Westhoughton Community Network

group for and run by community groups in Westhoughton

W.A.C.O. (Westhoughton Active Communities Organisation)

W.A.C.O. logoAbout Us

Formed in 2010, and born of a desire to bring together groups by taking on a former primary school for community activities. Through much endeavour and enthusiasm, whilst dealing with the ups and downs such undertakings bring, with the help and support given by local people Westhoughton Active Communities Organisation - or as it's better known W.A.C.O. - came into being.

Ambitious and passionate about the community, the W.A.C.O. committee and volunteers organised a number of high profile events to spread awareness of their activities, and inject some fun and community ethos into Westhoughton life.

The first event was a Christmas Fayre at Westhoughton Market, in which Market Street was partially closed, which in spite of the weather, brought out the crowds; a second Christmas Fayre and several'It's-A-Knockout' events would follow… That enthusiasm and the funds raised allowing W.A.C.O., supported by the Town Council liaising with the Borough Council, to take on a neglected community building, where for three years W.A.C.O., and its fundraising arm - Enterprise Action Unity Ltd. - managed and ran the 'Communiversity', which became a base for a number of community groups, facilitating the establishment of new groups and community activities.

As with any group run by volunteers, in order to keep up with their mission of helping and supporting the community, new people are always needed to come along and contribute. Over its existence the achievements are many - supporting local groups, putting on events and getting community facilities up and running.

A re-appraisal of the organisation took place in the summer of 2013, The Central Drive Community Centre and its management being taken over by Hope Church, who are the new landlords - most activities continuing as normal. EAU Ltd was disbanded, however, W.AC.O. continued with its remit to raise funds for the community and put on community-wide events. Regrouping in 2014, W.A.C.O., with new support to help with the workload, the group would go on to make important and significant contributions to local life, taking the initiative in projects and causes worthy of support.

Having served the community for almost a decade raising many thousands of pounds through events big and small, and other fundraising activities, money used to support local community groups through its grants scheme and some local charitable initiative, W.A.C.O. was formally dissolved at an Extraordinary AGM on 29th October 2018, with officers standing down and remaining funds transferred to local causes.

Certainly one of the most significant and beneficial local community organisations, the efforts of its Committees and volunteers over the years making a huge difference - and being greatly appreciated by local residents. News and updates posted on the W.A.C.O. Facebook page.


The 'It's-A-Knockout' event became a key event in the Westhoughton summer calendar, bringing some carnival spirit back to Westhoughton. Overseen by the W.A.C.O. Committee and helped by an army of volunteers, these community fundays with funfair and team competitions first taking place in 2011, and the subsequent two years. Taking over the playing fields on Central Drive and using the adjacent community facilities, the events drew local people in their thousands, and enabled W.A.C.O. to raise money for local causes to be given out in grants.

At the 2013 event groups of Westhoughton Community Network groups took over rooms in the college to showcase and inform about the many and diverse activities that local community groups are involved - the third WCN Community Fayre. The College partnered too promoting its courses.

W.A.C.O It's A Knockout 2016 Westhoughton - The competition begins. After a 3-year hiatus 'It's-A-Knockout' returned in 2016 (22nd May) providing a fun-packed day and raising money for local causes, the W.A.C.O. team planning and organising this major event, which as well as the team-oriented, mad-cap, water and foam drama of the competition itself, the day saw funfair and other attractions, rides and entertainment, as well as stalls from community and local businesses.

In spite of a lengthy British summer downpour in the middle of the day a massive £2,600 was raised; some of which went towards supporting the new Bolton Lads and Girls Club Westhoughton Youth Project (£1,000 donated). Info page and photos.

What would be the last W.A.C.O.It's-A-Knockout event took place on Bank Holiday Monday, 29th May 2017, again at the Central Drive playing fields next to the former Westhoughton College (now The Hub). The 2017 would be the best attended yet, and with its mix of team competition, fun activities, funfair, stalls and entertainment, was a great success. This popular, action-packed, fun-for-all-the family event showing Westhoughton at its best. After all their hard work over the previous months, organisers delighted with both turnout and support from the community with money raised used to support local community projects.


W.A.C.O. was a local fundraising organisation, raising money through big events such as 'It's-A-Knockout' or occasional coffee mornings, quiz nights and specific campaigns, such as 'Tyler's Wheels' in 2015 and the 'Polly Haydock Appeal' in 2016. Through its community fundraising W.A.C.O. was able to give out small grants to local groups to help them achieve their goals and progress projects; whilst there are grant giving rounds, applications can be made at any time.

In the group's first round of grants, W.A.C.O. supported all Westhoughton Primary Schools with Arts grants, helped the start-up of the Friends of Daisy Hill Station group, the Mercury Christmas Lunch, and sponsored young, local boxing champion.

Previously (November 2014), groups we helped were: John Holt Tots & Toddlers group, Washacre FM, Friends of Eatock Lodge, Westhoughton Community Royalty, Westhoughton Rangers Under 7s FC, Hindley FC under 11s, Rainbow Crafts Group, Westhoughton Card Craft Group, White Horse Grove Group, and the Mercury Christmas Lunch for people on their own; as well as for promoting the first Rainbow Crafts Christmas Fayre (6/12/14).

In October 2015, the following Westhoughton groups, providing social, educational and essential activities and services, were supported with funding: 42nd Bolton and 12th Bolton Brownies (£150 each towards clothing for the girls' trips away); Friends of Daisy Hill Station (£100 to help with improvement work); Westhoughton Rangers under-12s football club (£200 a trophy and kit); Westhoughton Community Choir (£200 to help buy equipment); WAVE, ho run The John Holt Community Centre (£200 to help with repair costs); HACFRA (£100 to help fund XDC Dance Troupe) and Junior Youth Club; new group Howfen Radio (£200 for setting up costs); Westhoughton Children's Charity (£100 to continue to help local children).

During its final year W.A.C.O was particularly supportive of Westhoughton Lions Rugby Club as it sought to develop 'The Den' and improve facilities for the team.


W.A.C.O. Polly Haydock Appeal - Fundraising Raffle.W.A.C.O. got involved in a number of special appeals involving local causes, including the Polly Haydock Appeal (2016) and Tyler's Wheels (2015)… The former saw the proceeds of a special raffle going towards funding life-saving treatment for a local, young mother, Polly Haydock, who was suffering from a rare cancer requiring specialist immunotherapy treatment costing over £400,000 and only available in Germany. Polly's cause has received much media attention and have received the support of comedian Peter Kay who put on a special Q&A at the Blackpool Opera House. Here in Westhoughton, the W.A.C.O team has rallied and produced a raffle with some fantastic prizes many donated by local businesses. The £5 tickets for the raffle had some great prizes including: a £1,000 top prize, a trip to Bolton Wanderers (executive box), hampers and more. The draw (streamed live) took place at Wetherspoon's, Market Street on 21st December. After deductions (prizes, gambling licence, ticket printing and fuel) a massive £4,570 was raised and given to Polly's mum, Judith, in January (2017). Sadly, first diagnosed in October 2015, Polly lost her battle with cancer and died 8th August 2017 at her home in Atherton with her family.

Tyler's Wheels W.A.C.O. fundraiser at the Mercury Hotel - Travellin' Stings entertainThe Tyler's Wheels Campaign evidenced one of the strengths of W.A.C.O. - its ability to raise awareness of local issues and causes and energise support - the group rallied to help raise funds to provide a little boy with a specialised pushchair and equipment. Their target was to raise £2,000; fundraising over a couple of months involving the local community, culminated with a fundraising evening at The Mercury Hotel (13/3/15 - Photos) with some great entertainment including a performance from The Travellin' Strings. The campaign, that even had the 'Tots and Toddlers' group mums doing sponsored walks, raised an incredible £4,000 - a testament to the great community spirit we have in Westhoughton. Tyler got his wheels in November 2016, with the remainder of the money raised handed over to his mum Nicola for his ongoing care.

Getting in Touch

W.A.C.O. was formally dissolved as an organisation at an Extraordinary Annual General Meeting 29th October 2018 after 10 years of serving and supporting the community.

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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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