The Big Listening Festival

The Big Listening Festival began in June and has so far offered digital forums, surveys, partner meetings and a large physical event.

The aim of the Big Listening Festival has been to give everyone in the borough the chance to help shape the latest version of the Deal 2030, a strategy which outlines the council’s priorities for the next 8 years, and which is being refreshed following the pandemic.

As you might expect with a conversation involving over 1,000 participants, the views shared so far have often been passionate and diverse. The views and suggestions have been analysed and have influenced the Big Listening Survey which is open until 22nd December 2021.

Below, we look back on the results of the earlier engagement. What is already clear is that the updated version of the Deal 2030 will need to be an ambitious document, what is more you told us, as residents, you want to be part of generating solutions and ideas to tackle local issues and helping to achieve a good life for all who live in the borough.

What’s also clear from these conversations over the past 6 months is that Wigan is a borough full of people who deeply care about our borough with a vast of local knowledge and skills.

Here are some of the early findings.

Overall learning

  • Equal investment across Wigan Borough
  • Residents welcomed the opportunity to be listened to and want the conversations to continue
  • Residents want to be part of the solution to local problems, to be communicated with in a timely manner and to have an open and honest conversation with the Council.

Themes

Community safety and empowering communities

What’s working well

  • Most people saw communities become closer and help each other during the pandemic and feel this community spirit has continued
  • Many adults and young people feel safe in their local community. However, raised some safety concerns that need to be addressed. For example, anti-social behaviour and traffic speeds
  • Lots of people feel the streets are tidy and well presented.

Hopes for the future

  • More police presence in communities
  • Local forums and neighbourhood networks
  • Improved ways of reporting crime and community safety concerns
  • Encourage and support volunteers and community groups.

The environment and climate change

What’s working well

  • Most people love their local parks, canals, flashes, and green spaces
  • Some residents are helping the environment by recycling, growing their own food, avoiding waste, reducing meat consumption, supporting local businesses and ethical companies
  • Some residents are also lobbying large companies and central government.

Hopes for the future

  • People want the council to be even more ambitious in tackling climate change. For example, supporting sustainable travel, sustainable infrastructure and development, planting new and looking after existing trees
  • More recycling sites and options to recycle even more products
  • More information and advice on how to address climate change
  • People want cleaner streets and well-kept green spaces.

District town centres

What’s working well

  • Lots of people feel their local town centre has community spirit and enjoy shopping locally
  • Local town centres are convenient and easy to get to.

Hopes for the future

  • Improvement of some building frontages
  • Better car parking facilities in some areas
  • More communication and engagement with residents on local community and family events
  • More options for children and young people.

Sustainable transport

What’s working well

  • Leisure walks and some cycle routes help bring people together
  • Many people are now choosing to walk, use public transport or cycle when they can.

Hopes for the future

  • More segregated, well-lit, and well-connected cycle routes to help improve cyclists’ safety
  • Accessibilityissues need to be addressed, for example cars blocking pavements and overgrown hedges
  • Pavements and street lighting should be maintained to encourage walking
  • Clean and modern buses which are more frequent. 

Culture, Heritage and Sport

What’s working well

  • Local historic buildings really matter to people
  • People value affordable, welcoming, and well organised historic and cultural events.

Hopes for the future

  • More historic, art and music events, which are well communicated
  • More family events
  • Sufficient, close and affordable parking to enable everyone to attend events
  • Historic buildings to be restored or protected.

Equality

Hopes for the future

  • Engage people with lived experience in policy and decision making at an early stage
  • More celebration and education about diversity and information about inequalities
  • Staff working for the council should have equality and diversity training, led by people with lived experience
  • Everyone should be encouraged to raise issues and given the confidence to stand up to inequalities and hate crime.

Children and young people

We visited primary and secondary schools across the borough, children and young people said:

  • Anti-social behaviour should be addressed more effectively
  • High School groups talked about not feeling safe when walking on their own
  • Protect wildlife and have more green spaces
  • Have more organised activities but also more informal safe spaces to meet with friends
  • Reduce traffic and speeding cars to increase pedestrian safety
  • Young people are very ambitious, but many feel they might need to leave the borough to pursue their ambitions
  • They would like to know more about volunteer opportunities and would like more support with career planning and with the transition to high school and then to college
  • Young people’s main worries include pressure from social media, friendships, transition to high school and road safety
  • They shared ideas that could help support their mental health.

The conversation continues!

Help inform the next steps from the learning or if you haven’t shared your ideas yet, there’s still an opportunity to tell the council what is important to you. Please complete the Big Listening Festival’s online survey (external link) before 22nd December 2021.

© Wigan Council