Westhoughton Community Network

group for and run by community groups in Westhoughton

  • Westhoughton Community Network meets quarterly at venues around Westhoughton, bringing together local voluntary groups and organisations, raising awareness of the wide variety of activities in the town.
  • Now in our ninth 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.
  • Our next WCN meeting , a virtual one, is to take place in September. Keep up to date with community events taking place throughout the year: Fayres | Calendar.

Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Updated  21/9/20

The arrival of the Covid-19, concerns about health and wellbeing of vulnerable groups, and Government advice on 'Social Distancing' means that community groups are taking action to limit exposure to the virus. As a result groups and activities are being suspended for the time being. This has had a big impact on community life, valuable social interactions and sport.

The situation remains fluid, the virus outbreak peaked in April UK Covid-19 Summary Dashboard. NHS Covid-19 website has information on disease and actions to take. Social Distancing Guidelines.

To date there have been 3,866 confirmed cases in Bolton (21/9/20) - rate 1,344 cases per 100,000. Westhoughton, which has been included in more stringent Bolton-wide 'lockdown measures' including pubs closing again (8/9/20), had 18 'positive' cases (week 31/8 to 6/9) and 15 (10/9 to 16/9) [0.06% of population]. A 'case' is a positive test, not necessarily requiring attention or being infectious. Mass testing has increased, meaning more cases. Concern has been raised about the PCR test, traces of past infections being picked up (not all those self-isolated were tested) and false positives, i.e., over-stating numbers. Hospital admissions and deaths however remain flat and low (21/9/20 - 23 cases infirmed at Bolton Royal, 3 critical; 4 'covid' deaths registered at Bolton Royal during last 30 days). Effective 14/9/20 new measures and enforcement to be put in place (Rule of Six) by Government. During peak period (1st March and 30th June - last update) attributed Covid-19 deaths in Westhoughton is 24. ONS mapping shows Bolton with 45 per 100,000 deaths 'with Covid-19'; 'All causes' figure being 192. For the vast majority symptoms will be minor and short-lived, and even asymptomatic (no symptoms). Older people and those with underlying health conditions however are more vulnerable to the more serious effects: respiratory problems/severe immune reaction, hence the need to isolate to minimise risk.

'LOCKDOWN' began when on 28th March 2020 PM Boris Johnson announced measures to slow speed of spread of virus and impact on NHS ('Flattening the Curve' strategy), 'Social Distancing' became the order of the day. Under the new rules, the nation could only go out for essential shopping trips, one form of exercise a day, any medical needs and to travel to and from essential work, working from home if possible… all non-essential shops to be closed. Elderly and vulnerable groups were contacted directly by letter - Guidance on shielding and protecting people. The 'Lockdown' reviewed 16/4/20 and extended a further 3 weeks (6 in total). As time passed and the impact lessened further staged loosening of 'Lockdown' announced with small groups able to meet, more shops opening with social distancing measures in place - Latest Guidance (27/7/20). Three months on, from 4/7/20 pubs, restaurants, cinemas and museums were allowed to reopen in England; households of any size can meet and hotels, campsites and hairdressers will be able to welcome back customers as long as social distancing and hygiene policies are observed. 1m+ - the new rule on social distancing. The requirement to wear 'Face-coverings' in supermarkets came into force 24/7/20. Further 'Local Lockdown measures' were put in place (Greater Manchester) 31/7/20. Further measures announced in September. The state of flux and uncertainties continues.

Isolating at home or 'Shielding' for OAPs and vulnerable people came to an and on 1st August - new guidance NHS | Govt.

Volunteer: NHS Responder Volunteer Scheme | Bolton CVS Urgent Volunteer Register | Bolton CVS Be A Good Neighbour leaflet | Bolton Council Updates and Advice / 'Response Hub' - 01204 337221 (Vulnerable people practicing 'Shielding').

The Lockdown has had a major impact on all community activities, with meetings, events and projects cancelled or put on hold. Returns to any activity such as youth groups, sport and schools have been subject to new rules and social distancing conditions.

  • Bolton Council closed Libraries and Parks (23/3/20). Black bin collections prioritised over recycling (may not be emptied). Public rubbish bins initially sealed. Now back in use.
  • John Holt Community Centre closed until further notice. All groups meeting there suspended.
  • W.A.S.P (Westhoughton Age Support Project) - OAP group meeting twice-weekly and putting on occasional trips out. Programme cancelled. November/December events a doubt.
  • Senior Solutions (Visiting Service/Social Support for OAPs) - two luncheon clubs and social group suspended. Visiting Service stopped (Social Distancing). Focus on telephone befriending service to check up on OAP clients/carers and maintain contact, and deal with urgent situations. Staff and volunteers adjusting to new situation (telephone and drop-offs).
  • Bolton Lads & Girls Club is continuing to adapt so that it can continue to support as many children and young people as possible in the face of social distancing and isolation measures.
  • W.O.W. (Women of Westhoughton) - Hope Centre-based weekly meetings/activities and outings for women 50+ suspended.
  • Westhoughton Art Group and Art by Elise classes at John Holt Centre and Hope Centre suspended.
  • Westhoughton Methodist Church (The Bethel) - services suspended. 'Bethel Buddies' scheme in place. CoE Church services and events suspended - no midweek Café Church. Note, St. Bart's open for private prayer on Wednesday 18th 10am and Sunday, 22nd at 8am & 11am - those in high risk categories are advised to follow medical advice. Daisy Hill Concert Series events 28th March & 25th April postponed to later date. St. John's Wingates has suspended services and cancelled its Spring Fair.
  • Westhoughton Local History Group - bi-monthly meetings and ocassional trips suspended. Committee meetings taking place using Zoom.
  • Both amateur dramatic groups - The Bethel Crowd and Westhoughton Methodist ADS - have suspended rehearsals and their planned shows are postponed to a later date. Bethel Crowd has been using Zoom for rehearsals and practice. WMADS now using Zoom for rehearsals.
  • Sport - local football leagues (Daisy Hill FC) and rugby leagues (Westhoughton Lions) and school sports fixtures were suspended. FA has ended (voided) the 2019-20 football season - Tier 3 down. New season begins 19th September.
  • Wingates Brass Band - upcoming concerts postponed and group practice sessions suspended. Band using Zoom to allow for some rehearsal scheduling.
  • Library - venue for several groups - was shut. All group activities/meetings suspended. Library open for book collection/drop-off.
  • Westhoughton High School Partial Shut-down: All schools to close indefinitely from Friday afternoon for formal teaching (21/3/20). Teaching continues though homework assignments/online learning. In School Educational Provision for childen of Key Workers. Children returned to school in September for the 2020-21 year with 'Covid' measures in place.
  • Friends of Eatock Lodge September Family Funday cancelation announced 2/8/20. Whilst there has been an uptick in use of the natrue reserve, there have been no organised group activities since Lockdown.
  • All pubs, clubs, gyms, theatres ordered to close after Friday 21st March. Pubs and sports clubs allowed to re-open in July with capacity and social distancing measures in place; no live entertainment. Bolton pubs subject to a further lockdown from 8/9/20.

There has been a lot less going on, particularly for the old the loss of regular social interaction will have had a big impact. Our groups have deep roots in the community and are well-placed to keep an eye people. It is a time for trusted friends and neighbours to look after each other - safeguarding paramount for the vulnerable and elderly.

Community Group Fayres

The late Spring and Summer period always have a wide range of community events: Public Events, School Fayres, Fundays - watch out for details here on WCN (Fayres).

In its early days a Westhoughton Community Network sub-committee started looking at group participation in joint events covering promotion, on-the-day activities and entertainment, and feeding back to the main group, 2012 saw two Community Fayres bringing together groups at public events held at Westhoughton Market - the inaugural event on 21st April and a second on 24th November. The following year a third event took place took place, Sunday, 2nd June at Westhoughton College as part of the W.A.C.O. 'It's-A-Knockout event.' In 2014, the 'Big Fun Day' 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. Now most of the large community events will have had a WCN involvement, and facilitated individual community groups participating in events.

The summer of 2015 saw a brand new event launched to add a splash of colour and fun to the town centre, the 'Westhoughton Yarn Bombing Festival', led by Rainbow Crafts, which place over the weekend of 4th/5th July. A tremendous success and showcase for the community - a credit to organisers and all those involved in knitting the excellent yarn displays. Some great entertainment too from local talent. Further events have followed in subsequent years.

2016 also saw the return of the popular W.A.C.O. 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. The event was even bigger when it returned 2017 (late May Bank Holiday), with many thousands turning up to see this mix of competition, attractions, entertainment and community stalls.

Westhoughton Yarn Bombing Festival 2015 - Cowyed legend celebrated in wool W.A.C.O. It's-A-Knockout event 2016
Westhoughton Community Network Fayre 24th November 2011 - Westhoughton Art Group stall Westhoughton Community Network Fayre 24th November 2012 - Bethel Crowd stall
Westhoughton Community Network Fayre 2nd June 2013 - Westhoughton Methodist ADS stall Westhoughton Community Network Fayre 1st June 2014 - Community Queens at Big Fun Day
Westhoughton Community Network Fayre 1st June 2014 - Football Competition Presentation at Big Fun Day Westhoughton Community Network Fayre 1st June 2014 - Crowds out in force at Big Fun Day

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. Groups coming together for events whether WCN-led or piggy-backing on group-led events, giving a sense of community, friendship and belonging. The tradition of the Westhoughton Carnival living on in new forms.

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. In late 2014, near neighbour Horwich had a very successful first event, 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. Around Bolton there are fledgling networks emerging as the local council seeks to encourage community engagement. In our 6th year, 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. It has become a useful and important resource not just for local residents but for many bodies and organisations serving the community here in Westhoughton.

Westhoughton Community Network website graph 2017First set up in 2012, the website had 1,800 visitors, in 2017 there were 15,341 unique visitors (+23% on 2016), with 68,098 pages of information viewed (+23%), and 293,729 'search' hits (up 5% on 2016); the data consumed (bandwidth) would fill over 5 DVDs or 30 CDs.

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, with other media outlets making use of the information.

The most visited web content in 2017 were Westhoughton Library; Friends of Eatock Lodge; the W.A.C.O. It's A Knockout event; Women of Westhoughton (WOW); Senior Solutions; The George Formby Society, with a healthy representation across all groups in the 2017 statistics; the WCN website often complimenting individual websites and social media such as Facebook.

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

Westhoughton Community Network Foodbanks initiative with Urban Outreach - 'Grub Tub' at Central Drive Community Centre 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.

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Participating Groups

Local Amenities

Photos & Videos


Useful Links

Community Events

  • Social Distancing (Covid-19)
    In light of arrival of virus and advice given by Govt, all WCN groups and community orgnisations are having to suspend meetings and activities for time-being. Summer events programme hit.
  • Town Centre Masterplan
    Proposals for investment in Town Centre (Market street focus) reaches public consultation stage. Drop-ins at Library took place on 12 & 15 Feb. Closing date for feedback 23/3/20. Significant investment and changes proposed inc. Carnegie Hall and Town Hall. Final meeting conducted via Microsoft Teams (18/8). Final report pending.
  • Daisy Hill FC Fixtures (Home)
    League Division 1 North
    New Sirs (BL5 2EB)
    League season TERMINATED due to Covid-19
    Decent season for 'The Cutters' brought to an abrupt end in March. Now back in training and playing pre-season friendlies. WCN given opportunity to provide community news and features for home game programmes.
  • Civic Awards 2020
    Westhoughton Town Council Civic Awards for service to the local community. Presentation evening 25/1/20
  • Tribute to Tony
    Tony Berry Tribute Concert at St. Bart's 22 Nov 19 - . £2,716 raised; shared between Cancer Research and St. Bart's Tower Fund.
  • Library Schedule
    Westhoughton Library
    Did you know as well as books, computers and newspapers, your local Library provides Council One-Stop Shop services and is a base for many community groups and special events!
    Library closed as part of Covid-19 measures. Meetings and activities suspended.
  • Hope Community Centre
    Central Drive
    Programme. Group activities and events; available for hire for community groups - also parties. 'Grub tub' available for Foodbank donations - 9:30am to 3pm on Mondays. Centre currently closed.
  • Rotary Christmas Float
    Rotary Club of Westhoughton is very grateful for public support with donations of £6,253 received during the run-up to Christmas. More raised will help support local charities. Presentation Evening postponed.
  • Bolton College Survey
    Adult Learning Provision in Westhoughton
    Bolton Council and Bolton College consulting with WCN and other partners to reintroduce Adult Learning Provision to Westhoughton. A survey is launched, with follow-up events planned.
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