2024 marks the 125th Anniversary of the town of Leigh being granted its town charter by Queen Victoria in 1899.

There were so many mines in Leigh and surrounding communities back then that the area was known in the 19th century as ‘Coalopolis’, but gradually from the 1960s onwards mines began to close, the last in the early 1990s. I lived very close to Bickershaw Colliery down which both my great grandfather and his brother once worked.

There are many legacy issues that we see in ex-mining communities, such as contaminated land or reclaiming slag heaps, as well as the economic problems that we saw as deindustrialisation took place. Leigh was also home to many cotton mills that had closed a generation earlier.

Today, unemployment in Leigh is close to the national average as we transition from a former mining community into a commuter community halfway between Liverpool and Manchester. Leigh continues to change and attract new investment.

Since I became MP , I have helped secure £20m for a new community diagnostic centre and operating theatres at Leigh Infirmary, meaning patients can get access to a better range of treatment locally. We have also been awarded £11.5m from the Levelling Up fund to refurbish Leigh Market, the town square and shop fronts on Bradshawgate. A further £1.5m to regenerate Railway Road has been awarded from the Shared Prosperity fund. We have also been allocated £20m over the next 10 years of Future Towns funding for further regeneration projects.

There was also a successful £1m bid for the Tyldesley Heritage Action Zone, the first community-led regeneration project of its kind in the country, and I would like to congratulate Ian Tomlinson and For Tyldesley CIC for the great work they are doing regenerating Elliott Street. That’s £54m the Government has allocated for regeneration in the Leigh constituency, and I’m very proud to have played my part in helping to secure that funding.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester and I are waiting to hear back on final approval for the re-opening of Golborne station, for which the government has already allocated £14m from the Transforming Cities fund.

I am also working on a bid to secure £53m of transport funding from the cancelled HS2 project to complete the Atherleigh Way bypass to alleviate the congestion that has been blighting Leigh, Atherton and Lowton for over 60 years.

That’s £54m secured for the former mining communities in my constituency and £67 million more in funding that I am fighting for.

I will continue to work with the Government as your MP to secure funding that will help to transform our town of Leigh and the surrounding communities.