A METHODIST Church has received a cash boost to create a new social and educational area for the community.

Wigan Road Methodist Church in Leigh has been given £2,100 from Leigh West councillors’ Brighter Borough pot to redevelop an overgrown area, which will benefit families and members of the community.

The three ward councillors, Lord Peter Smith, Dane Anderton and Sue Greensmith have clubbed together some of their annual funds, so the church can purchase new paving, fruit trees, wildflower beds, planters, install disabled access and provide more seating.

It is hoped that the redevelopments will provide a tranquil meeting point, a place of learning and will be used as a social outdoor area.

Initially, the garden will only be available to members of the community and those who use the building, including three young people’s groups, a mum and toddler group and an over 50’s group.

The church has also sought funding from Leigh and Hindley Methodist Circuit.

Susan Stewart, church council secretary said: “For a while, people threw rubbish onto the church grounds. It was a shame to see the area being unused, so church members came together to talk about a way forward.

“It was decided that we would turn the area into a communal garden. This project is really important for the local area because it’s something that everybody who uses the building can benefit from. Everybody can be involved in one way or another, whether it be physically creating the garden, donating or contributing ideas.

“So far, we’ve managed to clear the space and some fruit trees have been planted but now we have access to the funding, we’re able to buy the paving stones. This will allow the garden to be wheelchair friendly and more accessible for those who are unsteady on their feet.

“It’s really great to see people come together like they have. The garden has been a lovely way to encourage inclusion too as those who would traditionally only see each other at service on a Sunday morning are now meeting up more often.”

The church has also received a generous donation from a church member, which will fund a bench for the garden.

Sue added: “People have been very good and have wanted to help and contribute, so we would like to say thank you.”

It is hoped that groups such as the Girls Brigade and Brownies can use the garden to grow vegetables and fruits and that the regular mum and toddler group can benefit from outdoor play in the warmer months.

Although the church began clearing the garden in February, now they have funding from a range of sources, they are hopeful that the garden will only take six months before it is totally complete.

On behalf of all Leigh West ward councillors, Lord Peter Smith said: “Brighter Borough is a great resource available to the local community.

“The council is committed to investing in local areas and supporting initiatives that are important to residents.

“We receive so many inspiring applications and we’re happy to help fund a range of projects.

“The Leigh West councillors were glad to support the garden because not only will this be an added benefit to the area, but it has brought the community together to create something they can be proud of.

“We look forward to seeing the garden develop over the coming months and hope to see many people from the parish enjoy the new area once complete.”