Double delight for Wigan Borough leisure centre at Westminster awards ceremony

Double delight for Wigan Borough leisure centre at Westminster awards ceremony

Howe Bridge Leisure Centre - National Recognition Award - resized

Howe Bridge Leisure Centre won the National Recognition Award at the HAF Awards, staged at the House of Commons

A Wigan Borough leisure centre was among the big winners at the inaugural HAF Awards at the House of Commons on Thursday (18 May).

Howe Bridge Leisure Centre in Atherton, owned and run by Wigan Council’s Be Well brand, claimed two major prizes at the Westminster ceremony - including the prestigious National Recognition Award.

Organised by the Department for Education (DfE), the honours celebrated the outstanding frontline provision happening across the country as part of the Holiday Activities and Food programme.

The centre was also crowned one of two North West Regional Champions.

Councillor Jenny Bullen, Wigan Council’s portfolio holder for children and families, said: “HAF makes such a huge difference to local families, especially when so many are facing such difficult times because of the rising cost of living.

“We’re so incredibly proud of all the brilliant work done by our delivery teams all across our borough, and we’re absolutely delighted our activity at Howe Bridge Leisure Centre has been declared among the very best in the country!

“I’d like to say a massive congratulations to our amazing team and to all our wonderful partners who have made this possible.”

Wigan Borough’s HAF programme provides healthy meals and enriching activities for thousands of children and young people aged 5-16 across the borough during the school holidays.

Funded by the DfE and open to families in receipt of benefits-related free school meals, it aims to encourage children to eat more healthily and be more active while supporting the development of their character, wellbeing and education.

The National Recognition Award commended Howe Bridge Leisure Centre for its ‘strong effective local partnerships’ and its ‘fully inclusive offer’, which saw around 350 individual children taking part in activity camps across Easter, Summer and Christmas 2022 - including looked-after children, young carers, children with SEND and those at risk of anti-social behaviour.

The centre was also praised for the flexibility of its staff and the wide variety of its delivery; including climbing, skating and BMX in its adventure zone, swimming, boxing, and an overnight Christmas holiday camp in partnership with WN7 Outreach CIC.

Other activities ranged from arts and crafts, dance and reading, to computing and Lego robotics, while children were also provided with healthy and nutritious meals each day that they attended camp.

Councillor Chris Ready, portfolio holder for communities and neighbourhoods, said: “It’s a massive honour for Howe Bridge Leisure Centre to be recognised on the national stage, but the real reward has been seeing the smiles of the many local children who have been enjoying our wonderful holiday activity camps, and knowing what a positive difference we’ve been making for local families. It really makes it all worthwhile!”

Learn more about Wigan Borough’s HAF programme.

Posted on Friday 19th May 2023

© Wigan Council