Welcome to Borough Life Plus

Summer is here! Long days, the chance to catch up with family and friends and getting out and about in the sunshine.

Our latest edition focuses on some of the things we have to look forward to after the challenges of the last 12 months.

We also celebrate the community heroes that have made a difference in their neighbourhoods during the pandemic and how the Our Town programme is back with a bang.

Here, on the Borough Life Plus page, we’ve picked out some extra content that supplements what’s in the actual magazine. 

So, make sure you’ve got a brew handy and have a scroll down to see what’s on offer.

We’ll see you back here when it’s time to get those big coats back out of the wardrobe for the winter edition. Brrrrr!

Our Town

On the cover

Our town winners

We’re always open to trying new things here at the Borough Life team so we challenged ourselves this time to create not one, but four different front covers.

Each one features a different winner from the Our Town Community Hero Awards. They’re incredible so we couldn’t pick just one to be our cover star.

So, the front cover on the edition that dropped through your letterbox may not be the cover you spot in your local library or community centre.

Hear from the winners


Buzzin’ for the Bee Network

Chris-BoardmanGreater Manchester’s Bee Network of walking and cycling routes is transforming the borough’s sustainable transport scene.

In 2019, we were the first area within GM to complete one of the schemes at the Bridgewater Canal in Astley, formerly known as the ‘Muddy Mile’.

More routes are coming soon and here, with an exclusive column for Borough Life Plus, former Olympic cyclist and GM transport commissioner Chris Boardman tells us everything we need to know.

In 2018, I launched the Bee Network. A plan to completely revolutionise travel across Greater Manchester, to make active travel the number one choice for travelling to work, to school and to the shops.

We have a 10-year plan to create over 1,800 miles of safe routes, including 2,400 new crossings to connect every neighbourhood, community, school, high street and transport hub across the entire city-region. To date, we’ve got 108 schemes from the 10 GM Local Authorities in the development pipeline as part of the Mayor’s Challenge Fund, a total investment of more than £500 million.

We’re also well into the delivery phase, with 55 miles of safe routes and 17 Active Neighbourhoods planned to be constructed before the end of this year, including some schemes in Wigan, Leigh and Astley. By giving more people the choice to walk or ride to the shops/school for those shorter local journeys, we hope to change travel habits for good, improving our health, cleaning up the air we breathe and making us fitter and happier.

Our roads were originally designed to be places where people lived, played, grew up and grew old, but in the last decade alone before the pandemic we saw road traffic increase by 30%, most of that on local "residential" roads.

However, when we went into the first lockdown in March last year, and traffic was effectively turned off, we returned that space to people... well people went out and walked, and cycled, and listened to the bird song. Across the UK we saw more than a 300% increase in people riding bikes. Since then, half of people living in Greater Manchester have said they plan to travel more on foot or by bike post-COVID after their positive experiences during lockdown.

We know there is an appetite to keep active travel as part of their daily habit, and we intend to make sure they have the safe space to do it through delivery of the Bee Network.

We have a fantastic website, (external link) with an interactive map, which shows people the new street improvements and routes that are completed, under construction or out for consultation. It also highlights the destinations that are within a 15-minute walk and a 15-minute bike ride of their front door. So, make sure you visit TfGM’s one-stop-shop for all things walking and cycling. Let’s enjoy the journey.

Refugee week

Refugee Week

Earlier this year the borough marked Refugee Week with a wide range of activities to celebrate the contribution of local refugees.

In the Borough Life magazine there’s two fascinating accounts from Shupikai and Esnath who came to the UK from Zimbabwe.

Their recollections, along with many other accounts and insights, formed the basis of an exhibition on display in Leigh town centre.

You can see images from the exhibition below.

Also, please visit the dedicated pages on the Wigan Council website for:

  • More first-hand accounts and why Refugee Week is important
  • Tips on how you can show solidarity with refugees
  • Explainers on what defines a refugee and, for example, asylum seekers

Refugee Awareness Week.

Refugee week Leigh Refugee week stands

Keeping up with Kerrell on climate change

In the latest edition we introduced you to Kerrell Walley, our Climate Change Manager.

Kerrell and her team are at the forefront of our green ambitions and can help all of us make the little changes to our lifestyles that will make a big difference.

She will also be writing regular columns keeping us all up to date with the fantastic work going on across the borough.

You can read each column when they’re published on Wigan Borough news webpage.

In the meantime, in her first column for Borough Life, Kerrell discussed how documentaries can be a great way to start off your climate change conversation.

So here’s her recommended list:

General Overview

  • Climate Change: Ade on the Frontline on BBC 2
  • Climate Change – The Facts with David Attenborough on BBC
  • David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet on BBC
  • I Am Greta on BBC
  • An Inconvenient Truth – Al Gore on Amazon 
  • Paris to Pittsburgh on National Geographic and Disney+

Positive Solutions

  • 2040 – Join the Regeneration on Amazon
  • Kiss the Ground by Woody Harrelson on Netflix
  • Minimalism on Netflix

Animals & Habitats

  • Our Planet Series by David Attenborough on Netflix
  • Cowspiracy on Netflix
  • Seaspiracy on Netflix  
  • Blackfish on Netflix

Global Impacts, Health and Food

  • Before the Flood by Leonardo di Caprio on Disney+ and Amazon
  • A Plastic Ocean on Netflix
  • The Game Changers on Netflix
  • What the Health on Netflix
  • Forks over Knives on Netflix

Our fantastic foster carers

The summer edition shines a well-deserved spotlight on our foster carers and the amazing work that goes on as part of the Mockingbird scheme.

Please read the heart-warming feature in the magazine, but in the meantime, below is a video explaining what it’s all about.

Meet Suzanne - watch


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