Westhoughton Community Network

group for and run by community groups in Westhoughton

Westhoughton Age Support Project (W.A.S.P.)

About Us

On 17th July 1982 the 'Friends of Winifred Kettle house' was dissolved. Soon afterwards, the remaining members held an initial meeting in the hope of forming a service for Westhoughton's Senior Citizens. The meeting held at the home of a local resident, involved committed individuals, the then headteacher of Washacre CP School and representatives from Bolton Social Services. With the blessing of a small boy who had collected 50p for the cause, and after much discussion a suitable name chosen - Westhoughton Age Support Project - or the now commonly used and understood W.A.S.P. was formed. (Members are called 'The WASPs'.)

The new group would soon establish what its aims were, draw up an official constitution and have recognised committee members and a treasurer. Working with but independent of the local council, these steps would allow W.A.S.P., a voluntary group, to apply for recognition with the Charities Commission and be recognised as a Registered Charity (515388) some 12 months later. In the September of 1982, a working committee of ex-members of 'the Friends' was formed and so began monthly meetings and the Friday craft session, and new members would come along and join the new group. In December 1983, negotiations with Bolton Education Department took place and W.A.S.P. was to base itself at the new community centre for £2 a session.

Run by volunteers, for some 40 years W.A.S.P. has played a key role in supporting senior citizens in Westhoughton by providing regular activities, trips and friendship, enriching the lives of its members and contributing to community life in Westhoughton. There is a Management Committee overseeing who take care of general business, activity planning and fundraising; an AGM takes place every May.

W.A.S.P. receive a Co-op Members' cheque from the Local Causes fund for £8,588 (24/11/18) This is a popular group and well respected by the wider community. In 2015 W.A.S.P. received the most votes at the community funding event 'Westhoughton You Decide' organised by Greater Manchester Police - the group was featured in the Bolton News (18/2/15). In 2018 the group was chosen to receive money from the Co-op Local Causes Fund; Co-op customers donating £8,588, helping to fund activities for the next year and beyond.

Such was the difference made to the lives of the elderly W.A.S.P. was once again chosen as one of the Co-op Members 'Local Causes' for 2020, where 1% of customer spending on Co-op products helps their favourite local cause.

Download the information leaflet: W.A.S.P. - What We Do.

Post-Lockdowns, whilst Monday afternoon bingo resumed (July 2021), it had not been possible to put on a Thursday evening session and the day-trips did not resume as hoped in 2022. Unfortunately, numbers attending were well-below pre-Covid levels 2020 levels and never recovered, with this and the loss of some aged key Committee members it was decided to cease operations with the last farewell session at the John Holt Centre taking place on 12/12/22. A very sad and difficult decision, however, the group can be very proud of what it achieved and the immeasurable difference it made to their community. The Committee will meet in the new year to decide how to formally disolve W.A.S.P. In the meantime enquiries may be directed to Senior Solutions which has a number of social activities available for older people.

Regular Weekly Activities

  • Monday afternoons at the John Holt Centre, Birch Avenue, Westhoughton.
    Drop-in from 1:30pm to 4:00pm for cards, dominoes, bingo and refreshments. These sessions ended 12/12/22.
  • Due to the unavailablity and uncertainty over their usual venue (Winifred Kettle), the Thursday evening bingo session has not resumed following Lockdown.

Upcoming Trips and Events

2014 W.A.S.P. Christmas Party at Brookfield Hall - the Force's Sweetheart entertains Len and Wilf Throughout the year W.A.S.P. organises a number of special trips, usually once a month, which will include food and entertainment, such as Llandudno, The Lake District, St. Annes, Harrogate… or nearer trips such as to Rivington Barn to enjoy a 4-course lunch and show. There is also a much-anticipated Christmas Party. Costs are covered by W.A.S.P. from funds raised throughout the year with member contributions of £10 for trips - the budget for activities this year is over £10,000.

Due to Lockdown and 'Shielding' 2020 trips and events were cancelled, and nothing planned for 2021 except the Christmas Party at Brookfield Hall in December.

Following the AGM (20/8/21) a new Committee was put in place (Wilf Dillon stepping down as Treasurer and Events Organiser). The group is looking to get more members to join them as we return to normal. It is expected that trips will recommence in 2022.

Planned W.A.S.P. Programme of Events - 2020 (for reference)

  • **Thursday, 9th April - Seats at the variety show "Old Time Music Hall" at the Lowther Gardens Lytham. Following the show, Afternoon Tea is provided at the Clifton Hotel. Coach pick up from Park Gates, King Street at 12:30pm, and the return journey from will leave the Clifton Hotel at approximately 6:30pm.
  • Monday, 18h May (1pm to 4pm) - W.A.S.P. Annual General Meeting in the John Holt Centre 1:00pm to 4:00pm. Free refreshments - Carr's pasties, tea and coffee. Free Bingo. Free Raffle.
  • **Friday, 19th June - The Queens Hotel, Llandudno. Leave Westhoughton 10:30am for a 4-course lunch, after which you will be able to relax (hopefully in the sunshine!) — if the weather is inclement we will play bingo. Return journey leaves 4:30pm.
  • Friday, 16th July - Mercure Hotel (Georgian House) Blackrod. Afternoon Tea (lunch), followed by entertainment by Sarah Dennis. Own Transport, please arrive at 12:00pm for lunch at 12:30pm. Depart from Georgian House approximately 4:30pm.
  • **Tuesday, 29th September - Rivington Barn. 4-course lunch followed by entertainment from The Houghton Weavers. Coach pick-up at 11.15am, with the return journey leaving at 4:00pm.
  • Friday, 20th November - '49 Club' Party. A four-course lunch at the Mercure Bolton Hotel (Georgian House). Own transport. Arrive at 12:00pm for lunch from 12:30pm. Entertainment after from 'John on the Level'. Event ends 4:30pm.
  • Sunday 20th December - W.A.S.P. Christmas Party at the Brookfield Masonic Hall, Peel Street, Westhoughton. Own transport. Arrive 12:00pm for Christmas dinner from 12:30pm . Entertainment provided by 'The Travellin' Strings'. A gift for everyone from Santa. Leave approximately 4:30pm.

The pick up point for all events is the Park Gates, King Street, Westhoughton.

** A contribution of £10 per person is required to attend these events. Subject to availability, non-members may be allowed to attend; cost to them being £25.

Previous events for W.A.S.P. have included: trips to The Eagles Head Inn, at Over Kellet, Carnforth; taking in a fish and chips supper at Bolton's Olympus Chippy followed by the Wingates Brass Band 140th Anniversary Concert at the Victoria Hall; seeing the wartime nostalgia musical 'We'll Meet Again' at the Lowther Pavilion at Lytham St. Annes, trips to Marecambe and Blackpool, and a visit to the world-renowned Whelan's Fish and Chips Restaurant.

Wilf Dillon R.I.P.

Wilf Dillon - W.A.S.P. Bingo at the Winifred Kettle.One of the stalwarts of the Westhoughton Community passed away 22/7/22, aged 99 just 2 months short of receiving his telegram from the Queen. Wilf was instrumental in the setting up of W.A.S.P. (Westhoughton Age Support Project), an O.A.P. social group, and was its Treasurer and Events Organiser until last year. A lovely and charming gentleman, he was much loved and respected, with a colourful history… involved in World War II, having a successful catering business (which counted royalty as customers), and then upon retiring being actively involved and at the vanguard of community life.

Recognised by the Catholic Church with a Benemerenti Medal in 2013 for being a key parishioner and fundraiser for building the new Sacred Heart Church, then by The Queen in her 2012 Her Diamond Jubilee Celebrations Birthday Honours, awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to Elderly People in Westhoughton, Lancashire, and recently by Westhoughton with a Civic Award from the Town Council in 2020 for decades of service to the community.

In his later years his life was explored by local writers as he featured in articles about his colourful and varied life. Wilf was modest man, yet proud of his achievements, and in particular his independence as he grew older. A man with a definite joy of life and community. Certainly not one to be daunted by life's adversities and challenges. His smiling face gracing any meeting or event.

We as a community are greatly saddened by his loss and naturally pass on our condolences to his family - as well as to his W.A.S.P. family. He will be greatly missed but fondly remembered.

A Requiem Mass was held for Wilf Dillon BEM on Monday 8th August 2022, attended by family, friends and people from the community. R.I.P.

2014 W.A.S.P. Christmas Party at Brookfield Hall - Jean Green in period costume Getting in Touch

You can meet or join up or find out more about W.A.S.P. at any of the regular events. You can also contact W.A.S.P. through the Westhoughton Community Network website and we will pass on any contact.

Westhoughton Age Support Project (W.A.S.P.)

Registered Charity No. 515388

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Community Events

  • Westhoughton Library
    Library now open for books, general reading and computer access. With current refurbishment complete, community activities on both ground and upper floor have resumed. Info | Community Plans.
  • Senior Solutions Christmas Fair
    Tues 21 Nov (12-4pm)
    Winifred Kettle Centre (BL5 2NG)
    Traditional festive fair with variety of stalls, refreshments, tombola. Learn about work of this group looking after and enhancing the lives of older people.
  • History Group
    Monthly meetings - 3rd Thurs (10:30am)
    Westhoughton Library
    After two months Wingates Band Story exhibition came to a close 31/10 - a tremendous success from 'National Heritage Open Days' events (talks & entertainment) to fascinating displays. 16 Nov mtg sees talk on '153 Church Street' by Alison Whitaker. A Christmas meal early December in Bolton.
  • Wingates Band 150th Anniversary
    150th Anniversary celebrations has seen an exhibition, a exhibition, Houghton Weavers reunion, special concerts culminating in an event at Bolton Parish Church (St. Peter's) 4/11/23 with guest soloist Peter Moore (LSO).
    The brass band heads into Christmas period with concerts at St. John's Wingates (12/12) and St Vincent's Church, Over Hulton (18/12). Catch up with band News and Concerts. Official Website | info.
  • Robert Shaw / Book of Quint
    Special event with Ryan Dacko, author of 'The Book of Quint' took place at Wetherspoon's 1st July, celebrating Westhoughton-born Robert Shaw and introducing the backstory of the shark hunter from Jaws. It was a great success with people coming far and wide, leading to Amberley publishing deal.
  • Hub at Westhoughton
    The Hub at Westhoughton on Central Drive is home to a range of groups and activities serving the community. Information Leaflet.
  • WOW! Women of Westhoughton
    Thursdays from 7:00pm
    John Holt Centre (BL5 2NR)
    Est. 2013, women's group for shared interests, talks, outings & social networking. New meeting venue. Updated programme.
  • Rotary Christmas Float
    in December Rotary Club of Westhoughton were out and about visiting local estates and were at Sainsbury's ahead of Christmas. They are very grateful for public support and donations they raised raising £5,640, which will help local charities. Presentation evening took place 20/4/23 with 19 organisations receiving cheques.
  • Daisy Hill FC Fixtures (Home)
    League Division 1 North
    New Sirs (BL5 2EB)
    Cutters season in full flow. New management, new signings and clubhouse improvements. Support your local team. KO Sat 3pm or Mon 7:45pm. £5 adults / £3 concession / £2 U18s / U12s free w/ adult.
  • Lockdown information (Covid-19)
    For 16 months life and community was disrupted by measures to deal with the pandemic. It has been a long and impactful period, thankfully things are opening up again there is a return to normal. Watch for updates as community re-engages here and on
    Westhoughton.net Facebook Page.
  • Town Centre Masterplan
    Proposals for investment in Town Centre (Market Street focus) were consulted upon in 2019-20 with a Steering Group meeting to discuss plans for £4m investment and significant changes to Market Street, Central Park, Carnegie Hall and Town Hall.
  • Hope Community Centre
    The Central Drive church and community space is currently closed pending refurbishment discussions with Bolton Council. Hope Church services take place in the Hub.
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