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 tenth 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.
  • WCN activity has been hit this year and last due to 'Lockdown' and 'Social Distancing' measures, with normal meetings not possible and all community activities restricted. We remain in touch and have been able 'meet' via the Internet. Hopefully, things can get back to normal in the not too distant future. Keep up to date with community events taking place throughout the year: Fayres | Calendar.

Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Updated  11/6/21

The arrival of the Covid-19, concerns about health and wellbeing of vulnerable groups, and Government advice on 'Social Distancing' means that community groups were obliged to take action to limit exposure to the virus. As a result with venues out of action, many groups and their activities have been suspended; albeit with some interactions able to take place via Zoom. This of course has had a big impact on community life, valuable social interactions and local sport.

The situation remains fluid, whilst the virus outbreak peaked in April last year, testing shows the virus is still around and putting pressure on health resources. Latest information: UK Covid-19 Summary Dashboard. NHS Covid-19 website has information on disease and actions to take. Social Distancing Guidelines.

In Bolton, the last 7 days saw 921 cases (positive tests); a rate of 320 per 100,000; making the News, this recent increase (Delta ('Indian') variant) saw increased 'surge testing' in certain areas with a push to vaccinate. To date there have been 32,859 confirmed cases (18/5/21) - a rate of 10,886 per 100,000. In comparason Westhoughton has seen 69 positive cases this week.

UK Covid-19 Summary Dashboard | Interactive Map. A 'case' is a positive test, not necessarily requiring attention or being infectious. Mass testing has increased, meaning more cases - in the UK testing is around 1 million a day (~0.68% positive). Concern has been raised about the suitabliilty of the PCR test - traces of past non-viable infections being picked up and false positives due to high-cycle rate, thus over-stating numbers.

Greater Manchester including Bolton/Westhoughton entered a Tier 4 Lockdown on 4th January. Non-essential activities shut down (the closure of pubs has continued), including schools (except for children of key-workers), libraries, etc. Local sport suspended again. All socialising discouraged. From 8/3/21 restrictions began to be lifted as per the 'roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions', with schools now open - testing and other measures in place. Pubs re-opened (indoors) 17/5/21. A decision pending on exiting Lockdown from 21st June.

The seasonal uptick in hospital admissions and recorded 'covid' deaths over winter would not be unusual, however spring and the warmer weather will see the virus abate. Detailed Covid information from Bolton JSNA including Bolton Royal data. Deaths in Bolton involving Covid-19 reached 745 (11/6/21); there had just 4 with Covid deaths compared to 222 (other causes) in Bolton over the 4 weeks to 21/5. Westhoughton has seen 47 deaths (14 over winter) [this local data has not been updated since April].

'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 . 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. With Tiers being reintroduced in November.

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

Over the Lockdown period, rules have changed which has added to a sense of confusion, with life far from normal and free: Tier 4, Tier 3, Tier 2, Rule of Six, pubs closed, pubs open with social distancing, pubs closed, pubs open with masks… Currently limited shops are open and working from home desirable. This situation likely to endure as we head into Spring and early Summer whilst vaccines are rolled out and we ease out of Lockdown. Many old people are still in isolation. Group events and activity cancellations having been wiped out in 2020 now hitting winter and spring programmes. Mental health is a concern.

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. After over a year, there are signs of light at the end of the tunnel with a relaxation of rules - small groups allowed to meet indoors from 17/5/21. It is hoped the Lockdown will end on 21/6/21.

  • Bolton Council closed Libraries and Parks (23/3/20). Black bin collections prioritised over recycling (may not be emptied). Public rubbish bins initially sealed for a few weeks. There is a big problem with discarded face masks littering streets and parks.
  • John Holt Community Centre was closed from 16/4/20 with all groups meeting there suspended. Centre open to small groups from 17/5/21.
  • W.A.S.P (Westhoughton Age Support Project) - OAP group meeting twice-weekly and putting on occasional trips out. 2020 programme cancelled. Nothing as yet planned for 2021. Hopes for a JHC re-start in June.
  • 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. Some classes via Zoom.
  • Westhoughton Methodist Church (The Bethel) - services were suspended. 'Bethel Buddies' scheme in place. CoE Church services limited and events suspended - no midweek Café Church. Regular newsletter is emailed out with latest information. Those in high risk categories are advised to follow medical advice. Daisy Hill Concert Series events cancelled since March 2020. St. John's Wingates had suspended services and cancelled events.
  • Westhoughton Local History Group - bi-monthly meetings and occasional trips suspended. Committee meetings taking place using Zoom. Virtual speaker meetings started in 2021 (monthly).
  • 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 ended (voided) the 2019-20 football season at lower levels. New season for local non-league clubs began 3rd October but has since been suspended again. Cup competition has restarted the season (April) with new league season coming soon.
  • Wingates Brass Band - upcoming concerts postponed and group practice sessions suspended. Band using Zoom to allow for some rehearsal scheduling. Have made a number of videos. First concert will be 'Best of Brass', Halifax 3/7/21.
  • Friends of Westhougton Station have now resumed activities (11/4/21) with conditions.
  • Library - venue for several groups - was shut. All group activities/meetings suspended. Library had been open for book lending and essential computer use.
  • Westhoughton High School had partially shut-down indefinitely for formal teaching 21/3/20, with teaching continuing though homework assignments/online learning. In School Educational Provision for children of Key Workers. Children returned to school in September for the 2020-21 year with 'Covid' measures in place. Schools now on lockdown again as per Lockdown 1 arrangements. Schools re-opened from 8th March.
  • Friends of Eatock Lodge September Family Funday cancelation announced 2/8/20. Whilst there has been an uptick in use of the nature reserve, there have been no organised group activities since Lockdown. A litter-pick took place in late February. Across Bolton a number of litter-picking groups have now started to use local clean-ups as a means of getting some fresh air and exercise.
  • 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 and closed again since 23/10/20. Pubs with beer gardens (outdoor consumption) allowed to open from 12/4/21 and all areas from 17/5/21.
  • Autumn and Winter, key community events such Royal British Legion Poppy Collections and Remembrance Sunday, Civic events such as Schools Carols Service and Christmas Lights Switch-on and Pretoria Pit Disaster Remembrance… all subject to revision or cancellation. The Rotary Club Santa Float has been cancelled - a big blow for the community as this raised considerable funds for local community groups - a Just Giving page was set up for donations. The Rotary Club has been holding Zoom speaker events on the third Thursday of the month.
  • Westhoughton Town Council has resumed its meetings (in the Carnegie Hall); it had had monthly meetings via Zoom.

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 including the Green Umbrella Network (2018). In our 10th 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 organisations are having to suspend meetings and activities for time-being. End of year Civic Events such as Poppy Appeal / Remembrance Sunday (8 Nov); Schools Carols Services/Christmas Lights (27 Nov); Pretoria Remembrance (21 Dec) and Rotary Santa Float fundraising tours (7-19 Dec) cancelled or impacted. Programmes continue to be hit. Other news and updates on our
    Westhoughton.net Facebook Page.

    Light at the end of the tunnel. Small groups can meet indoors from 17/5. End of Lockdown 21/7?
  • Speaker Events
    Both Westhoughton Local History Group and the Rotary Club of Westhoughton have been holding monthly 'open' Zoom speaker events. See our Facebook for details.
  • New Support Services
    Two new services have commenced during Lockdown to support local community and vulnerable: Covid Assist and Westhoughton One Stop Shop.
  • Civic Awards
    Recipients of Westhoughton Town Council Civic Awards 2020 for service to the local community 2021 are David Kaye and Linda Winrow, who will also share the Harold Daniels Trophy. Presentation evening 2020 (25/1/20)
  • Rotary Club of Westhoughton
    In an unusual year with no Christmas Santa Float Tours possible due to Covid, Rotarians are pleased to report donations of £6,772 via 'Just Giving' for 2020 - grateful for public and business support. Money raised will help support local charities. Active on Facebook, they are using Zoom for 3rd Thursday Speaker events (open to all).
  • Westhoughton Library
    Did you know as well as books, computers and newspapers, your local Library provides Bolton Council One-Stop Shop services and is a base for many community groups and special events!
    Library currently closed. Community meetings and activities suspended. Libraries & Museums Service Review 2021 consultation underway.
  • Daisy Hill FC Fixtures (Home)
    League Division 1 North
    New Sirs (BL5 2EB)
    After Covid-19 resulting in termination of a decent season for 'The Cutters' in 2019/20, a delayed new season had begun with measures in place to keep everyone safe. After a further suspension sport is resumed.
    WCN has been providing community news and features for home game programmes.
  • 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). Revised plan now approved.
  • St. James Church (Daisy Hill)
    Heritage Lottery funded restoration work on the bell tower completed. Now off the 'at risk' register. Fascinating short about the project.
    1st Sat of mth (10-12) open for Grub Tub donations.
  • Bolton College Survey
    Adult Learning Provision in Westhoughton
    Wigan & Leigh College have a number of FREE online courses available aimed at wellbeing/public sectors to teach about mental health, leadership and social care. Adults >24, or 19-23 (see conditions).

    Prior to Lockdown Bolton Council and Bolton College consulting with WCN and other partners to reintroduce Adult Learning Provision to Westhoughton.
  • 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. A bench in his honour at Ditchfield Gardens unveiled on 27 Sept 2019.
  • 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.
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