Cash from £1m community pot now up for grabs

David Baxter from Abram ward community cooperative, Coun Chris Ready, cabinet member for communities, and Trish Green from The Brick

David Baxter from Abram ward community cooperative, Coun Chris Ready, cabinet member for communities, and Trish Green from The Brick

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VOLUNTEERS and community groups that want to make a difference in Wigan borough can now access a £1m cash pot.

Over the next six weeks Wigan Council’s Deal for Communities Investment Fund will be taking applications from organisations, volunteer groups and charities who want to help tackle some of the area’s biggest social problems.

A total of £5m has already been given out since 2013 and this is the third round of funding available.

Groups that have already been funded have spoken of their success and how it wouldn’t have been possible without the investment fund.

Trish Green from The Brick said they have had two grants from the council’s fund, totalling over £100,000.

She said: “We’ve had two grants, the first was to build The Community Warehouse, a project to get long-term unemployed people back into work.

“We offer training and employment opportunities and chance to try new things. The second grant was to fund the food bank which is very successful.

“We had it for five years but couldn’t take it forward but thanks to this, we can.”

David Baxter is from Abram ward community cooperative and manages Platt Bridge Community Zone.

David said: “It’s been a fantastic opportunity for us to empower the local community to get more involved in where they live and we’ve already seen positive results.

“We’ve got lots of people attending courses, being digital champions, and lots of projects where people support their local neighbours.

Coun Chris Ready, cabinet member for communities, said: “We’re very lucky in Wigan borough, we’ve got some great community organisations and volunteers who have taken this opportunity and done some fantastic things.

“Despite the economic difficulties we face, this investment has helped community groups deliver vital services in the heart of local communities.

“I’ve been so impressed with how popular the scheme has been and the results across the borough have been great.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what the next round of funding brings to the borough.

“No matter if your idea or small or big, it all helps and we will support as many bids as we can.”

More information and guidelines about applying for the fund can be found on Wigan Council’s website at: www.wigan.gov.uk/communitydeal

The funding forms part of The Deal, an informal contract between the council and residents and includes a commitment for both sides to work together to make the borough a better place.