors on their doorstep. looks to shine a ‘green spotlight’ on The Manchester’s Playground Manchester.” campaign is part of a project to unlock The website www.manchesters the tourism potential of the region, countryside.com details ideas for family attracting national as well as local days out. From llama trekking in visitors and spending and Oldham, swinging through the contributing to a healthy trees at ‘Go Ape’ in Bolton, Find out Greater Manchester rural riding the rapids at Burrs more about the economy. Country Park, Bury, or great countryside in And in Wigan and just taking it easy with a and around Wigan Leigh there’s plenty to leisurely stroll, picnic or Borough by visiting the look out for over the bike ride along a canal Greenheart Regional next few months with a towpath, bridleway or Park website: host of events including; countryside trail. www.visitgreen a history walk at Wigan There are also new heart.org Flashes Local Nature walking trails and cycle Reserve on Saturday 24th routes.

PICTURE PERFECT: The Autumnal landscape in Dean Wood, Orrell.

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Borough Life 24

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HEELS ON WHEELS: The girls get busy on their bikes at Three Sisters Recreation Area.

Ladies gear up for cycling omen in Wigan and Leigh are Wheels pilot aims to encourage women to being encouraged to boost their start cycling in a safe, traffic-free fitness by taking up cycling. environment with like-minded females, Just two per cent of women nationally with support from female instructors to cycle once a week compared to six per give them increased confidence to cycle cent of men. more often and even use as an The actual number of women cycling alternative to the car. We also plan to once per week has decreased by more deliver a short maintenance workshop than 29,000 during the last three years! within the pilot which will cover the Now, in a bid to change direction and basics, including how to change a tyre ‘wheelie’ try and get more women and what to do if the chain falls off.” active Wigan Leisure and The scheme is already running Booking Culture Trust’s Active Living at Three Sisters Recreation is essential. Team, in partnership with Area, Ashton-in-Makerfield For information, or to Wigan Council's Local and a new session at St book, contact Transport Planning and Peter’s Pavilion, Hindley has Active Living Team on Road Safety Group, has also been set up. 01942 488481 or organised a new series of Participants are encouraged visit wlct.org/ female only cycle rides. to bring their own bikes but activeliving. Active Living Officer, Alison there are a limited number Griffin, said: “Our Heels on available to hire.

W

Power to the people

TWO-IN-A-ROW: Danny Fleming, senior fitness instructor at Profile’s Health and Fitness Centre, Wigan Life Centre and WLCT’s Heritage Engineer Bill Rowley.

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BOROUGH LIFE Autumn 2011

WIGAN folk are being given the chance to pit their strength against the mightiest machine in the borough. With the strength of 2,500 horses the Trencherfield Mill’s triple expansion four cylinder engine was once the powerhouse that drove a 26ft flywheel with 54 ropes running hundreds of cotton spinning machinery across all five floors of the mill at Wigan Pier. Now this masterpiece of engineering will take centre stage as part of Power Fest. Over a set distance, teams of three will be able to see if they can out “row” a set distance travelled by the giant fly wheel.

Power Fest is part of the Manchester Science Festival and will take place during a packed day of fun at Trencherfield Mill on Wednesday 26 October between 11am and 3pm. Danny Fleming, senior fitness instructor at the Wigan Life Centre, is currently For devising the information challenge. He please phone said: “This will 01942 828128 not be for the or check our website faint-hearted. wlct.org/heritage. It’s going to be Parking is available at a tough sprint Wigan Investment Centre that will be a on Swan Meadow real test.” Lane, Wigan.


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the

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Council promotes greater choice and control over social care needs

personal touch ACH year thousands of people in Wigan Borough receive support from the council and its partners to help them to enjoy a better quality of life. It could be people living with a physical disability, a mental illness, adults with learning difficulties, older people who want to continue to live independently or even those who care for someone else. Whatever the issue is, one thing is certain, everyone is different and everyone has needs that are individual to them. That’s why Wigan Council is launching a new approach to the social care services it provides, called Personalisation. Wigan Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, Cllr Keith Cunliffe, explains: “Personalisation gives people and their carers more control, choice and flexibility over how they plan and manage the social care support they receive. “It puts the individual right at the centre of the care they receive and gives them the freedom and control to design the support care package that’s right for them.” So how will it work?

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Anyone who thinks they need support can contact the council. We would first need to establish what sort of support and help they need, even if it is only pointing them in the right direction for advice and information. If you need further help you will be offered an asessment. From here we start to help you to plan your support, it could be that you choose to take this in the form of social care money To find out more – this is called a about social care Personal Budget. These services in Wigan you can budgets would be visit the My Life, My Choices available in addition to website: mylifemychoices. Personal budgets are helping people allowances and wigan.gov.uk/ or you across the borough make choices to benefits, though a can call Wigan Council’s improve their own quality of life. contribution may be Central Duty Team required, depending on on 01942 828777 income. The Personal Budget can come in the form of a direct payment, payments managed by the council or a mixture of letting them know what In the plan people set out the two. support might be available the sorts of support they Personalisation is also through their own need to do the things they available for people who pay community. The end result want to do. It would also set for their own care and support. will hopefully be helping our who will deliver the Once funding has been people in our borough to support and when. agreed a support plan is improve their own quality of Cllr Cunliffe said: “It drawn up, sometimes with the means the focus will be on life by encouraging them to help of family, carers, the helping people keep or regain take control of the care they council or others. receive.” their independence and also

Here’s how it works... Joan’s journey Joan is 80 years old. She has arthritis and uses a wheelchair but still lives independently at home. She had home care to help her wash and dress each morning and evening. Her social worker explained personal budgets to her and helped her to complete an assessment and support plan. Joan decided to manage

her personal budget herself and right away changed her home care agency to a smaller, local one. Her social worker helped her to join an over 60’s club. She was also given help in finding a ‘ring and ride’ service to get her out and about to community venues. Now Joan says she feels more valued as a person and is in control of her support.

Here’s how it works... Terry’s story Terry has Asperger’s Syndrome and was living in a residential home, but things weren’t going well for him. He did not like to be seen as someone with a learning disability, wasn’t able to go out and was not able to visit his family and friends when he liked. Terry’s mum spoke to his social worker and put him forward for a personal budget.

Terry wanted to live in his own place. He wrote a support plan and bought a flat. He has a team of staff that he’s appointed to support him when he wants to go out. His parents help him with this, but he makes all the final decisions. He has much more freedom about what he does each day and his behaviour has improved considerably.

BOROUGH LIFE Autumn 2011

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Borough Life 26-27

8/9/11

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WHEN Helen Stiff spotted a detail on the ‘Welcome to Leigh’ signs, she emailed Borough Life. “I understand this may be a strange and impossible request,” she wrote. “My father Wilf Stiff is 78 this year and used to be a coal miner at Bickershaw – a huge part of his life and something he loved dearly. On that sign post there are a few pictures, including the face of a miner – my dad Wilf! I know it’s a long shot, but we’re wondering if you could provide us with a copy of the picture?” The story of Wilf, whose mining career took him through the glory days of the Lancashire coalfield, touched the team at the council’s Sign Shop. Paul, Craig and Michael are normally responsible for manufacturing the borough’s traffic signage and vehicle livery and were delighted to create a small replica especially for Wilf. Their manager Alan Ashton said: “It’s a privilege to remember miners like Wilf whose work in demanding conditions fuelled the economy of our area for generations.” Wilf was thrilled to receive the gift. “I used to go to the colliery to collect my dad’s wages in a little tin box,” he recalled. “He was a miner too and would wash in a tin bath in front of the fire.” Son followed father and young Wilf reported to the manager to start his apprenticeship as a joiner, maintaining the shafts. Over the decades, Wilf led a team of fixers who would ensure the area’s pits were kept safe and open. His career drew to a close capping pits as the industry went into decline. Bickershaw’s renaissance with its marina and new industry and eco-housing to come fascinates Wilf. Daughter Helen married this summer and Wilf celebrated his 78th birthday at the same time. Helen said: “Thank you so much. We’re overwhelmed and dad is thrilled that he’s a part of how the heritage of Leigh and the coal industry are celebrated.”

Freddie Mills from Ashton helped to launch the campaign at Wigan’s Royal Albert Edward Hospital with mum Sarah and dad Andrew. PARENTS are being urged to put their babies to sleep in the safest place in a new hard-hitting campaign. Every year, 300 babies in the UK die suddenly and unexpectedly in their sleep as a result of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). There are more baby deaths in the North West than any other part of England and Wales, with Wigan’s rate double the national average. NHS Ashton, Leigh and Wigan and Wigan Council are working to reduce the number of sudden infant deaths. As well as publicity, hundreds of health and social care workers are being given training on how to advise

parents and look out for signs that babies might be at risk. Parents can reduce the risk to their newborn by ensuring baby sleeps on its back in the parents’ room and by keeping the temperature down to between 60-64° Fahrenheit or 16-20° Centigrade. Falling asleep with a baby significantly increases the risk of sudden infant deaths if the parent is a smoker, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or just very tired. Cllr Susan Loudon, Wigan Council’s cabinet champion for children, says: “I sincerely hope that the result is a fall in the rates of sudden infant deaths and the resultant heartache for families.”

Sleep Safe checklist: The sign welcoming visitors to Leigh, and, inset, Wilf Stiff as he looks today.

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BOROUGH LIFE Summer 2011

● The safest place for a baby to sleep for the first six months is on their back in a cot, Moses basket or crib in their parents’ room. ● It is dangerous for a baby to sleep in a normal bed or on a sofa or armchair. ● Babies should be placed on their back on a firm mattress, with their feet at the end of the cot. ● They should also not be allowed to get too hot. An ideal room temperature between 60-64° Fahrenheit (16–20° Centigrade.) ● Babies should be protected from second hand smoke – mothers should not smoke during pregnancy or smoke inside the house. Learn more and download handy checklists: www.wiganlscb.com/safesleeping and www.fsid.org.uk


Borough Life 26-27

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MIND THAT CHILD

A still from CCTV footage showing the potential for peril on the roads outside schools.

T’S not the most shocking image taken that day, in fact it is fairly typical. A close call between mother pushing a toddler in a pram and a moving car.

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Car and baby missed by a few feet and no harm was done this time but it’s not an uncommon occurrence. And that’s why the council’s traffic team are looking at the best way to promote safety at the school gates. Headteachers talk of their frustration at the minority of parents who are seemingly intent on driving their children directly into the classroom. Crossing patrols, governors and staff regularly report near misses during the school run. “Parents have very busy lives,” acknowledges Cllr Susan Loudon, the cabinet’s lead on children’s issues. “And there’s no time more hectic than eight o’clock on a school day morning! “But that is still no excuse for the incidents I saw outside one school recently. We can’t all walk to school, but I appeal to all drivers to mind their speed near schools and remember the ‘20’s plenty’ rule.” Cllr Loudon discussed with officers how the council can assist schools with the problem alongside Cllr Kevin Anderson, cabinet environment champion. Both councillors saw footage recorded on a clearly marked CCTV vehicle of incidents just a few feet away. The car was being trialled at various locations where bad parking had been highlighted. Had it been recording live traffic offences and issuing fines, one Wigan school would have attracted 28 in less than an hour. Figures for Golborne, Leigh and other areas were only a little lower. Cllr Anderson says: “It would be impossible to have cameras and enforcement officers at every school

CAR CARE: Wigan Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Cllr Susan Loudon and Member for the Environment Cllr Kevin Anderson are leading the way on road safety outside schools in our borough. morning and night, but we are looking closely at possible methods to improve our presence and encourage safer access. Let’s make dangerous vehicle driving near schools completely unacceptable.” Staff in the traffic team have worked with schools to provide distinctive pencil markers to show crossing points, To find out more as well as about road safety ensuring zig issues visit Wigan Council’s website: zags and other www.wigan.gov.uk road markings and search for are clear. ‘Road Safety The council’s Forum’. MetroFresh team

OPTIONS BEING CONSIDERED: ● Targeted traffic enforcement with instant ticketing ● 20mph speed zones at school start and end times ● Working with schools and parents to provide road safety education manage the lollipop patrols which, although not a service they are obliged to provide, is one that is increasingly relied on by parents. “Parents are legally responsible for their children until they are inside school,” says Cllr Loudon. “And it’s been great to work with many of them on Walking Buses and Safer Routes to Schools campaigns. We’re now concentrating on those less eager to choose healthier, safer options for getting to school and ensuring that those who must drive do so safely.”

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Borough Life 28-29

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Making it happen HE toughest of economic times, a depressed property market still struggling to recover – but even against this backdrop, several major regeneration schemes are well underway across the borough. Council planners have been working closely with developers in Leigh, who see the town’s strong economic potential. There are canalside developments off Spinning Jenny Way and continuing work at the Sports Village. Shoppers should welcome the competition and choice of one of the big four supermarkets right in the town centre. There are advanced plans for parking improvements in the town: works will begin shortly on demolishing the unsightly derelict railway arches and as in Wigan. Council improvements near the library will begin officers have just in January. announced that they Opposite the bus station, the eagerly have successfully awaited cinema complex will bring secured more family entertainment to the evening investment from the economy as well as saving on many outHomes and of-borough cinema commutes for locals. Communities Agency to Tescos, Morrisons at the Sports Village build around 70 further and the multiplex are set to open in the homes in the year ahead. coming weeks, with well over 400 new Also in Wigan, to jobs being created as a result. accompany the new facilities Sainsbury’s have recently been granted for residents at the Life Centre, a planning permission for improved access more welcoming entrance to the town to their Atherleigh Way premises and is taking shape for those arriving at the they are discussing major improvements train stations, with a £1.2m makeover for to their store with officers. And there’s Wallgate’s street scene. Commuters are £1m of investment in a 35 acre also set to see the full benefit of the employment scheme Saddle Junction improvements. The old between Parsonage bus depot was demolished last month, Way and and contractors are working to Atherleigh Way. WHAT'S GOING ON: prepare the land for a brand new Last year Some of the regeneration road, scheduled for next summer, saw new projects in Wigan Borough as which will circumvent the affordable they happen, from work on frustrating pinch point of the housing Wallgate to the new Tesco in railway bridge on the A49. built on Leigh and Deputy Leader Cllr New employment land off Etherstone David Molyneux taking the keys Enfield Street in Pemberton is Street in to the former Wigan bus coming next year, following the Leigh, as well depot from David Leonard redevelopment of the former from First Bus.

T

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derelict Transbus depot, which is now fully let. Young people in Wigan will benefit from the much anticipated Wigan Youth Zone, where the first sod was cut last month. And within 12 months, Hindley will see the UK’s first zeroenergy cost business park. A £2.7m development on Swan Lane will become home for nine new businesses, including a demonstration centre showcasing the many low and zero carbon technologies being used there. “These are major achievements for every resident to be proud of,” says deputy leader Cllr David Molyneux. “At a time when many areas are stagnant and people may ask what is being done to improve their urban environment, we are delivering results thanks to the effective partnerships we continue to forge with businesses and investors.”


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Turning back the clock at the Turnpike Wigan artist Theodore Major at the Turnpike Gallery in 1980.

Did you know...

Culture CLUB

LEIGH’S Turnpike Centre is celebrating a milestone this autumn! For 40 years the centre has been the cultural hub of Leigh with a bustling library, thriving art gallery and popular meeting rooms. Since its opening in 1971, it’s estimated a massive 12 MILLION people have walked through the doors, staff have answered almost 400,000 questions while issuing more than 17 MILLION books, cassettes, CDs and DVDs. To celebrate the last four decades, and to look forwards to a positive future, the Turnpike Centre is hosting a number of events from 28 October to 3 November. The Turnpike Gallery has a specially selected exhibition of works from the Arts Council Collection by 24 artists; many of whom have previously shown at the gallery, including L S Lowry, and made possible by Arts Council Lottery Funding. Three Towns Opera, who The acrobatic Ramos playing with knives outside the Turnpike as part of the Hot on the Square Festival 2009.

For more information visit www.wlct.org or call 01942 404 469

performed at the first Leigh Arts Festival when the centre opened, will be performing again. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the 1971 version, will be screened, with accompanying children’s activities. Local history and reminiscence talks and presentations will be taking place, plus a folk music evening featuring local folk legends Bram Taylor and Gary and Vera Aspey as well as newcomers Linda Jennings and The Jaywalkers, Rocky Horror Picture show and a 70s cooking demonstration. These days the Turnpike is managed by WLCT on behalf of Wigan Council. Leader of Wigan Council and Leigh councillor Lord Peter Smith is an avid fan of the Turnpike. He says: “This building has been the cultural heartbeat of Leigh for four decades. It has held thousands of activities that have enriched people’s lives through learning and the arts. “If you haven’t been for a while make this Autumn the time to return and enjoy the wonderful events planned.”

● The Turnpike Centre opened on 3rd November 1971 as the new Library and Arts Centre for Leigh. It cost £250,000, which today would be about £2.7million. ● The centre was designed by JC Prestwich and Sons architects, who had also designed the Town Hall and previous library. ● The Queen visited the Turnpike Centre in 1977. ● The Dootson Collection is housed in the Turnpike Centre after being donated to Leigh in the 1950s. It contains books of local interest as well as some first editions including one signed by Dracula author Bram Stoker. ● The sculpture on the front of the building is by William Mitchell, a prolific artist from the 60s and 70s. ● 270 exhibitions have been shown in the main Turnpike Gallery. These have included painting, drawing, sculpture, textiles, video, photography, ceramics, printmaking and interactive installations by local, regional, national and international artists. ● The first exhibition in the Turnpike Gallery was by Henry Moore. Three of the North West’s most prominent post-war artists have all had solo exhibitions at the Turnpike – L S Lowry, Theodore Major and Lawrence Isherwood. ● Included in Richard Hamilton and Dieter Roth’s exhibition of 1976 were pictures for dogs, hung at ‘dog’s eye level’. ● In the last 5 years over 60,000 people have visited the gallery, more than 6,000 children have taken part in school visits and over 9,000 local people have taken part in workshops, activities and events organised by the Turnpike Gallery.

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Autumn 2011

What’s

ON

For full details of all special and regular events and festivals, pick up a What’s On brochure at your local library or visit www.wlct.org/whatson

Ashton Festival Fri 16th Sep, 7pm

ASHTON FESTIVAL GYMNASTIC DISPLAY Seagull’s Gym, Bryn Road South. Gymnastic Display. Festival tickets available from Ashton Library from 22nd August. Tickets also available from the Festival Stall, Ashton Market on Tuesday 6th September, Saturday 10th September and Tuesday 13th September.

Sat 17th Sep, 11am

ASHTON FESTIVAL - MORRIS DANCERS & FACE PAINTING Ashton Market. Morris Dancers and Face Painting. Festival tickets available from Ashton Library from 22nd August. Tickets also available from the Festival Stall, Ashton Market on Tuesday 6th September, Saturday 10th September and Tuesday 13th September.

Sat 17th Sep, 7pm

ASHTON FESTIVAL BROOMFIELD SCHOOL OF DANCE St Edmund Arrowsmith School. Broomfield School of Dance. Festival tickets available from Ashton Library from 22nd August. Tickets also available from the Festival Stall, Ashton Market on Tuesday 6th September, Saturday 10th September and Tuesday 13th September.

Sun 18th Sep, 1pm

ASHTON FESTIVAL - CYCLE RIDE Meet at Three Sisters Visitor Centre. Cycle ride with Park Rangers to Viridor Wood and return. Festival tickets available from Ashton Library from 22nd August. Tickets also available from the Festival Stall, Ashton Market on Tuesday 6th September, Saturday 10th September and Tuesday 13th September.

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Mon 19th Sep, 6:30pm

ASHTON FESTIVAL- CONCERT St Edmund Arrowsmith School. Let St Wilfrid’s School Children Sing. Festival tickets available from Ashton Library from 22nd August. Tickets also available from the Festival Stall, Ashton Market on Tuesday 6th September, Saturday 10th September and Tuesday 13th September.

Tue 20th Sep, 2pm

ASHTON FESTIVAL - VISIT BY ADULT AUTHOR JEOFF LEE Ashton Library. Visit by adult author Jeoff Lee. Festival tickets available from Ashton Library from 22nd August. Tickets also available from the Festival Stall, Ashton Market on Tuesday 6th September, Saturday 10th September and Tuesday 13th September.

Tue 20th Sep, 7pm

ASHTON FESTIVAL - FLORAL DEMONSTRATION Ashton Library. Floral Demonstration by Makerfield Florist. Festival tickets available from Ashton Library from 22nd August. Tickets also available from the Festival Stall, Ashton Market on Tuesday 6th September, Saturday 10th September and Tuesday 13th September.

Wed 21st Sep, 1:30pm

ASHTON FESTIVAL - GUIDED WALK Meet at 188 Old Road. Memories of Ashton Guided Walk with Don Hodgkinson. Festival tickets available from Ashton Library from 22nd August. Tickets also available from the Festival Stall, Ashton Market on Tuesday 6th September, Saturday 10th September and Tuesday 13th September.

Wed 21st Sep, 7:30pm

ASHTON FESTIVAL - CONCERT St Oswalds Church. Organ, Piano, Cornet Recitals and

Baritone Singer. Festival tickets available from Ashton Library from 22nd August. Tickets also available from the Festival Stall, Ashton Market on Tuesday 6th September, Saturday 10th September and Tuesday 13th September.

Thu 22nd Sep, 10am

ASHTON FESTIVAL - COFFEE MORNING Park Lane Chapel. Coffee Morning / History of Park Lane Chapel. Festival tickets available from Ashton Library from 22nd August. Tickets also available from the Festival Stall, Ashton Market on Tuesday 6th September, Saturday 10th September and Tuesday 13th September.

Fri 23rd Sep, 8pm

ASHTON FESTIVAL - IRISH NIGHT Brian Boru Club, Bryn Street. Irish Night, Artist Michael Coyne. Festival tickets available from Ashton Library from 22nd August. Tickets also available from the Festival Stall, Ashton Market on Tuesday 6th September, Saturday 10th September and Tuesday 13th September.

Sat 24th Sep, 7:30pm

ASHTON FESTIVAL - WIGAN YOUTH BRASS BAND St Edmund Arrowsmith School. Wigan Youth Brass Band. Festival tickets available from Ashton Library from 22nd August. Tickets also available from the Festival Stall, Ashton Market on Tuesday 6th September, Saturday 10th September and Tuesday 13th September.

Libraries

Thu 22nd Sep, 10am - 1pm

BUYING AND SELLING ONLINE Leigh Library. Join the internet buying / selling craze and learn how to do it safely. Courses include tutorials on Amazon and eBay. Booking essential. For further information telephone 01942 404404 or email leigh.library@wlct.org

Sat 24th Sep

THE OPEN BOOK CLUB Leigh Library. Leigh Library invites you to join our reading group for adults taking place on a Saturday. For further information telephone 01942 404404.

Sat 24th Sep, 9:30am - 11:30am

SATURDAY Wii LEAGUE Standish Library. Suitable for all ages. Come along and play the latest Wii games. Fun and informal session. No need to book. For further information telephone 01257 400496.

Thu 29th Sep, 10am - 1pm

AN INTRODUCTION TO DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY Leigh Library. Booking essential. Learn how to upload and edit digital photographs from your digital camera and use photo editing software. For further information telephone 01942 404404 or email leigh.library@wlct.org

Sat 1st Oct, 10:45am - 11:45am

SATURDAY CRAFT CLUB Standish Library. Suitable for children aged 5 to 9 years. Limited places available. For further information and to book a place telephone 01257 400496. £1.

Sat 22nd Oct

THE OPEN BOOK CLUB

Thu 6th Oct, 10am - Noon

Leigh Library. Leigh Library invites you to join our reading group for adults taking place on a Saturday. For further information telephone 01942 404404.

Standish Library. We have a few places available at our regular art classes. For further information telephone 01942 400496. £2.

ART CLASS


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Thu 6th Oct, 10am - Noon

INSPECT-A-GADGET Leigh Library. Learn about the latest computer technologies and how they make life simpler and much more fun. Booking essential. For further information telephone 01942 404404 or email leighlibrary@wlct.org

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Leigh Library. For children aged 16 and under. Drop in a lantern you have made at home whether it’s paper or a pumpkin between the 24th and 29th October to be displayed. Winner chosen on the 31st October. For further information telephone 01942 404404. FREE.

Thu 27th Oct, 3pm - 4pm Tue 25th Oct, 1:30pm - 2:30pm

Wed 12th Oct, 2pm - 4:30pm

HMRC SELF ASSESSMENT WORKSHOP Leigh Library, Derby Room. A self assessment workshop by Her Majesty Revenue and Customs for the self employed. HMRC staff will show you how to complete an online Self Assessment Tax Return. For further information telephone 01942 404098.

Thu 13th Oct, 10am - 1pm

AN INTRODUCTION TO DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY Leigh Library. Booking essential. Learn how to upload and edit digital photographs from your digital camera and use photo editing software. For further information telephone 01942 404404 or email leigh.library@wlct.org

Thu 20th Oct, 10am - Noon

HALLOWEEN STORIES IN THE PARK Leigh Library. For children aged 0 - 11 years. Booking essential. All tickets available from Leigh Library counter. For further information telephone 01942 404404. £1.

HALLOWEEN FUN CRAFT SESSION

For further information telephone 01942 828104. £1.

Fri 18 & Sat 19 Nov, 7.30pm

The Three Towns in Concert The Three Towns in Concert at Lowton Civic Hall, Hesketh Meadow Lane, Lowton. WA3 2AH Tickets £ 8.00. For further information telephone 01942 883722.

Ince Library. For children aged 6 to 11 years old. Booking essential. For further information telephone 01942 324423. £1.

Thu 27th Oct, 3pm - 4:30pm

HALLOWEEN PARTY Tue 25th Oct, 2pm - 3pm

SPOOKY BINGO Wigan Children’s Library. Bookings taken from Saturday 8th October. For further information telephone 01942 828104. £1.

Tue 25th Oct, 2pm - 3:30pm

KIDS HALLOWEEN FANCY DRESS DISCO Leigh Library. For children aged 0 - 11 years. Booking essential. All tickets available from Leigh Library counter. For further information telephone 01942 404404. £1.

INSPECT-A-GADGET Leigh Library. Learn about the latest computer technologies and how they make life simpler and much more fun. Booking essential. For further information telephone 01942 404404 or email leighlibrary@wlct.org

Leigh Library. Booking essential. Learn how to upload and edit digital photographs from your digital camera and use photo editing software. For further information telephone 01942 404404 or email leigh.library@wlct.org

Tue 25th Oct, 5:30pm - 6:30pm

BOOK AT BEDTIME Hindley Library. For children aged 5 to 11 years old. Booking essential. For further information telephone 01942 255287. FREE.

Tyldesley Library. For further information telephone 01942 404738 or call in the library.

Thu 27th Oct, 7:15pm - 8:15pm

FAMILY HALLOWEEN SPOOKY EVENING Leigh Library. For children aged 7 years and over. Booking essential. All tickets available from Leigh library counter. For further information telephone 01942 404404.

Fri 28th Oct, 2pm - 3pm

HALLOWEEN FUN CRAFT SESSION Hindley Library. For children aged 6 to 11 years old. Booking essential. For further information telephone 01942 255287. £1.

Fri 28th Oct, 2pm - 3pm

HALLOWEEN PARTY Thu 27th Oct

Sat 22nd Oct, 9:30am - 11:30am

FAMILY ORIGAMI CLUB

SATURDAY Wii LEAGUE Standish Library. Suitable for all ages. Come along and play the latest Wii games. Fun and informal session. No need to book. For further information telephone 01257 400496.

Leigh Library. Have fun, learn and create basic paper models using ancient paper folding techniques. This a free craft for all the family. For further information telephone 01942 404404. FREE.

Mon 24th Oct to Sat 29th Oct

Thu 27th Oct, 10:00am - 1pm

HALLOWEEN LANTERN COMPETITION

AN INTRODUCTION TO DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

Wigan Children’s Library. Come along for spooky fun! Fancy dress optional. Sign in for session 1.45pm - 2pm. For further information telephone 01942 828104. £1.

Sat 29th Oct, 10:30am 11:30am

SPOOKY SATURDAY STORY TIME Wigan Children’s Library. No need to book. For further information telephone 01942 828104. FREE.

Sat 29th Oct, 10:45am 11:45am

SATURDAY CRAFT CLUB Standish Library. Suitable for children aged 5 to 9 years. Limited places available. For further information and to book a place telephone 01257 400496. £1.

Sat 29th Oct, 2pm - 3pm

SPOOKY SATURDAY CRAFT CLUB Wigan Children’s Library. Sign in for session 1.45pm - 2pm.

ON TOUR this autumn are The Pitmen Poets, celebrating the songs and culture of the coal mining industry. As well as venues in their native north east, the group are visiting Coalville in the Midlands and on Friday 14th October, they will be at Wigan Parish Church. The tour brings together four seasoned performers: Billy Mitchell, formerly of the band Lindisfarne, renowned traditional singer and instrumentalist Bob Fox, Tyneside song expert Benny Graham and Durham singer songwriter Jez Lowe. Together they will relive the triumphs and tragedies, the hard times and the humour of a once-great industry, accompanied by archive film, songs and stories. The event is described as a journey through the centuries of coal, from dominance to decline – and what happened after that. Join the Pitmen Poets at Wigan Parish Church on Friday 14th October: tickets are £15 in advance. Earlier gigs were a sellout success, so contact David Cartlidge on 01942 824291 or dtcartlidge@gmail.com for information and tickets.

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Borough Life Issue 35 Autumn 2011