Neighbours are pitching in to brighten up Leigh

Leigh Journal: Neighbours are pitching in to brighten up Leigh Neighbours are pitching in to brighten up Leigh

Journal Reporter Sophie Arnold looks at how Leigh Neighbours is using a £1 million grant to transform an area of Leigh.

AN area of Leigh is being transformed thanks to funding granted by the National Lottery.

Leigh Neighbours set out in 2009 to make a difference to the neighbourhoods in Leigh west with a very small budget but a lot of determination.

Four years on and the small group of volunteers are making a big difference to the streets and adding a flowery touch to the darkest of corners.

Stephen Ruffley, project manager, said: “We started by targeting quite small areas and trying to make them better armed with quite a small pot of money. Then one day, we just got a call out of the blue from the lottery who said would you like £1 million.

“It turns out they had been looking at places that didn’t benefit from lottery funding and Leigh was one area that had relatively little spent here.

“They had found out about us and decided to offer us the money.

“We had to write up a 10-year plan on how we would spend the money and go through a number of steps including a consultation where we asked people where they would like to see the money spent.

“More than 700 people came up with about 2,000 ideas on how to spend the money.”

They have set up a residents’ fund whereby people can submit an idea and receive up to £500 to make it a reality.

Stephen said: “We didn’t want to put the money into something that is there for a while until the money has gone and then it just gets left.

We want to influence the future of Leigh and make people want to live here.

“We want to help the house prices rise, which sounds shallow, but it will prove that we are making Leigh a better place and that people want to live here rather than being trapped because they cannot get enough for their house.”

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