Progress and updates

On this page you'll find some key updates and actions on the progress we've made following the Big Listening Festival and the views you shared on each big topic discussed.

Community safety

You said community safety was a top priority

Community projects across Wigan Borough aimed at promoting safety and reducing nuisance crime were granted £100k. Among the groups to benefit were Happy Smiles CIC, which worked in partnership with Ekhaya Empowerment and Everything Human Rights to deliver workshops to local schools that raise awareness of hate crime. Also, the Platt Bridge Community Boxing Programme used the funding to provide two free weekly boxing sessions for under 16s. As well as offering accredited boxing awards and skills, they have launched education sessions covering topics such as first aid, financial awareness, drugs and alcohol, and knife crime.

The Wigan Place and Safety Community Partnership works together to create strategies and practical interventions to reduce crime and disorder in local areas. The partnership is made up of 5 key strategic partners: Wigan Council, Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group, Greater Manchester Police, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, and Probation Services.

You said you wanted increased safety measures for women, girls and vulnerable groups

Wigan Council was awarded £278k under the Safety of Women at night fund. The project provided us with some fantastic opportunities to make a real difference, and to work with a variety of partners, business and organisations To promote behaviour change, provide reassurance to women and girls at night or when visiting the night-time economy, and to gather information via surveys to enable us to truly understand what issue women and girls are experiencing at night as well as their feelings on safety.

We’ve engaged with many pubs and clubs in the town centre and provided them with a variety of training initiatives. We have had a fabulous uptake from these businesses who have attended training around identifying vulnerability as well as predatory behaviour. They have positively embraced the 'Ask for Angela' campaign. We have trained over 200 members of staff to date and have also trained our own staff so that they can deliver training to new members of staff going forward. The funding also enabled us to fund pubs apply for security and vulnerability accreditation, which is provided by the Police Crime and Prevention Initiative. To date, we have 70 premises who have registered for this accreditation.

The Wigan Borough’s Domestic Abuse Strategy was launched at the beginning of 2022. It commits to six pledges that we action to ensure victims of abuse are housed in safe accommodation with the support they need.

You said you wanted safe places for children and young people to play and meet

The Leigh Sports Village (LSV) hub is a new, purpose-built facility coming to Leigh in 2022 with a focus on health and wellbeing for our young people and will also serve the wider community in Leigh. The hub will offer an array of activities and opportunities for young people in a safe environment, it will include a skills and training centre, as well as a training zone for our elite and amateur sports clubs in Leigh, linking with the other partners at the village and wider community.

Community Involvement

You said support people to volunteer to make kinder communities

We now host the Wigan Borough Volunteer Hub. The online hub provides a space for community organisations and Wigan Council to advertise volunteer opportunities and for volunteers to apply for roles.

You said support community groups to grow and be involved

Our Deal for Communities team have coordinated regular funding Friday sessions for community groups. The sessions are an opportunity for community groups to drop in and talk to the team about new ideas or potential funding applications. These drop-in sessions take place bi-weekly and are held in local libraries across the borough. As a drop-in service they are popular for groups who prefer to speak to someone face to face and not having a structured booking system makes it more flexible for people to attend. As well as funding, additional support is often given.

The team are also hosting face to face 'Meet the Funder' sessions throughout 2022.

We are developing an online toolkit for VCFSE organisations that provides a range of useful information, guidance, resources and templates.

The Wigan Council Procurement Team have created a training package that supports our community groups to be able to tender for commissioning opportunities.

Climate change

You said you wanted more information on what action is taking place in the borough and what more can be done to address climate change by everyone, e.g. green power

We are currently developing a suite of community climate webpages that will contain a range of resources. Also, resources for schools and colleges to utilise for climate and environmental education.

You said plant flowers, trees and maintain our existing established trees

As part of the Naturalising the Borough Project Group, we are continuing to roll out naturalisation projects across the borough in the form of tree-planting, wildflower sowing and species rich grassland creation.

We are currently reviewing how we maintain trees through the development of a Trees and Woodland Strategy for Wigan Borough.

You said procurement of services should reflect the climate change agenda, e.g. avoiding the use of plastic

Conversations have commenced to ensure sustainable procurement. A further update will be provided soon.


You said limit car traffic in certain areas, e.g. schools

The School Streets Scheme improves road safety and clean up air quality for pupils by restricting the road traffic at pickup and drop-off times.

You said have affordable buses and trains, clean and modern buses, more frequent, reliable and shorter / more direct routes for buses

We are working with the Mayor of Greater Manchester, other Greater Manchester Authorities and Transport for Greater Manchester, on the new franchise of Greater Manchester buses. By bringing them under local control, it means that buses will be run for the passenger, as part of an integrated public transport network, allowing people to change easily between different modes of transport, with simple, affordable price-capped tickets. The design of the bus network will be planned by the GMCA, enabling a more efficient resource allocation to optimise passenger benefits. There will also be improved efficiency and integration, balancing affordability with social and economic objectives.

There are also plans to improve our buses through the GMCA Bus Service Improvement Plan. There are aspirations to see a modern, low-emission, accessible bus system in place for everyone. The wide-ranging plans, based on customer research, will make journeys by bus quicker, cheaper, greener, more reliable, more accessible and more attractive.

District Town Centres and the local economy

You said prioritise support for local businesses and employment in the future through spending on local goods and services

In the past 12 months, Wigan Council has increased our spend with local businesses by 3%.

The Council’s £88m Supported Accommodation Contract will provide a minimum of 45 supported employment positions for Wigan residents and £100m in business grants distributed to our local businesses during the Pandemic.

You said improve district town centres by cleaning the streets of litter and weeds, attract more variety into the centres, address anti-social behaviour and reduce traffic

The Our Town Cleaner, Greener Works project included a £1 million funded deep cleaning, tree planting and litter picking of 12 districts in the borough. Works spanned public realm, street-scene and environmental projects,

Culture, heritage and sport

You said celebrate our historic environment and promote learning and understanding of it

We are supporting the heritage sector to come together through the establishment of a renewed heritage network in 2022. This group will oversee an important piece of work that will look at the future activation of our heritage buildings through culture. We will celebrate the built heritage of King Street through the Heritage Action Zone cultural programme 'Streets Ahead' and create new perspectives of our historic waterways through the second edition of 'Light Night Wigan and Leigh'. The Heritage Open Week will provide an opportunity for a coordinated programme of events and activities celebrating the rich built heritage of our borough.

You said support cultural grassroot groups

£2m Community Recovery Fund was launched to develop grassroot community and creative arts projects, with a total of just under £100,000 awarded to 199 community groups so far. In May we will provide grant opportunities as part of the Let’s Innovate programme, linked to the 2022 Cultural Manifesto theme of 'Every Community Needs A Stage'. Advice and support will also be provided to local groups to develop their projects and seek external funding.

You said promote events in advance

We have worked to collate information on all planned cultural activity and events in the borough during 2022 to 2023. These will be promoted alongside our own cultural programmes, through a series of 'what’s on guides', plus online promotion through The Fire Within website, social media and broader platforms such as Visit Wigan.

You said support local talent as well as national recognised artists / performances

The WEUROS and Rugby League World Cup cultural programmes will provide opportunities for local artists to work alongside national artists to produce new and exciting cultural projects in the borough. Our communities will be central to these projects with opportunities to participate and engage in their development and delivery. We will support local talent to develop new work as part of the rich and varied summer programme of community events in the borough, including Leigh Carnival, Atherton Proms and Wigan PRIDE.


You said you wanted equality and diversity training for Council staff, by local people with lived experience

Since the listening festival, three lived experience training sessions have taken place. These were hosted by residents / community groups, who based the training on their own lived experience.

We plan to roll out further training soon.

You said make communication more accessible

The Council website recently had its Sitemorse Index result (how accessible is our website), we were awarded a top ten place for UK Local Government sites.

We are working on other projects to improve accessibility of our documents and communication.

You said ensure all communities are represented

We will soon be developing the new Wigan Equality Strategy, which the EDI Steering Group (Council and Voluntary, Faith and Community Groups) will be leading on. A large new engagement exercise will be the foundation of the strategy.

© Wigan Council