- Westhoughton Community Network meets quarterly at venues around Westhoughton, with local groups and organisations providing the venue and facilities; this is proving a good way of raising awareness of the variety of groups and activities in the town.
- Now in our 6th year, the inaugural forum meeting took place on 9th August 2011 at Brookfield Hall with groups taking part in the establishment of the community network. You can read more on the background, beginnings and activities of WCN >>> here.
- Many of our groups are especially busy over the Christmas period, special mention to the Rotary Club of Westhoughton doing its Santa Float, W.A.C.O. (fundraising), Bethel Crowd and Westhoughton Methodists ADS rehearsing for their Pantos - and of course our churches. Our next WCN meeting will take place in February. Keep up to date with community events taking place throughout the year: Fayres | Calendar.
Community Group Fayres
Led by a sub-committee looking at group participation, promotion, liaison with Westhoughton Market, on-the-day activities and entertainment, and feeding back to the main group, 2012 saw two Community Fayres bringing together groups at public events - the inaugural event on 21st April and a second on 24th November. A third event took place took place on Sunday, 2nd June at Westhoughton College as part of the W.A.C.O. 'It's-A-Knockout event.' The most recent fayre - the BigFunDay - took place up at Central Drive on Sunday, 1st June as part of an event involving Westhoughton College and led by Hope Church, who run the Hope (Community) Centre.
Adding a splash of colour and fun to the town centre in the summer of 2015, a new event the 'Westhoughton Yarn Bombing Festival' took place over the weekend of 4th and 5th July. A tremendous success and showcase for the community - a credit to organisers and all those involved in knitting the excellent displays. Some great entertainment too from local talent. A second Westhoughton Yarn Bombing Festival took place over the weekend of 2nd & 3rd July 2016.
2016 saw the return of the popular W.A.C.O. 'It's-A-Knockout' event on Sunday, 22nd May, this time raising money to support the Westhoughton Youth Project and local groups, with a madcap team event, attractions, and community involvement.
Details to be confirmed, watch out for a new music event mid-September as local talent takes to the stage.
Given the interest and success of the events, it is hoped to establish a tradition of holding an annual Westhoughton Community Fayre for local community groups during the summer months: this would be complementary to other events by individual groups. The strength of WCN is that we are seeing more and more co-operation between groups to help, support and work together on events and activities.
It is pleasing to see the influence of WCN spreading beyond Westhoughton with the rise of local community group networks around Bolton raising awareness of what is going on locally. It is pleasing to see near neighbour Horwich having a very successful first event in November (2014), bringing together some 40 groups and organisations Horwich Community Working Together flyer; and more recently a move to establish a community network in the town. We are happy to talk about our experience with other groups and networks.
Website Goes from Strength to Strength
One of the goals of WCN is to promote, support & share info about community groups in Westhoughton, providing information about activities, things of interest and events, as well as providing a point of contact.
First set up in 2012, the website had 1,800 visitors, in 2015 there were over 11,000 unique visitors, with 44,000 pages of information viewed, and nearly a quarter of a million 'search' hits (up 44% on 2014). Whilst those who attend our quarterly meetings are relatively few - limited to community leaders active and running the many groups in the town - information such as meeting minutes reaches far and wide through their availability online (1,470 downloads in 2015).
The most visited web content in 2015 were the highly successful Yarn Bombing Festival (July); the community radio broadcast Washacre FM (June); Senior Solutions; Community Police (the year began with the 'Westhoughton You Decide' funding competition), and Rotary Club's Santa Float (December). The most visited group pages being: Senior Solutions; Women of Westhoughton; Westhoughton Methodist ADS; Friends of Eatock Lodge; Bethel Crowd; Rainbow Crafts and Wingates Band; with a healthy representation of other groups in the mix.
The success and interest in WCN is a testament to the community spirit in Westhoughton and good work done across the town by committed individuals and groups of people coming together to help, support and get things done.
Westhoughton Community Network Foodbank Project
As a result of our groups both coming together and identifying a cause to get behind, Westhoughton Community Network has teamed up with Urban Outreach (Bolton) on an initiative to pool resources and work together to put in place a system to collect and then distribute food to the needy in our community; the aim, with the help of volunteers, is to develop a network of collection points around Westhoughton using Community Centres, Churches, Schools… A sub-committee formed, and as a result a number of donation and collection points have been established. More information here.