Council and residents join forces to improve communities as The Deal hits Leigh

Launching The Deal scheme
Launching The Deal scheme
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LEIGH residents are pulling together with the council to transform their communities as part of a new way of delivering services.

Wigan Council’s The Deal is a new approach to local government which supports local people to improve their own communities and become more self-reliant through an exciting week of action.

Due to the government’s austerity measures, Wigan Council has already saved £100m since 2010 and needs to save a further £30m by 2017.

By working directly with the community, the council believes together it can transform the way it works and reduce demand on services to help avoid stopping services altogether.

As a reward the council is freezing Council Tax to help residents manage their own financial challenges.

The council is teaming up with volunteers, community groups and other organisations to bring The Deal directly to Higher Folds in Leigh.

Next week, starting on Monday, council teams will blitz the neighbourhood – transforming the area by filling in potholes, repairing kerbs, disposing of fly-tipping, replacing worn street plates, re-painting road markings and putting in flower planters.

Residents will be playing their part by taking part in litter picks, tidying up the streets and planting flowers and plants.

Local children will also take part in The Deal with activities taking place at Higher Folds Community Centre.

These include nursery and pre-school children planting bulbs and seeds with a local allotments group.

Children from St Gabriel’s Catholic Primary School will create art on a theme of helping others and they will also take part in sports activities with the Wigan Leisure and Cultural Trust.

There will be a range of council services offering advice and information to residents at Higher Folds Community Centre including recycling information, dog behaviour advice and how to register to vote.

The Deal, which was launched in March 2014, originally focused on increasing recycling levels, investing in community projects and encouraging residents to use online services.

Members of the community will sign pledge cards to take more care and ownership of the neighbourhood– and take more responsibility for staying healthy, recycling, volunteering and being involved in the community.

The council is aiming to take The Deal to every area of the borough to encourage its 320,000 residents to help take more care of their local area. Higher Folds is the second area to receive it.

Lord Peter Smith, leader of Wigan Council, said: “Through The Deal we are completely transforming how we work as a council.

“By working together with our residents we hope to increase their responsibility for their neighbourhoods and encourage more personal responsibility.

“We believe there will be long-term health benefits, both physical and mental, through residents being involved in their communities and engaged with services.

“This will reduce the need for expensive council and health services in the long-term.”

By residents recycling more and going digital the council is already saving £1m a year and has committed to freezing council tax for 2015/16 – another key part of The Deal.

Money will be saved in the medium to long-term by residents maintaining their area and reducing environmental maintenance which costs the council £3m a year, multi-skilling streetscene staff and residents becoming less reliant on council services through improved choices.

Charities and community groups are also being supported through the council’s £4m Community Investment Fund to help tackle the borough’s biggest social problems.