A MAJOR campaign aimed at celebrating the borough’s sense of community pride will launch with a £600,000 fund to improve district centres.

Our Town has been inspired by feedback from residents and will champion the borough’s mix of "brilliant towns that make up one great place".

The cash pot will be earmarked for public realm, street-scene and environmental projects with each area supported by a ‘We Love Our Town’ scheme.

Wigan Council leader, Cllr David Molyneux, said: “Residents have been telling us their feelings of immense pride of being from Wigan borough and we want to give them even more reasons to feel that way.

“We also recognise that people have deep connections with their individual areas – not just our main towns - which is why this campaign will be tailored to each district.”

The campaign has been formed on the back of last year’s Big Listening Project, a consultation that saw thousands provide feedback about life in the borough as part The Deal 2030.

The responses have been used to create an action plan for the £600,000 public realm works, which will be focussed on improvements such as better street signs, more litter or recycling bins and more attractive shop fronts.

This cash is in addition to the £10m investment fund, aimed at kick-starting regeneration and supporting businesses, announced earlier this year.

It has been reserved for 12 district centres not including Wigan and Leigh, the borough’s two main towns.

Wigan and Leigh town centres are not included in the public realm and street-scene improvement projects as they have their own separate town centre masterplans.

Cllr Molyneux added: “We’ve listened to feedback and it has been voiced loud and clear that improving our environment, having thriving town centres and fostering community links are priorities for our residents.

“That’s why we’ve already introduced measures to cut down on littering and move toward carbon-neutrality.

“The £600,000 Our Town fund will help spruce up our district centres in ways that have been identified as a priority by local residents.”

The wider Our Town campaign will promote the borough’s heritage and different communities – in addition to "talking up" its history and sporting achievements.

Throughout the year residents will be asked to nominate people for the Our Town Awards, rewarding those who go the extra mile within the community.

There will also be short-story, poetry and photography competitions encouraging residents to share what they love about where they live.

Lead cabinet member for district centres and night time economy, Cllr Yvonne Klieve, said: “We’re committed to creating vibrant town centres, ensuring they are places residents can enjoy during the day and night.

“Our Town will build on the strong sense of community spirit felt in the borough with the series of improvement works chosen to make the biggest impact.

“During the Big Listening Project residents told us their community was a vitally important part of day-to-day life.

“It is this spirit – celebrating the many home-towns and great people that make up this borough – we want to foster.”

Leigh Journal:

Wigan Council leader Cllr David Molyneux and councillor Yvonne Klieve

Atherton Collieries FC is supporting Our Town as its principles mirror the club’s "Pride of Atherton" motto.

The Northern Premier League Premier Division side opens its doors through the week to community groups who use their stadium as a base.

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Jo Kinney, community, commercial and player liaison officer, said: “We want to invite the community into the club – it’s not about making money – it’s about helping them out and maybe they will get to know what we’re all about and become supporters.

“We’re competing at our highest ever level after three promotions in five years, against clubs with much larger budgets.

“So it’s important to let everyone know that we’re on their doorstep and raise our profile.

“Our ‘Pride of Atherton’ motto has been around for a long time and we have very strong links with the community in terms of our players, coaches and staff.”

Smaller, start-up and independent firms are also being encouraged to bid for a separate support fund – the council’s Business Booster, with loans of up to £10,000 or grants up to £2,000.

To provide details about how you feel about your area by completing the Our Town survey at www.wigan.gov.uk/ourtown.