RULES around the financial support councillors can provide to residents are being relaxed to ensure vulnerable communities and individuals affected by coronavirus can get help.

The guidelines around Wigan Council’s Brighter Borough fund, which gives each councillor access to a pot of money each year to support community projects, will change temporarily.

Amid the current public health emergency, the existing criteria as to what can be supported through the funds has been suspended until further notice and councillors are asked to target the money in ways to alleviate hardship and address critical needs.

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Wigan Council leader David Molyneux said: “Brighter Borough is a fantastic resource that has been supporting community initiatives for around 10 years.

“It’s now more important than ever to ensure our members have the resources to support residents living in their wards.

"We have temporarily changed the criteria of this initiative so that funds are readily available to help those who need it most in a way suited to them and their local community.”

The yearly allowance was originally due to be renewed in May but Wigan Council intends to release the funds earlier so councillors can make immediate plans with local people.

Residents are encouraged to contact their local councillors directly with proposals for the fund.

Applications for Brighter Borough will be assessed in line with the local authority’s priorities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cllr Molyneux added: “We remain committed to doing all we can to support our most vulnerable residents and we are confident that this change will have a positive effect as local members will have more opportunities to support their residents.

“We continue to encourage everybody in the borough to be kind, stay home and stay well.

“Following national guidance will make a huge difference and is key to ensuring spread of the virus is minimised.

“Together, we can make a difference, together we can save lives.”

Councillors representing Atherton, Astley Moseley Common, Atherleigh, Leigh West, Leigh East and Leigh South have already taken the opportunity by donating a total of £10,000 of Brighter Borough cash to the Atherton and Leigh Foodbank to help some of the most vulnerable in the community.

Foodbank co-ordinator, Warren Done said: “I’m really thankful to the councillors who have donated this money. It has come at a time when we needed it most.

“Due to the current climate, we are much busier at the moment and we were starting to run low on funds to buy new goods.

"This money will keep us going for another two or three months, which is fantastic.

“With the donation, we plan to buy more non-perishable foods plus essentials like nappies.

"It will also help us to keep our van on the road so we can pick up community donations from those who may not be able to leave the home.”

Wigan Council is sharing daily updates about the virus on its social media pages and website.

The local authority has also launched a #BeKind campaign to ensure residents know how to protect themselves and others.

For more information about #BeKind, visit

For more information about Atherton and Leigh Foodbank or to donate visit