Generous gran is the new face of community charity

Carol Bate
Carol Bate

A community organisation in the borough has called on a generous civic-minded grandma to be the latest face of its campaign.

Carol Bate has been named an ambassador for Leigh Neighbours and will encourage more residents to take the plunge and get involved in its work.

The charity, which is overseeing the investment of £1m of Lottery funding in Leigh West, has appointed Carol to the role because she herself has benefited from the help of Leigh Neighbours’ kind-hearted ranks.

Carol and her husband Arthur, and her neighbour Jean Rigby, were assisted by the charity when they were at their wits’ end in 2018 due to the alley behind their Selwyn Street homes being blighted by anti-social behaviour including littering, dog fouling and fly-tipping.

The group organised a deep clean of the alley and teamed up with the Prince’s Trust to hurl all the dumped rubbish into a skip and transform the space in a landscaped area for Carol and other residents to use.

The grandmother of two is now hoping to inspire more people to do the same and help others in their community.

Carol said: “We’re so grateful to the young students from The Prince’s Trust and to Leigh Neighbours for their support. The difference they’ve made is immeasurable.

“It’s not only improved the area, it’s improved the quality of life for local residents as well.

“The result is astonishing. The young people created a wonderful haven for the neighbours and even the bin men have commented, saying it’s the best back alley in the whole of Leigh!

“I like to get involved in Leigh Neighbours events, because it’s important, especially having had the benefit of it yourself, to invest time, make an effort and give something back.”

Leigh Neighbours chair Susan Gredecki said: “I understand that volunteering isn’t necessarily everybody’s cup of tea, and there are many reasons why people might think twice before putting their hands up to get involved.

“For some, it might be a lack of confidence, and feeling daunted at making that initial approach. For others, it’s the mistaken belief they think that they have nothing to offer. But nothing could be further from the truth.

“We’ve all got something to give, whether that’s volunteering with an organised group, or simply doing something on your own.

“Hosting community events or fund-raisers is one way of going about it. But there’s many ways we can contribute to the community, from checking in on an elderly neighbour to picking up litter in your street. It’s all about making a difference, and every little effort adds up.”

Leigh Neighbours supports grass-roots volunteering through a pot of cash available for local initiatives.

Events organised or funded by the charity since 2012 have included bike safety workshops, hanging basket events, craft sessions and summer schools for pupils needing extra boosts to their education outside of term time.

Find out more at www.lnpb.org.uk